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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