Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Head Games; Dread Games

So. Today was the big day. My very first ever face-to-face meeting with a production company to discuss a script I wrote. Pretty heady stuff, considering I've only gotten rejection letters before this.

From the moment the company called, until I walked through their doors, I did what I do best. I beat myself up. After the giddiness of being invited to a meeting instead of receiving a standard "no thank you" letter wore off, I began convincing myself what a shit writer I am, and how I'm so going to totally blow the meeting. As I said before; it's what I do best, and what I do best is not necessarily the best for me.

Cut to two days ago. I finally get a tenuous grip on my sanity just long enough to get a new "do". I look great now, and I'm stoked. Let me at 'em!

Twenty fours later, I'm back to square one because I read about a former college friend who -- I JUST found out -- was the live action model for Disney's "Ariel" and "Belle", as well as a television producer and is currently a voice-over artist in the Animaniacs series. Being the self-loathing individual I am, I naturally compare her success to mine. Big mistake. Huge. I sat on the sofa at 11:30 pm not wanting to go to the meeting at all.

But I did.

I'm a big believer in free advice, knowing that you usually get what you pay for it. I'm very good at separating the wheat from the chaff. So, with the advice I'd received from family, friends, and colleagues, I was ready to wow them!

I walked through their door with confidence and grace (if not internally, at least externally), and was ready for anything they would throw at me. I met their intern, Warren, who kindly offered me a beverage, which I took. And then I waited. There was no one there but Warren and me. No one. Okay, no problem, I've heard about this happening all the time. I was cool. This was going to happen.

Twenty minutes go by before one of the individuals I'm supposed to meet with shows up. We shake hands and he shows me into an office (which has the BEST freaking view of the Pacific Ocean, by the way), and we sit opposite each other in big, comfy leather chairs. This guy's the VP of Development, and although I was scheduled to meet with him and the CEO, the other guy's detained on another project, so it's just me and him for today. Fine with me. It's also fine with me that he just happens to look a helluva lot like Viggo Mortensen.

So, Viggo and I shoot the breeze about me and my history. He reveals he's not actually read the script, and at this stage it's not necessary. I found out that the reason my script was read (By Warren, by the way) at all, was that Warren liked the way I sounded on the phone! Holy crap, talk about serendipity. Good thing I wasn't having a shitty day when he called me up!

Vigo is charming, and intelligent, and very much to the point about what their company is -- and is not. At one point he asks me to give him the "elevator pitch" about my script, because he knows nothing about it.

This is where I'm going to add my own piece of advice for all of you: practice your pitch to anybody and everybody who will listen until it is PERFECT!

I hadn't, so my "30-second elevator pitch" turned out to be a 10 minute tirade. Oops. My bad.

Thankfully, my enthusiasm overshadowed my inexperience. He was drawn into the story and asked many questions (always a good sign). He then asked what I'm working on now. I pitched two more stories; one of which piqued his interest.

At this point I fully expected Viggo to rise and show me to the door, but he didn't. What he did do was tell me he plans to obtain coverage on my work and that I should call him in one week to follow up with him. Then he gives me his card.

Then he showed me the door.

So, since I am a firm believer in taking something away from every experience, here's what I learned today:

1. I am not a shit writer. I'm pretty damned good, as a matter of fact.
2. Life is not black and white. It's all shades of gray. You go into something, such as a meeting, and either expect the very best, or the very worst to happen, and neither does. It will always be somewhere in the middle.
3. I am no longer a virgin -- as far as meetings go, so I can finally let go of that fear.
4. Enthusiasm is catching. The more enthusiastic you are about your project, they will be, too.

That's it. I'm exhaused now. Hopefully, by this time next week, I'll have some good news to share. Until then, my fingers remain crossed.


At 12:11 PM, Blogger Chris Soth said...

Sounds good. Welcome to the world of meetings.



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