When you take a pitch meeting in Hollywood, you’re generally pretty sure who’s going to be in the room. First, of course, there’s you — or, in this case, me, since “you” don’t have access to Fox or Warner’s the way I do. Then there’s the Exec, also known as the “Suit” or, in plain English, the Guy Who’s Going to Say No to Your Movie. He or she is generally attended by the Assistant, whose job it is to sit there and say nothing unless spoken to and, in any case, to have absolutely no opinion about anything. Sometimes there’s a third fellow, the Junior Assistant Who Writes Everything Down, in case the Exec is too ADD-led to remember anything after the meeting, or was on the phone the whole time you were making your pitch. Sometimes your agent comes along, although most of them have seen enough train wrecks in their lives to forgo the pleasure, and would rather be at Orso’s on Third having lunch, except that Orso’s is now closed.
So imagine my surprise when, on no notice, I got called into a special meeting last week at a studio I won’t name. “What are we pitching?” I asked my manager.
“Beats me,” she said. “It’s their meeting.”
“Sometimes miracles happen. Just be there at ten. You need the work.”
Next, I called my agent. “What do you know about this?” I asked him.
“Nada,” he said. “You’re flying blind, Dave. Just don’t blow it. You need the work”
I parked in the VIP lot, tossed the Prius’s keys to the envious attendant, and strode into the meeting with confidence. The first person I saw was:David Axelrod
. The media genius behind the Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Hoops, Vacationer-in-Chief, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Chicago and Honolulu. “Jake Lingle!” I exclaimed, then nearly bit my tongue off when I realized that I’m the only one who calls Axelrod “Jake Lingle,” my pet name for journalists who work both sides of the street. It’s actually flattering, since I suppose I could call him “Mr. Peachum
,” except that nobody’s seen The Beggar’s Opera
since the late 18th century.
“I understand you’re the best in the business,” said Axelrod coolly, brushing his comb-over to one side to reveal the sweaty brow beneath, “and not afraid to speak truth to power.”“
Always ready to help the party in any way I can,” I replied helpfully.