The Net

9 Jun

During a three-day conference in Acapulco, I took a long walk along the malecon, a couple of hours in the hot sun. When I arrived in the tree-shaded zocalo my fingers were pruney – like I’d been sitting in a bathtub too long.  During my walk I passed a bus shelter advertisement for Coca-Cola, depicting a cartoon duck strangling a female duck as a baby giraffe hatches out of an egg. A cartoon for a soft drink about a wife-beating duck and an adulterous duck that fucked a giraffe.

What does it say about me, that this advertisement will probably be my lasting memory of Acapulco?

The flight home from Acapulco was a comedy of errors. Instead of a direct flight, the day consisted of a seven-hour bus ride to Mexico City, a six-hour wait in the airport, a five hour flight to JFK and a two hour drive through pre-dawn Brooklyn.

After walking through the front door and calming down the dog I poured myself a Meyers on the rocks, booted up the computer and checked my e-mail. There was the Umzumbe Boys Deal Memo from Ground Zero. There was one problem, it bore no relation to the deal we agreed to. They were low balling us on the option money, not promising the rewrite, and adding in a clause that gave them automatic renewal of the option for an additional two years. Either they were confused, testing us, or not serious about the deal.

Throughout the weekend, the deal memo set off a lot of conflicting strategies among Tom, Michael and I. Tom wanted to tell Ground Zero that if the original terms weren’t agreed to, the deal was off. Michael is in a tougher spot – he needs a produced credit to remain a screenwriting instructor at USC. For me, any deal keeps me from eating crow in front of all my co-workers.

It seems too cruel to step back from a gate that is opening.

After more discussion, we decided to respectfully demand that Ground Zero honor the original deal. Michael and Tom have a meeting with Darius at Mentor tomorrow.

The ultimate decision will be affected by Darius’s opinion, and by his strategy for our script if we decide to walk away from Ground Zero. It’s important that Darius is behind the script – that he’ll make the necessary calls if we put Umzumbe Boys back on the market.

(2005)

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