I can’t talk about details, as the script isn’t written. Once there’s a script I could say more about the process, the company etc. A few weeks ago I wrote about a pitch I had with a prominent film company here. I was very nervous since this was the first time I was doing the pitching instead of listening to a pitch.
Well the company liked my idea. I’m getting notes this week, more meetings next week. The executive on the project referred me to one of the top agent/lawyers here and he is going to rep me (I have a manager, an agent and a lawyer in L.A. but they cannot do the deal as it’s in Italian). I asked G about the lawyer before my meeting and he said, “Uhm yeah you’d be lucky to be repped by that firm.” Then he started busting my chops saying I shouldn’t bother to learn Italian since my “English speaking, just got here from Hollywood vibe” is working for me. ha
All jokes aside I can’t really put into words what the last few days have been like. I feel like my crazy career path has been validated. Sometimes people think, “Oh you don’t really work.” Hello, yes I do. A lot. Just because I don’t punch a time clock doesn’t mean I’m not working. I wish I could get a paycheck every week or every two weeks again. I miss those days. Something about pointing to a specific project will help with the “WTF did I do with my life” moments.
It’s very ironic that the first film I will be working on a writer will be in Italy where I have lived for only three months. A place that some people like to say is a mess, nothing works, everyone is broke, etc. and according to a comment left on my blog when I was thinking about moving to Rome,
forget working in the film industry in italy, if you're black you're invisible here! they might ask you to clean their house or look after their kids unless you are famous already, then they will wipe your ass for you!!”
I wouldn’t succeed (and no I am not famous). Yes it’s only one treatment. An Italian screenwriter will write the script with my collaboration so there will be no buying of a villa in Cortona. After taxes perhaps I will be able to afford the train tickets to visit Cortona. The amount is similar to what I would get on an American film at this budget.
But money is not the point. The point is I’m glad I didn’t let my negative experiences in Hollywood stop me from pursuing my goals. Simple fact there is not a single black female A-list screenwriter in Hollywood. TV is a little better, there's Shonda Rhimes who created “Grey’s Anatomy.” I see the careers of my female screenwriting friends, black and white and it’s tough. You are quickly put into a box (and god help you if you are over 30). That is why we are so happy that SATC: The Movie kicked butt maybe there will be more movies about women green lit (it’s very hard for women to get hired to write non female driven movies. Complete double standard, guys like Ron Bass or Tyler Perry can write for women but not the other way around).
One successful male black screenwriter I was talking to told me he tells his reps not to put his picture in the trades when he sells a script/gets an assignment.
Here I walked into the room with an idea. They liked it. Story is story. This obsession in Hollywood with age, gender and race is ridiculous. I grew up in NYC then suburbia with parents from another country. Of course I can write about things other than the ‘hood. Writers write. They create. If I don’t know details about a certain world there is something called research. To quote from a “60 Minutes” segment on ageism in Hollywood, did the studio hire ants to write ANTZ? Please.
Another anonymous blogger left a comment on my blog saying Rome is “an unbearable backwards city.” I can only go by my experiences. I just got one of the biggest breaks in my career in this “backwards” city vs. the “forward” city I struggled and lived in for 10 years. Not to get too new agey/Southern Californian on folks but clearly the universe is telling me something.