Drug Use? - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How common is marijuana use in writers' rooms? Do companies really enforce a no-drug policy, or just let the kids play as long as the shows are getting ratings? Is Canada different than U.S. in this respect?
I have never seen drug use on the job on either side of the border. I think, to most show people, getting stoned on the job would be like getting drunk on the job. They would see it as a personal problem that you have. They might or might not fire you, depending on how they manage their people. But they wouldn't view it as a plus.

It's not a question of morality. Show people are tolerant of all sorts of extravagant personal choices if you have enough talent and people like you enough; that's how Robert Downey, Jr. still has a career. But most companies will fear that if you're using drugs or alcohol on the job, you're unreliable. My understanding is that Aaron Sorkin's coke problem on THE WEST WING led to him getting fired off his own show. Not because he was coked up; because he was late with episodes.

Personally, I can't imagine trying to write while high. I gather it works for Seth Rogen, though who knows if he wouldn't write even better straight. If you need to get wasted to put out the pages, maybe you should look at what's stopping you from writing, rather than trying to drug your way through it.

I have to say that overall, I have seen surprisingly little drug use in showbiz off the job. I've been to my share of industry parties both in LA (in the Nineties) and Canada (in the Naughties). Rarely have I been aware of anyone doing coke. I rarely smell pot smoke, either. Not that many people even get seriously drunk. Is it a generational thing? Do people not invite me to the really fun parties? Do show people not want to be wasted when they're working a party?

Make of it what you will. I'm going to get another coffee.

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7 Comments:

Seth definitely should have put the bong down for "Pineapple Express." That or he should have just screened it in the back of headshops, because one would have to be high to enjoy it.

By Blogger David, at 11:34 AM  

I don't do any drugs and I really liked Pineapple Express. Of course I don't like hockey but loved Slapshot. I just thought both were funny with well-drawn characters and a nice story.

By Blogger Tim W., at 1:12 PM  

you're in your 40s and live in Montreal, i wouldn't exactly say you're privy to what's going on in la industry parties.

By Blogger ALLEN, at 1:18 AM  

To paraphrase George Carlin. You can't write when your stoned, but when it's time to edit...
Seriously, though, writing is not a passive activity so drugs which make you passive don't help.

By Blogger OutOfContext, at 8:35 AM  

You're not wrong, Allen. But I did spend the '90's in LA working as a development guy, and I went to a fair number of industry parties up in the hills. Saw hardly any drugs.

Have you been to a lot of industry parties, and did you see a lot of drug use there?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 9:31 AM  

just to clarify, that was not a knock on anybody.

yes, seen plenty of coke.

By Blogger ALLEN, at 12:33 AM  

"Oh ease up, Travis. I have a little coke every now and then."

By Blogger Tim W., at 1:06 AM  

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