Who Do You Know, What Have You Got?

"You can't find any true closeness in Hollywood," Carrie Fisher once said, "because everybody does the fake closeness so well." While I don't have her pedigree or connections, I recently got to test the veracity of my longstanding personal friendship with the president of a cable television network. In Hollywood terms, this means we've never met but he's been following my blog for awhile.

A light but loyal surface skimming is about as intimate as it gets between two people in this town. The stakes are only heightened when one of you is a power player and the other is a struggling screenwriter dishing up the snark safely under the cover of semi-anonymity. So ardent is this highly-placed executive's fandom, however, he signs his actual name to our volleyed chuckles in my comments section.

This open display of e-ffection here on my digi-pedestal might have emboldened me to contact him to enlist his support of a big TV gig I'm after. In any other business, in any other town, ours might be considered a casual e-ffair, but here in Hollywood we are as real as it gets. Unless we'd been bonded by blood, of course, or went to the same day camp, where we later become counselors and made out.

Whether she likes her mother or not, Carrie Fisher would tell you this is a family town, where careers are built on going to the right barbecue in the right bikini emblazoned with the name of the right university across the right butt. I certainly don't have anything that cheeky for him to latch onto in the big bunny hop around the pool.

No, ours is a virtual connection, far too flimsy to survive a jump to the flesh and bones of a cell phone call placed to his convertible on PCH. He'd have to be patched through by a snoopy assistant, some niece's niece barely out of her teens who's after the same job. There would be poor reception and a lot of those awkward, overlapping bursts before the line went dead and we all three knew the jig was up, however bravely played.

 I decided to drop him a short LinkedIn message it took me a day and a half to craft. "Hey you, it's me, please help," I finally wrote, attaching the job posting. His reply came about a week later. "Oh hi. Yeah sure. Will do."

 She shoots, she scores!

Though hardly cinematic on either front, in my mind he may as well have gotten down on one knee and proposed marriage on live national television. He'd have to initiate a speedy divorce from his beautiful wife and relinquish sole custody of any and all sticky little children, but still. Winning.

As for how such a casual exchange could be perceived with such glee on my part, I guess it's true that we just don't do genuine very well here in Hollywood. We reserve heartfelt dialogue and big, feel good endings for the screen, where we have ninety meaningful minutes to effect the unlikely triumph of a little guy like me. Unless you were born into this game -- or know somebody who knows somebody who was --  that often means writing about life while you sit and wait another day for yours to happen.