entry locked until 10.19.09
7:33 PM, Wednesday, August 5th, 2009:
There are several moments in your life when you become aware of character transition. Today sure as hell feels like one of those moments. I'm not the man I was in 2000, and I'm still not sure if that's good or bad. But this was one unbelieveable day.
Not only does Josh know Jim personally, he knows everyone at Comedy Central - they hang out all the time in and out of work. They have done business with them forever, 3 Arts Entertainment is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge Management/Production company and simply put, they are the comedy world. Executive Producers for 30 Rock and The Office, and are involved in seemingly everything comedy-related. He asked me my story and seemed incredibly interested. He then threw me for a loop:
"Weller/Grossman shouldn't have put up their own money, it should come from Comedy Central"
Woah. So they were right. Josh said however, they should've negotiated that with Comedy Central from the beginning. They knew the type of things I did, and what I would need (or at the very least should have asked). And this is where he nailed it - I mentioned the 4tvs IN the meeting as well as right after we got out. That they'd be onstage with me, etc. Clearly they knew some production and planning was involved. They never said another word about it until August.
Josh looked at my stuff and really got a feel for the characters, how they differ from other performers that do multiple characters. He totally got the "show within a show" concept for the Comedy Central show and was also interested in pitching a different sit-com type show to NBC. I explained to him that I knew of a way to do a 3 camera shoot with The Egos (never been done before) that I thought would blow people away, and his ears perked up. It was clear he was feeling me out, and spent well over an hour with me. Something that has never happened to me with a company of their stature. Halfway through he stopped and said he wanted to go get his boss to hear all this. At which point I whipped out the camera:
My goodness there's a lot going on in that video for 9 seconds. I know what's happening. I know there's interest, I know they're going to call Jim at Comedy Central and see if they can't intercept this. Then come back to me with some sort of offer of a budget, etc. and as you can see in the video - I'm excited...
...but it means Weller/Grossman, the people that got me into Comedy Central to begin with, get the shaft. Not that they've made it really easy to stay loyal, but no matter - it's a slimey move. It's as grey ethically as you can get. And that isn't lost on me at all. Even sitting in that room felt like cheating on them.
His boss is just going into a meeting so we just sit and shoot the shit some more. He says not to worry, I won't lose Jim over this. He asks me if I could produce the whole thing by myself for $10,000 and I said yes. And he shook his head as if to say:  "Don't worry about it" and I just nodded. I made it clear how concerned I was about Weller/Grossman and wondered where I could include them in this and he said I was risking the pilot not being picked up if I bring on too much weight. Meaning, if a network is looking at the budget and sees a chunk going to 2 people that are adding absolutely nothing, it could hurt your chances. It happens a lot in this business where the "entourage" so to speak weighs down the entire thing. I know he's right, but it was kickin' my ass while I was sitting there. He said:  "Listen you've worked your ass off to get here, you need to do what's in your best interest." He didn't say it exactly like that, in fact I'm certain that as long as I live I'll never forget the exact words he used, but the sentiment was the same. What doesn't help you, hurts you. And yes, they did make a phone call to Jim and get the meeting... but I can't forget that it's my content that is why we're here. Weller/Grossman knew that and jumped on-board. That doesn't mean they have the ability to take it to the next level.
A lot to process. A lot to fucking process. We waited as long as we could and eventually Josh had to get to another meeting, but he assured me he'd be in touch with Jim soon and this would all be worked out. He needs to figure out Comedy Central's commitment and then we'll go from there. It was an incredibly positive meeting, the like of which I've probably never experienced. But I was way too trapped in my conscience to really grasp it. I left...
...they validated my parking...
...and I went 2 blocks over to Paradigm to meet with Alisa about it. Lest you forget what this place looks like:
...it's unreal. As is a day where you come from 3 Arts Entertainment to here - and you're not just fucking site-seeing. To have actual business to attend to at places of this stature... fucking ridiculous feeling. So I told Alisa what happened, she was incredibly happy and she threw in quite a nice little point: "Your credibility with Jim at Comedy Central is gonna go through the roof when someone from 3 Arts calls on your behalf."
And it really hit me. It really hit me how it alllllllllllllllllll works. You know why 3 Arts can get that $10,000 in a heartbeat from Comedy Central, and Weller/Grossman was hesitant to even ask for a couple hundred for my make-up guy? Status. Status is why this shit gets made. You think this pilot doesn't get picked up with 3 Arts and Paradigm repping me? Knowing how good it's gonna be? The chances are astronomically better. The production company really matters. Comedy Central is comfortable with what they know, it's much less of a risk, and ya know - it's one thing for my agent to call all-day Friday and Monday and not get an answer - what happens when Comedy Central does that?
As a business decision, there is barely any grey. But I'm sitting here tonight feelin' pretty slimy. Weller/Grossman is the only reason I got in the door at Comedy Central and they're gonna get fucked over. 3 Arts wouldn't have sat with me for 90 minutes without Comedy Central. In fact, they would've treated me exactly the way Mangement 360 did in November. 10 minutes, and a polite pass. <shakes head>
An incredibly busy afternoon. An incredibly huge character moment.