What the internet thinks of me…Part II

Yesterday I posted part one of a countdown of the most popular internet searches that lead to my website. To recap:

10. Lying Naked
9. The Adventures of Rick Brickman
8. Rosebud Baker
7. Alex Goldberg Seattle
6. Couch

It’s time for the top five. And it’s going to get awkward.

5. Alex Oldberg
# of searches 131 (4.9% of total searches)
Fun variations: um…see below.

Okay, at first this looks like a typo; someone must have left off the G to my name. But 131 different people? There must be an Alex Oldberg. And there is…and he’s in show business! Not something as paltry as Hollywood. No, Alex Oldberg works in a bigger market. Bigger than Bollywood, even! Alex Oldberg is a director in the highest grossing film market in the world:

Porn.

And not just any porn. Not the family friendly porn the average normal perv checks out. No, Alex Oldberg is what one would call a genre director. What genre, you may ask? Well I’ll tell you, but if you are the squeamish type, then skip ahead to #4. I won’t hold it against you. You gone? Fine. For the rest of you pervs, here are a few titles from the Alex Oldberg canon:

Yellow Pee 1
An American Scatgirl in Europe

I can admire the title of the second film. Also, I admire the ambition to add a “1” after the title of the first film, just assuming that he will get funding for any sequels (spoiler: he did). But that’s it. I almost ALMOST feel bad for the 131 people who went to my website and were very disappointed.

4. Zero Gravity Management
# of searches 157 (5.9% of total searches)
Fun variations: damon lane zero gravity

Well, this one makes sense. Damon Lane is my manager. He works at Zero Gravity Management. Here’s an example of my website serving it’s purpose. This reminds me, I need to call Damon and see if he can package me with Alex Oldberg and set up a studio meeting.

3. Grease
# of searches 198 (7.5% of total searches)
Fun variations: Grease 3, theresa grease 3, fearsome grease

Once upon a time I was in a sketch comedy group, called FEARSOME. We were very funny. One of our most popular shows was a 45-minute musical called Grease 3: Threase. It is the unauthorized sequel to Grease 2, set modern day, and about a burka-clad exchange student who tries to fit in amongst the T-Boners and Pink Labias. I played “Daddy,” a Vietnam vet who still hasn’t been able to finish high school after 30+ years.

Grease 3 - Threase

Alas, this wonderful show was a swan song for FEARSOME, as we soon parted ways. Some of us moved to Los Angeles. Some stayed in New York. One went to Denver. One to China! But, judging by the number of people who searched this term, I believe the end of the Grease Trilogy is long overdue. Hollywood, we are ready! Let’s reunite, gang!

Also, I have no idea who Theresa Grease is. If you find out, let me know.

2. Alex Goldberg
# of searches 650 (24.5% of total searches)
Fun variations:alex goldberg playwright, alex goldberg films, alex goldberg improv

Finally, it’s all about me! Me, me, me. This is MY blog entry about MY website. 650 people searched for me! I’m number 2. Wait, what? There is something out there more popular than me that is drawing traffic to my website?

1. Hot Tub
# of searches 668 (24.1% of total searches)
Fun variations: hot tub wife, group hot tub, elderly in hot tub, hot tub group bi-bisexual gay, my gf in a hot tub, hot tub naked with friends, hot tub kurt and kristen

I am a writer of plays, film, comedy, and TV. I have never written about a hot tub. So why is this search number 1? Why did nearly 700 people come to my website by searching some variation of hot tub?

Well, it could be because of Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal. They are the extremely funny and talented comedy duo who for years have hosted their show Hot Tub with Kurt & Kristen. Anybody who is anyone in the comedy world has appeared on this show. Including me…with my sketch group FEARSOME. So that could be the reason.

Or, it could be this photo:

Rub a dub dub...

Rub a dub dub…

Yep, that’s me, along with some of my FEARSOME compadres, in one of the world’s largest hot tubs in the Hollywood Hills. Seriously, that thing is huge. And since this photo is somewhere on my website I guess the people needed to see it.

So there you have it, folks. Most people come to my website for sex, nudity, and one of my old comedy groups from New York. Nothing on this list about my latest projects…yet. I’ll let you know when that Scarlett Johansson naked play is finished.

What the internet thinks of me…Part I

I recently spent time cleaning up my website, and while there I wasted time by analyzing my statistics. One of the most interesting stat categories is “Search Engine Terms,” which details what people search for on the internet that leads them to click a link to my website. I thought I knew what “the people” would search to get to me, but boy was I wrong.

