I have an idea for a horror movie. It’s about two guys who travel to L.A. to pitch a horror movie and end up renting a car with an appallingly faulty navigation system. Sometimes, it will function perfectly, leading the duo to their target destination via the shortest possible route. Other times, it will prove truly insidious – instructing them to make illegal turns, directing them into oncoming traffic, or even telling them to turn onto dead-ends or traffic-jammed streets undergoing construction. Occasionally, it may even prove resistant to simple queries, prompting them for an address but only offering up the letters P and I as possible choices for the first letter of the street name even though the street they desperately seek, Barham Avenue, begins with neither. What could be the cause of this seemingly malevolent mechanical force? Is it possessed? Does it gain sentience over the course of its use? Or, perhaps, is there a more mundane explanation in the workings of street gangs who have programmed the system to lead unwary out-of-towners into elaborate ambushes? I’m not sure. I’m still working on the third act.
Well, Paul and I are in Los Angeles. We flew out of Vancouver Sunday afternoon, approximately one hour after our scheduled departure. While we waited for the flight, we hammered out our horror pitch over drinks at that tiny airport bar where they ask everyone for I.D. (Apparently, the place was slapped with a lawsuit by a patron who accused them of discriminating against him for NOT asking to see his I.D. when he placed his drink order. And so, thanks to this idiot, the bar now makes it a point to request identification from college seniors to decrepit wheelchair-bound seniors alike.) And then, we were off.
Enroute, Paul and I watched Hancock. Ten minutes into the movie, Paul, alerted to the fact that the movie is guilty of some heinous plot twist, turned to me and said: “The twist better not be…” and accurately predicted the upcoming twist. Amazing? Not really – If you’ve seen the movie. Once that ended, I tried to watch a film I shall hitherto refer to as The Crappening. The highlight of this one came about a half hour in when a group, having just surmised that an airborne toxin could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds, attempt to outrun a gust of wind. Uh oh! It’s getting windy! Here it comes! Run! RUUUUN!
We arrived late, checked into our hotel rooms, then hopped back into the car for a late dinner with our agent. As it turned out, we were celebrating his birthday at a local steakhouse – along with his wife, nephew, and mother. What I imagined would be an odd mix of business and family turned into a rollicking good time, in no small part due to his charmingly feisty mother. At one point in the evening, I mistakenly referred to the Four Seasons as The Five Seasons which prompted her to interject with: “Five Seasons! It‘s even better than The Four Seasons. And then there’s the Six Seasons!” I enjoyed a rib steak and, for dessert, some birthday cheesecake.
Monday morning marked our first pitch meeting. We winged it and, in so doing, established a delivery that served us well: Paul starts things off with an introduction of who we are and what makes us so gosh-darn special, then proceeds to a general overview of the movie, how we plan to shoot it, and an attractive marketing approach. I then set the tone, launching into a more detailed account of the first three scenes. I hand off to Paul who breaks down the first act, the turn, and the early action of the second act, the meat of the film. He, in turn, hands off to me and I run through the rest of the second act and the shocking twist that propels us into the third and final act. Paul who, back at the airport, convinced me of the merits of his ending, pitches it. Then, I bat clean-up with the closing scene. Although the meeting went well, this place is known for producing some fairly big budget fare and I have a feeling our low-budget offering may not be a good fit. Still, it was a nice sit-down and I scored the first in a series of collectible complimentary bottled waters.
With some time to kill, we visited our agency, then had lunch at an Italian eatery called Il Pastaio where I enjoyed a squid ink risotto, agnolotti with truffle sauce, and a very good tiramisu with homemade gelato for dessert. As we finished up our meal, I recognized Judy Reyes from the t.v. show Scrubs sitting at a table behind us. I couldn’t help but note that while she’s cute on the show, she’s holy smokes attractive in person.
We headed back to the hotel, recharged, jumped back into the car, and off we went. Our handy navigation system: a) directed us onto Santa Monica Blvd. which, it turned out, was undergoing construction and down to one lane, then b) refused to allow us to properly input our destination. Running late, I contacted the person we were supposed to meet and offered my sincerest apologies. He was incredibly pleasant, insisted he still had time for us, and offered up directions to the proper entry gate.

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!


68 thoughts on “October 28, 2008: My L.A. Update

  1. Yikes, better you than me … there must be easier ways to collect bottled water. Dreams of Wayne Brady! Well, now, there’s no correct response for that, is there?

    >>>“Whenever you wear them, think of us!”was my sole request.<<<< … you should have added, in a low, ominous voice…. “seeing as they’re haunted sunglasses.” Add a good evil laugh and your work is done.

  2. So your head is like Scrubs too?

    When you said “so gosh-darn special” I thought, Dr Cox.
    Then you ran into Carla from Scrubs.
    Followed by playing out in your head what could have happened, again I say Scrubs.

