WTF IS FYC? Part 1: Emmy Awards & Ray Donovan




Part 1

Every spring, the Television Academy, National Academy, and International Academy ramp up for The Emmy Awards broadcast on ABC, culminating on September 18th and hosted this year by Jimmy Kimmel.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is based in New York and is responsible for daytime, news, and sports Emmys. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) is based in Los Angeles and is responsible for prime-time Emmys. Along with the International Emmy Awards, all 3 sister organizations share Emmy, yet ATAS and NATAS operate independently.

Although The Emmy Awards are broadcast, our local Los Angeles Emmy Awards (July 23), The Creative Arts Emmy Awards (now 2 consecutive nights the weekend before the Emmy Awards broadcast), The Television Academy Honors (hosted by Dana Delaney on June 8), Hall of Fame, and College Television Awards (May 25) typically are not. The College Television Awards includes several scholarship categories and winners become part of the Television Academy Foundation alumni, which along with an Internship Program and the Nominee Summit of workshops held at The Academy, help to open that precious networking door.


Operating as a non-profit charitable organization, it fosters education and development for students and teachers through the its Internship, Visiting Professionals, Faculty Seminar, College Television Awards programs.  The Archive of American Television is also part of the Foundation and offers a valuable research resource for everyone, including the public.


The Television Academy (ATAS) and the Los Angeles branch are based in Los Angeles and consist of 29 Peer Groups. Each group represents occupational fields within the prime-time programming industry and each group sets criteria for membership, whether Active or Associate. Performers, Writers, Directors, Special Visual Effects, Sound, Picture Editors, Casting Directors, Interactive Media are just a few examples of Television Academy Peer Groups.


Production companies task creators, show runners, writers, producers, and cast with attending panel events, which typically include show clips, a moderator asking "inside" questions, questions from an industry-filled audience, followed by a post panel reception of some kind. This is an example of a For Your Consideration event. As members, we also receive FYC screeners and online access to shows vying for Emmy. And as members, we are tasked with watching and fairly evaluating content when it's time to cast our votes.

What happens to these screeners when we're through? Of course, we're not meant to lend them to anyone or give them away, since they're coded with our membership information for tracking, but we can donate them to our military and veterans! Project Hollywood Cares, run by Tom Fick, accepts mostly screeners, but also industry related books, tee-shirts, hats, swag, CDs, even cars, motorcycles, and RVs to help support deployed troops, wounded soldiers in hospitals, their surviving spouses and their children.


All members of the Television Academy have the option to vote online for their Emmy program picks (except animated and documentary programs) and we're required to view the selected episode or episodes of that program. Nominated actors submit a pick of their best episode and producers select picks of their best six episodes. There are fees for submissions and there are many rules for submissions, nominations, and voting procedures, so to simplify for the general readership of this post, I've narrowed the Stardust by Proxy Galaxy to a Constellation of Programs ... referring to finished programs with their stellar casts of actors we pay for in some way to watch.

Emmy clout alone is worth bragging rights, but the bottom-line translates into money and increased viewership. Who isn't interested in an Emmy Award-Winning show? Fans follow their favorite actors and actresses, and creatives both established and up-and-coming, follow peers of directors, writers, producers and other production and post talent. The entertainment industry networks heavily and creatives in all roles learn from what's working and who's working. Of course, everyone wants to work with "great" and talented people who can craft successful product! And FYC's sprinkle that kind of stardust around for Television Academy members.

I'd like to think these outings are more than just attempts at winning votes by providing the most lavish post cocktail and food receptions. We do live in Experience Entertainment and there's something to be said for fueling the stages of anticipation, the experience of the event itself, and the memories after all's been said and done that might very well complete a "vote" in a member's mind. That said, I know I enjoy talking to and networking with my peers at these outings ... and conversations and photo opps with my favorite actors and creators are obviously post-worthy perks, too! In this setting, one-on-one access to cast and crew working on my favorite shows and shows I'm not that familiar with is a privilege that happens only once every year and I try to make the most of it. 

