Friday, April 11, 2008

"Hello, I'd Like To Speak To The Little Tiny Guy on The Inside, Please"

I had a meeting with another agent yesterday. I'm just beginning to become familiar with agencies (talent representation, like NGO's, love acronyms) and I didn't know this agency was so big-time. I entered a reception area on one floor to be guided through another reception area on another floor, then down a hallway lined with fancy offices on one side (all filled with men in suits) and cubicles on the other (young peeps, every one of them talking intensely into a Bluetooth).

The agent I met was really nice. He's definitely old-school. There are photos of him beaming with Johnny Carson. He uses the phone rather than email. You know. The thing is, I can't tell you why I was meeting with him because, as I found out in his office, he reps comedians. The only way I can explain it is that a (powerful, helpful) friend of mine put out a missive to agencies, and this guy said he would meet with me.

He was friendly, but it was obvious within the first 30 seconds that he wasn't meeting me for me. He was meeting me to do my friend a favour. He said he liked my work but that he doesn't know the hosting world, and that he'd pass along my info to the agents there who do. So I have one question: Why? It's all so puzzling. Why couldn't I just meet with the hosting agents in the first place? I have a feeling that this is a question that only a non-Angeleno would have. But it just doesn't make sense to me.

Sometimes, I get so tired of having meeting after meeting, with people telling me, "Oh you're great," because in the end, it doesn't mean anything. Compliments don't amount to anything real. It's like everyone in LA is a Russian doll and while I'd like to meet the (stumpy, little and adorable) person who will say the magic words, "You're hired!" instead, I'm meeting 10 people I have to get through first.

I'd like to be more direct, but I don't see how it's possible. I called up a production company yesterday that does the American version of a show I wrote in Canada. The receptionist was like, the biggest, fattest most iron-clad Russian doll ever.

"Hi, I was wondering if I could speak with someone in production for Project Runway. I worked on the Canadian version and I'd like to find out more about the production team here."

"Ok, just send a resume to Human Resources." She enunciates "Human Resources" like it's a person's name I might have trouble spelling and then gives me the mailing address like I've never heard of Google.

I tried about 5 more times.

"Ok, but who can I address it to?"
"Alright, so what's the name of that individual...?"
"Thanks, great. So I can send this to...?"


I felt like saying, "Hello? I've been you! Except I obviously didn't care about my job as much as you do." But I didn't. It was such a stupid conversation.

So that was my first and last attempt at cold-calling. How can I get through a bulldog who guards names like that? More to the point, WHY guard names like that? It's not the DaVinci Code - you're just picking up the phone. Is that really her job or does she just think it is?

On a more positive note, I just revisited my LA List for the first time since I got here and having just gotten my first US magazine assignment today, I've pretty much checked everything off (keep in mind, the list was filled with achievable goals and um, even included, um, "shopping," which I have checked off my list, um, many times over now).

Also, it's been so fun running lines with Amanda every day before her auditions. Don't worry, I don't get all dramatic. Amanda is the actor. But what's interesting to me as a writer is that some of these scripts aren't that great, surprising considering the odds on getting a pilot made. You'd be better off buying a scratch ticket. So why aren't these scripts dazzling and brilliant? At the same time, I'm learning a lot about the sitcom format and what makes things funny in a broad sense. Reading scripts every day with Amanda definitely contributes to the fun-but-weird La La Land vibe. I like it.

Oh, and what about American Gladiators you ask? Don't. When we saw that we had to drive through South Central to get there, Jose got scared. But it wasn't until we rolled up and saw the other people coming in to the taping that I got scared. Did I want to enter this world? Well, we did. Then I got sleepy. I fell asleep in the front row waking up intermittently to see an overgrown, glistening Zack Morris Gladiator swat a contestant into the water (with THE giant, plastic Q-tip!) in about one second flat. Then they'd re-set for like, an hour. BORING. Jose and I snuck out and got burgers at In'n'Out.

Now we're off to get sushi. Eating in LA is so fun.


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