    And I resent the Microsoft Nerd Fest comment.
    Actually, not really. They are pretty nerdy.

    Speaking of us IT geeks.
    I’ve been dealing with an online IT colleague in the US for 8 years. We’ve never spoken on the phone, never met in person. We send no more than a paragraph (hard to imagine for me I know) back and forth with IT ideas/queries/issues. He responded the other day, “Well, you know big guy, it could be anything”.

    I was thinking, is that like calling a tall person “Shorty”, or a redhead “Bluey”? Upon asking him where “Big Guy” came from, being neither big or a guy, he was rather embarrassed. He’d been thinking all this time I was a someone he’d once met in Australia 10 years ago who is a giant called Narelle. Heh! Well whadya know.

    Looking forward to seeing the next BOTM&1/2 selections.

    Hope all goes well. Sales is a tough gig.

  3. Poor Joe. Sometimes the low-tech alternative really is better and a good road atlas isn’t even that expensive. That last pitch you guys made sounds like something from your list of nightmares and the fella you were pitching to was quite an unprofessional and rude piece of work. Hopefully one of the other pitches you made on this trip will pan out, though. Sleep well tonight and have a safe flight home.

  4. Some thoughts on ‘The Traveler” –

    I enjoyed this book, even though some parts were predictable. Early on, I could see that Maya was going to fall for Gabriel. And while I don’t think that a fledgling romance was really necessary, it allowed Twelve Hawks to portray Maya’s inner turmoil nicely regarding the fact that she was feeling anything at all for her Traveler (which is verboten!) I like the fact that she started caring a bit for the people helping her and Gabriel, even though she had been taught not to.

    Like others who have commented here on the blog, I found the secondary characters just as interesting as the primary ones. Hollis, Vicky and the rest were well fleshed out and contributed much to the overall story.

    One problam I had with the story was that Nash and the rest of the Brethren seemed to just assume that the civilization that they had managed to contact through the quantum computer was friendly, and ready and willing to help them. Didn’t they ever hear that old adage “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Being the highly suspicious sorts and control freaks that they are, wouldn’t they automatically assume that these guys might just want the way through the realms so that they could come here and take over everything (competition for the Brethren themselves!)

    It wasn’t until I neared the end of the book, that i realized that the story wasn’t going to be finished – I had no idea when I started reading that it was only the first book of a series!. Now, I will have to find the others because I want to know how Maya’s story ends …

    My question for Mr. Twelve Hawks:

    Do any of the identity camouflage techniques used by Maya (injections of drugs to her face, false fingerprints) have any basis at all in actual science (real or theorectical)?
    And the same question as to the quantum computer – was it a construct from your imagination, or is there some basis for it in today’s science?

  5. Adventures in Los Angeles… sounds like a good documentary title to me 🙂

    Sorry you lost your sunglasses, but weren’t you gonna buy new ones in LA anyways? And now you have the perfect excuse!

  6. Lol, Joe.

    You sacrificed your poor sunglasses on the pitch altar.

    Best wishes for the remainder of your LA adventure.


  7. I received a copy of the new Dan Simmons book Drood today from the publisher. I remember how much you enjoyed The Terror. Drood is due out in February. Don’t you wish you had this promo copy? I’ll bet you do!

  8. Sounds like you’ve been having an interesting time. Sorry about the GPS problem. You could have borrowed mine, but since I haven’t used it enough to be sure of it, it would be terribly embarrassing if it turned out to be just as unreliable, second only to me giving bad directions to your face, waiting until you’d fallen into one of those gang-banger ambushes, then pointed and laughed. … Which I totally would have done, had that happened.

    Although on a depressing note, I just read that a cop in Anaheim shot and killed an innocent man on his front lawn… a week after the guy’s wedding. Your dream reminded me of that.

    So, no time for restaurant reviews?

  9. Ahh, the confusion that is Barham. You were going to Universal (at the top of it) or Warner at the bottom? Or Disney even further to the bottom (no, don’t read anything into that – or, no, wait maybe you should . . . )

    Steakhouse. Did you go to The Smokehouse right across from Warner? If you’ve never been, they have steaks that melt in your mouth and killer garlic cheese bread.

    Too bad you’re not staying until Friday. Halloween in Hollywood is really a sight to behold – once.

    Would love to learn to pitch from you. You don’t give lessons by any chance, do you? 🙂

  10. Quick question for John Twelve Hawks-How does one live in today’s society and balance using technology without feeling that they are giving completely into the grid?

