Register Tuesday | January 21 | 2020

Friends and Family Plan

I visited my parents in the Bay Area this past weekend. I hadn’t been home in almost six months and was therefore fully expected to deliver my biannual State of Amyn’s Career address. Unlike most “State of…” addresses, this one is never delivered from behind a podium but is instead reported from the passenger seat of my dad’s car.

I’m actually very lucky to have supportive parents who are willing to bear with me as I attempt to scale the Everest-like slopes of the entertainment industry. They’ve been very patient and don’t torment me too much with those “When are you going to get a real job?” type questions, but I know they are concerned and want me to be successful SOON. As do I, for that matter.

So I try to keep them abreast of what’s going on, the latest developments, possibilities, and “almosts” that are constantly cropping up just enough to keep me going without getting too discouraged. There is always something on the horizon and it takes time to figure out what’s real and what’s a mirage. You just have to keep going, and I’m thankful my parents almost understand that.

The conversation turned to the topic of my agent: what was she doing on my behalf? My dad wanted to know. Instead of giving him a long-winded answer about all the great things coming up, I stupidly answered: “Not much right now.” I went on to explain that I didn’t have a new script for her so there was only so much she can do, like send my scripts out as writing samples for upcoming jobs, which is a fairly impossible task given that nobody really cares about writing samples that come from “unproven” writers. “So why do you keep her,” my dad asked, “if she’s not getting results?” I sighed. This could be a long conversation. I tried to explain to him that she was a pretty good agent and despite a lack of results thus far, it is far better to be a writer in Hollywood with an agent than without one. “You’ve got to have someone on your side,” I said. “And she’s pretty cool, as far as agents go.” Like that last comment was going to make a difference to him.

I actually had spoken to my agent the week before about my new script, which she had just read. I was sure she was going to have some problems with it and suggest I make some changes to amplify the “high concept” part of the story and downplay the more eccentric, ethnically diverse “independent film” aspects. I was surprised when she said she liked it and, though it needed work, thought it was a good script. “But…?” I asked. “No. It’s good.” She was being uncharacteristically brief. “Okay, but I don’t want to go shopping this one around. I want to just find a couple hundred thousand dollars and go make it. What do you think about that?” I asked, certain she was going to say it was a horrible idea. “That’s what you should do,” she agreed. “You’re a filmmaker. Go make the film.”

My ESP abilities were clearly off on this one. She’s supposed to tell me she wants to try and sell it. She’s an agent, for crying out loud! Who does she think she is, being so damn supportive? It was weird. But I was glad she gave me her blessing. Not that I needed it, but it was nice to know my crazy idea of financing the film with independent money was not that crazy.

I told my dad the story. He didn’t seem to have a response. “Is that enough money?” he asked. “And where do you think you’re going to get it from?”

“Friends, I guess,” I said as I looked at him. “And family.”

We spent the rest of the drive talking about football.