Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I was treated to lunch at a café terrasse with a fellow who sat down and talked about himself in glowing terms for an hour and a half. I can't tell you how delighted I was to get away from him and his dim-bulb view of Hollywood--be it here or there--and his plaintive refrain that he needed millions of dollars to launch a slate of films that would make his career as well as millions for the investor though he professed to know nothing about marketing or who might want to see these proposed films in terms of market segments or demographics. He presumed that the investor had millions not understanding that a more likely scenario would be an investor whose funds were borrowed and was not looking to indulge in a spending spree. Rather than talking about his vague ideas that would become the foundation for the slate of films yet to be written into screenplay form, the fellow should have been talking in definitive terms about repatriation of funds, return on investment with emphasis on the potential for laundering large sums of money. Instead, he kept reiterating that he could get the budgets lower, if necessary.
It is easy for outsiders to view a modern movie studio as a Disneyland for filmmakers. A Las Vegas casino--wherein every single game is engineered to ensure that you lose and the house wins--is a more apt analogy. What is known as 'the Skim' in 'Vegas is the differential between the wholesale and retail budgets in Hollywood. Only the retail figures are released which explains why movies that never made any money are approaching double-digit sequels.
I almost said something to this fellow--nothing meaningful, relevant or even informative--but I had determined not to speak until he stopped talking and that never happened. Finally, I got up and made my way to the WC and never found my way back to the table.
I believe I need to re-think my decision to get out of the hotel from time to time. I really see nothing to be gained by it at all.