  11. Joe;

    My husband Jerry and I went down to Calif. to go to Disneyland for the week and we wanted to go to Hollywood for the day but left our laptop at the hotel and with it our GPS. We searched for what felt like forever and never found it!! How pathetic is that. Hollywood has it’s name on a hill side and we couldn’t find it. I’ve always wanted to see hollywood and the chinese theater and we COULDN’T FIND IT. At least your problem was faulty GPS. Ours was God knows what. 🙂 Nicole

  12. Three cheers to Paulette for giving you and Mr. Mullie a good reception. If it’s any consolation, your suffering and humiliations are at least brightening the lives of those of us following events here on the blog. I refuse to consider what that says about my personality, but thank you anyways for the chuckles.
    I’m enjoying the reviews on the Traveller. I’m finding them both more coherent and more incisive than my own take on the book. I do hope that others will jump in tonight and tomorrow to post their own thoughts. Thanks for the post and have a safe and pleasant trip home.

  13. I’m a little drunk reading this, my housemates had a party for his birthday this evening, but it all sounds interesting, especially the sunglasses incident, I have often forgotten they were on my head, lol.

    Hope all the meetings go/went well.


  14. Do you think that Elizabeth Weir will ever return in the movies, in any form?? It seemed that there could have been a chance in your version of season 6. . And please don’t not bring her back because of Torri Higginson’s reluctant attitude on returning. And I do believe Torri only didn’t return because she believe Weir kept getting de-humanized or something, I guess that’s off the subject. I am mereley an Elizabeth fan hoping for hope. I have been loving Atlantis lately, but have felt a hole the way Elizabeth was left. Sorry for kinda rambling!

  15. I hope one of your pitches gets a taker, Joe. But at least you got cheesecake. Many of my bright sides of life involve cheesecake.

    “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.”

    If you replace “home invasion” with “get together” and “Wayne Brady” with “latest ostracized relative”, you’ll have every family function on my mother’s side since I was sixteen. And I’m only exaggerating a little bit.

    I’ve really got to do your BOTM again. I’ve only read one of the selections on time, but the few books I’ve read from past BOTMs have all been good. You have yet to steer me wrong.

    I’ll put it on my to do list. As soon as I find it.

  16. the Crappening!!!!! That is so good.
    M. Night hasn’t done anything really good since Signs. I mean the Village was ok, but the twist at the end was weak. And then The Lady in the Water was just really, really weird.
    Well i hope the meetings go well for you and Paul!!!!!
    best wishes


  17. “…who was in town attending some Microsoft nerd fest”

    says the science fiction writer.


  18. Hi Joe:

    With some background in dream interpretation, I would like to give you some feedback if you are interested:

    You said: “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.”

    Here is what these parts of your dream MAY mean:

    Home invasion – you are not happy with some aspect of yourself that you feel you can do nothing to change. Afraid to lose something with the change.

    Knife fight on front lawn – You may be harboring a deep-seated destructive wish and have repressed your feelings of anger. Is it you who carries the knife or are you threatened by someone else? Entering into risky ventures. Conflict. Struggle. You are felling like something is a danger to you.

    Unexpected visit from Wayne Brady – You feel that you may not be successful in your attempts. You are feeling insecure – not quite good enough.

    Hair raising car ride – Loss of control of personal power. You may feel you are missing something by being in a hurry.

    Dislocated shoulder – Strength or burdens. You are facing problems and worries that are bothering you.

    Roasting Fork – Being passionate towards something.

    Either that, or it was something you ate.

    Patricia (AG)

  19. After reading your description, now I almost want to see The Crappening, just to watch a group of people trying to outrun a gust of wind. Guess I’ll wait ’til it’s available on Hulu.

    >Other times, it will prove truly insidious – instructing them to
    >make illegal turns, directing them into oncoming traffic, or
    >even telling them to turn onto dead-ends or traffic-jammed
    >streets undergoing construction.

    No, no, you misunderstand. The rental place obviously just gave you a car with the special “locals edition” navigation system, so that you could drive just like all the rest of us here and blend right in.

    Oh, and Santa Monica Blvd is always under construction and down to one lane. So, unfortunately, is every other major street you’ll need to use to get wherever you need to go.

    And yet, I love L.A….

    Enjoy your last day down South, happy sunglasses shopping, and good luck with the final pitch.
    – KB

  20. Wow. I’m glad I have a normal job. 😀

    Well, today was a bit windy – regular nor’easter. Got at least a 66 mph gust here on the cape, and it blew a motel roof off in Wildwood. AND, took out our power for a bit, which crashed my computer and now I can’t get it working…so using hubby’s laptop. I hate how far the keyboard is away from the edge – takes me more time to learn where the keys are. I don’t look at them when I type – and so a new keyboard always screws me up. Ugh, mistakes.

    The bright side of this is that my posts will be much shorter. 😛

    Enjoy the rest of your stay, and have a good trip home!


  21. Sorry to hear that one guy was so rude… he couldn’t make his lack of interest any more obvious, could he? But at least the other meetings sound better. By the way, what agency represents you down here? I’ve never seen a listing for anything but your Canadian agency.

