Tom Holland on Tom Holland's 5 or Die and Strike.TV

Walk on the Dark Side...Without any hand railings and a plunge into bottomless black beckoning on either side.

That's "Tom Holland's 5 or Die." It’s a chance to push the boundaries, and we will undoubtedly not push enough or too much, and no one will be responsible except me and my collaborators. We've all been walking "the line," held back by the Hollywood system, our own timidity, need for money and approval, and a society that has lost its coherence. "5 or Die" says the hell with all that, let’s take the plunge and see what happens.

It is un-homogenized. It's unexpurgated. It's nightmares and laughing fits and what we can do that hasn't been done before on no money. It's what you're not going to see or hear anyplace else.

Uncensored, raw, unplugged, in-your-face media: That's the promise of Strike.TV. Control is back in the hands of the inmates. At least for a while. And we're more insane than ever.

Good taste, bad taste, I'm sure we'll be guilty of both, along with murder, mayhem, tears, sobs, dismemberment, buckets of blood and laughs. Come, take the trip with us, and enjoy the darkness. It hides all kinds of terrible things, including what's inside of you, as well as us.

And grin. It's all any of us can do. After all, we're all ending the journey the same way, dead and gone, equal at last. So it's the laughs, giggles, occasional screams and gasps and a tear in the eye, along with some I-wanna-throw-up moments along the way that will lighten and speed the trip...hopefully you'll find it all in "5."

Ron Corcillo and Russ Carney of America on Daryl from OnCar

We come up with most of our ideas when we're supposed to be doing something else.

In early 2006 we were supposed to be writing our book, or working on our spec script, or some crap like that, when our collective attention was predictably diverted. Instead of doing our homework, we settled on trying to make diet soda come out of each other's noses.

- "Have you heard those radio spots where the woman gets into a car accident and she hits the built-in roadside assistance button and the guy calls the ambulance for her and she doesn't die?"
- "Yeah, those are lame. What if that customer service guy could get you tickets to the Borzoi ballet?"
- "Isn't a Borzoi a dog?"
- "Well, whatever that Russian ballet is. What if he could get you tickets?"
- "What if he could call in sick for you and lie to your boss?"
- "Or what if you discovered that your son needed a new kidney, so you ran back to your Domestic Minivan, hit the button, and the emergency services rep would fill out all your insurance paperwork?"
- "What if he could find you a whore?"

So we jotted down roughly 127 sketches about some customer service guy named Daryl from OnCar (which, according to our lawyers, bears absolutely no resemblance to any company, real or imaginary.) It was easy because Russ, who would eventually become the voice of Daryl, is legendary for attempting to inflict his will on anyone in society who is unwilling to self-police. We made Daryl pretty much the same way. We put these ideas into our R2C2 comedy database, and never looked back. That’s pretty much what we do with all our ideas: Ask Satan, The Bureau of Muskets, Mead, and Heretics, Time-Traveling Heckler, etc. Write them down, file them away, never look back.

But then we heard about Strike.TV. And we thought: Why not pool all the money we have ($50 in Starbucks gift cards,) find some top-notch professional actors who will work for nothing, set up shop in a parking lot after convincing the security guards that we're the new lienholders on the property, and try to shoot a ten-minute short in two days flat with a crew of three people?

- "What are we going to shoot?"
- "How about that Daryl From OnCar thing?"

Everything went as planned. The camera broke and the D.P. had to hold it together with duct tape and cigarette butts. It was raining (In L.A.) But not consistently. We had no slates. We left a thousand dollar mic out in the rain. To play the part of Daryl, Russ had to be stuffed into the cargo area of the rented minivan, on top of a pile of jagged sound equipment. The only props we could afford were an ugly bedspread (which we returned) and a vibrator (which we kept.)

