Hacking Bad

A few months ago, I watched a television program on Netflix and it had me obsessed, completely. I began to relate to the characters, sympathize and worry about them. This is unusual for me, so I knew I had found a special show. But it got me thinking, since I’m hoping to get a base in LA, what if I was totally obsessed and had a chance to meet some TV Executive. This might be what it looks like.


I’m friends with a film editor for a popular liberal cable television station. He’s having an executive over to his apartment simply because they get along at work and live in the same area. He foolishly tells me of his guest over the phone. I pretend I need to borrow some tools for a sound-studio project and that I’ll come over “tomorrow”. I conveniently drop by a night early because I’m “in the neighborhood”. Friend is Kevin, Executive is Gorgio, I am Me. We pick up mid conversation.

GORGIO: …we’re all in this as one unit. If I was divisive with my capacity to Produce, I’d be working for Fox network by now or making blockbuster hack bullshit. I believe in people.

KEVIN: That’s great to hear. As an editor, my relationship to the creative process is intertwined as much as anyone involved, and yet, I am the line cook of television: below the chef, above the dishwasher, unknown to the customer, and at the disposal of the waitress. You can understand how it takes a heightened level of professionalism to carry on. But I love my work and I wouldn’t trade it for your job.

GORGIO: It takes a family. That reminds me of my early years at…. (doorbell) Expecting someone?

KEVIN:  No, but I have a hunch. Pardon me.

he stands up, walks across the loft apartment and opens the door.

ME: Hey man, I was passing through and decided I would drop by a little early for those tools.

KEVIN: Well, actually, you knew I was…

ME: (interrupts) I’ll just be a moment.

I walk in and disregard the eminent warning that I am not invited.

KEVIN:  (sigh) Listen, I’ll grab them, wait here.

I ignore his request and say hello to the guest, playing dumb.

ME: Hi, I’m just borrowing some tools. I just moved to town and I’m setting up my studio.

GORGIO: That’s quite all right, stay a minute. I brought over fifth of Makers. Do you like rocks?

ME: Neat is fine, thank you.

Gorgio graciously pours a drink without any assumptions to my plan and motions for a toast. 

GORGIO: In good health. (we drink)

ME: So how do you know my good old buddy, Kevin?

GORGIO: We work together.

ME: So you’re an editor?

GORGIO: Not exactly… I’m an executive. Does work bring you here, to LA?

Kevin walks back in the room with a box in arms.

ME: Yes, I’m hoping to expand my work in audio, but also to break in to writing. I keep a blog, but I’ve got several TV pilots written already too.

KEVIN: My friend was just passing through to get these tools. He’s building his studio out over the weekend. Why don’t you tell us about that, Sean?

ME: Oh, well it’s no big deal, just a little acoustic balancing. Anyway, I would love your opinion on these pilots, Gorgio, can I give you the pitch?

GORGIO: Well, you know I do this for a living, and anything you tell me cannot be taken as any sort of submission, but I suppose that…

ME: (interrupting) Great! Check this out. Tucson, Arizona, the lead chambermaid at a four-star hotel. She’s forty-years old, a single Mom and Catholic. She discovers that she’s pregnant. A blood test reveals the unsuspected: HIV. To make matters worse, the Father is arrested for illegal gambling and all his cash is confiscated. But another fact is revealed in this most bizarre week of her life: the Russian Mafia owns the hotel. She approaches the owners of the hotel and becomes the best murder scene cleanup professional they have. Working title: “Making Bed”.

Kevin pours another drink as this unfortunate first impression is being made.

GORGIO: That’s interesting. I haven’t heard a story…  exactly like that before… but um… it sounds a little familiar.

ME:  Okay, that’s cool. How about this?

Kevin and Gorgio simultaneously slam their drink down.

ME: A high school Home Economics teacher suddenly finds himself diagnosed with impending Parkinson’s disease and few years left in the work force. In the same week, his wife reveals she has a baby in the oven. Rather than seek help from friends and family, he decides to raise as much money as he can, on his own terms. His culinary skills and green thumb come to life by teaming up with a pot-dealing student. Together, they develop a new strain of marijuana and the best THC brownies in all of Texas. To launder the money, he opens a donut shop and employs his wife and the teenage drug-dealer: the hilarity ensues. Working title: “Baking Bread”.

GORGIO: Hmm… you simply combined the plot line from Weeds with Breaking Bad. Of course your working title makes this obvious.

I shoot back my drink in a moment of panic.

KEVIN:  Thanks for sharing, Sean. If you’re finished with your drink, I’m sure you have a solid night of work ahead of you.

ME: What? Oh! Yeah! Um… I’m doing the work tomorrow. I’m just here for the tools right now.

Kevin and Gorgio shoot their drinks and pour another.

Wait, just one more! Santa Fe, New Mexico, A white woman and four-star hotel manager, thirty years old, no kids, immaculate. She decides to raise money for college to become a chemist. Her plan: charge four-hundred-dollars a night for sex with traveling executives and celebrities. The show features celebrity guests and Lindsay Lohan as the lead.  This one is an adult program, it’s called, “Breaking Bed”.

GORGIO: Now that’s programming! Come to my office, Monday morning!


Sean Ongley

By Sean Ongley

Co-Founder of THRU Media. A background in non-profit, music, and radio preceded my ambitions here. Now, I aspire to produce new media and publish independent journalism at this site and beyond.

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