  22. Hey, I have some basic but worthwhile questions for John Twelve hawks.
    If he doesn’t mind answering questions not related to his book but more in general.

    I think this is the first time I’ve posted questions for an author before.

    Questions for John Twelve Hawks.

    What inspired you to become a Writer?

    What would you say were your high and low moments in your career?

    Have you ever had one of those moments where an idea comes to mind for a story and you simply have to write it down?

    If the world was about to end and you could only take one book into the afterlife, what would you take?

    You are a talented person, you produce quality books, have you ever felt nervous when you release a new book and you have that feeling the fans may or may not like?

    Are you a fan of Stargate SG1/Atlantis? and what is your opinion on the show?.

    Thankyou Mr Hawks for your time :]

  23. $17.50us!! Better save that receipt. Also hope you bought your American cash 6 weeks ago [or already had some handy] – the exchange rate is a horror movie unto itself right now.

    Oh, BTW, didn’t you know… rental car GPSs are programmed by terrorists! Or studio suits who couldn’t film their way out of a wet paper bag… You decide.

    Then again, could have been those pesky Ancients!

    But hey, cheer up, you still have those sweet and charming guys at Canada Customs to explain the water bottles to!!

    Safe trip home!

  24. Joe, while you’re in LA, you must – I repeat, MUST – go to Palate in Glendale. It is hands-down the best restaurant in LA. It’s very wine-focused. The waiters are exceptional; they’re knowledgeable and opinionated, but always make you feel like the smartest person (with the best taste) in the room. Esquire rated it one of their twelve top restaurants nationwide for 2008. My other half and I managed to sneak in during their soft open and had the best dining experience we’d ever had in our combined twelve years in Los Angeles.

    If you don’t manage to get there this trip, mark it in your dictionary for next trip. Seriously, I cannot rave enough about this place!!!

    (And the other place you should make sure to check out? In ‘n Out.)

  25. If you end up having to go to LA again (with multiple meetings planned in places that you have no idea how to get to), I suggest investing in a LA county Thomas Guide. (It’s a fantastic street guide map. It’s paper though. Old school, but it works just dandy. I love my thomas guide.) Or a GPS enabled phone, I guess, if you want it to stay portable… (although even Google maps can lead you astray sometimes.)

    Of course it’d be much easier if rental car navigation systems just worked the way they should. but that’s just crazy talk! haha.

    Good luck with the rest of your meetings.

  26. IMNSHO M Night has NEVER done anything worth watching. I had sixth sense down within minutes, Signs made no sense whatsoever and the Crappening was embarrassing to watch. The rest I’m not going to bother commenting on.

    Hope you’re sleeping a little better, I can certainly empathise with you on that score as I don’t sleep well at the best of times, still it does give me chance to catch up with all those jobs that need a day and a half to finish! Saying that tho I’m still trying to warm up after spending the whole day yesterday pressure washing the paths and steps of all that disgustingly slimy algae that covers everything and makes it slippery as hell,lets call it Political algae shall we? Needless to say I got absolutely soaked and once I’d stopped working I was freezing.

    Good luckwith the rest of your trip.

  27. coucou^^!! sa va joseph?
    Et bien quel journée bien remplit=)!
    Joyeux anniversaire a Lui =)!!

    Hancock à l’air vraiment bien! il faudra que je le regarde un jour=)!
    Vous voulez faire un film d’horreur?^^! Pourquoi, en tout cas dite moi le titre, car je voudrais être votre premiére téléspéctatrice! =)
    Ofaite vous savez quoi? je vais participer à un podcast O_O j’eepert que sa va bien de passer!!
    Je vous enverrez le lien quand il sera finit!

    Aller gros bisou, je vous adore♥

  28. Tough couple of days. I vote all blog readers hide behind yawn-y guys car and jump him when he tries to leave! muahahahaahahaha Be mean to our Joe and Paul will you!
    Good luck with your other pitches ^^ Blog jumping squad is ready to take down the yawners XD

  29. I don’t know how anyone survives in Hollywood. Those are some pretty insane experiences.

    I’ll hold out hope for that yawner. Perhaps he suffers from TMJ and is prone to yawning to relive the pressure in his jaw. Or he was up late fighting the wildfires in the outskirts of Los Angeles.

    Break a leg on that last pitch. It’ll happen!

  30. Did the car have an “odor” about it? That would make it truly scary.

    And methinks this blog in itself would be a good pitch for a movie: 2 innocent guys with big dreams land in LA, rent a possessed car & find themselves driving to meeting after meeting with stereotype industry bigwigs, losing their sunglasses & end up eating squid ink risotto in a restaurant only to be overheard by a big studio exec who writes a big check on the spot.

    Hmm, wind is picking up, gotta run.

  31. “I have an idea for a horror movie. It’s about two guys who travel to L.A. to pitch a horror movie and end up renting a car with an appallingly faulty navigation system……….”

