Thursday, April 23, 2009

Disservice of Hollywood Agents - Glad I Live in Texas

Being born and raised on the RIGHT side of the Red River, the north side, made it virtually impossible for me to admit that I would ever be glad, happy in fact, to be living in the state of Texas...but I am.

I work as a movie producer in the tiny little bedroom-city of Gainesville, Texas. Gainesville is one of those "Anytown, USA" places that could have a million dollar look to it, or a half-dollar look - - depending on where you set up your cameras. It's the perfect place to film just about any movie - - except when the train rolls through town and you have to wait for the sound check. What Gainesville DOESN'T have, and I thank God, is a Hollywood feel where people have their people call others to set up meetings that may or may not take place. It doesn't have the Hollywood agent per se, someone who asks that a film be 100% funded before submitting a script to an actor - - it doesn't have the rules and the regulations or perhaps the glorified HABIT of a Hollywood agency that feels that they, the agency, has the right to screen and qualify what is and what is NOT a good film to show said actor. What we have is truly so much better: We have our word.

Remember when a hand-shake meant something? Well, it still does in Gainesville. Remember when you could buy something on credit, or just walk into a barbershop and get your hair cut and pay the barber on Friday when you got paid? You still can in Gainesville. What sets us apart in the movie industry is everything actually - - from our over-the-top or rather under-the-bottom office facilities to the way we dress, walk, talk, act, and pull together to make things happen. We don't actually have set-in-stone job descriptions. Our Executive Producer is just as likely or apt to change out the trash liner as any one of us. We don't fret over the small stuff, and hell it's all pretty much small stuff anyway - - none of us is too good to be whatever the director needs us to be...except acting. I won't get in front of the camera! I will hop 10' to hold a boom, and I'll run for beer or coffee, no problem.

We made it perfectly clear to Tim Curry's people that we wanted him to play the part of Dr. Crane in our movie. ( and we sent not only the script, but an informal offer to his agents at Innovative Artists in Los Angeles - - so tell me, if they KNEW they wanted the film to be 100% funded before submitting the script to Curry why didn't they say so? His agent called me and talked for more than 10 minutes about the film, the message, the hope, the direction we were going, the timing, the schedule and the finances. We talked about Faith and her miraculous story and how B-listed actors were calling us all the time to see if they can get into the film to play the part; we wanted Tim. We wanted Sandra Bullock too, and gave a script to her people - - and haven't heard a word. Tim's people did contact us, but said to "Let them know" when the film was funded 100%...why do you do that?

When a multi-million dollar film is funded they go after the stars and it's been that way for years because the banks and financial institutes go after the high-dollar films for that one reason; to make more money. They know if it's funded they'll get the A-listers and the attention of their agents. HELLOOOOO, when it's an independent film, such as ours, and it's a low SAG such as ours, you don't get the funding UNTIL you get the star power. It may be a catch-22 in some ways, but it's a burden we don't have to bear now do we? This movie will proceed because of the initial STAR POWER of an amazing dog, who just happens to be loved by the world at large and she's not whining about not having the film funded before she signs. She's up at the under-dressed office every day, she's kissing and loving on the kids that come by and say hi to her off the street - - try that with a Hollywood starlet! Try that with a Hollywood A-lister. They'd sue you for stalking them in a heart beat...claiming you RUINED their emotional state and they just CAN'T go on today because of it. No thank you - - give me the dog! It's high time some of these A-listers get off their butts and find out who it is that they've hired. Maybe a Tim Curry or a Sandra Bullock would JUMP at the chance to play opposite of Faith in a film that may not cost $15M to make, but it has the heart and soul of anything they've ever known.

Can you imagine being an A-lister and finding out a year after a film was made, and while it was receiving all kinds of accolades and awards that YOU could have been in the film actually, but YOUR AGENT didn't think it met your criteria...or, get this, it wasn't funded, therefore in essence, it wasn't good enough for you to see or review? Isn't it about time WE decide...we meaning those who write, produce, direct, and actually create the work in the first place. It is afterall OUR film.

Please don't think I'm upset with Tim or Sandra - - no, no, no, they don't even know they've been asked to be in the film. They probably won't know because we'll have someone sign up soon simply because the movie is too strong, too inspirational, and too rewarding NOT to be a part of it...I feel sorry for them actually. They could miss out on the role that sets them aside for being big-hearted animal-loving people with a personal belief for special causes not only relating to our military, but to injured and wounded soldiers who have returned without dreams of a good future for themselves. FAITH makes the difference in some of these REAL soldiers' lives. I've seen it at Walter Reed Army Medical, and at Veteran's Hospitals. I've been there. I've held their hands, I've listened to them tell their doctors MORE, much more than they would have told them - - simply because an amputee dog is sitting beside them in therapy!

I never thought I'd say it, but Texas ain't all that bad really - - not when you weigh your options. Sandra, Tim, e-mail me if you want the script! We aren't funded yet, maybe you can change that too to help your agent out a little.

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