|latest fav of my studio
Really, this blog should be about the bruise that’s healing, how a non-friend recently asked for my make-up cast-offs, and my inability to wash lettuce, thereby causing me to puke till my face blew up like a puffer-fish, but resulted in the make-up artist telling about a great, new mascara called Blinc. It neither smudges or flakes. Instead, this ditty is going to be about what writer’s consider the impossible: attracting the attention of a Hollywood producer.
No. It’s not about Lucas, for that was due to a business connection that never could have been planned. This is about networking to get your product (e.g. screenplay, printed work or idea) read.
Attend a networking event. I had to be taken, nearly kicking and screaming to the Women in Film networking social in Seattle. I’ve never been on set. I’ve only come in contact w/the celebrities. Most of the time, I’m in the background with the producers et all, talking about our projects. To me, this didn’t justify my presence at the event. I was wrong. This even was full of directors and producers (including men) who were looking to pitch and be pitched. (call someone, beg, plead, offer to buy them a dinner).
Be casual. Be yourself. I’m not one to make small talk. It bothers me. I’d rather have one or two meaningful conversations (I supposed this parallels my monogomous self, but I’ll save that philosophy for another day). So out of about 50 folks, all lounging around the beautiful Seattle backyard that was tiered by flowers and vines, only one person came up to chat with me. I meandered. I ate. This eventually led me to the kitchen, a place where I feel most comfortable. Another man stood by himself, happily munching on a kosher hotdog. He was my people. I started talking about food. He asked me why I was there. I was honest. He laughed. When he kept asking questions, I continued to answer, and in the end, he was trying to convince me to write a screenplay. “Why stop at a book when you can take it all the way?”
Turns out he had to leave, and gave me his card. “If I can’t talk to you later, I want to be sure you get in touch with me.” Only when he got on the bench with 2 other producers did I realize he was reason I was supposedly there. He was on the panel of producers for the Q & A, and he was the producer behind Sex Lies and Videotapes & abt 3 other pages worth of movies.
Ask Questions. When he and the others were taking questions, I didn’t hold back. I asked about their best and worst experiences collaborating with authors. They enthusiastically responded, also including thoughts on screenwriters. No surprise. The response was generally…make sure the creator/author is flexible, and aligned with the producer. Easier said than done. My second question concered filming locally. The reality is that cities/states/provinces/countries give away incentives (free money or money in trade) that allows films to be made. The philosphy being that the local economy will benefit (liken it to what the government is now doing. give and it will come back). In any case, Seattle is not about giving on a promise.
Regardless, the questions were less important than the result. Two producers of recently funded films approached me to learn more about my background. “You asked intelligent questions,” said one woman, who wrote and is producing her latest film. “I figured I had to meet you.” We went on to share funding sources and thoughts in general. It may turn out to be a great connection, all due to the fact I didn’t keep my mouth closed (yes. I know you are shocked).
Don’t bring business cards. This is important. When the orginal producer I mentioned was finished, he and his wife came over and we all had a good convo. He asked me to contact him. The part about not having a card is key. If they really, really want to talk to you, they will fork over a card with contact information (my friend was given cards that had no information, just the title of a movie. boy, was she mad). This puts you in the power position. I waited 24 hours, as I didn’t want to come across as a stalker. He responded in less than an hour and recommended a meeting.
Lastly, be blunt. What have you got to lose? Nothing.
When I was wrappin up the conversation with said producer and his wife, I touched his arm and said, “Save me some time X,” I said. “What are you looking for?” My approach startled him a bit. He smiled. “I want to know if you have any properties (e.g. books or screenplays) that haven’t been optioned. BINGO! That was what I wanted to hear. Now I’m prepared.
Bottom line. I Do have 3 projects I never let my agent send out, nor did Warp want (they weren’t a demographic fit). It might turn out that these projects will have a life after all, and someone may read or watch them on tv or film. You never know, and it all started by meeting a producer at event I didn’t want to attend in the first place. Who knew?