    ……… And they arrive in a village of psychotic people, group of deformed cannibals fruit of the atmospheric nuclear tests……
    (Wes Craven and Alexandre Aja, ours gods !)

  32. I think I’m going to have to work my way backwards up the post as I comment, so I can remember what I wanted to say as I was reading it.

    So, good luck tomorrow (today?) with your final meeting. Here’s to hoping the people are more polite than the person in the previous meeting.

    As for your sunglasses, at least you left them in someone’s office, and that they’ll have a good home. I left mine in the toilets at a service station and are probably now lying in a rubbish heap somewhere.

    Ooh, Judy Reyes!

    My friend is buying me Hancock for Christmas, so thank you for reassuring me as to its quality. And The Crappening; ahahaha! If I were being chased by a gust of wind, I’d be scared. Oh boy.

    I think that’s all. Again, good luck, and enjoy your last day in LA.

  33. “I have an idea for a horror movie. It’s about two guys who travel to L.A. to pitch a horror movie and end up renting a car with an appallingly faulty navigation system. Sometimes, it will function perfectly, leading the duo to their target destination via the shortest possible route. Other times, it will prove truly insidious – instructing them to make illegal turns, directing them into oncoming traffic, or even telling them to turn onto dead-ends or traffic-jammed streets undergoing construction.”

    It’s not faulty, it’s the Sontarans taking over the world….

  34. @ Arctic Goddess – Wow…that’s pretty good. So, what does it mean when I dream about Wraith invading earth and becoming showgirls in Vegas?


  35. RUUUUUUUN!!! ha ha ha ha brilliant!

    At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, that’s what happens when we get too reliant on technology. We forget how to do things for ourselves. Reminds me a bit of an old Sea Quest episode.

    Sounds like a fun filled trip replete with fun filled anecdotes!

  36. Hey Joe I was making a Sheppard musicvideo yesterday and I went over wikipedia to find all the names of the episodes I used and I realised all the light-entertainment-funny-cute kinda episodes – the majority of what I used – were your doing. Thanks for keeping the entertain in entertainment!

    So I can’t help but wonder. Where do you blog from? Airports through wireless hotspots or something? Late nights in bed when you can’t sleep?

  37. Joe, I’m glad to hear things are going fairly well on your trip. I can’t imagine that the real stories are going to be better than the internal narration going on in your head that you’ve shared with us so far (Scrubs, indeed). Have a safe trip home

    Traveler review: I thought “The Traveler” was an interesting and thought provoking novel. It wasn’t the “impossible to put down” thriller the cover promised, but it was a good read. The mystical, visionary Travelers, their Harlequin protectors and their evil enemies, the Tabula, were good basic character classes for a tale with both mundane and metaphysical aspects. The main characters were well developed, but I found the side characters of Vickie, Hollis, Thomas Walks the Ground and Dr. Richardson more engaging than Maya, Gabriel and Michael. The villains didn’t fare so well in character development (and you know I likes a well thought out villain) and General Nash was rather particularly one dimensional. As for the missing “voice of reason” in the Tabula that Joe mentioned – we’ve really only met the General, so it’s hard to know whether or not there are others who take the role of benevolent Big Brother in that organization. The Tabula, or at least this branch of it, is clearly using the information they gained through the quantum computer for their own evil and nefarious ends. But I agree that the lack of such a character made the organization a bit cartoonishly evil.

    On the metaphysical/quantum travel side, I liked the parallel development of Michael’s and Gabriel’s abilities: Michael being engineered by science in a cold sterile lab and Gabriel advancing through a natural vision quest in the desert. That side of the plot seemed to draw from several different cultural traditions, and I liked the concept. I don’t think you need to leave your body or this plane of existence to be inspired, see the world as it is or to think creatively. But you do need to get outside yourself and your mundane routines.

    To sum it up, I enjoy sci-fi cautionary tales like “The Traveler”. What drew me in were the main themes of people’s willingness to give up personal freedoms for false security and the ease with which modern technology can be used to monitor one’s activities. Benjamin Franklin said,

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    I think we should consider what our own world in doing in that regard. The whole Big Brother/Rasputin evil puppet-master-behind-the-governmental-scene aspect of “The Traveler” helps me justify my paranoia and makes me ponder how much personal information many of us trade away for the sake of convenience – information that could be accessed and used by those in authority. But when you live in a country that instituted the USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) (Public Law Pub.L. 107-56), maybe a little paranoia is a healthy thing and “Vast Machines” don’t seem so fare-fetched.

    And now I’m off to the dentist.

  38. Regarding sunglasses:

    I learned long ago to pack an extra pair of clipons in case I lost my over-glasses pair. Lost a pair in Hawaii, cost $$ to replace them.

    There are at least three pair, plus a few hats, in the car. South Texas is sunny 90% of the year, I’m light-sensitive, and the family is prone to cataracts.

