Today we had our longtime friends the Scorgie family over to visit. They were with us all morning. When I finally got to my email and voicemail, I had a number of urgent calls from the producer’s office. So I called, and was told that I have a script agent onboard. She sent it to one of the top agents, and he took it. Boy was she excited! And I said, “well you know what? This means that you and I are not crazy”. And she said, oh no I’m not crazy. And that he wanted to have a phone meeting this afternoon. (as in right away). So I stayed by the phone. Finally I was so hungry that around 3:30 I went to grab a sandwich at Earl’s. What a time for the phone to ring! It was so freaking loud, and one of the servers was running a vacuum! I literally had to go up to her and ask her to stop what she was doing so I could hear. I’m writing all of these details down because I am going to want to remember what was discussed next.
First he introduced himself and his firm. The roster of properties that they represent was incredible. Top features that were blockbusters. Huge blockbusters. The biggest talent. And then he asked me about me. What was my background? I told him that I was a wedding photographer and then I invented some products. The producer reminded him that my memoirs were in the bookstores in 2009 (I forgot about that). And I told him that I have never written fiction before. It was fun to hear (through the vacuum and the noise) his reaction to that.
He gave me some valuable script advice to make one of the main characters more complex and interesting. Then he advised me on changing one of the scenes so that innocent people aren’t deliberately harmed by our heroes. He was going to pitch the film this weekend, but then he wanted it to be perfect, so he asked me to make some changes over the weekend.
The changes were crystal clear to me. I changed the main character’s occupation, and rewrote a deadly scene where the guys who fall are bad guys, not good guys. And it is so, so much better now. We are going to have a script meeting tomorrow to further clarify the requested changes, but I incorporated them into the script already.
Some parts of the conversation were really memorable. I told him that I wrote the scenes so that they would be inexpensive to film, should I have to make the movie myself. And he said, “You can make any scene as big as you like now”. So fun to think there is going to be a huge budget for it. And he named the people he was pitching it to this weekend, and I can’t believe my ears, or my mind. The strategy is to get top talent to get onboard, and from there it’s easy to get financial commitments. Again, if I didn’t mention it before, the two of them are not pitching it as an independent film (with non-studio investors). It is going to the major studios, as they finance over $10M.
Last night we saw the movie trailers before seeing a dud movie. I joked to Melissa, “I hate to be critical of my peers, but…” Anyway in the trailers I now know if they start with titles that say, “Sundance” or “Fox Searchlight” this means independent films with smaller budgets. This is not to say that independent films are of less quality than major studio films (Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years A Slave, and Birdman were all distributed by Fox Searchlight). So to hear, “we’re not going to Fox Searchlight because this film is bigger than that”. You know. I feel euphoric in a way that is hard to describe.
About six weeks ago, I didn’t know that I could write fiction. No idea. I didn’t know that there were such things as script writing software, or how to read a script, how to write one, that Sundance doesn’t have major studio films, or that there was such a thing as a script agent. (Writer’s agents maybe? But no, there are script agents). And I had no idea there would be any money in this project. But I have extremely busy people in Hollywood putting a lot of effort and enthusiasm into this screenplay with their compensation being a percentage of what I make. So it’s going to be say some amount.
By the second phone call, the script agent had looked me up on Wikipedia. He was impressed with my background and accomplishments. He said something like, “give up hope, huh?” and I said yes. I have no expectations of this film because I know better. If I get my hopes up, I’ll just get anxious and impatient… maybe disappointed. So I am trying to (as best I can) ignore the thoughts of this film and the trajectory whenever I am not in meetings about it, or hearing about another enthusiastic film executive jumping on board.
I do wake up a lot in the middle of the night and blink at the ceiling in amazement. I’m trying very, very, very hard to ignore this and focus on regular life.
Today I was planning on editing some YouTube videos demonstrating diffusers. Then I got busy for hours on the phone with Hollywood, and then working on revisions. Tomorrow I have another conference call to meet about the script revisions, and after that I am going to pleasantly and calmly go about editing my videos, speaking with the people who work for my company and acting normal.
One thing that is great about being a parent. When I’m around my family, none of this movie magic interrupts my joy. I’ll keep you informed of what this crazy, weird, unheard of experience takes me next.