I made a list of the most popular search engine terms, and it is not what I expected. Only one of my plays even made the top ten search term list. My wife, Catia Ojeda, with whom I have collaborated with on a number of projects, not to mention that she is my wife and soulmate and love of my life, didn’t crack the top ten (she came in at #13).  Most most frequent collaborators ranked even lower on the list, or didn’t even rank at all.  In fact, “Alex Goldberg” isn’t even the most popular search engine term on the list!

What I did learn is that most people who stumbled on my website from an internet search are dirty, depraved people. And I am going to tell you all about them. Here are the top ten most popular search engine terms to connect to my website:

10. Lying Naked
# of searches 37 (1.4% of total searches)
Fun variations: “lying naked” goldberg, lying naked gene frankel

Lying Naked, my only play to crack the top ten, is a one-act play about a couple and the lies they choose not to share. The short version was performed in New York City (at the Gene Frankel theater) and in Newburgh, NY, and has since been published and turned into a full-length play. Not my most popular play, but certainly my most search-worthy title. I’ve learned my lesson: my next script will be called Scarlett Johansson’s Sexy Naked Fuckfest.

9. The Adventures of Rick Brickman
# of searches 52 (2.0% of total searches)

This is a TV pilot that I co-wrote with Michael Pace about a small-town plumber who has the ability to deal with the supernatural powers that are invading his town, or, as we liked to call it, “the buffer vampire slayer.” The script placed well in a variety of competitions ranging from the PAGE Awards to the New York Television Festival comedy pilot script competition. The script led to producer contacts, but while the script was generally very well received, it hasn’t gone anywhere…at least, not yet! This is the only other script of mine to make it to the top ten…it gets more interesting and weirder from here.

8. Rosebud Baker
# of searches 54 (2.0% of total searches)
Fun variations: rosebud baker lying naked nudity, and five other searches with her name and “naked” or “nudity.”

Rosebud Baker is the only one I personally know to make the top ten. She is a talented actress who read Lying Naked and thought the role would be right for her. She shepherded it through her theater company, starred in a stage reading version, and then got her company to stage it in Planet Connection Festivity, where it received excellent reviews, audience support, and won a number of festival awards. Rosebud herself won Outstanding Actress in a One-Act Play. A few years later Rosebud’s exposure increased when she appeared on the Sundance reality show Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, which probably explains why so many people searched her. It’s seems odd that many people who watched the show (about the relationship between women and their gay best friends) were searching for her naked, as I don’t know if that particular search is appealing to the show’s target audience. Ironically, she and her co-star did appear naked in Lying Naked, but no videotapes exist. Sorry internet, if you want to see naked actors and actresses, get thee to a theater!

7. Alex Goldberg Seattle
# of searches 59 (2.2% of total searches)

I’m certainly not the only Alex Goldberg in the world. A quick internet search shows that there are many of us, but this is the one that shows up most often in traffic to my site. This Alex Goldberg was a filmmaker from Seattle who suffered from heart and lung diseases, became an activist for stem cell research, and died far too young at the age of 27. A few years after his death I received an email from his mother, who saw my website and wrote me, telling me a little about her son. I wrote back, expressing my condolences, and mentioned that he sounded like a wonderful man. I told her I would be happy to continue our correspondence, but she never replied. I hope she is doing okay.

6. Couch
# of searches 75 (2.8% of total searches)
Fun variations: sad couch, best craigslist ad ever, best couches of 2009

Once upon a time I had a nasty, crappy couch. Inside the couch was an even nastier flimsy mattress on top of a painful and jagged metal bed frame. It wasn’t always nasty and crappy, but it was decades old. It was pretty tattered when I dragged it up five flights to my NYC apartment, where it lived out it’s days gradually getting shoddier until my now wife moved in and brought along a much nicer couch. So I had to get rid of it, but I didn’t want to drag it down the stairs myself and abandon it on the street. I also knew it wouldn’t sell. Instead, I created a funny ad on Craigslist offering to give away the couch and $10 with a catch. Here is the ad in it’s entirety:

Free sofabed…and $10 cash! (Upper West Side)

Reply to: sale-aj9ug-1078937215@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-03-17, 11:40AM EDT

I need to get rid of my sofabed. I know, you want a sofa badly and are willing to pay any price…and look, here’s a free one! And not only that, I will pay you $10 to come pick it up! That’s right, ten whole dollars…that’s almost one free movie ticket, and a free sofa! What a deal, right? Wrong. Before you race to reply, spilling your coffee on your keyboard in hopes of becoming the first in line to get this treasure (and the cash) let me try and convince you why you don’t want this sofa:
1. The upholstery is worn a bit. Generally it’s pretty good, however…
2. The cushions are almost all ripped. Don’t even think about flipping them to hide the rips, I did that years ago. Now there are rips on both sides.

