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A tale of two cultures working together

Last week, I journeyed to LA to meet a group of TV/film people, find out what they are looking for in the way of new projects and tell them about many of the books we are representing which we hoped they would be interested in reading and ultimately optioning.  Often we work through a community of co-agents to get to these producers, but I always feel that meeting in person, when possible, cements a relationship.  Putting a face to a name is a good thing.

I hadn’t done this kind of trip in many years–film people come through our offices all the time–and I really enjoyed meeting all of these new folks.  The differences between our two cultures (book publishing and Hollywood) really struck me, though.

First and foremost is the fact that the people in the LA movie business are totally dependent on their cars–they need to drive everywhere as public transportation is very limited.

Another difference is that we in publishing submit our projects almost exclusively online.  Theirs, on the other hand, is a world of in-person pitches.  Co-agents meet with producers, directors and sometimes writers to pitch them projects.  We do almost all of this electronically. Here is a photo of a pool we sat beside to pitch a producer some of our books (not a bad way to do it, actually, except hard to accomplish in New York City).

Finally, the Hollywood folk spend a lot of time on the phone.  This is something we in publishing really try to avoid.  Of course, sometimes phone calls are necessary to describe a project we are really passionate about, and/or to begin or complete a negotiation, but most of the time we find it more efficient and, frankly, legally sound to keep our communications written.

The “publishing lunch,” though, is something the folks in the film business enjoy equally.  The difference between us is that we journey to our destination on foot, by cab, or subway, while they drive.  Here is a photo outside the CAA Headquarters where you can see a large number of valets who are on staff to park and bring up cars for those entering and leaving.

Bottom line, though?  I think this was a very productive trip in every way and now I am looking forward to digging in and sending out the numerous projects that the people we met with want to consider.

One Response to A tale of two cultures working together

  1. D. C. DaCosta says:

    Being a former Californian, I can tell you that most of your examples of differences are not symptomatic of a division between the film world and the publishing world: they are differences between New York and the Golden State.

    Californians drive. Because they love their cars. And because public transportation is very, very limited.

    You work via electronic media because the entire world comes to New York for what it wants. You’re probably dealing with folks in six different time zones. Nearly everyone who works in film in America is in L.A., so working in person is easy. (Of course, there are those who would suggest that they prefer to hear rather than read…because they can’t read.)

    I’m not sure about the “always on the phone” thing…but I suspect that Californians think they invented the mobile phone (maybe they did?) and so want to make the most of it.

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