    Prescription sunglasses? Too much trouble.

  39. A very diligent lady at the gateworld forum did a word count of characters on Atlantis. This is after 10 episodes:
    Word count after 10 episodes = 11513
    Average word count after 10 episodes = 1151
    10/10 episodes
    Word count after 10 episodes = 7484
    Average word count after 10 episodes = 748
    10/10 episodes
    Word count after 10 episodes = 4111
    Average word count after 10 episodes = 411
    7/10 episodes
    Word count after 10 episodes = 3475
    Average word count after 10 episodes = 348
    8/10 episodes
    Word count after 10 episodes = 2518
    Average word count after 10 episodes = 252
    9/10 episodes
    I miss the Team.

  40. Hey, a story that actually makes me glad to be doing the job I do. I could never do the ‘pitch’ thing. Far too intimidating. Good for you and Paul (even if he is a meanie) for getting out there and taking the risks. Somehow it’s reassuring that even someone who has had success for the last many years suffers from anxiety and insecurity and fear when moving on to the next big thing, and yes, can stumble onto the wrong thing to say.

    I hope your last day goes well.

    I still don’t know what to ask John Twelve Hawks.

  41. LOL!!!
    Your dreams are worse than mine! I always end up dreaming of getting chased. Usually involving fog and forest or deserted buildings or both (you know how dreams are). Being shot or stabbed or tossed off high places. I usually wake up just as the final injury is about to finish me off then I’m up for hours because if I go back to sleep immediately the dream picks up again with only slight variations.

  42. I am like that with movies too. Whether they are simple to figure out or more complicated, I usually turn to my girlfriend and tell her what I think will happen and 9 times out of 10 I am right. That is why I like a good show that I can’t figure out as easily. Only found one this year though.

    As far as the gps, I was thinking that perhaps the last person renting the car did something to it either to be funny for the next person or because they really felt they were fixing it.

    Leaving your sunglasses, there is a good way to have someone remember you.

    Good luck today!

  43. Joe,
    The Traveller is practically crying out to be made into a film…Question for the author…Has it been optioned? Has anyone approached him about making it into a film and what are his thoughts on that?
    Thanks-and good luck with your pitches.

  44. So Joe,
    Reading your adventures in Californialand, it made me wonder.
    When you got into writing as career did you do it in part because you enjoy the uncertainty of it all?
    I mean to say, that I get up in the morning, knowing that my job is secure, and barring an economic collapse (hey,wait….?), I have planned my life so my salary covers my mortgage, my insurance will pay for my healthcare, and even though I don’t make a huge amount of money, I know that, until I retire, I will probably have enough resources to travel a bit, buy cool gadgets and eat out occasionally at nice restaurants.
    So I have a nice, boring, but secure life.
    You don’t – you have to go out there, sell yourself and your creative “babies,” never knowing what your future will be. Is it an adrenaline rush? Some people just like having a bit of the unknown in their future, perhaps the creative personality is like that?
    Anyway, I was just wondering, as I don’t think I could live like you do, I would have a huge ulcer and die of stress far to early!
    More power to you, though, you and others like you provide the rest of us a great service.

  45. dreams of Wayne Brady? For anyone other than his wife, that seems kind of odd, no?

    I agree Hancock was very predictable, but The Happening was horrendous. I would say the best part was the way people were killing themselves. However, I don’t understand why that old women attacked them, if they were only supposed to be killing themselves not others.

  46. Wow, Joe.. looks as if you and Paul really are having fun in just about every sense of the word.

    As for the SatNav.. I gave up on those things years ago. Mostly because the incessant whiny voice annoyed the crap out of me.. And partly because being blind is apparently reason enough to remove one’s driving licence. That said, the current GPS I have is about the best I could wish for. It comes pre-programmed with thousands of directions to the nearest available eating establishments, rarely takes a wrong turn and treats you to a free face wash when you cock up.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to turn it off or remove the batteries yet. Or figure out why it’s constantly got a cold, wet nose. But i’m working on it.

    I’d say ‘wierd dreams’.. but I often to the whole Technicolour things myself and so can’t pass comment. Was slightly disturbed with the roasting fork thing though.. and even more so by Das bringing up the surreal images of Wraith flashing their frilly knickers on a Vegas stage.. >.>

  47. Hey Joe!

    So glad you and Paul are safely back from L.A. And you may have lost your sunglasses but you didn’t get sunburned. It’s a win in my column.

    As for nav systems, I can’t stress enough how awesome and easy the Honda Nav is! I’ve even convinced other people to buy a Honda simply because they loved the nav that much. It isn’t perfect but it works better than anything out there that I’ve tried.