3. It may be the most uncomfortable bed in the history of sofabeds. All night your guest will think about that bar rigidly set in the middle of their back. The last few people with the honor of sleeping on that couch quickly elected to fold it back up and sleep on the cushions. Which partially explains #1 and 2.

4. The sofabed is 20 years old. That’s a lot of ass.

5. This sofabed was originally used by my family in Virginia. If you still hold a grudge from The Civil War, this is not the item of furniture for you.

6. You would be responsible for moving it. It will take two strong people, at least. Maybe 3.

Don’t care, and are still interested? How about this:

7. Oh, I live in a fourth floor….walkup. Yeah, so there’s that.

Still interested in the sofa? Then by all means, send me an email. Oh, and the $10 is payable once the sofabed is safely in your vehicle. What am I, an idiot? I’m not shelling out $10 for you to abandon that couch.

Oh, and it needs to move by March 27th. Thanks.

Well, the ad went viral, in a Craigslisty way, and got a bunch of funny responses. My couch was famous! I’m  not sure why this couch is so popular on internet searches, but the web is world wide, and quite mysterious.

Tomorrow we’ll count down the top five, and on the way to number one we go to dark and dirty, dirty places. Stay tuned!

Diving back in…

I recently completed a draft of a brand new play. While I am prepping to stage a reading of the first act at The Actors Studio, I now have time to get back into the script Closure. You know, the reason I am writing this blog. So now that the play draft is complete, the dishes are done, the floors vacuumed, the junk mail opened, the DVR emptied…

You get the point. It’s a cliche that a writer’s room is immaculate before we sit down to write, as if we’d rather do anything than write. And part of that is true, the act of sitting down and beginning a new draft is not very different from starting a project from scratch. Especially this project. After the table read and feedback months ago, I had a good idea of how I wanted to proceed. Then I sat down for drinks with a trusted writer friend who offered his thoughts on the script. While generally positive, he felt that I didn’t go far enough with one aspect of the plot. He suggested a shocking plot twist, and this suggestion was a eureka moment. The lead character would certainly act in the way he was describing, it was consistent in that regard. I became excited about the story again, and was salivating at the thought of diving back in and taking this script to a whole new level. There was only problem: this twist happens 30 minutes into the script. Which will then change everything after this point.

So it’s almost like writing a brand new script.

And this is why, in the month since this revelatory meeting, I have avoided work on this script. Radically rewriting the second and third act of the script will take a lot of work. Entire scenes and characters may be cut. I will also need to outline the second and third act, and I usually do not enjoy the outlining process. But it’s exciting, and it will make it a better film. It takes hard work at every step, I guess.

So recently I dove back in, and while I was working I did not find it tedious. In fact, when I stepped away from work for dinner I was still thinking about it, and eager to sit back down again. This is a good sign.

So it may take a while. I’m giving myself a deadline of February 17th, a month from now, to finish the next draft, and that includes the outline. So here we go…

Diving

This year I plan to…

I keep a daily journal. Well, I aim for a daily journal, but it’s more like a twice a week journal. My journal is private, which is not to be confused with this public blog for you beautiful people. My journal is a computer document, rather than ye olde handywritten type. (Back in ye olde days they used to grade you on handwriting in school. I never received a better grade than a C. Choosing not to hand write things anymore is me thumbing my nose at that aspect of my education.)  On the morning of January 1st, I sat down to start a fresh new journal document. As I entered the date on the top of page one I had a nagging feeling that I had been down this road before. So I looked back…and here is what I found from day one of previous years:

2009:  “This is definitely a great start to the year.  I’m looking for more pleasure and more success, and will work hard to achieve both.”

2010: “It’s a new year.  There is much to do…so much to do, and happy to be busy.”

2011: “This is the year, not only of hard work, but of hard work paying off.”

2012: “Going to be busy, and that’s how we like it.”

2013: “The big bad year starts now.  A lot of good can happen if we’re open to it, and we work for it.”

I learned a few things. One, I plagiarize myself frequently. Two…I’m boring! Work, work, work, get stuff done. Now, there is one noticeable change, as the “I” became a “we,” which is natural when you get married and frequently work with your spouse. Still, is that all I’m about? Writing about sitting down to work? Do I really need to spend time reminding myself to work hard? Sometimes, sure. So maybe I should stop talking about working and just work. And if on certain days I don’t work, don’t beat myself up about it.

I backed away from the computer, not writing a journal entry on the 1st (I waited until the 2nd). Instead, I spent the start of the new year on the couch with my wife. We watched two movies (Captain Phillips and Side Effects, both very good) and then later that afternoon had some beers with friends, then went to bed. Sure, I worked extra hours the next day. Sure I have a lot to do, and I’m excited to do it all. But you know what? I slept very well that night.

Here’s hoping this year that no matter how you spend your days, you sleep well every night.