I only have to hold my breath for another sixty days. Not for funding, but to have the agreement with Producer 2 expire.
While a year-long agreement is standard, I will never enter into another one again. Six months with an option to renew for another six sounds good enough to me. I will also enter into the agreement on the day the person calls to say they want to do the project, not six months after. And, if I do sign any time after day one, I will back date the agreement to that time. Details. They are important, especially when you are talking time. Because, if I had done that, we would’ve been out of the contract back in August.
I will also not enter an agreement that doesn’t come with an escape hatch. By that I mean I should be able to fire you if you are lazy, incompetent, uncommunicative, misleading, useless, ineffective, unprofessional, or cause harm to the project. Now, having said all that, I am not at all implying that Producer 2 is or did any or all of those things. I’m just saying that I didn’t have a clause that gave me the power to terminate the agreement if the work someone was hired to do was not getting done.
I should also mention that I did have not one but two attorneys look over that agreement. They said it looked standard and my rights were protected. I was so in love with the BC team, I never asked the “what if” questions. I never thought about terminating someone if things didn’t go as planned because I never thought that would happen. I never thought that something as simple as a budget would get in our way. I guess you could say I just wasn’t thinking.
However, I would have thought that someone would ask for help with the budget if it became a problem, and that someone wouldn’t tell me everything was fine when I asked how the budget was going, especially if things weren’t fine and the budget wasn’t going. Optimism can blind you…and then turn around and bite you in the backside.
I was told that “these things take time” when I asked what was taking so long. And, because I’m typically a bull in a china shop with no patience, and have come to understand that no one will ever live up to my time lines, I tried to be zen about it. But, come on. I know how long a budget takes to complete, because I’ve done them…okay, that was back in film school, but I have done them. And, I do believe there is software for that now, right? And that it actually links up with FinalDraft to create the budget, correct? Not that it doesn’t take additional skill and knowledge to finesse the budget, but I think you get what I’m saying…no independent-low-budget-talking-heads-movie budget should take longer than two weeks to do. Seriously. I’ve asked around.
I should probably mention that my agent also reps “below the line”, which everyone involved was well aware. So, part of my ire is related to the fact that one phone call would have remedied any situation we were having with the budget. One little call. But all I was told was that things were fine and these things take time.
Can you tell I don’t like being placated?
Eventually, someone else had to come in and finish the budget and schedule. By that time, we lost our Director to another job…well, only temporarily. He get him back at the end of the month. And, thank God he’s loyal to the project because he is the perfect person to helm BC. To think it was a year ago he read the script. We can’t believe it’s been that long. I hate to think of an entire year wasted. But, sometimes, that’s just how it goes.
Perhaps 2009 wasn’t a complete loss, considering all that I’ve learned, especially in the last ten months. One thing I want to stress is that this isn’t personal. I understand that things happen and people make mistakes. (Hello? Who signed an agreement she wasn’t happy with?) The important thing is to take the lesson you are served and move forward with additional wisdom. Or, at least you can learn from my missteps. I’m thrilled that BC still has our fabulous D and the great P1, who is magic and dipped in gold…and has had to suffer the brunt of my frustrations, sometimes at volume 11. Poor, P1. What a saint. And now that 2009 and Hollywood comes to a close, I look forward to a fresh start in 2010…sometime around the third week in February.