Monday, February 26, 2007

A Hollywood Sort of Weekend

It's been a while since I revisited the movie front of my little media empire. Okay, "empire" is way too strong but there was a time when I was getting paid from TV, radio, newspapers, and the movie biz - although the movie biz only counts if you include screenplay option money. By the way, I certainly do, and so does my local grocery store.

Still, there have been no actual movies made, which is partly why I may do one myself just to get a score up on the board. I've got an idea that would mean a lot to me, but we'll see.

The highlight of my movie-writing attempts was being invited down to my producer friend's house in LA. We went to the Producer's Guild Awards and I shook hands and chatted with some movie big-deals: Anjelica Huston, Adrien Brodie, Diane Lane, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Wagner, George Lucas and Tom Hanks. I also saw a ton more of them, and heard Dustin Hoffman give a speech where he imitated a Hollywood producer, as he did in "Wag the Dog." So that was great. Afterwards we went outside and the weather was so mild it was like being indoors all over again. On the way out I met Bob Shapiro, of the OJ trial so that was the nightmare side of the dream.

Here's how it works if you're submitting scripts to Hollywood. First, I started out determined not to go through any changes about it and that's wise. In 6 plus years, there have been maybe 4 depressing days where I really thought things were about to happen but they didn't. The other days I stuck to my original approach: Don't get your hopes up, and don't let Hollywood make a fool out of you.

Finally my stock collapsed and I was finished. I mean there was no place left to go. I couldn't even get my own answering machine to take a message. Then at a party, a certain huge director told my producer's son that one of my titles was the best he'd ever heard. That was show biz talk of course, but suddenly I was back in play. I no longer looked like a hopeless loser - someone inside the palace had said something very nice.

This led to another script, another option payment, but then....nothing. We were just easing back to "It's Over" once again. Sure, there was a minor flurry of activity a month ago. Incidentally, I always have to send the scripts again for each new nibble, because of clutter. My producer's office has so many papers in it that the ski patrol checks for avalanches.

The follow-through on the one positive lead came down to the son understandably not wanting to use his new position in Hollywood to take this big-time director my scripts. Everyone has a limited amount of that kind of capital and you must spend it wisely.

So Saturday, at what my producer calls "a major party", he talked to the director himself. The director agreed to read two of my scripts and they are being sent over by messenger today. The man who loved the one title is now going to read the scripts. And he is important.

So that was a fun mood-setter to watch the Oscars. Not that my work has a chance in hell of winning an award. Mine are comedies that would make Borat seem mainstream. When it comes to Hollywood, I'm sort of a subversive. My people down there are connected though. Really connected. The father, son, and wife were all there at the awards last night, and I saw the woman twice on camera. So who knows?

In fact that might be the real news here: Someone I saw on the Academy Awards telecast yesterday, is sending my scripts somewhere today. No matter what happens that is a huge accomplishment.

One thing I learned during the Hitchhiking Years - and I will be returning to writing about those here shortly - is the Single Car Theory. You might see hundreds of cars pass you by, but it's not like you have to convince even 5% to stop. All you really need to get down the road is one car, and if this director goes for these scripts - if this guy pulls over and stops to let me into the movie business - that is all it would take.

So in this Hollywood weekend, the latest phone call from LA was good news. I'm hitchhiking through and I just need one car to stop. It might as well be a limo.


At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Lynn S. said...

Go Bill! Go Bill! It's your birfday! it's your birfday!


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