Today I had a lunch meeting with my script agent Matt from Original Artists Agency. I am so lucky to have such a warm and incredibly passionate agent. We have talked on the phone a lot and are large presences in each other’s career paths lately, but this was our first meeting. In a world where you can do everything by internet (for example, I have still never met my editor Andy) you can’t have an agent without a relationship. Today was the start of ours.
Our view of the world is so similar. Stories that are told should have meaning, be of the highest quality and start conversations. He taught me how studios have changed so much since the day when he worked for Sony under Guber and Peters. Now studios are much more corporate, which is good because there is less unpredictability and bizarre behavior. This also tends to make things more predictable and less surprising than ever before – thus the endless sequels or movies derived from proven franchises (e.g. Batman vs Superman, etc) but that well-crafted product with high quality can still make it huge on the big screen.
He really liked my total lack of desperation and expectations for my writing projects. He shared with me that this is a refreshing relief from the demanding urgency of people in show business who really need to rely on their creative careers to pay the bills. Because I don’t need a film to survive, it makes me easier to deal with. I don’t reek of desperation, I’m more pleasant to be around and will be invited more often to creative teams.
I shared with him how Sidney Sheldon taught me how to go about writing a best-selling work of fiction. I explained my newly discovered ‘style’ of screenwriting based off a very thoughtfully constructed outline (with tightly interlocking parts that must locked for the story to not fall apart). I want my antagonists to be just like us on our worst days (even the criminals, I want them to be so much like us but they’re pressed too hard and something makes them lose it, causing damage). And while I may have 3-5 main characters interlocking in a story with their own character arcs, I want to have one primary love story between two characters. In “Noel’s Ark” it is a love story between two childhood friends. In my next script, “Porcelain” it is a love story between a daddy and daddy’s little girl. Once I identified that, holy smokes did the emotions pour out of me as I can in a split second snap into focus my indescribable love for my daughter. I like my characters to be in an equilibrium, swimming merrily along until something drops into everybody’s path and forces them to adapt to it, and each other.
All of this came blowing out of me when he asked me what it was I try to accomplish when I sit down to write. In a way, it’s an interview of sorts. I mean, it is. What is Gary’s “style”? “Approach”? An agent should know that about his client.
I am a veteran of all of one single finished screenplay haha but I do have a style, because I have a standard for myself. I don’t want to give you a villain that you can’t understand. You and I can’t relate to putting people’s heads in jars in your refrigerator. While it does have shock value, if you cannot see something of the villain inside yourself, I won’t shake you around much. I don’t want to bore you with stuff that happens everyday, but I can’t give you a proposition that is impossible to believe. If I’ve done my job correctly, you will think to yourself – oh my god – could this happen to me? The world around me? And in the end see that massive things could impact your life, and you (and those around you) will adapt, survive and thrive.
What was so awesome was that Matt and I spent a lot of time talking about what I call film number 3. It’s the sequel to my first screenplay. When I told him that I almost had the outline done for the sequel, he asked me where I could possibly go with a sequel (Shelley asked the same question, “How can you do a sequel of ‘Noel’s Ark’ with as complete and all-encompassing the story is?”). I answered those questions with questions about the first one. I can’t share any of that, but man oh man is the sequel crystal clear, and he instantly got it. He completely understood where I was going with it. And he, too, is a writer and an excellent one, because it is his insight to my screenplay that made the first movie so much better.
Most of all of everything, I’m not here for money, or glory, or ego. I’m here in Hollywood because of my absolute love for taking what I know about life, putting it in a laboratory so I can observe it from my perch, experiment by adding stress factors, and see what it teaches me.
He asked me if I wanted to do this as a career. And I said, I couldn’t imagine stopping. And he said he feels like I will have a long and prosperous one, and that he is super excited to represent me.