I had my first meeting at Sony the other day. It was a typical lunch meeting in the sense that not a lot was discussed about specific projects, but under the surface, boiling like a cauldron, was a battlefield of wits and egos. And not like normal egos. I’m talking movie executive egos, which aren’t what you might expect. It’s all imparting of wisdom and advice. But there’s an undercurrent of disdain, or perhaps it’s just a disregard for youth and naivete. But it comes out almost fatherly; a gentle hand to the shoulder, stopping to swallow the bite in one’s mouth, and then putting down the fork to really emphasize that what one is about to say is really the be all end all of movie advice.
I found myself very appreciative and very resentful of it. It wasn’t that I didn’t think what was said wasn’t important or relevant. Indeed, it was entirely tailored to my current experiences on the indie feature 13 Months of Sunshine. How to broker a deal. Who to market the film to. What the post process should be. How to raise capital to finish the film. What the next step should be.
All great advice, all perfect for me. And I felt bothered by it. Well, bothered is too strong. I felt like I was enrolled in a community college course after receiving a Ph.D. My first thought was that all this was stuff I’d figured out on my own.
Ah, the folly of youth.
Without writing a Tolstoy length piece on what I was really feeling, I can boil much of what I felt to the following sense:
I’ve worked on this film for a year and a half, from editing to the ADR to effects to beginning the marketing of the film online. This guy has got great things to say, but they’re all studio-driven mentality thoughts, with imagined budgets and resources. He doesn’t understand where we’re coming from. He’s got a whole mindset that is, in many ways, foreign to how this film has developed and how I see it going. How could he possibly know that we have already begun the process of finding potential distributors, that we’re on the right track with our post production process? So why am I just the tiniest bit peeved at all this?
But I walked away with an offer to animate the man’s company logo (which was turned down later due to my cost estimate of the project), and I left him a letter, my business card, some loglines, and a copy of my short film.
Which has since resulted in an invitation to come back and pitch one of my favourite scripts, Riders to the Sea, which is an Irish period drama. And for someone not quite two years in Hollywood, I consider that a wonderful blessing and opportunity. I’ll let you know how badly I screw up the pitch.