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The Rogen/Goldberg Conundrum

By Leroy James King · June 10, 2010

Piggies and Chicklets,

I want to talk about something that's annoying the manhood out of me (not really a rare occurrence, but still). I need solid opinions on the earth shattering topic I'm about to breach. If I don't get feedback I'm going to stare at a Brick Wall and think nasty thoughts into perpetuity. So please – throw me a few GD bones –
I want to know writers' opinion of the following:
Is it PC to write with yourself in mind in a role for a script you're working on?
Now, this statement has an assumption built into it that needs to be made very explicit: I [you] have no REAL acting experience whatsoever.
Basically I'm working on this script, and 2 of the main characters are based on myself and a buddy of mine. Long story short, to create demand for our script, we want to engage as many supplementary media outlets as possible (internet videos, street art, and a billion other things that I'll leave to your imagination). The tricky part is that our concept is TOTALLY built around these 2 guys, and if we want to make this supplementary content, we obviously have to cast for it.
So the conundrum is this: Do we portray "ourselves"? Do we cast other people? Or do we put off the supplementary content, possibly into perpetuity?
My fear with placing ourselves in the fictional universe we've created is that if (in a perfect world) we got a studio, agency, production company, or some other entity interested in the concept that they'd stumble across the supplementary content and be like, "Eh… we like the script, but we don't like you guys in it. You've already got the supplementary stuff, so that kind of ruins everything."
I'm probably over thinking this, but that's what I do. And that's not the point anyway. The big point is that it seems like there's a lot of success with this kind of format – writers (who are first and foremost writers) who end up portraying characters in their stories, more or less, out of necessity.
Of course, the big template to follow right now in the entertainment industry is the Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg template. Granted, Rogen actually has legitimate acting experience (I guess that's open for interpretation, but the dude's been around 10 years now), and Goldberg (at least to my knowledge) never appears in any of their films.
Now, most people I know have really strong opinions about the whole Rogen/Goldberg thing. Some people think they're great – the Ramis/Reitman duo of their generation (and I'm sure Rogen and Goldberg would infinitely appreciate this comparison). Others think Rogen is a pompous, self-appreciating oaf – not the camp I'm in. Though, I do get that sentiment. The guy writes himself into his movies all the time (Pineapple Express, Superbad, and the upcoming The Green Hornet), and (with the exception of Superbad) is given top billing. I personally don't care – I think the guy is funny enough, though I don't think his movies are especially amazing or anything. To me he's a good example of a fucking hard worker who's done an amazing job of creating demand for himself and his faceless writing partner (that's said with the most affection in the world, of course – not trying to lambast Goldberg at all). But I know all too well that I'm working in the business and can totally empathize with what they do – it's what I'm trying to do. They give me hope.
The big kicker though that drives me nuts when I'm thinking about my own creative endeavors – is it ethical to put yourself in this kind of stuff? Are the Rogen/Goldberg naysayers… right? I mean, I don't have the specific prerogative to become a huge star in the world of acting or anything like that. Of course I want notoriety in general down the line for doing cool shit, but I could care less if it's because I'm in the actual limelight or a dude behind it. Actually… I don't want to be known as an actor. The simple fact of the matter is that I want to make this supplementary content, and the most efficient way to do it is if I am in it.
I'm probably the only guy in Hollywood that's concerned with these "ethics," and maybe that's a big red flag for me to acknowledge. On the one hand, I'm definitely getting ahead of myself, assuming that I'm going to be on a level of success in the entertainment industry where I'm in a position to be recognized by mass amounts of people in the industry. And on the other hand, I'm concerning myself with something that I'm pretty sure no one else in the industry really concerns themselves with – doing the "right" thing.
I should probably just do whatever the fuck I want. Yeah.