I just received word from my script agent Matt at Original Artists that the Executive Producer for a large number of feature films (including: Fast and Furious, The Changeup, Evan Almighty, Battle Los Angeles, Green Hornet, R.I.P.D.) among others, loved my writing and wants to meet me in Los Angeles.
Shelley said this is called a general meeting. A ‘general meeting’ is like a meet-and-greet. It’s kind of like an interview of sorts. You get to know each other. It’s not a pitch meeting, it’s to get introduced to each other. I asked what ‘writers’ wear? And she said, that on a set, there are people in suits (agents) people in costume (cast) and people dressed casually. Those dressed casually would be the writers. I was relieved that I don’t have to buy a suit or anything. I told her that I didn’t have any nice clothes because they all got lost in the fire, and since it’s summer in Kelowna, I have just been wearing T-shirts. flip flops and lulu shorts.
Shelley’s my entertainment attorney and therefore represents me on deals. She also will serve as an Executive Producer. An executive producer can be involved in deciding any changes of the script (should the need come up) and be able to keep me involved in any rewrites or revisions. She explained that she would like to negotiate (contractually) for me to get first option on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rewrites, so that a director couldn’t throw another writer at my script and hack it up, or split writer’s credit with me (as well as royalties and other revenue). I said that I would hope that I get consulted on script revisions because they trust me, not just because a contract says so. But still, it’s good to get it on the contract.
How would a studio with the big checkbook trust me with the creative outcome of the finished product? By getting to know me, getting to hear how fast and effectively I can make revisions, and exploring how I think. This is all done in a ‘general meeting’. Matt and I are presenting me as a writer, not just Noah’s Ark as a screenplay.
I had a nice phone call with Matt after I got his email saying the producer wanted to meet me. He is excited because now he represents a writer instead of representing a screenplay. Instead of, “you need to read this great script”, it’s has become, “you should meet this writer who wrote this great script”. After successful meet and greets, I may have an open door if I have another movie in mind (I do) or if they have a concept that they would like me to help bring to fruition.
I picture movie sets on location that are closed, with security guards keeping people out. And the people inside who make the movies will be friends and associates of mine, all excited about the creative process that comes with storytelling.
I told Matt how wonderful, gracious and generous everybody in Hollywood seems to be. Without exception, everyone has been kind, welcoming and humble. He explained to me that it is not just an illusion. People who work in entertainment are highly creative people who love and have a passion for people and their stories. So while it is still all about ‘who you know’, it’s also ‘what story you love’.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that if one notable person believes in you, the odds of other notable people liking you goes up exponentially, because somebody important became a fan. It’s like anything in the world that requires a reputation. If I tell you that Sony makes great cameras, you also would expect Sony to be great before even trying one. That’s the benefit of earning trust of respected peers.
One last thing. I’ve heard that people who want to be in the film industry should move to Los Angeles. It makes sense for actors, because they all have to go to auditions. Same as screenwriters. If a producer wants to meet me soon, I can’t say, “I’ll be back in LA in October”. I’ve gotta be on the next plane if I want to start relationships. So I may have to spend a lot more time in my old stomping grounds than I originally anticipated.