Register Saturday | December 7 | 2019

Dutch Treat

"Every time I go to one of these places I see lots of television actors..."

Yesterday morning I drove way out to the edges of the San Fernando Valley to shoot some satellite dishes that I need for my short film. I had seen them weeks ago and miraculously was able to find them again, along with a cellular tower at the top of a hill that I thought might work too. Amazingly, nobody gave the Middle Eastern-looking guy (me) any strange looks as I videotaped these fenced-in pieces of technology. I took a bunch of shots, probably too many, and hopefully a few of them will actually work in the movie. And hopefully nobody from "Homeland Security" will come knocking on my door asking for the tapes.

I had a lunch meeting at Stanley’s, a salad joint also in the Valley. Every time I go to one of these places I see lots of television actors, probably because Warner Bros. and a bunch of other television studios are out there, like NBC and Disney. Yesterday I saw the guy from “The Shield” having lunch with his kids, as well as the guy who played Elaine’s boyfriend “Puddy” on “Seinfeld.” He’s one of those guys you know but don’t know. You know?

I was meeting with one of my co-writers, our producer, and a semi-famous old school female rapper who had several hits “back in the day.” We’ve been developing a story based on her life, and this Friday we have to go in to one of the studios to pitch the idea. Sort of a “8 Mile” meets “Save The Last Dance” type of thing. Personally, I’m not really sure why anybody cares about hip hop movies anymore but sometimes they do, so why not give it a shot? I have a feeling it will come down to the same old question: “Who is going to be in the movie?” And we’ll have to get them excited about all the possible music stars who can make appearances or who are trying to make the “crossover” into acting. Somebody figured out awhile back that the best way to sell movies and music to teenagers is to link them together. See the movie, buy the soundtrack. Hear the soundtrack, go to the movie. One way or another the media companies are going to get thirty bucks out of your child.

At the end of the meeting, as expected, the check came. The past few times we’ve met, the handling of the check has been extremely interesting to me, mainly because nobody offers to pay the whole thing. In my opinion, whoever called the meeting should pay. Or if two parties have mutually decided to meet, then one should offer to pay and the other can offer to pay “next time.” Kinda like dating. But the last time we met, everybody went dutch, which I found to be quite awkward for a business meeting. There’s just something weird about somebody having to throw in four bucks because they had soup. I couldn’t tell if it bothered anybody but me. Last time, I decided that there was no reason for me to pay at all, because I have been working for free on this project. Is that wrong? I didn’t think so either. Instead, I decided that our producer should pay for my meal, so I made no move for my wallet. Not even one of those fake hand-in-the-pocket gestures. Instead, I simply thanked the producer for lunch. I think he got the message, because this time around there was not even a hint of a suggestion that I should pay. But the root of the issue is not whether or not I should pay, but whether a meal like that should be split at all. It’s not like we are all co-workers taking a lunch break at Chili’s. No, this was a meeting of the minds to prepare for a major presentation at the end of the week. Somebody should suck it up and pay the whole meal. I’m not sure who but somebody should. As long as it’s not me.