March 25, 2015
Well. I have no photos for a write up of a Ron Meyer event I went to. I looked around on Twitter and Google and saw no one really talking about it. Where we not supposed to? When I do look, not too often about any of the things I do really. I find it odd. Anyway.
Here, real quick is how that started.
I usually ask for permission before the event. But this one was run by someone unfamiliar to me. I approached a group that looked in charge.
“Are you a student?” asked a woman.
“No—” My cousin is. She’s a freshman.
“Look at her, she’s a professional photographer.”
“I look like a professional photographer?” I looked down at my eight year old camera and faded dress that’s nearly as old. It’s not like I was sporting a telephoto L lens and Chanel. “I take them for myself.”
“Okay. Who are you?”
“I’m—a WME client.”
Mr. A. chuckled and said, “That’s not gonna help you here.” I understood protecting the panelist, but his tone seemed derisive. It ain’t fun being a nobody in Hollywood.
My expectations for the evening quickly calibrated, I rushed to refeed the meter—it only took an hour at a time. I ran into a man in the entryway.
I had looked up the speaker before the event, but he didn’t look like what I expected him to, if that’s who it was. He didn’t bark at me and so I studied him a second. He seemed nice. I was going to just ask, “Are you Ron Meyer? And if so, do you mind if I take pictures of you?” But decided if he was friends with the fellow inside, it would cause trouble, so not wanting to look stupid for not knowing if it was him, I apologized for nearly knocking him over and made my way out to the car.
When I heard Mr. Meyer was speaking at USC, what sparked my attention was that he worked at William Morris. I tend to think that’s cool. (I knew he was head of Universal Pictures, but that means little to someone at this point in my career.) But he’s not just any former WMA-er.
In 1975, five William Morris agents left and formed what would become their former employer’s chief rival. When I first got into the business, the idea of CAA was they were a monolith, less cozy than what used to a relatively familial William Morris. (It’s been different since the merger though and still in flux.) My boyfriend at the time came back from a meeting there one day bringing me back a while pencil with the red logo. He was right to guess that I would be intrigued by this artifact. l examined it, and tried to determine its environment before it got to me. “Do you know they call it the Death Star?” I asked.
But perhaps it is not quite the cold and corporate as painted. Or maybe it is, I have no idea! I do know, having only started to meet some former CAA folks, who’ve moved onto to other areas of the industry, they have made a generally good impression.
This is going to take too long. And I have too many photos I have promised to post.
Let’s see if I can give a short version. I identified with his immigrant parent, no fancy schooling background. I had read he used to get into some trouble sounds like, liked to shoot pool. (The latter of those I used to—I was mediocre, better at Vietnamese poker.) Anyway, people these days would probably write off someone like that. But he changed the trajectory. With a little bit of luck. Made his life into something. He was a sort of Gatsby. Or, a prequel anyway.
I want that. Every time I’m handing out one of my cards and making that awkward pitch. But don’t take it as me saying, Hey, peas in a pod. No.
Everyone there had their own ways of identifying with him. There were questions about agency life at CAA, Universal, questions about parks and movies, about his time in the Marines. While I think they did want to hear the answer, I also believe most just wanted some sort of connection. Proudly adding they were starting a job somewhere, or knew about something he was in charge of or someone he liked or liked him. Hoping for more.
He believes in his studio, its content and parks. There his sometimes offhand, casual tone drew an edge, flashing steely competitiveness underneath an amiable, almost chivalrous persona. Not a bad thing. And not uncommon in his ranks.
It must work. He seemed well-liked and the way he talked to everyone at the event, was winning. Interesting, gracious.
I was going to write about his advice for me, but I’m going to do that another time. I have another post ready to go then getting ready for tomorrow.
Gotta get up at six to San Diego in the morning for some acting workshops. Getting up at six is not a problem. Getting up at six and driving three and half hours to someplace I’ve not been is not a problem. Getting up at six and driving and trying to look pretty and charming and be an acting ace for a whole day which is entirely different from a booked job mind you is going to be interesting.