But somehow, thanks to our exceptionally talented actors, brilliant director, balls-to-the-wall D.P., rock-and-roll production coordinator, genius sound mixer, and fan-freaking-tastic associate producer/editor/post-production guru, it all came together. Not to mention the composers, photographers, A.D., stunt coordinator, assistant editor, casting people, prop houses, rental companies and great friends who got us everything we needed and more, all for free. And having seen many a sitcom get killed by too much network or studio interference, we can definitely say this: it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you put a bunch of creative, talented people together and DON’T tie their hands.

Check out the Daryl from Oncar Trailer!


An old Jewish proverb states, "If you don't know where you're going, all roads lead there." Likewise, you never know where a project may wind up. When we all got together to make Side Effects back in February, I never imagined it would take us from the mountains of Colorado, to the beaches of Nantucket and now to the balmy deserts of Palm Springs. Within a month of completion, our film had been accepted at three major festivals. It had been a long time since I had been to a festival, and I had forgotten how fun and exhausting (perhaps because I was younger last time?) they can be.

But it has been wonderful seeing the film on the big screen and playing to packed houses. It has also been wonderful to discuss the process of making the film, and the whole Strike TV phenomenon with film industry luminaries like Judd Apatow and Leonard Maltin. Maltin in particular was fascinated at the idea of writers coming together and making their own films. He also agreed that he was too harsh in giving Animal House only 2 1/2 stars in his movie guide (hey, when you've got a guy like that cornered, you need to hit all the major points).

Mostly I was struck by how interested and impressed people were by what Strike TV had put together. And as I get ready to head to perhaps the biggest short festival of all this weekend, I am looking forward to yet another opportunity to spread the word. And of course all the open bars.

Side Effects screens Sunday night, August 24th at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. There is quite an impressive lineup. With films featuring Ian McKellan, Robert Redford, Jessica Biel, Kurt Russell, Mathew Modine and many more. We recieved an added surprise this week when I discovered that the program we are on, "Boy Meets Girl" was being featured on the festival home page as one of the festival highlights.

Check out our page on the Palm Springs Festival site at:

And if you feel like getting out of L.A. for a few days, join us at the Camelot Theatres. I'll be the one wearing the Strike TV t-shirt trying to strike up a conversation with Jessica Biel.


We've been spotlit! Thank you, LJ, we're honored!

And we can see that we have some new people watching us, so we're going to catch you up and let you know what's coming your way really soon.

First came theatre, then radio, movies and television - now Hollywood's creators are bringing their stories the web with Strike.TV, a one-of-a-kind network that will bring original, high-quality video entertainment directly to you.

We've created this community so you can interact with other fans and with the professionals whose work you'll soon be seeing. You'll recognise names from The Office (US), The Daily Show, Robot Chicken, Child's Play, LonelyGirl15, General Hospital, The Simpsons, Farscape, Star Trek: Enterprise, The Daily Show, Newhart, Ghost Whisperer, and many, many more.

If you've just found us, you may want to take a look through the archive to see what's headed your way, check out some teasers and read some fascinating blogs.

To start you off, here's our official sizzle reel.

The Challenge's Lloyd Garver talks about Bob Newhart and making webisodes

When I first learned about Strike TV, I thought it would be a way for me to learn about writing for the Internet and help raise money for people who were hurt by the Writers Strike. I had an idea, and I knew that Bob Newhart would be perfect for it. I had worked on "The Bob Newhart Show" more than 30 years ago. Yet I still had the courage to call Bob up to ask him if he wanted to do it. Talking to him on the phone was somewhat surreal. I couldn't stop thinking that I was on the phone with the guy who was the funniest guy in the world when it came to talking on the phone.

He said "yes" almost immediately. I have to admit that his interest in doing the project was mostly because of his desire to help raise money for people who needed it rather than in being re-united with me as a writer. Of course, it's possible that he was very excited about the thrill of working with me, but he just didn't want me to get a swelled head.

