Monday, February 15, 1999

Shindig Skinny

Just got back from the big shindig over at CAA (major agency once headed by Michael Ovitz, now run by Wes grad Rick Nicita) in honor of film dept. guru Jeanine Basinger. This was the major schmooze-fest of the year for the Wesleyan film community and one which I almost missed since I somehow got left off the invite list. Luckily my friend Jude (Dreamworks) told me about it after she told me that she still hasn't read my script because she lost it. She suggested I bring it to CAA and give it to her in person. I decided to take the opportunity to give it a nice polish and incorporate her advice from our last meeting. I also called everyone I could think of to get me an invitation. As it turned out they were very apologetic and I was added to the guest list.

I also spent some time putting together some screenplay summaries for Greg, an aspiring director I am contemplating working with (if he lets me). Between the rewrite and the summaries I've been pretty busy, but not so busy that I didn't notice that my phone hasn't rung in a while. Out of three temp agencies, I still have no job. Anyway, I got my rewritten script, my punched-up summaries and a list of everyone I have spoken to, or heard about since I got here and put on some writerly looking clothes (jeans and a sportcoat) and went to the party.

The first person I met was Dave Bartholomew, a lawyer who has lived here since '82, the same year he used to come down and visit us in San Diego. Dave is a great guy and knows everyone in LA so he became my guide. I paid homage to Jeanine, mentioning that I am Susan Allison's brother always gets a good response -- I used the same strategy with Wes. pres. Doug Bennett and his wife Midge. Doug said I had some good genes and at first I thought he meant my pants but then I realized he was referring to my illustrious sister and my Dad, the guy who helped organize the whopping million dollar alumni contribution a while back. Midge said "I met your mom!" She didn't know where but said she introduced herself as "Susan Allison's mother."

I saw Greg and gave him the summaries and started scanning the room for Jude, I really wanted to get the script out of my hands, as it made me feel quite self-conscious to be carrying a script around at such an event. Ran into Akiva Goldsman and told him his assistant had read my stuff and said it was very good. He said 'give me a call and stop by' I said, 'you betcha.' Saw Paul Schiff and congratulated him on his bit part in his new movie Rushmore (he plays the waiter) He said 'your my one fan.' I told him at least now he has something to fall back on.

I met a friend of Dave's named Bruce McKenna (another writer -- everyone by the way is wearing jeans and sportcoats) and told him I was finding it hard to locate the people I've never met since no one was wearing nametags. (I did however notice the very attractive Dana Delaney sitting under a ficus talking to Akiva.) Bruce asked who I was looking for, I mentioned a name and he said 'I just met him' and led me to Bill Wolkoff, assistant to Ed Decter, I've been bugging Bill for many weeks as he has a movie and a TV script of mine. He's training for the marathon. I recommended drinking lots of beer. 'The night before?' he asked. 'No -- during the race.'

Bill pointed out his boss Ed and I went over and introduced myself, unfortunately we were interrupted by some speeches given by Jeanine and Doug. It turns out that Ed is good friends with Dave Bartholomew. I saw Chris Dorr and asked him when his new Paul Newman movie is coming out. They're still working on it. Nearby, I noticed a stunningly beautiful blonde of the type you see a lot in LA (Miss November '97?) but very rarely at a Wesleyan function. The mystery was cleared up when her date Michael Bay appeared at her side with two glasses of red wine. They say he has a really nice home theater system. I saw Larry Mark , whom I sent Merlin to years ago, but he was constantly surrounded by ass-kissing punks who wouldn't leave him alone long enough for me to go over and kiss his ass.

Every so often I'd circle the room to make sure I hadn't missed Jude coming in late or something but never saw her. I finally decided to leave, and ran into Brad Whitford. I said hi and he said, 'Dave Bartholomew told me you were here.' Who knew? I told him I thought he was excellent in A Perfect World (he shoots Kevin Costner) and he ate that up. I would have talked to him sooner but he was over in the corner hanging out with Dana Delaney and Akiva and those people are even more intimidating when they're all clumped together like that. Did I mention how attractive Dana Delaney is?

Anyway, I finally dragged my ass out of there after almost three hours of record breaking (for me anyway) schmoozing, still clutching the script I had specially rewritten and brought with me to hand deliver to Jude. Oh, well -- she probably would have lost it anyway.

Not a lot else is happening around here. I had another nice visit from Dan Haar, and Brian and I inaugurated our ongoing Scrabble tournament. After two grueling games we are tied. Watched the Super Bowl with Clay, Norma and Clay jr., which was great (not the game, though) Met some friends of Brian's who are in the biz, am trying to schedule a get-together with a nice woman named Karen, but she's always busy. Car is running well, though I never use it. Once a week I take it out on the freeway just to let it stretch out a little. Hopefully after tonight someone will actually read one of my scripts and call me with good news. Like the I Ching says: "Perseverance brings good fortune to the Wanderer..."

p.s. (next day) called Jude and sent her the script -- fingers crossed