Why it was more important to convince myself I was a failure then to accept the truth …
You see a few years back, I wrote a script; it’s a one-hour television pilot and it’s good, no actually it’s really good. And not good by my standards, but by Hollywood standards, so yes, it’s that fucking good.
At the time, I knew nothing at all about Hollywood and honestly had no business trying to enter that world. Hell, I was a married accountant with a thriving business and three very small children living in the middle of the desert, I was the protagonist of a Chick Flick, not a Tinseltown Player. The closest connection I had to that industry were the countless hours of the Disney Channel under my belt, perhaps the Spielberg of the network toddler programming, but absolutely nothing more. While I couldn’t include the Wiggles as experience, I put down the Fruit Salad (yummy yummy) and against all odds, sent my freshman work out to LaLa Land .. and then I waited .. waited for the inevitable rejection that was sure to come.
Well I was wrong, they loved it, they really really loved it. Well they didn’t actually come out and say those exact words, or any words at all for that matter, but mixed in with the many generic ‘we don’t accept any unsolicited material’ responses, I got calls, I got emails and I got meetings … holy shit, I got meetings. This was huge for me, and unknowingly huge in general I’ve been told. So like every 19 yr old starving waitress, I headed to the 101 to follow my dreams .. except I wasn’t 19, I wasn’t starving and you guessed it, I wasn’t a waitress; what could go wrong?
On my multiple trips there, I was fortunate to meet several otherwise very nice people but I could tell that place took a toll on them, it got in their heads. They were used to getting their own way for no apparent reason, and although naïve to their trade, I’ve seen enough movies to know two things, they will try to fuck you .. that’s both figuratively and literally. Some with their release forms trying to subtly relinquish me from my rights to everything from my project including but not limited to eventually my own funeral service, to others not so subtly trying to relinquish me from my clothing .. neither were successful.
I refused to give up because I knew there had to one it took an under educated, overzealous ex-child star to cleared up any delusion I may have still had when I politely rebuked his advances and he half jokingly explained that ‘It isn’t who you know but who you blow in this town’ .. I don’t think he ever spoke truer words in his entire life, or did he.
Because not long after, I reconnected on social media with an old friend/co-worker that I’ve known for 15+ yrs. We caught up via private messages, emails and texts. While I filled him in on my kids and not so flourishing change of careers, he talked about his divorce and love of his job. He had done quite well for himself, as many of my other colleagues have, and was currently employed by one of the most recognizable producers in television; I could not have been happier for his success, from what I remembered, he truly deserved it.
When our schedules permitted, we eventually setup a lunch at one of those trendy paparazzi filled LA eateries because you know, when in Rome; not to mention they have the best Lobster Raviolis this side of the Mississippi.
It was supposed to be a friendly meeting but I was pleasantly surprised the night before when he started texting me unsolicited accolades on specific parts of my project that I had sent him weeks earlier for another purpose. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely flattered, it was gratifying to finally hear the words I had hoped everyone else was thinking and from a person I knew that knew the business but also knew he didn’t have to .. needless to say, I was looking forward to tomorrow more than I was before.
And tomorrow came and it was very Hollywood .. maybe just a tad too much
He was fashionably late, while I was most likely early. The breeze off the ocean brought a chill so I was already drinking coffee when he ordered his wine. In those first few moments I noticed nothing had seemed to change with him except now he had a cell phone filled with the who’s who of Hollywood to match his legendary cockiness, and we instantly fell back into our comfortable roles seamlessly .. except he was a little more complimentary where my sarcasm didn’t miss a beat
We spent a lot of time catching up more about ourselves as well as who we’ve been in contact with from our shared past; but more time laughing at each other and stories from back in the day. By the time the bread was gone, we had moved onto my script and what appeared to be genuine admiration from him on what I had written. As if this continued validation from a person I trusted wasn’t enough, nothing could have prepared me when he took it a step further and voluntarily stated that he was going to hand deliver MY work to his boss, stressing the fact it was going into his bosses hand, not his secretary’s, not on his desk, but directly into HIS hands .. seriously, could this be happening, could washed up child star be wrong and it really is who you know after all; I didn’t know, all I did know was I needed a minute to process what I just heard but more like an entire meal; don’t judge
I don’t remember much after the Lobster Raviolis arrived other than we moved away from the draft to eat them but right back into it after. At the bar, with the heavy meal and conversation behind us, we were winding things down as I ordered my last decaf and the chat went back to personal casual. Apparently, the fact I now had three kids was not as surprising to him as the fact my husband and I were still together after all this time, ‘that’s unheard of’ he said, ‘good for you guys’ he continued. And continued he did ‘I know you love your family and that’s great, but you need to departmentalize and have an affair with me’. And continued ‘It’s good to have a husband at home, but you need to have one in business too’ .. I laughed it off because I knew he was kidding .. wait, he was kidding, right?
Wanting to believe he was kidding or kidding myself into believing, I spent the ride home like a school girl sharing the news coyly to those closest to me. Then I spent the next few weeks trying to figure out if indeed he was .. HE WASN’T!
We saw each other once after and it turned out the child star had it right all along .. and surprise, his boss never did get my script in his hands.
Looking back I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that for a moment I was too embarrassed to admit this had happened to me or the fact that for a moment he thought it was actually going to happen with #MeToo.