I didn't care what his reason was. I was just excited that he would do it. Michael Zinberg (who had been kind enough to hire me on "The Bob Newhart Show" way back when) agreed to direct and Stephen Grossman another MTM and Newhart veteran was the producer. I was thrilled to be working with people I respected and felt comfortable with. There was a shorthand involved that brought back a lot of fond memories.

I also got to work with an editor whom I've known for about 26 years, my son, David Garver. And we're still speaking to each other after having worked togtether! Bob's granddaughter played Bob's granddaughter, so the whole thing was somewhat of a family affair. The shoot went smoothly. The whole thing took about five hours, and that includes time out for bagels.

My son was amazed at how well things went and said, "If only things could always go smoothly like this." I answered, "They used to." And my hope is that Strike TV will provide an arena like those charmed days at MTM where people who respect each other will be able to do work that they're all proud of in an excitingly collaborative manner.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Newhart's hysterical in "The Challenge."

Presenting Mary Feuer's With the Angels Trailer!

We know you've seen a lot of Behind the Scenes from us. But here's one of the first Trailers. Presenting With the Angels from Mary Feuer (LonelyGirl15, Dante's Cove), which tells the fish-out-of-water story of a small-town Arkansas girl swimming in the freak-infested waters of Venice, California.

With the Angels is a 36-episode web series about God, fame, love, sex, cars, music, TV - and all the other things we put our faith in. Cast members include Jamie Tisdale, Carly Jones, Rene Alvarado and Sean Vincent Biggins.

From General Hospital writer Karen Harris - Life In General and Greenville General

Sometimes, in life, all the pieces fall into place.

The winter of 2007 was difficult. The Writers Guild of America went on strike. It was a time of fear, as well as purpose. My own anxiety was grounded in a feeling of helplessness. I, who deliver a script a week to General Hospital, was suddenly left with nothing to do. Pencils down, picket signs up. I’m not great at doing nothing (though I often tell myself it would be fun – it’s not), so I knew I’d probably show up on the picket line a lot (hey, it’s a chance to network, aka gossip) and join committees, and be involved. I did, and it was just what I needed. I also did the well-known ‘writers waltz’ – how many spec scripts could I write between picket assignments and committee meetings. The problem is, I’ve never been great at spec work. I want to know that there’s somewhere for my efforts to go, and someone waiting to see it. So I would march, and serve on committees, and try to understand the politics of the business in which I work. And feel as if my life was once again under someone else’s control.

Then one night at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, someone from United Hollywood announced something about StrikeTV. I only heard enough to know this was my opportunity. This was something I could write, create and oversee. No one to rewrite me, or give me notes. I knew the story I wanted to tell. It already existed in a different form.

Life in General had first reared its head in the early 1990’s. I’d done my first tour of duty as a scriptwriter on General Hospital. (P.S., the fact that both General Hospital and Greenville General both revolve around a hospital is the only thing they have in common). This was new territory to me. I’d spent fifteen years as a writer and producer of prime time shows, mostly action-adventure like The Incredible Hulk, and Knight Rider, Street Hawk, and a bunch of shows no one’s heard of. I did pilots for Universal and Aaron Spelling, and movies of the week for Fox. But my bread-and-butter shows were taking a break, comedy was king, and when a friend asked me to write General Hospital, I took the leap.

The feature film, Soap Dish had come out, and I thought it was terrific. Then I discovered that the real behind-the-scenes was funnier, dirtier, sexier and way more dangerous. I wanted to do something realistic about the goings on at a Daytime Drama. I actually pitched it around – the story of the people who work on the second longest running serialized drama on US television…the beloved Greenville General. And Life in General was such a perfect title. But it was hard to get anyone to bite. Behind-the-scenes stories of movies and television series were considered a bad bet. So the concept got tucked away in my drawer. Besides, I was getting myself a helluva daytime education from the brilliant Claire Labine, and adjusting to the transition from a primetime career as a writer/producer/show runner to being a full blown, full-time Daytime writer. A few years later, after a year as co-head writer on GH, with the very talented Robert Guza, I went back to more traditional syndicated hour television (Highlander, Highlander: The Raven, Jack London’s Tales of the South Seas, and more). I was also pitching my own shows – and Life in General came back out of the drawer. I rewrote the concept, incorporating some of my more recent experiences and relationships. Still no sale. I couldn’t seem to get the real heart of it across. So I decided to write the script. Maybe that would better sell it. I wrote the Teaser and the beginning of Act I. 12 pages that I loved.

