This second pitch went swimmingly. Sitting in on the proceedings was none other than blog regular Paulette who kindly put in a good word for us and pretty much set up the meeting. We chatted, pitched them, presented the visual aids I had brought along, and concluded the meeting by promising to take them to dinner if either planned to be in the Tokyo area next month. Sadly, there were no takers.
After the meeting wrapped, Paulette brought us back to her office where we talked Atlantis, blogging, and she presented me with the first of my L.A. swag: a Burn After Reading USB Flash Drive. Jealous? A huge thank you to Paulette who, hopefully, is still reading this blog.
From there, it was back to the hotel for more refreshments before, once again, getting back into the car and heading to our third and final meeting of the day. The pitch went well (and, by “went well”, I mean that neither of us vomited at any point or stripped off our clothing and paraded around until security was summoned and we were escorted off the premises) but, alas, the guy we met with informed us that, from a visual standpoint, it wasn’t the type of movie they produced. We headed back to the car with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we’d suffered our first rejection and I had been offered a more environmentally friendly cup of water instead of a water bottle to add to my collection. On the other hand, I’d been gifted with a cool graphic novel based on the stories of Thomas Ligotti. We were halfway across the parking lot when Paul noted: “You forgot your sunglasses.” I stopped and briefly vacillated between returning to the scene of our miserable defeat or simply forging ahead and putting the past behind me. It was, I ultimately decided, awful sunny. So, I went back. I apologized, explained what the hell I was doing there (“Hi, just came back to make double-sure I couldn’t change your mind. No? Okay.”), slipped into the conference room and…didn’t see my sunglasses. I went back to the receptionist (or someone whose desk was in the general area of where a receptionist would be located) and asked her if anyone had come across a pair of sunglasses. Sadly, no. I headed back to the conference room just to be sure. Checked behind the chairs, under the table. Nope. No shades. Doubly humiliated and defeated, I joined Paul and headed back to the car.
On the drive back, Paul made it a point to remark how sunny it was. “Yep, good thing I got my sunglasses,”he said to no one in particular. “I know I’ve got them because I can feel them sitting on my head.” I wondered aloud whether I might have forgotten them back at the hotel. Paul thought this highly unlikely. In fact, he supposed that if we went back, we would probably catch the guy we had just pitched, getting into his sportscar, wearing my sunglasses. Paul broke down how the scene would play out:
Me: Oh, hey. Nice sunglasses.
Him: Yup. Pretty nice.
Me: You know, I used to have the exact same pair. But I lost mine.
Him: Well, that’s too bad.
Me: Un huh. I bought them just last week. When did you get yours?
Him: I don’t remember.
Me: They’re pretty distinct. Do you remember where you got them?
Him: Nope. Can’t recall.
And, of course, if this was an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I would tear the sunglasses off his head and make a break for it, cutting across the parking lot and scrambling into the car, speeding off the lot before he could catch up with us. With the sunglasses firmly secured, I return to my hotel room – and discover a second pair sitting on my night table.
Unfortunately, there were no sunglasses sitting on my night table when I returned to my room. I was about to compose a strongly-worded letter to management (surmising someone on staff had ignored my camera bag, cufflinks, and laptop to help themselves to my shades) when I received a call from the guy we had just pitched. I had left my sunglasses in his office. At that point, I wasn’t about to make a return trip and despite his offer to have the shades shipped to my place of work, I thanked him and told him to keep them. “Whenever you wear them, think of us!”was my sole request.
For dinner, Paul and I met up with a buddy from Montreal, Bruce, a.k.a. Sushi Man (a nickname he earned after consuming over 50 pieces of sushi in one sitting), who was in town attending some Microsoft nerd fest. We went to Matsuhisa, Nobu’s sister restaurant. The sushi was good, but the highpoint of the meal was the home made Nobu Beer-flavored ice cream for dessert.
Since I’d had a terrible night’s sleep the previous night, I thought some sake might do me some good. How wrong I was. My second night was even worse. I slept fitfully and was plagued with bizarre dreams involving a home invasion, a knife fight on my front lawn, an unexpected visit from Wayne Brady, a hair-raising car ride, a dislocated shoulder, and a roasting fork.
An early start as our late Wednesday meeting had been rescheduled to 9:30 a.m. today (allowing us to catch an earlier flight home tomorrow). Paul and I arrived plenty early, sat down with two reps. As we made small talk, I glanced over at the dvd’s lining a shelf and asked whether they were for pleasure or research purposes.
“Most of them were sent to me by people who want to work with us,”replied the first guy.
“But some of them are from your personal collection,”the second guy ribbed the first.
“Yeah,”I joined in. “Don’t tell me (insert cheezy movie title here) isn’t yours.”
Dead silence. “That was one we produced,”the first guy informed me.
And then we moved on to our pitch.
Our second and final meeting of the day took us to the posh offices of another studio (and, in my opinion, a bit of a longshot with regards to this particular project). We waited in the lobby, then headed upstairs to a second lobby where we waited some more, then were escorted into a conference room where we waited some more. Finally, our audience arrived, two fellows who seemed genuinely interested in our background. We talked Atlantis, the moved onto the pitch. Halfway through my account of the harrowing late second act developments, the bigger guy leaned back and stifled a yawn. Momentarily flustered, I paused, then moved on, getting back on track and heading into the third act… He stifled another yawn behind cupped hands. As Paul launched into the denouement, a scenario played out in my head:
Big Guy: (YAWNS).
Me: Uh. Should I keep going?
Big Guy: Oh, sorry. I hardly slept a wink last night.
Suddenly, his cellphone rings. He answers:
Big Guy: Hello. Hey, Ron. How’s it going? (And then to me) Keep going. I can listen and talk at the same time.
Me: So a game of cat and mouse ensues through…
Big Guy: (talking to Ron on the phone) So, you in for Saturday night? I’m thinking about 8:00 p.m.
Me: Through the dark corridors as our heroes try to stay one step ahead…
Big Guy: Yeah. We should invite Stacey too. No, no. I’ll call her. I’m not busy.
Me: One step ahead of whoever’s following them…
Big Guy: (Dials and – ) Hey, Stacey, it’s me. Just want to make sure you’re in for next Saturday. Call me back.
Me: Eventually, they make their way down to…
Big Guy gets up and walks over to an adjoining room. He informs me: I’m just going to use the bathroom. But I’ll keep the door open so keep going.
Me: They make their way down to…
Big Guy (unzips) Aaaaaaaah.
Me: …down to the basement…
I continue my pitch, accompanied by the sound of tinkling.
I’m going to have to put that one in the “Not Interested” column. To add insult to injury, we forget to get our parking stub validated and ended up being charged for the one hour. “Seventeen fifty!”cried Paul as he was presented with the bill. I suggested he look at it as an investment in our future.
With our entire afternoon free, Paul headed up to the rooftop pool while I secluded myself in my dark hotel room in order to update you all on our progress. Tonight, it’s dinner at Hatfield’s. Tomorrow, it’s our final meeting (and one I’m particularly looking forward to as I think this one is a perfect fit), a couple of hours spent strolling the streets of Santa Monica, and home. Can’t wait to check out the in-flight entertainment.
I’m enjoying reading everyone’s thoughts on The Traveler. I was talking to Paul about the BOTMC and finalizing January’s line-up (and quite the line-up it is!) when I mentioned the book. Turns out he read it last year and really liked it as well. So I’ll tell you what I told him. If you have questions for the author, John Twelve Hawks, post them by Wednesday night because that’s when I’ll be sending them his way!