I’m really excited because next week I get to meet with my script agent and my entertainment attorney in person. Up to now all of our meetings have been by phone.
I am trying my best to ignore this thing entirely (until I find out somebody needs something from me, like meetings) and mostly it is working out well. I was telling my entertainment attorney that this is just like grief, but upside down. When I have lost people, my mind/spirit/body goes into intense shock. As time goes on, I’m able to laugh with friends, get absorbed in an activity for a while until boom! The grief hits me like a piano falling from the sky. This is the same as it is a major transition. When the process started, I would do fine being occupied with the kids, or having meetings for my company. But it was my body that would do weird things. I’d watch my hands shake. I would wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night with hives all over. Or I’d just drop things that I was holding.
Going through big life transitions are very disruptive to my equilibrium, but I am certainly okay with this one.
A few days ago we went to see a movie, and one of the actors that I have admired for years was perfect for one of my roles. The weirdness continues as one of my friend’s mom (who follows me on Facebook) told me that he was a relative! So today my agent is sending the screenplay to him. While I probably won’t have any say in who gets the roles (that is the director’s job) if I find an actor who likes the script, (and lets me know that he/she does), then I can forward that to the director.
I am so glad I am not a career screenwriter. This would be make/break thing for me. Not that this isn’t huge, but I run a company and have a family.
Just as an experiment I’ve started writing two more screenplays. Honestly, it is relatively simple to do. There’s only about 100 pages, and the dialogs are compressed into a narrow margin. (So it’s like 60 pages) You have a story line which starts with a whisper followed by a big bang in the third act, leading to a satisfying resolution. There are characters who have an imbalance internally, and the events in the story line forces them to adapt and to change. Main characters intertwine with each other, and they influence the timing of the story line. You can see this pattern in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or any good film. I wouldn’t say it’s a formula – because that would be boring – but working with the guidance I got from Sidney Sheldon, I have loved this craft of screenwriting.
I had a really good talk with the producer today. She was telling me how I probably am going to meet with the studio or executive producers and ‘pitch’ that I stay on the creative process to the end. A screenplay can be purchased outright, but if that happens another writer can completely run like a bull in a china shop through my work. Additionally, royalties, etc. would be split with another writer, and of course that is not as good for my agent (or me) as he brokers a deal. The trick is to convince people that I am someone the studio can trust for revisions or rewrites. My agent has already seen me do two pretty big script revisions. The first one took a couple of days, the second one (more sweeping) was done overnight. In a way those revisions were like an audition. Was I going to be a clueless writer who got lucky and had the words all flow? Or could I be someone who could make a major revision without ruining the story? Would I be a prima donna if there were changes required? A lot of times script agents get a bit nervous if the writer has to pitch in front of producers, because most writers are introverted and shy, and not used to speaking in front of people.
This is when I’m thankful for my experiences. I’ve done hundreds of platform programs, seminars, conventions, and workshops. In three different languages. I’ve had to pitch in front of a grueling group of angel investors. I actually really like giving presentations, because I get to engage the people I’m addressing. So I look forward to that.
While I am in LA, I get to meet with the screenwriter for “The Titanic”, “The Terminator”, “Aliens” . I also have a meeting with an executive that the “Hollywood Reporter” named as one of the top executives under 35. Everybody – and I mean everybody – that I have spoken with so far in Hollywood has been warm, receptive, kind, and positively encouraging. It really really helps to have a well-known and regarded script agent. It has become something that has swung the doors wide open for me in the deeply closed-off world of Hollywood.
It is so weird and yet so normal to find someone I admire onscreen, and send that actor my script so I can pitch him (if he’s interested) to the filmmakers. Well, my agent sends it to his agent to be more accurate. I’m learning the ropes really fast.
One thing I can certainly say so far – all of the executives and talent that I have spoken with have been gracious, enthusiastic and wonderful people with no egos. I haven’t yet seen anybody act like a big shot like you would expect. If show business is like normal business where it is all about relationships, I like who I am involved with – a lot.