But the work was interrupted in 1999, when I went back to Daytime as a Headwriter on Port Charles. This led to more Daytime, more syndication, then a year on All My Children, then 3 years back on General Hospital, which felt like coming home. I’d settlee into a very comfortable routine – perhaps too comfortable. And then, the Strike.

I’m not kidding, when I heard about Strike.TV at this meeting, I leaned over to some of my GH colleagues and said “Want to do a show?” They looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. I had. They had other things on their minds, but I knew what I had to do. I went home and pulled out the concept of Life in General. It was still really fun. But I knew I had to do something to make this special for the internet. Something different, and unexpected. And it was obvious – tell the story of Life in General, and then follow it with episodes of the show they all work on…Greenville General.

Maybe that’s what it always needed. It suddenly took on a whole other personality. I polished up the teaser (which is now the entire pilot episode) and I wrote the soap scenes. I found a way to make the two thematic – to see the headwriter, Winnie, go through her day, and to see how what she experiences informs what she writes. And how what she writes translates to a daytime drama. In a perfect world, both elements of this concept will find a following. You don’t have to watch one to appreciate the other – if you’re a big soap fan, I hope we’ll create a show in Greenville General that will be must-see. I hope that Life In General provides insight and humor, and real drama to the sometimes silly lives we lead. Both shows will have classic elements, of love, betrayal, envy, and obsession. Each feeds the other. I hope they’re both entertaining. And I hope that Greenville General will better introduce the world of Daytime Dramas, a world I have come to love, to people who think they wouldn’t be caught dead watching a soap opera.

I’m going to save some inside chatter for next time, but here’s a few tidbits. People who follow serialized dramas want to know if these characters are based on real people. Of course they are. Just like Winnie writes from her own experiences, so do I. But not in the way you may think. Winnie Marshall isn’t me. I’m not a ‘creamy skinned, willowy blonde with a trace of an Atlanta accent’ except maybe in my fantasies. But Winnie has my feelings, and my fears, and some of my experiences. I’ve never met Doug Marland or Agnes Nixon, but Greenville General’s creator, Raymond Kennedy, represents, in my mind, these icons of the world of Daytime Television. The executive producer of Greenville General, Mary Kate Walton, is not based on any one executive producer I’ve worked with. She is, in fact, based on every one of them. And some supervising producers, and a couple of directors I’ve worked with. As we move forward, these characters will become more well-rounded, familiar, and human. And I also plan to explore the changing world of Daytime in today’s entertainment landscape.

As for the making of this show -- I hadn’t produced a television show in a very long time. In Daytime Dramas producers and writers barely even intersect. But this was like riding a bicycle – all my instincts kicked in, and I knew what I had to do. Gather the best group of people around me that I could. Work with actors I love. Find crew who could be passionate about what we were creating. And make it good enough that we could do it again, and again, and again. With any luck, what you see on Strike.TV is just an introduction to what can become an ongoing series. I, personally, would love nothing more than to do it again.

Life in General became one of the most joyful collaborations of my career. It would be my lifeline at a time when my world and my future, like all of ours, were uncertain. We had been given a truckload of lemons, but damn it, I would make lemonade.

“Life In General” was an idea simply waiting to be born. I thank all who helped birth this baby. And I honor the work, commitment and talent of a great group of human beings in the cast, crew, and at for figuring out how to make dreams come true.

Karen Harris – Writer/Creator/Executive Producer
“Life In General”/”Greenville General”

To be continued…

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