Freelancing: The Fine Art of Self-Promotion, When to Know When
My first impulse was to play it cool. How often do you get invited to a big-time Hollywood awards dinner? My second impulse was to pimp myself like all life in the universe depended on it. My final impulse was to take the advice of the producer who invited me. After all, his wife was head person of the banquet, and I didn’t want to be obnoxious. There were producers there who were simply too big for this type of thing. Names like Zanuck. Robert Evans. Harvey Weinstein. So we went on a case by case basis, as to who I would hand my business card to, and when I say business card, I mean the ridiculous homemade model I had thrown together on my computer and encased in plastic at Kinko’s the night before leaving Portland for L.A.
I wouldn’t be dwelling on this at all right now, but today I stumbled on one of them, in some papers - just aother relic to a lifetime of questionable moves. Below is the actual card with the number touched out. I must have given it to ten producers of which the producer to “Rush Hour 2” was one. I also gave a card to Tom Hanks, just for the thrill of it. See, a lot of these decisions are not designed to net any results. They are mere reinforcements of the philosophy required to be a freelancer. You can’t be afraid to promote yourself a little. Don’t be obnoxious about it. Seek advice, but don’t be shy either.
Later, I'll try and explain how this is an outgrowth of my hitchhiking years and the need to be free. But first, back to the swanky Beverly Hills banquet.
My producer friend, who handed out some stuff of his own, by the way, would point me to someone that the card might actually work on. The notion of some outsider trying to hustle his way into the game, brought a smile to most of their faces. Some read the card and laughed.
Although I shook hands with Diane Lane, I did not give her the card. The same for Adrien Brodie, Robert Wagner, and Anjelica Houston. Incidentally, that might have been the first really weird moment. I was in the reception, and everyone was decked out, drinking away in their extremely expensive looking clothes. I was in my rented tux from Mr. Formal, and I turned around and there at the party was Anjelica Huston. It’s one thing to see celebrities pass by, and another to be there chatting with them. I also thought about the movie history here: John Huston’s daughter.
Incidentally, my producer friend told me when he first got in the movie business one of his jobs was to smuggle beef from America to where John Huston was staying in Mexico.
Wait, I should parse out these anecdotes a little more carefully. Let's just say it was an unusual experience. I’m not a socially-outgoing type of person, much less a show-biz type. How I fell into this situation was quite unusual, but that’s how it should be. I was promoting a script when I first met the producer, and that led to this. And it all has eventually landed on my blog, scanned, and posted. Hey, maybe that’s what this is all about. The inexplicable philosophy that has guided me through life might have all been so I would have some cool topics later for my blog. That’s it! This blog has been driving the entire thing. It is the reason. I just wasn’t aware of it yet.