Spoke to an entertainment attorney today. Los Angeles based. Recommended by my management co. A hotshot. Rising star. To my surprise, there are star lawyers. And that’s sort of how our first conversation felt. Like he was interviewing me. I’m new to this world. The novice. So I expect to feel evaluated by managers and agents, but lawyers?
He’d even read my script. Approved, I guess. Don’t think he would’ve even taken my call if not. Hadn’t thought of it before, but it makes sense. These Hollywood lawyers don’t charge hourly rates. They work on commission. Same as managers and agents (though lawyers take 5% not ten). That kind of flips things. These guys are invested. So yeah, they want to evaluate the goods.
Lawyer seems like a great guy. Young. Aggressive. Tapped in to the changing state of the business. Addressed my first questions before I even asked them. We agreed to move forward together. To hash out the option agreement for Script #1.
What I’m feeling a tad ambivalent about concerns another entertainment lawyer. A local lawyer buddy of mine. We met years ago. I his client. He moonlights as a writer, so we became social. Have coffee periodically. Talk writing. I’ve done some script reviewing for him, he’s done some contract reviewing for me. Free of charge. On both our parts; though admittedly, I was probably getting the longer end of that stick.
It’s not like we have a commitment to one another. Not formally. I’m pretty sure not informally either. In fact I always felt crappy about asking him to take a look at contracts for me. Because I knew he wouldn’t bill me. And because he’s so busy– Incessantly busy.
So I don’t think there’s an unspoken protocol to offer him this option negotiation. To offer him the real work. Billable work. I’m just hoping he would agree with that.
Manager made a solid case for LA based Lawyer. Said he’d have skills an attorney from outside Los Angeles just wouldn’t have. Relationships. A shorthand. Someone that sees writer’s agreements everyday. It’s true, Lawyer Buddy doesn’t mainly deal with writers. So Lawyer is who I’m calling up on this one. By far the largest step in my career.
What I’m waffling around in my brain is how to divulge my new relationship to Lawyer Buddy. Do I make a point of calling? Or do I just play catch up when it inevitably comes up? I figured you’d be pretty busy, buddy. Nothing personal.
The last time we met, he told me he was too busy to do a rewrite on this script of his. Needed a ghostwriter. Here it comes, I thought, payback for all the times he’d done me favors. But he’d already selected another writer. I didn’t feel slighted. And that’s the same sort of situation.
Are we friends because he’s been banking on me getting to this point? So that one day he could collect on a negotiation like this? On my future career? Or are we friends because we offer one another mutually beneficial skills?
Or are we just friends?
This is not my world. I don’t do human relationships. I only write them. Not sure how to proceed. I tend to overthink this sort of thing. I’ve underthought it enough times in the past not to.
If this were a script I’d have us meet for coffee. Then just blow up the café.