2.27.2006

Million Dollar Julie

Maybe I read The Rules one too many times in my twenties, but I'm very good at acting like I could care less about you or the horse you rode in on, thank you. Then again, playing coy didn’t work so well in my romantic life, inasmuch as I don’t have one. Lately I've been wondering about the wisdom of applying the same technique to the career I don't have. Nearly two years out of film school and the only writing job I’ve landed is an uncredited dialogue punch for which one of my big deal screenwriter friends paid me two grand under the table. Her business manager sent me a 1099 that disqualified me from the three hundred dollar tax credit the government gives to poor people.

I've recently developed a new approach to becoming a million dollar screenwriter, or even a second rate hack who works anyway. Begging. The plan is to march into my next big deal studio meeting, accept the Evian bottle, shut the door, hit my knees, and begin weeping. Failing that, I could certainly manage to grow misty-eyed and visibly determined around the jawline, like Hilary Swank in Karate Kid III. Or anything, really.




JULIE
I just need someone to take a chance on me! Please, Charlie! I’m begging you!

EXECUTIVE
Who’s Charlie? I'm Justin.

JULIE
Okay. Whatever.

EXECUTIVE
Can you get off my floor and go now? It’s time for my yoga lesson.

Last week I had a meeting to discuss nothing in particular with a senior executive who liked my spec. My manager calls these “generals,” as in “Generally Pointless to Put On Clothes and Drive All The Way to Burbank.” On the plus side, I’ve recently discovered a Fuddrucker’s on that side of the hill. Nothing like a bucket of chili fries and a burger the size of a Volkswagen to put a positive spin on the day.

Mysteriously, they actually had my name at the guard gate so I didn’t have to pull over and hang my head in shame while important people in limos drove past. Equally surprising was ample parking and a hot guy with an Italian accent directing me to the executive suite. The assistant who met me at the elevator offered Red Vines and Hot Tamales along with a very nice bottle of Crystal Geyser with lime. As if all that weren’t classy enough, the woman I was to meet appeared ready to do that rather than having me wait outside and read the trades while she sat on the phone arguing the nutritional merits of chicken tenders with her nanny. I took in the sweeping, panoramic view of the lot and cut to the chase while she was still busy blowing on a fresh cup of peppermint tea.

JULIE
Look, if you don’t want to buy my script --

EXECUTIVE
I do want to buy it.

JULIE
Please! I just need someone to take a chance on me!

EXECUTIVE
Would you also consider an open assignment?

JULIE
Look, lady. I'm not above begging.

EXECUTIVE
I think you need more candy.

JULIE
Fine, then! Run off to yoga class!

EXECUTIVE
Yoga? Honey, I'm from New York.


At last, someone with upper arms as flabby as my own who was willing to give me a job and ply me with sugary snacks!

My big Hollywood life being what it is, however, victory was fleeting. I read in the trades this morning that the studio president jumped ship over the weekend. While it's too soon to tell what this means for my future or indeed that of the nice lady with the candy jar, gee I’m glad I stopped at Fuddrucker’s on my way home just in case.

17 comments:

  1. No, no, no!. At this point, the candy is still the bonus, not the consolation prize!
    Don't go throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and all that jazz... think positive, dammit!

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  2. Anonymous7:21 AM

    Julie,

    One 5 yen coin in a canal in Venice.

    One 5 yen coin over your threshold.

    One 5 yen coin inside the grounds of the studio where they want your script.

    Naoki

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  3. I know absolutely nothing about Hollywood but isn't this very, very promising? I'm excited.

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  4. It's all about the burger in the moment. Well congrats either way. Either a cool assignment or the door opening to others. Then I can beg: take me with you!

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  5. You are all very sweet, but I've found there's a vast expanse between someone who says they want to buy your script and someone who actually does this. It's not that they're lying, per se. They may be fired or demoted or have a sudden change of taste. As for the assignment, I do a lot of pitching before the thing either goes to the guy's niece or Nora Ephron. Until further notice, I retain my right to large cheeseburgers and an attitude problem.

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  6. Anonymous5:38 PM

    Still, you always make me laugh out loud. I do believe in karma, I do believe in karma, I do, I do . . .

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  7. Julie,
    I've got my fingers crossed for ya. I REALLY hope it works out well for you. You've been knocked around quite a bit, here's hoping those days are OVAH!

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  8. If it's an illusion that you're on the brink, I'll thank you to leave me with it.

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  9. Wow, that is fantastic news. Huge congrats! I hope the recent ankling over there doesn't freeze up acquisitions, and that your deal sales through without a hitch. Good luck.

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  10. You got it, Doug. Although delusion might be a better word choice.

    And yes Warren I think everything is definitely in a state of freeze at the U. That's why I'm so thankful for having eaten the cheeseburger. On second thought I should have had something large and scary in the ice cream family.

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  11. Q: How do you tell when a producer is lying?
    A: His lips are moving.

    Let's hope this is the exception to the rule, er, joke.

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  12. Of course she was lying. Nowadays even we candyeaters are doing the yoga.

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  13. way to go Julie! you're making the dream real. just don't forget to keep on dreamin'... you have a great fountain of creativity and you don't quit; both good qualities for success :)

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  14. Hot Tamales and Red Vines? They need to promote whoever orders the office snacks.

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  15. I only trust a cashed check. Still, this is a vital step on the way to one. GO!

    chris

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  16. Do you mean to tell me that Hollywood is flaboarmaphobic?

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  17. I see, you sold a script and forgot us. A story as old as Hollywood.

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