Although the Academy clearly states it makes no sponsorship claims of FYC events, they do manage their members' attendance through a strict policy of RSVPs, timely changes and cancellations. Production companies set up their own FYC events and ATAS members attend, often with one allowed guest. For our parts, we must be timely in our reservations, as events, often due to venue size, fill quickly.

Yet, confirmation is only the first step. First-come seating means we must often plan hour-plus early arrivals - - here in Los Angeles that means gauging traffic and dealing with parking. It's an exciting time of year when most of us feel we're a part of the magic. And although I've occasionally overheard a few attendees apparently interested in only comparing how lavish a spread is from one party to the next, I choose to surround myself with other enlightened pros and sidestep that trail of bad juju. 

Let's be clear. 

Everyone waits in line, and fortunately many still respect the art of the cue.

Now, if you're ready for more life lessons, let's begin with a recap of the FYC for Ray Donovan, whose panel joined us after a long day of shooting!


Season 4 Begins June 26 on Showtime

Ray Donovan FYC Invite


When a show is shot in L.A. and features L.A. in its narrative, we're tickled here and take on an almost prideful ownership of the thing. Liev Schreiber, as Ray Donovan, is the center of the crooked wheel that dances over every kind of pothole, loophole, and keyhole in a story that exposes the bad behavior of power players to those just getting by on low level scams along the way ... like his own family.

That earlier reference to dancing? It takes one to know one ... in a episode Liev directed, he cuts a rug with his son in the living room. I nearly squealed. This man can MOVE! I mean, we're talking amazing body control. I'm compelled to share it right now. Watch and be schooled:


Ray's paid well to "fix" what's not going well for the rich and famous. But the Donovan brothers either suffer as adults from years of living with a habitually scheming loser father figure, childhood sexual abuse, or both. Mickey, played with the finest precision by Jon Voight, (who seems ageless), attempts to right the wrongs of Catholic priests against his boys and his lack of parenting skills, but instead only perpetuates their sad station, leaving them as questionably "functioning members of society." 

Darryl, played by Pooch Hall, the forgotten son, although not touched by the church, is the doormat Mickey forever wipes his shoes on. Dash Mihok, as Bunchy Donovan wears his abuse on his sleeve. It's interesting that Dash, himself, lives with Tourette Syndrome (and is a national advisor for the Tourette Association of America), but when he's acting or practicing karate, working in concert with his body and mind, he doesn't exhibit the classic tics that are common with this disease. English actor, Eddie Marsan, as Terry Donovan, plays a former boxer whose career saddles him with Parkinson's ... something Marsan pulls off with great success. 

Life on the set with such intense character backstory and plot development must be demanding, so when asked about "acting rituals" that are practiced before shooting, we learn that Marsan could be the bringer of all levity ...

... followed by Schreiber's interpretation of one of Eddie's catwalk rituals ... see what I mean about the his physical ability?

And something actors in the audience never tire of hearing, a seasoned veteran sharing what motivates him when doing the work he loves to do ...


The women in the cast, Paula Malcomson, with her very natural portrayal of Abby Donovan as Ray's often neglected self-esteem shattered wife is a contrast to Katherine Moennig's character, the other woman in Ray's life. Katherine's, Lena, as part of Ray's "fix it" team is as competent and tough as Avi, Ray's other team member, played by Steven Bauer ... only Avi loves and looks out for Ray and Lena slams him when he deserves it. Ray's kids, Conor and Bridget, played by Devon Bagby and Kerris Dorsey respectively, deliver as teens growing up riding along Ray's bumpy road. Katie Holmes joins for a character arc as the guileless Paige Finney. Writer and producer, David Hollander, who also created The Guardian, is tasked with keeping the arcs on track and giving life to these juicy and delicious characters.

Six Degrees of Separation

So what's my Six Degrees of Separation theory of interconnected relationships to this show? Aaron Hendry. Hendry recurs as Abby's brother, who runs the family bar in Boston. Hendry is the narrator of two shows that LMNO Entertainment Group (the company I work for) produced for Travel Channel, America's Secret Swimming Holes and Top Secret Swimming Holes. (Airing June 19, Sundays @ 10PM) Shameless Plug!

Ray Donovan on Showtime


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