My agent was short and well-connected. He was bald, badly-dressed and had a Napoleonic complex larger than Toulouse. He scared off a lot of writers.
“That’s s—,” being his favorite assessment of anyone’s work or ideas.
For some reason, I liked him. For an altogether different reason he liked me – or rather my big- budget, action adventure script. He once put his hand on my shoulder. I believe it was affectionate.
He wore a baseball cap. (They all did for a while.) He scuttled a deal on one of my screenplays by trying to glum on as producer. (They all did that for a while too.)
I used to put our conversations on speaker for anyone else present. Just so they’d believe me when I told the stories.
In that spirit, I recreate below a phone conversation. It’s as close to verbatim as I can get. That is to say, I’m not making this up. Why would I? This truth being somewhat stranger, cruder and more clichéd than fiction.
The agent’s name has been redacted to protect the innocent, which would be me. Also, the agent is extremely litigious.
The Phone Call
David: Hi Agent, it’s David. How are you?
Agent: Know how many David’s I know?
David: Hogan. Your client? The one whose screenplay you were all excited about.
Agent: The f— you callin’ me for?
David: You called me.
Agent: No, I didn’t.
David: On Friday, you did.
Agent: It’s Monday. Three f—ing days go by and you call me!
David: I didn’t get your message until Friday night. I thought if it was really important you’d call back, otherwise-
Agent: -I wouldn’t call if it wasn’t important.
David: Not to see how I’m doing? I’m hurt.
Agent: F— that. Hold on…
Papers shuffling in background. Mumbles. A phone ringing in the distance. Eventually…
Agent: B—– wants to read your script. He’s an a—hole, but can get a movie made. Why didn’t you call me sooner?
David: Why didn’t you remember?
Agent: Weren’t you supposed to change the location? You finish that yet?
(Note: The agent had requested that I change the location. He thought it’d be easier to raise international financing if the screenplay was set in a large European city.)
David: I’ll have it by the end of the day.
Agent: That’s why you’re my favorite client. The rest are all s—, believe me.
David: I bet you refer to me like that when I’m not on the phone.
Agent: Not to your face.
David: I’m rehurt.
Agent: F— you. When you’re done, send it directly to B—–@BigProdco.com. Write that down. Put my name and the title in the subject line so it’ll get through and ‘cc’ me.
David: Isn’t it your job to send it?
Agent: Won’t be here. Send it … and stay in touch.
B—— the a–hole passed on the screenplay, which remains unsold.
The agent still hasn’t grown hair … or taller.