Monday, December 26, 2011

Navigating The Shark Tank - Article 2) "Holiday Prison"

"Holiday Prison"

The holiday season should be full of warmth and fun.  Snow flakes falling, families frolicking, egg nog nogging, and lots of presents and fun, and most of

all not a moments loss with a thought about work needing to be done.  And yes, this is the case, for the truly successful TV executive, studio head, the top

two of the top five talent agencies, some producer who actually made a killing on a movie this year and lets throw in Fergie and Carrot Top. Nahh, not Carrot

Top he's probably sweatin' it in Reno doing a soul draining stand up comedy show for a Walmart Corporate party function with Danny Bonneducci, (hey ya gotta

do what ya gotta do and I am not harping on corporate shows they pay better than ANY stand up comedy gig - well sans Dane Cook at The Staples Centre). So who

else in Hollywood is left? Depressed writers, out of work actors - experience a time where no one who can get you a job is available to meet or talk or

converse or nothin'. I fondly refer to this time as holiday prison.

Trying to fit in your last goddamn meetings to get your shows set up before the whole goddamn happy industry closes shop not for a week, not for ten days but

a whole goddamn month, can be a serious chore!  Truly it's a month, something I could never understand. So excessive. I used to wake up with anxiety sweats

come October because I knew the industry was getting ready to shut down in the next couple months.  I could smell it. I can still smell it. You can smell it,

if you tried to smell it.  Now I understand why Jack Nicolson went mental in The Shining, the industry shut down for not one month but like five months! Holy

shit mental breakdown city and THAT'S EXACTLY how writers feel during x mas. Or people who have to rely on executives to get jobs. Comics I leave as a

separate catagory, there is always a joke to be made about everything and the the more ass-backwards the situation the bigger the joke (enter blog here).

Take this incident for instance - two weeks before Christmas I tried contacting a producer I met at a predominant film festival who was anxious to get my

movie shot in Canada and was all up in my grill a month ago about it, and when I was finally ready to have the big fat chat - suddenly his assistant or

virtual cock-blocker as I like to refer to this breed of an assistant or should I say secretary just to be a dick about it said, "Oh Gosh John isn't going to

be able to do that (3 minute conference call) until after the holidays" is there even Christmas in Canada? Okay maybe I'm being slightly fecisious but come

on, don't just jump on the closing shop band wagon when you don't even have a shop to close up. It's tarded as in "re". But I digress.

After Thanksgiving we have basically one more week before brains start turning into saw dust, and Hollywood execs start checking out.  All right true, there

are a few workaholics that work through the holidays, and god bless their souls but they are far and few inbetween.  And then there are the writers, the

actors, the directors who didn't score a job before the wretched hollywood break who suffer through the holidays putting christmas gifs on credit, or are

forced to re-gift presents from the gift drawer that you got from some weird ass gifting suite - like pedicure slippers, a $6.44 gift certificate to

Starubucks or a "Wicked" coffee mug (the musical not the porn company).  So what is the solution to this yearly crisis?  Well, here it is... use the time to

get ahead of the game. If you're fat get thin, if you're getting dumb get smart, if you're a writer, write your balls off and restock the shelves with new

scripts if you're a director start writing,  if you're an actor, well go watch a movie and and tell yourself how much better of a job you could have done

than Anne Hathaway then go to the gym, and if you're a comic just keep on keeping on.  And most of all, have a darling time with your family, and when they

ask about your career change the subject to how beautiful the weather is and isn't nice that you're getting to spend a little extra time together this year.

please bear with me on the typoes I had way too much spiked egg nog last night.

Camille Solari
the latest and the greatest:
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Navigating The Shark Tank - Article 1) Thinking Outside The Box

There are ethics, you know, the right thing to do; and then there are morals, the right thing to do in terms of your conduct with your fellow chums.  Then, there are Hollywood Ethics; the right thing to do that would advance your career; and then Hollywood morals, the right thing to do to advance your career.  And if you are not on board with that mantra, well, go back to Omaha, no seriously, it’s really nice there, I highly encourage it, or roll your sleeves up, throw on your best swim suit, and jump in the shark tank. 

The question is, how do you get what you want, try not to piss too many people off, and keep your own integrity.  It can be a difficult feat for both the racy executive, the self-deprecating writer, and of course the hot actress.  

Here is my antic-dote.  You may find my way wrong, right or even ridiculous but it worked for me so I will share it with you.

A producer got a hold of a script that I wrote that he wanted to buy.  My manager set up the ‘meet and greet’, with him for me.  I put on my heals and my semi conservative dress, parked in the free Beverly Hills parking lot, and  made my way up to the 7th floor.   The receptionist said, “You must be Camille,” that can be a good feeling when someone knows who you are, but not when it comes out of the mouth of a  puffy-lipped Botox babe who mastered the art of making any female feel like zero by one swelled look.  She told me he would be with me in a moment and to have a seat.   I glanced Variety, got that cringy feeling in my stomach that I get when I read page 7 of this semi-glossy magazine, like I ate a bad vegie burger, and in a few moments the door of his office popped open.   Some director came out, that I was supposed to know apparently, because he asked me my name and shook my hand, and didn’t offer his,  and then he was off to the elevator, I think he was a legend in his own mind.  The receptionist told me I could go in.   It was a beautiful plush office, with a panoramic view of Beverly Hills with its beautiful rounded windows that curved around the entire office.  The producer, told me to have a seat in front of his desk.   He stood up for a few moments before he took his seat,  remarked that the sun was too bright, and proceeded to lower the blinds will single button on a remote control.  Wow, that’s impressive.  No, that was sarcasm.  He finally took his seat, looked at me for a solid three seconds without saying anything, and said, “Great script.”  Words writers want to hear, but also can’t bear to hear at the same.  He then commented on liking my dress, and then remarked on the part of the script he particularly liked.  He then reached under the table and brushed his finger against my leg.  It was such a slight graze; it could have been an accident, except for the statement then came afterwards which was, “I will option this script if you do something for me right now…” 

I took a long moment, and went over my options.  My first thought was an angry one, but I shoved that one aside, and filed it for a Red Sox game.   I then thought, maybe I can laugh it off, or maybe I should really confront him and tell him thatwhat  he’s proposing is wrong and degrading.  But instead I took a different approach.  I thought, you're not going to solve this guy’s rabid insecurity of women in one power meeting.  You’re going to have to think outside the box, and when I say box, I mean my box.  How can I uplift his spirits, and when I say spirits, I mean the other half of his spirits, his mind.   I told him that I do totally understand his needs.  He concurred.  I agreed that we all want something and it’s important that everyone gets what they want and is happy.  He also concurred, this time with a bigger smile.  I also, added, that wouldn’t it be great if we could get what want everyday. He had even a bigger smile.  I then said, I really want my movie made, that would make me happy. He grazed his hand across my knee under the table, but this time not so innocently. I grabbed his hand strong and said, I have a solution. I told him that if he does my movie, we can have special section in the  budget to fulfill his needs everyday, chatskies,  because who knows I’m just a writer, my skills are limited in other areas and he really deserves the best. 

He laughed his ass off.   Called my manager and put an offer down on the script.  The next day a different company bought it.  And he became a really good friend.  

Love, Camille

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