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    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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L.A. Confidential – Day 3 – “Let’s Chop It Up”

Pitching the same projects over and over is a little like married sex — sometimes you have to work to keep it fresh. I find it’s best to ask a producer/manager/agent what they’re looking for before I start in. This way, you don’t start pitching a thriller, for example, only to find out they’re no longer producing thrillers, which at best is a buzz kill. I’ve also learned only to share  two or three projects with a producer. When I started, I’d manically talk about everything I had as if my client list were a buffet table. It’s much better to talk about a couple of projects that might actually be right, like when a personal shopper suggests two suits out of the twenty she has because these are the two that will fit.

How much do you tip the guys who valet park your car? Is $2 bucks the going rate?

There is a salad at the Beverly Hills Hotel called the McArthur or McCarthy, and if I get executed and I get to pick my last meal, it will be this salad. They chop it so fine that you barely need to chew and I’m guessing that if you’re about to take the pipe, it might be hard to chew.

ALL anyone  can talk about is how Dear John bumped Avatar off the #1 Box Office perch. NO ONE can believe this. And they all want to know if we have something like a Dear John on our list. I have a Dear Adolph. Does that count? How about Dear Sirhan Sirhan? Or Dear Ted Bundy. Oh, yeah, they’d also be interested in then next The Blind Side and The Hangover. Whatcha got people? I’m here, it’s now. Pitch your high concept movie here and earn big bucks!

One last thing: Lots of producers offices have chocolate at their reception desks. What is up with that? And how many pieces is it appropriate to take?

Star meter: 0

15 Responses

  1. My pitch: Mickey Doyle, Irish Moyel.

    And take ’em all. That’s what Wylie would do.

  2. Experiment: throw out arbitrary words with your fingers laced behind your head in a relaxed and confident pose and see if they buy it.

  3. Check out http://www.horizonspast,com and pitch it as a “Dear John.”

  4. The key is to take some of the chocolates when no one is looking.

  5. Um, I actually have a book that has a lot theme similarities to Dear John. Can I really pitch it to you?

  6. I hate it when candy is available on someone’s desk. Or at any meeting. All I think about the entire time is the candy:Should I? Can I? Okay, I did.

    Can I have another?

  7. Take all the chocolate. The wolrd runs on it, we all know it, go for it.

  8. I’m lovin’ your travel log.

    Here’s a pitch: hip, cool, yet lonely screenwriter and reject from NYU film school dreams that handsome, roguish version of Martin Scorsese (picture George Clooney) will produce/direct her screenplay. Through a series of subplots involving Hollywood disappoints (bad lovers, producers who promised they would call her but never did, and friends who turned their back on her when they got good gigs, car wrecks…the usual shit) she keeps a blog, never realizing that the man who responds to her entries under the name “Potemkin1925” is Martin Scorsese/George Clooney character.

    There is a lot of hot, unmarried sex.

    Good luck. You rock.

  9. Five bucks to the valet and two chocolates from the too lovely receptionist– One when you arrive and one when you leave.

  10. No one can believe Dear John bumped Avatar? Why the hell not? Aren’t people more interested in autism and hot guys in uniform than in animated aliens? WTF?! The whole CGI phenomenon has gotten so big, the only direction (at least in this economy) left to go is to implode. Watch for simpler, more sensitive, maybe even indie films, to capture the popular imagination within the next few years.

  11. Good luck, Betsy. I wish you wild success.

  12. Enjoying these posts re your visit to LA. $2 is the minimum for a valet here, alas. People often leave $5. Take as much chocolate as you like, f*** ’em. Good luck with the pitching. Wish I knew you. I’d buy you lunch.

  13. 2 chocolates
    or — Unilateral Decision: you’re a New York Editor!

    High Concept Movie:
    story of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life,
    focusing on the Roaring 20s.

    Title: “Spree”

    Ya-wanna-talka-abouta-“hangover “!

  14. And one more thing:

    the surprise over “Dear John” getting large audiences even with “Avatar” going on:

    reminds me of 1990 (or 89…somewhere in there) when Hollywood believed only in Big Action movies and then “Pretty Woman” and after that “Ghost” — two romantic movies — did really well and changed the trend.

    (Is it a “pendulum” sort of situation? think so)

  15. Chocolates. They didn’t have chocolates when I did the meet-n-greets. A friend referred to doing these meetings as “the Evian Trail” because all those pretty young things (wo)manning the front desks would always ask, “Can I get you a bottle of water?” To which my answer ten minutes later was, “Can I have the key to your mens room?”

    And you’re right about pitching the same projects over and over. It can get stale. But sometimes you learn from the responses and you change the pitch accordingly.

    I was pitching a mystery/rom com I had written which involved the protagonists’ interactions while searching for a character named Drexel who’d appeared in the opening sequence, then disappeared for the rest of the story. At the end of the first pitch meeting, the “creative exec” asked what happened to Drexel. He died, I proclaimed. He threw his arms in the air and screamed, “HE DIED?!”

    At the next pitch meeting, Drexel had been found raising organic potatoes on a small farm.

    It still didn’t sell.

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