    It’s also soooooooo weird how much your life resembles mine. Being a stay-at-home mom I, too, often have visions of my experiences being something like Curb Your Enthusiasm. And I’ve had dreams about Wayne Brady, also. Not to mention the cast of Scrubs is often in the joints I eat at. 😉

    Seriously, though, I hope that someone snatches up your horror movie. I’ll even be brave and go see it. 😀

    And The Crappening is probably the *other* title they had considered for that flick. I guess they went with the less honest choice.

    I have no questions for John Twelve Hawks but I’m very interested to see what he (she?) says to the other blog regulars. And maybe SOMEDAY soon I will have enough time to actually read a book for fun.

    Trish 😀

  48. Okay, there’s your movie right there. Two Canadian writers journey to the Big Satsuma trying to get the great and the good of Hollywood to listen to their horror movie pitch.

    But here’s the hook the people they come across on their journey are worse than any of the characters in their movie. Ranging from the vacuousness of an egocentric Sat Nav, to the downright blood curdling sunglass snitcher.

    Follow our intrepid heroes as they battle through wacky family feasts and dispassionate studio heads. Returning triumphantly to their hotel room and the comfort of the overpriced mini bar. Phew that was scary.

    Reading about your adventures reminded me so much of the Hope and Crosby, ‘Road to’ movies all you needed was a mad man dressed in a gorilla suit chasing you and Paul through the car park and you got yourself a winner.

    My meandering mind and I are going now…..hope it all works out for you.


  49. Oh dear. Next time you’re down this way, forget the GPS and invest in a $20 Thomas Guide. I know, very Luddite of me. But it’s never directed me across a field, through a canal and over a runway.

    Good luck with the pitches!

  50. Unbelievable, how you two were treated during your various meetings. I’ve had pitch meetings, as well, and although I’m a virtual nobody compared to you guys, no one has ever talked on the phone or took a bathroom break during my pitch. How utterly disrespectful! I don’t put up with sh!t like that from my showbiz peers.

    Good luck selling this project, guys!


  51. Just to let everyone know if they don’t already. iTunes now has Atlantis episodes for sale in the UK!!!!

  52. @Polito:
    It’s normal that McKay uses more words, he needs them to explain himself. In fact, he’s the only one who can use so many words because he is the only one who KNOWS so many 😉

  53. The LA trip sounds like a hoot. Your agent seems like a sweetheart, that is a huge plus. But you guys should invest in the Executive Limo service to get you to your mtgs; you don’t have to worry about directions, you can practice your pitch in the car on the way there and you can make calls in between mtgs without having to worry about the evil GPS sending you into oncoming traffic. Plus they know all the shortcuts to get your from lot to lot in record time. You are right, the GPS machines at LAX are programmed by depressed movie people who have lost out on a role or project and have been reduced to slaving away at the airport. For revenge they mess with the GPS to punish any hapless soul who arrives in LA full of hope and joy. I write off the car service as a business expense so that takes the sting out of the price.

    The Executive Limo guys are great and they will treat you like a rock star. Plus the drivers know the best place to get a burger in any part of town that you’re in.

    And of course it looks cool when you roll up on the lot in your limo and slip on shades as you step out into the sun. Ah, meetings, how I hate ’em. I like the pitching part fine but I always feel like Tony Curtis is Some Like it Hot, knocking on doors and hustling for a gig. But you do get to meet some cool people.

    Are you guys doing mtgs in Vancouver and New York for the fright movie or just LA?

  54. Hi again Joe! Uh, I guess I hadn’t read your blog post very carefully and you’re having a rather challenging trip. Nice nightmare — I mean the sleeping one not the waking one that involved giving your movie pitch to hostile individuals. I don’t usually overanalyze that sort of dream (though I did like the analysis offered by Arctic Goddess) – just toss it into the stress and anxiety category. Mine usually involve being back in college and taking a final in class that I forgot I had signed up for and had never attended — and finding that the final is in a foreign language.

    And the lost sunglasses just adds insult to injury. Didn’t you just buy a new pair of rather expensive (Parasite?) sunglasses to replace the ones that Lulu ate? But I agree with Lindagagne that leaving them was a good ploy.

    Your GPS experience sounds pretty typical. They need to be updated periodically and (I’ve heard) most of those you get from rental agencies don’t get updated after they are purchased. Of course if you use evil OnStar, you don’t need to worry about updates, only about the Vast Machine tracing your car and eliminating you! I find that GPS devices work well on long distance trips, but don’t do so well with city navigation. I tested mine in downtown Chicago and it didn’t do so well. Fortunately I know my way around so it wasn’t a problem. Call me old-fashioned, but I still like maps.

    But it sounds like you are doing pretty well on the food side of the trip.

    Safe journey home!


  55. Joe

    Thanks for the lovely shout outs. I really enjoyed meeting you and Paul. It truly was exciting for me. Still feel like I need to amend my response to you and Paul’s “what was your favorite SGA episode” question that took me by surprise. More to come on that one…

    I had no idea what a swag hound you are and promise to keep you immersed in fairly useless but fun promotional items.

