I've spent the last few weeks putting together a business plan and incorporating so I can start raising money. My goal was to get started this week by setting up meetings with potential investors, but of course, things have gotten delayed. The LLC documents alone will take a few weeks, as will my lawyer's review of all of the documentation. It's already mid-February and my goal, to be shooting this June, is in serious jeopardy already. I've been through this before, yet the degree to which one's patience is tested still surprises me. If it's not lawyers, it's managers who are taking to long to read a script for the movie star client, or executives who are too busy and have too many scripts to get to yours promptly. It's no wonder movies take YEARS to get made. The paperwork takes as long as writing the damn script!
In other news, I played in a big mud football game yesterday before the Super Bowl. My friend, a cinematographer, had put it together and, of course, most of the guys who showed up were in the entertainment industry. We were split off into two teams and started introducing ourselves. One guy, we'll call him Chet, looked very familiar to me and as we shook hands, I realized that he was an executive at a production company who I had met last year.
"Don't you work at...?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "Have we met?"
"Yeah. I'm Amyn. I met with you last year."
"Oh. You're a writer?" he asked. "Who's your agent?"
I told him.
It was clear he had no idea who I was. I couldn't believe it. This was a guy who not only read two or three of my scripts last year (and claimed to like or, as they say in Hollywood way too easily, "loved" my writing."), but also with whom I had met for two meetings. The second meeting had even been his idea. He had liked a pitch of mine and wanted to hear more. We had sat outside his office building for over an hour, talking about a movie idea and fleshing it out. In the end, he had told my agent he had decided to "pass on the idea," but nevertheless, I had felt he was a pretty cool guy and perhaps even a friend of sorts at that company that I could approach in the future.
Now he was standing before me in sweats and a t-shirt with no clue who I was and probably no interest beyond trying to win the football game. That's the funny thing about this place. Everybody knows everybody, but when they meet out of context, it can be very confusing. Everybody wants to know everybody, but nobody wants to admit when they can't remember you at all. Nevertheless, it happens all the time, especially to writers. One of my friends told me he was recently summoned to meet with a producer with whom he had had a meeting several months prior, at her house. When he told her they had met before, at her house, no less, the executive didn't believe him and insisted he must be mistaken. My friend, who has an extremely sharp memory, assured her that he had come over to her house and met about a specific project. The woman had no recollection at all and I'm sure it made for an awkward start to their meeting. Funnily enough, at the end of the meeting, she said, "Oh, we did meet! At my house, right?"
The other strange thing I've noticed about Hollywood is that while not much gets done at official meetings, plenty of bonds get forged out in the real world, at parties or on tennis courts or football fields. While I was disheartened that "Chet" didn't remember me, I also knew that because we had played football on the same team (and won, no less, though I had little to do with that), we were now "connected" more than before. I barely spoke to him for most of the game and even winced as his faux-macho persona came through when he begged for someone to hand him the ball so he could score. He became not just an executive that I had met a few times in an office but actually a real person. I saw his insecurities, his humor, and his ability to fumble the ball repeatedly. I can only imagine that he too saw me in a different light; as not just a writer, but as a guy who has friends and plays football sometimes and cracks jokes.
Next time I meet with him I'll be sure to bring up this game and how we managed to win in the pouring rain and soupy mud. Maybe he'll remember.