Directing This Year’s “Fireplace for your Home”

Okay, everybody! It looks like we’re almost set up! Jim, let me see your angle…yeah, that looks good. I like the framing. Okay, please gather around, folks! Just have to say a few things before we start.

First of all, I am so excited to be here with all of you, some of the most talented and sought after people in this industry. Don’t shrug, Martha, you know who you are, own it! What we do here today is important. And yes, it is important financially. I don’t need to tell all of you that – you negotiated the contracts that got you here today, you know what this is worth to the Board. So yes, last year’s Fireplace for your Home brought in 136 million dollars for the company, and I won’t bullshit you, I think it kept the stock price afloat during the Easter Basket for your Office fiasco. Okay, okay, don’t groan, the less said, the better. Great idea, Tony, I’m joking, I’m joking. Relax. But what we do here puts food on a lot of goddam tables, and if we really put into this our soul, our passion – if we do what we came here to do – well, I am just going to use the E word once, and not again: we are talking Emmy.

But there is a lot more at stake here than money and accolades from the Board. A lot more. Let me tell you why we do this. I already see Jim rolling his eyes, he’s heard this before. Jim’s a veteran of FFYH – do you all know that I was the best man at Jim’s wedding? Anyway, let me tell you who we do this for, and it ain’t Televised Holiday Detritus Corp. A few years back, when I had only directed two editions of FFYH, I got a call from a nurse over at Cedars-Sinai LA, over on Beverly Boulevard, downtown. And I mean, you know my first thought – Jesus, why is a hospital calling me? You know, who died, right? Well, this nurse asked me if I could come in and meet with a kid there named Tommy who wanted to talk to me about something. I said, Tommy? Who the fuck is Tommy, you know? And the nurse says, he just has a few things to tell you, and to be honest, he doesn’t have much time. So, you know, whoa. Some dying kid is asking to see me, what can I say? Maybe he’s my long lost son, I don’t know, who knows? So I say okay. Okay, I’m shooting on Mulholland this morning, I’ll come right over after.

So I go to Cedars and see this kid, Tommy. And I walk in the room. He’s hooked up to machines, he’s pale, he’s got no hair. I mean this is a sad scene. But I tell you, as soon as I walked in, he lights up like a goddam Christmas tree. He says to me, mister, my dad said you directed Fireplace for your Home. And I say, that’s right, I did, son – I directed editions 31 and 32 after Dick Shapiro died. And you know what this kid tells me? He says, mister, I been in this hospital for two years now. I been hooked up to machines, lost my hair, the works. And last Christmas I said to my daddy and mommy, I miss our fireplace. Mister, I used to love to sit and look at the fireplace on Christmas and since I been sick, I haven’t seen any fireplaces, just these walls and this machine. And then on Christmas morning my daddy comes into my room and he tells me to close my eyes, so I do. And mister, when I opened them, there was a beautiful, burning fireplace right there on my bed! I don’t think I was ever so happy in my life! And my daddy said you made that fireplace for me, and mister, I just wanted to give you a hug.

Okay? You see? Sorry, I’m getting a little weepy here now, look at this. I always do. Jim knows.

Alright, that’s enough from me, let’s make this magic happen. Susan, if you could please adjust log 4 so that it isn’t, what is it doing there? Looks like a goddam dildo, just turn it – right, okay. Okay. Now, light.

Susan, go. Light.

The camera? We don’t need the camera. Susan, are you – have you ever watched an edition of FFYH? You say you have? And have you ever seen them light the goddam fire at the beginning? Jesus fucking Christ – aren’t you the best fireplace tender in this city? And I gotta sit here and explain this to you?

What?? Posterity’s sake?? Susan, I swear to fucking God, light that goddam fire and we are not recording it because we don’t need to record it. I will throw myself off the fucking Hollywood sign and break my neck before I open FFYH with a shot of some bitch – sorry, I know, okay, I’m sorry – with some person lighting the fire. Jesus Christ.

So, light.

Okay. Silence now folks. Once we begin rolling, that’s it. We need the crackle and I don’t do the dub-over anymore after edition 38, so any sound you make in this room is going to fuck this whole thing. Okay. And. Action.

[HOUR 6 of film, HOUR 7 of shooting]

Cut, cut! Susan, did I just hear you say “fuck”?? YOU STUBBED YOUR TOE?? Okay everybody, Susan stubbed her toe, so now on hour 6 when the family has finished opened the presents and the company is on its way and Mom is tidying up while Sally and Johnny play with their presents, they get to hear someone whisper the word “fuck.” Merry Christmas, fuck you, right? Right, Susan? Susan, can I ask you a question? Are you Jewish? Do you know what Christmas is? Do you not underst – okay, okay, I’m calm. I’m calm, Jim, get your fucking hand off me. Susan, please leave. You heard me. Please leave, right now. Okay then. That’s fine then. I will see you in court. I will look forward to seeing you in court, please go now. Out the door. Out the fucking door!

Okay, can we please start setting up the new fire. Get the logs, please. We have a long night ahead of us here. We can thank Susan. Start clearing the soot, please.

[HOUR 4 of film, HOUR 11 of shooting]

[Off camera] I know, I see it. I see what’s happening with log 2. We have the poker, yes? Okay…okay. Give me a second to think. Okay….judgment call. Poke it. Yes, poke it. We have the nice poker, the old fashioned one, right? Okay, then poke it. Don’t let your hand in the shot, do it natural, do it slow, we don’t want to alarm people. But do it, and get log 2 back where it belongs.

I’m trusting you, Jim. It’s situations like this why they pay us the big bucks, right? Okay. Martha, did you polish the – okay, here’s the poker.

Work your magic. Godspeed.

[HOUR 8 of film, HOUR 19 of shooting]

Okay folks, hour eight complete, that’s a wrap! Merry Christmas! The work we did here today is – look, I don’t want to start crying again and I don’t want to puff up the egos of the people in this room any more than they already are, okay? But this is the best goddam motherfucking Fireplace for your Home that I have ever worked on in my life. History will remember what was done here today.

Now let’s get the fuck out of here before the family whose house we broke into comes home.