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newbie in hollywood part 1-surviving the death star

April 14th, 2009

Yesterday I hung out with my friend Deanna Kizis, who was my BFF going back to 7th grade and a dedicated Angeleneo and one of the hippest, glammest people I know and is a great journalist, novelist and is on her way to becoming a huge screenwriter (she “takes meetings” constantly”)  and  before she got married to the nicest guy ever, dated famous people. Basically, Deanna would be totally insufferable if she weren’t a total dork goofball and one of the nicest most generous people I know. But seriously, she’s that fabuloso. See?

Before I met Deanna, I had my meeting with my film agent and Deanna, upon hearing I went to CAA, or Creative Artists Agency, asked: “So, how’d you like The Death Star?”

I had to laugh. It really did look like that. All gleaming marble and staircases to nowhere designed to Intimidate the Pants off the Lowly People. Here’s the lobby.

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Also, in the lobby, there were all these agents who looked exactly like the stereotype of agents. Guys in skinny expensive suits waking around talking on cell phones with ear pieces or reading Variety. Deanna, my most insidery Hollywood friend, a recent evolution, though I guess it was inevitable because she’s lived in L.A. all her adult life and she drinks the water, told me that she thinks the reason that in movie The Matrix, the bad guys are called agents is because they’re meant to represent Hollywood agents. They dress like them, too with their black skinny suits and shiny glasses. It’s the Wachowski Brothers idea of an inside joke, she says.

Luckily, my agent who I finally met, was nothing like these guys. Tall and willowy enough that in her earlier life she could’ve been a model, she was all business and yet at the same time you could see a genuine fan of If I Stay and looking out for my back. But at the same time totally excited about working with Summit (um, ditto on that).  The meeting wasn’t scary at all. It was more a chance to say “hi” and for her to get me ready for my big meeting with Summit on Thursday. I professed my love for Twilight. Sally professed her love of Hannah Montana; she’d just taken her young daughter to the movie. And before I knew it, the meeting was over and I was getting my parking sticker validated (a courtesy you never get in New York) and was feeling relieved that my mom had upgraded a few years ago to a snazzy Volvo coupe and I was not struck driving the same rusting Volvo she’d had for 18 years, and also this Volvo had only a few embarrassing peace bumper stickers. That’s another East Coast/West Coast differences. We don’t wear our politics on our shirts not on our cars in New York (maybe because most of us don’t have cars.)

Then I got lost. This is how I know I’m truly a New Yorker now. I grew up in LA. Could once drive the labyrinth of a city no problem, no need for directions and now I confuse Beverly Dr. with Beverly Blvd like some kind of tourist. I eventually made it to  Silverlake and spent the day with Deanna before driving back to the Valley at 6 pm with no traffic.

In Los Angeles, they have a word for that:  Miracle.

  1. Hi Gayle,
    Oh my gosh, I love reading your blog, you are hillarious. Good luck meeting with Summit – I already can’t wait to see the movie! Hey, I have long brown hair, cold hands, and am constantly get mistaken for being in high school (even though I’m 22 and in grad school)..maybe I could play Mia? Just kidding!

    PS: Thank you for friending me back on facebook and for posting on my wall :) My friends all think I’m really awesome for corresponding with a famous author.

  2. Hey great post! Really good subject matter, too. I would like to point out, however, that clearly the writers of the Matrix were poking fun at THEIR agents. Surely not my agents, or your agents, who are far too cool and amazing to try to kill Neo, Morpheus and Trinity. Just remember, it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself…

  3. yes, yes, yes, i think the only reason to make fun of agents one way or the other is simply because the scare the bejeesus out of us. whether book agents or film agents, they have the power to unlock whole worlds for lowly writers like us. so because of said power differential, we make fun when we can even though at the end of the day, we all love and need the men in the shiny suits though thank god my book and film agent are both really pretty women in nice clothing with footwear i covet.

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