San Francisco has turned into quite a good place for a sulk after my last film went down in flames. It’s quite a trippy thing being in SF. 1. You walk, and 2. You are surrounded by a sea of content people.
Go into an SF coffee shop and no one looks up to see if you are famous and/or if you can help them with their career. They are too busy having a weekend off from their jobs. And thinking thoughts like, “I’m a dentist in a nice practice. I’ve made it.”
Movies are not front page news. Instead, news is.
Which makes me start thinking about what an industry of malcontents I have walked into in LA. Everyone is trying to “make it” and it breeds such weird behavior in people. I occasionally get drunken emails from the director of “Snow”, telling me that I’m not an artist or a friend because I won’t keep working on his film for free.
So I’m sitting deleting his emails and licking my wounds over a latte when the phone rings. It’s Jeff, a director that I’ve met in LA. He sent me a short story the previous week to read, which I thought was an excellent piece.
So he then tells me that he has a budget, a shooting window in July and a great actor to play the lead. Turns out it’s Jeremy Sisto, from Six Feet Under. One of my favorite actors, full stop.
The only thing missing is a script and can I be back in LA for a meeting tomorrow? I am in my car before the phone call is over, wheels spinning.
And all the way home, all I can think is, “Is this really happening?”. That and, “don’t crash.”
But happen it did. The next day I am sitting at a table at The Cat and Fiddle on Sunset with a director who has just had a film open nationally and an amazing actor. And me. Pick the odd one out.
It’s an incredibly surreal experience. Talking to someone you’ve watched on TV for years. More incredible still, is when they listen to you talk about the script and how you would like to write it, and then… nod their heads.
We chat, I make a lot of notes and before the end of the lunch we’re throwing ideas around the table to solve plot problems and character issues.
After about half an hour of this, I am sufficiently calm to know that I’m not going to hose myself and I begin to glance around the restaurant. And I see the fame effect rippling around. People at other tables are glancing over, pretending that they aren’t, and mouthing the words, “Jeremy Sisto,” and, “Six Feet Under”.
Jeremy has to take off early, so he graciously picks up the tab and heads home, the ripple following his exit.
Then the truly unexpected happens. People keep looking back at the table, wondering who Jeff and I are. This is great. I’m nobody, but I really appreciate that you all think I’m somebody.
The other tables were even kind enough to kill all conversation as Jeff and I walked out so that they could hear what we were talking about. My ego took a savage stroking. If nothing else happened on this, I would still be smiling. I give ten dollars to a homeless man near my parked car.
But I get a call from Jeff. Jeremy liked me and I’ve got the gig. Start writing. Now. The shoot is only 10 weeks away, I have two weeks to write a script.
So there you have it readers, it can all go to shit one day and then the next you’re that wanker that calls famous people by their first names.