Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Job Call

Every six months or so, I get a call to see if I would be interested in "meeting" about a job. I don't take every one of these that floats down the river, but if I think the person who is inquiring is interesting, or if it would just be rude for me to turn it down, I'll go in. I'm 99% committed to my artistic poverty and the whole notion of writing until I sell something, but there is that little niggle of doubt that haunts me. When I get calls like the one I got this morning, that doubt trebles in urgency and the next thing I know, my eyelid is twitching again....

This morning an agency friend called to ask me if I wanted to go in and meet with a client who just got a boatload of financing and a distribution deal with a pretty substantial marketing committment behind it. As you may or may not know, having money to make a movie, getting a movie into theaters, and spending money to let folks know the movie is made and out there, are each entirely separate things and have to be approached as such. So, this place sounds like it could be set up pretty nicely. In my previous incarnation as baby shark in Gucci pumps, I would have shown up with double-shot soy lattes for everyone, but, with my goals in sight (the writing is getting much much better), I'm not as interested in the dance as I would have been this time last year.

The irony here, of course, is that the dance is just that, a dance. I call her, she invites me to meet and it's on from there. Here's a little Hollywood for you:

an office meeting -- she's not that serious, but if I can tapdance well enough she might tease me;

a coffee date -- she's not that serious, but she doesn't want to insult me so she's playing the "we're close enough to not need to do the whole formal thing with one another," tap dancing required;

a breakfast/lunch date -- she's serious, but I'm still too junior for her to beg, a softshoe is in order;

a dinner -- she's serious, real serious, if I play my cards right I might pry out enough money to buy a real house somewhere near the beach, no dancing, but a nice rhythmic swaying would be prudent;

a dinner at Mr. Chow's -- how serious am I about this job? They'll double whatever I ask, but they will own me.

If I were looking for an exec/producing for hire gig, this one wouldn't be it. I'd shoot for something at a studio-based production company, something at a branded entertainment deal (meaning they already have a name for themselves, so you're pushing product) because when you've been dead as long as I have, you gotta find a way to make what's old look new (Chris Rock has a funny blue riff on this that I won't repeat here), and the best way to do that is following a mandate and filling a slate -- the assembly line assures that you won't wont for submissions, and the brand guarantees that you have a wide mouth ready to swallow whatever you're serving.

To build a new company, from the ground up, with all the pressures independent financing brings (e.g. the slate has to hit the ground running, there's little time for development because the money is coming from individual institutions, not some corporate board with a thousand other ways to monetize your failures), is a huge endeavor. I've participated in a few of those and they're startups, and have the same advantages and disadvantages of every start up.

Anyway, I might get sucked into the meeting out of guilt and loyalty. But I won't like it. I'd rather be home, writing.


wcdixon said...

So make the call, but only take the meeting if its Mr. Chows - nothing less! And then tell us all about it.

Gig is okay - feel a bit more settled now even though its crazier and busier as production start approaches, but now having a better sense of how people/the building works so feel more in sync and helping as opposed to slowing process down or being counterproductive...you know, the usual.

Chopped Nuts said...

Dirtiest Divapost evar. Dr. Freud's head asploded all over the place. ;}

writergurl said...

Oh, go flirt a little, it never hurts to keep those "skilz" woking, ya know? Jusat don't shake ya moneymaker too hard.


wcdixon said...

Diva dawlin'...

Yer just joshing with me, right?

Me bro created that links page with all of his NY Magazine desktop magic software. It was fake. I don't even register a blip on Technorati (I can't even get it to recognize I have any links to me)