I Hate That Guy!

November 19, 2008

People – yesterday changed everything and my career will never be the same. I had that meeting with the “small but influential studio” yesterday afternoon about I Hate That Guy!. It has been quite a while since my last round of meetings, but they’re always the same: they read your stuff, they call you, they tell you you’re great, they desperately want to meet with you. You try not to let yourself get excited, but as the day comes closer, you talk yourself into it: They like it, so they must want it. Or maybe they don’t want it, but they have a rewrite or some other assignment and they’re looking for a writer. They must want to offer you something – surely they don’t want to have you over merely so they can have their assistant offer you some Evian and then waste half an hour of their own valuable time for some meaningless chat before asking you “so… what else do you have?”. So you try not to let yourself get excited, but you can’t help it. I mean, they called you. These guys might be different. These guys are smart – after all, they’ve proven it: they like your script! Surely these guys aren’t in it to waste their own time. They’re going to offer you something. And they do: Evian and some meaningless chat before asking “so… what else do you have?”. And you leave utterly demoralized.

The bastards do this to me every damn time.

Yesterday was different. I didn’t let myself get excited. Just another meeting, just another Evian. They weren’t going to do this to me again. If I just don’t get excited, they can’t do it to me. Simple as that.

But then in the morning things started happening. Strange things. I got an email from my contact. Giving me the address, telling me where to park. Again. We had been over this on the phone, but he was… confirming this with me. Me, the writer. They were making extra sure I was coming.

Then I got an email from a guy in the business I met a while back. Great guy, legit guy, very helpful. It was great to hear from him. But the thing is, I haven’t spoken with him in over a year. I didn’t remember the guy when I saw his email or read his name. But here he was, out of the blue, on today of all days, asking me about the script… and whether I had an agent. Or if I needed one. Like, hypothetically, if I needed an agent – like, say, this afternoon – and I didn’t have any leads on one, he could steer me in the right direction.

What? What did this guy know? They were going to offer me something and everybody knew. Everybody but me. While I was successfully keeping myself from getting excited, the whole town was talking, and what they were saying was this: these guys are going to buy Robb’s script.

My head was swimming. I was excited. Very excited.

So I go to the meeting, and instead of being greeted at reception by an assistant, I am greeted by two guys. Okay, I think, one’s the assistant, and one’s the exec. They’ll take me to a conference room and the assistant will leave me with the exec while he fetches our Evians. But this doesn’t happen: we get to the conference room and they both stay. They’re both execs. We have foregone the Evian to get right to this. Whatever is about to happen, it requires two execs. They get right to it – the first one read the script, loved it, and took it to his boss. The boss read it, loved it, and took it to his boss, who is the VP.  The top man. The guy who can make it happen. I am very, very excited.

But the VP just read it, and he hated it. They have to pass.

Time stopped. Do… what? The bastards. They did it to me again.

But man, did they love it. They say I’m a great writer – they’d love to read anything else I have. Anything, finished or not. 3-hole punch or toilet paper. If I wrote it, they’ll read it. They freaking love me. They had to call me in just to tell me how much they love me. That and the fact that they’ll have to pass.

I pitch them Supervillain, but tell them somebody there has already passed. Forget that, they say, they love me – they can bypass the system for me, take Supervillain straight to the VP. Who passed on Supervillain?, they ask me. Jeff Sachs, I tell them. Yeah, they say. He’s the VP. The VP that hated I Hate That Guy. Jeff Sachs. Sorry. So… what else do you have?

The bastards did it to me again.

Screw this, I tell them, standing. Get Jeff Sachs out here, I demand. They are surprised at this. Uh, look, we love you, but we can’t get Jeff out here. Why not?, I ask. There’s two of you: one go get me Jeff, and the other go get me an Evian. You didn’t even offer me a freaking Evian. I am a freaking writer, everybody in town knows you are supposed to offer me a freaking Evian. That’s what you offer writers before you demoralize them. That’s how it is freaking done.

But they don’t move. I realize that no Evian is coming.

I cross to the door. Tell Jeff Sachs I hate him, I say. Tell Jeff Sachs I am going to bring his ass down. Tell Jeff I have a freaking blog, and his name will be all over it tomorrow. What are you, an idiot?, they ask, that would be suicide. No way an out-of-work writer is going to insult a studio VP on the internet, use the guy’s real name. How do you spell “Sachs”?, I ask them. They don’t answer. Okay, I’ll google him, I say, and storm out, victorious. I stride down the hall, feeling great. I will bring this taffy-ass VP to his knees, and if those guys ever see me again, they will be damn sorry.

And they were. (I had to go back into the conference room to ask them to validate my parking, but let me tell you, they were shaking.)

So Jeff Sachs: you bastards do this to me every damn time, and I’m sick of it. So, on behalf of all writers everywhere: suck it, man. Suck it. Suck. It. YOU SUCK.

Jeff Sachs sucks! I hate that guy!

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* “Jeff Sachs” is not the VP’s actual name. Jeff Sachs is a real guy, and I have some issues with him, but he is not the VP at that studio. What am I, an idiot?

** Jeff – how’s it going? Long time, no see. Want to read my script? You can bring the Evian.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

November 13, 2008

Karma just kicked me in the ass. Less than 24 hours after getting excited about the good news for I Hate That Guy!, I spoke with Supervillain’s producers and we agreed we have reached the end of our road together. They have sent the script pretty much everywhere, and although everybody says they really like it, nobody likes it quite enough. Worse, those independent investors have mysteriously disappeared since the economic downturn hit. The option is over. 

I really enjoyed everyone at the production company and all their efforts, and we had a great working relationship. I wish them the best. We parted on very good terms and we’d love to work together again. Just more profitably next time.

Only two things to do at a time like this: keep writing. And get Supervillain back up on inktip.


Out of Nowhere

November 10, 2008

Big day today. Out of nowhere, there were two voicemails on my machine when I got home from work, both about I Hate That Guy!. If that script title doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because I never talk about it – it’s been dead for a long while. Well, not “dead” so much as stillborn – it’s been close to being represented but has never been sent out. Anyway, the point is that both parties had very nice things to say about it.

So now I have a meeting about it with some development execs at a small (but influential) studio, plus I’ve exchanged emails (and scripts) with a manager who also liked it. This is easily the most interest this script has generated in its lifetime. We’ll see what happens.

Thanks inktip. (And thanks Role Models.) This is the once-in-a-long-while ego boost that keeps the dream alive. Amazing how much mileage us struggling writers can get out of these fleeting moments…


Quote of the Day

November 3, 2008

                              AL
                        (to Renee)
                Do you own a video camera? 

                              RENEE
                No. Fred hates them.

The detectives both look at Fred.

                              FRED
                I like to remember things my own way.

                              AL
                What do you mean by that?

                              FRED
                How I remember them. Not necessarily the
                way they happened.

– David Lynch and Barry Gifford, Lost Highway, 1997