    I know you had hoped for a picture and I demurely declined the offer to send you one but as I was typing this someone sent me this link and I thought since I broke the 1st rule of publcity and got photographed I should send them your way.

    Links to actual photos of me working in San Francisco last night. Why do I look so serious? Because I was thinking that I could have stayed in LA and joined Joe for dinner and it made me sad.



    All the best,

    pilota (aka Paulette)

  56. Seriously though most American movies are easy to work out the “shocking twist” at the end well before the end. Most American made movies are all essentially variations on the same theme.

    If you want to have twists that truely shock you and have you sitting there saying “wow I really didn’t see that coming” try British TV / movies.

    For example, for true edge of the seat drama look no further than Spooks (http://www.bbc.co.uk/spooks/index.shtml). For true suspense try Wire in the Blood (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337792/) and of course for mostly great sci-fi fun try Dr Who. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/) — OK sure not all Dr Who episodes are great but a vast majority are.

    The point is, America is turning out movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua (http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/beverlyhillschihuahua/) and My Best Friend’s Girl (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1046163/) and Death Race (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0452608/), I think it’s time the Hollywood execs who green light this stuff need to step down, get in touch with reality and make decisions based on logic rather than whatever it is that makes them think this stuff makes for good entertainment.

    So, if these same execs don’t pick up your idea fear not. Dumb it down, put in a meaningless plot, a few talking dogs and a “post industrial” wasteland and you’re all set!

  57. There is a similar GPS system in the movie
    “College Road Trip” !!! It terroizes poor
    Martin Lawerence, and causes him to go
    over a cliff. It says “Thank You” repeatedly
    as the vehicle is flipping over !

  58. Hey nathan!

    Spooks (aka MI-5 in the US) is a good show, but I wouldn’t say it’s “edge of the seat drama.” I’d put Season 1 of 24 up against it in that category. Dr. Who is brilliant, but it’d be a fluke on either side of the Pond. I haven’t seen Wire in the Blood yet, so no comment.

    As it is, you are comparing a couple of British TV shows to three made-to-be-silly/bad American movies. Apples and oranges.

    I enjoy British TV when I can see it, but that doesn’t mean I hate American movies. I also enjoy American television, and occasionally dislike British movies. So what? They have nothing to do with each other.

    Time to pull up your pants. Your anti-American entertainment sentiments are showing.


  59. I’ll jump in here…*pulls down pants and wiggles anti-Hollywood bum*

    Spooks was great – well, the ones I watched…early ones (S1 & 2, I think), with MacFadyen. I love him – LOVED him in Peacekeepers/Warriors with Ioan Gruffudd and Damian Lewis. Fell in love with him because of that movie – he’s one of the rare actors who can just suck me in with his voice, or expressions.

    Wire in the Blood is also great, but – like Spooks – I had to give it up because it’s just TOO gritty and intense, which sometimes interferes with my ability to sleep afterwards (though I still watch WitB if I manage to catch the odd airing or two).

    And Dr. Who is just so much fun! Although…I just heard tonight that Tennant is leaving the show… 🙁

    My favorite British offerings over the past 2 decades have been Coupling, Men Behaving Badly, Hamish Macbeth (I’m a Macbeth, so HAD to watch that one!), INSPECTOR MORSE *hugs* , Midsomer Murders, Poirot, Sherlock Holmes (with Jeremy Brett), Chef!, Vicar of Dibley, Prime Suspect,…well, most mysteries, really…including the little gem that introduced me to Clive Owen – Second Sight. There are many others – those are just tip of my brain things.

    Things I love about British shows are 1. the people look REAL (this is most important in making me buy into what I am seeing), 2. the acting is spot on – no hams, no flat performances, 3. the comedy is actually FUNNY, and 4. the stories are less predictable, more intense…though sometimes the body counts are a bit unbelievable. I miss not having a good mystery series to watch – Midsomer Murders on A&E was the last weekly murder mystery that I could look forward to, now such movies are hit and miss on PBS’ Masterpiece/Mystery!, and BBC-America.

    It used to be our routine on Sunday or Monday nights to curl up on the sofa and watch a good British mystery – ever since the beginning of our marriage. But there really aren’t any regular shows anymore, and we do miss that. It’s just not as much fun without the routine…and the cup of tea, and the clotted cream and jam and scones. MMMM!!

    No wonder I’m fat. 😛 I blame the British!! 😡

    Okay – I really did ramble there…sorry. But look on the bright side – I did NOT mention you-know-who and/or what!! I should get a cookie for that! (Plain chocolate HobNob, please!) 😀


  60. *hands das a HobNob*

    Hey Joe! I really enjoyed your LA Adventures blog. It is interesting to see “behind-the-scenes” how movies/TV shows are made.


    eddy 🙂

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