Yesterday I had a table-read of a script I was hired to write. The purpose, obviously, was to hear the script out loud and see if there was anything that just wasn’t working – perhaps some clunky dialogue (in my script??) or scenes going on too long or passing too swiftly (in my script??). But wait, I need to back up just a bit.
The meeting was scheduled for 3:30. I got into the general neighborhood of the studio by 3:00 but decided to park a few blocks away and walk. (I’m the only person in L.A. who actually likes to walk. Seriously, I used to walk from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica and back, a 14 mile round trip, just for fun.) So anywho, I’m walking over to the studio and my cell goes off. It was my manager. Here’s our brief conversation:
ME: Hey, what’s up?
HER: Where are you?
ME: I’m walking over to the studio now.
HER: Are you trying to be fashionably late?
ME: Late? It was for 3:30.
HER: No, 3:00.
HER: We’re all here waiting for you.
ME: Yikes! OK, I’ll be there in ten minutes.
Now, you have to understand that I’m never late for anything. When I say I’ll be somewhere at 3:30, I’ll be there at 3:30. If for some odd reason I am late (abnormal traffic, nuclear attack, etc.), then I’ll call and let the other party know. But 99% of the time I’m there when I’m supposed to be. Anyway, I started jogging to the studio. Actually, I think running would be far more accurate. I got to the main gate, was waved through, and then did a swift walk across the lot to the producer’s bungalow. As I’m moving through the lot, I passed several security guards. Some were patrolling around in golf carts, some were directing traffic…and all I kept thinking about was how much I’d like to be out there with 'em. (For those of you who don’t know, I worked studio security at two huge movie studios for five years. I loved every minute of it.) But anyway...
I arrived at the bungalow, walked in, went to the large conference room…and found seven actors, three producers and my manager waiting. As I stepped in, everyone looked at me. “Well, look who decided to show up!” Nobody seemed genuinely perturbed, but still. “Hey, don’t blame me. I was told three o’clock.” So I took my seat and the reading began.
About 95 minutes later, the words Fade Out and The End were uttered, and a huge round of applause went up. I applauded right back. Those actors did a really good job. Then we all discussed the script. Some of the actors had questions about a few of the story points. Nothing major, just some things they had concerns about. I’ll admit, it’s a pretty trippy script and it’ll throw you for a loop. But hey, that’s what I want. That’s what my producers want.
Before leaving, all the actors came over to shake my hand and tell me how much they enjoyed the reading. Once the actors were gone, I sat with my producers and manager. We discussed some story points and ways to bolster them. I'm sure I can make the changes easily enough. (At least I hope so.) But my producers were very pleased with how things went. So was I.
And finally...when I got home last night, I checked my old e-mails and saw that I was correct – the start time I was told was definitely 3:30. Somebody obviously made a change and forgot to tell me. Typical, isn’t? The writer is always the last to know.