I'm back from the soul sucking state of California and man-o-man what a spectacular whirlwind of a trip! I'll try to capture the highs and lows of my second attempt at selling my wares in the "City of Angles". You read that right. I said angles, because if you don't have one, you ain't gonna make it baby.
Last Monday, March 23rd, after 4 weeks of preparation, I hopped on a jet and high tailed it to LA. I was pitching 2 shows this time out and had multiple meetings stuffed in my canon. I sat next to a very nice woman on the plane who talked to me the entire way, helping to hold my flight anxieties at bay. Thank you very much nice lady to whom I never asked your name. She was visiting her two sons, one an actor, and one an agent. Forming the perfect Hollywood sibling pair up.
After arriving at LAX I had to take a bus to the demilitarized zone where they protect the rental cars from the throngs of LA rebels/homeless people. This time out I got a Chevy Cobalt:
It wasn't the one pictured above. Mine was silver, which leads me to believe the Cobalt was named after a shade of blue for non-aesthetic reasons.
After leaving this Mad Max-ian post-apocalyptic area of LA, I plugged in my borrowed GPS, THANKS JO ANNE AND KEITH, and drove to my buddy Mike and Cathy's place in North Hollywood. They were gracious enough to let me crash there the first night.
I snapped this shot while on the way there:
You can't talk on the phone in your car in LA, but apparently it's cool to drive and take photographs.
Mike lives up the street from Universal Studios, which is great for him because he's a huge movie buff. I parked the Cobalt and we meandered up to the Citywalk. It's a free outdoor tourist magnet/capitalism shrine. It's just like Vegas, but no strippers, no gambling and no Carrot Top. Thank God!
We grabbed some food at a Mexican place and walked back to Mike's apartment. I was pretty wiped from the 5 hour plane ride. Mike has a huge collection of DVD's so I picked an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, sat on his couch, and promptly fell asleep. Mike prodded me awake with one of his action figures and made me go to my room.
The next morning Cathy made us breakfast and I had my first ever crumpet. It was so very nice of her to cook us breakfast and I wanted to thank her again. Mike had to go to work so Cathy and I took a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood across the street that was comprised of multi-million dollar homes. Leonard Maltin lives in the area as well as the Jonas brothers. All we saw was a bunch of Hispanic dudes fixing a driveway. It could have been the Jonas Brothers, I don't know what they look like.
I had two pitch meetings that day so I gathered up my belongs and made my way to them. On the way out I noticed a bizarre shrine in Mike and Cathy's hallway and snapped a photo:
Now that's a religion I could get behind.
After arriving in Burbank I gave my first pitch. In an attempt not to have to relive the pitch session, lets just say it could have gone worse, but not much worse. I'm just glad it's over.
I had about 2 hours to kill before my Nickelodeon pitch. I filled the time with second guessing, what if-ing, and bitching about the pitch to my wife on the phone. I grabbed some Greek food. Afterward I called my wife and told her what I had just eaten. My wife having much more fortitude than I, told me to buy some gum. Best advice ever, and something I never would have thought twice about. That's one of the many reasons I married her.
I drove to Nickelodeon and parked the Cobalt. I was an hour early, but luckily my buddy Ben Gilberg was at Nickelodeon sitting in on a recording session for the new Nickelodeon show he's working on. He let me sit in on the record while I waited. Ben's an old friend back from my Jimmy Neutron days. He's a great guy and an even better show producer. It was a lot of fun to watch the guys lay down the vocal tracks.
My pitch meeting finally rolled around. It was with the guy I pitched to last time. He's really great and that helped to dial down the nerves. The pitch went well and it felt good.
After the pitch I met back up with Ben. We decided to grab some beer and food. We talked and drank for a while, then Ben had to head back to the O.C.
Let me just preface the rest of my blog with this: I sat on the fens for a good while deciding whether or not to write about what happened next. But in the spirit of full disclosure I'm going to tell you what exactly happened next. Sam, this is for you.
Me and Ben parted ways. I got in the Cobalt and drove out of the Nickelodeon parking lot. I pulled over to the side of the rode to call my friend Ryan. He's my more than gracious host for the rest of my trip. I knew he was on a date that night and we were going to work out a key drop. I hated to call in the middle of his date, but I needed to get the key. I called and he said they were in a restaurant on the corner or 3rd and Wilshire. When I called, Ryan was in the middle of having to move his dates car. He sound perturbed which made my hypersensitive incredibly fragile emotional senses tingle. I hated to bother him and he was already ticked off. I wrote down 3rd and Wilshire and got off the phone as fast as I could.
At this point I started to realize that I REALLY had to pee. I was in the middle of nowhere, at night, in what seemed like a not to good part of town. On top of that, the GPS couldn't find 3rd and Wilshire. My bladder started to quiver like a bounce house full of 3rd graders. After finding a water bottle in the passenger seat, I pulled into a parking lot. At this point, all my rational reasoning capabilities were numbed by beer, being lost, having to pee, and not wanting to call Ryan back.
Here it comes Sam. I turn the car off, pour the rest of the water out, peer around to make sure no one was watching and whip off the pants. This won't be the first bottle I've whizzed into, and undoubted it won't be the last. I tilt the bottle down toward my junk as I lifted up in the seat in order to perform this tight rope act of bladder evacuation. Unfortunately not all the water had successfully been emptied from the bottle. It found its way all over my bits and pieces and the car seat below. This was a bit of a shock and it didn't help my state of mind.
I align all the correct holes and begin the process. Not unlike a surgeon or atomic scientist, a steady hand is crucial. Fearing overflow, I squeeze shut the stream with my extremely strong kegel muscles, pour out the full bottle making sure that all the liquid is evacuated this time around and start the process again. Dumping out the almost full bottle I sigh in relief.
I lower my ass back onto the car seat and it's greeted by dampness. I knew this was just the water that I baptized my danglers with, but the "Holy Shit I'm Sitting in Urine" side of my brain was punching the crap out of the logical side of my brain. Knowing that at some point I might be walking into a crowded LA restaurant, I didn't want to pull up my pants for fear of getting the back of them all wet. I figured, what the hell, I'll drive with my pants off for a while. Again, not the first time I'd done that either.
I pull out of the parking lot ready to drive to the restaurant. Everything is right with the world. I approach the first stop light and notice the car seems to be acting strange. I look down and the freaking check engine light is on. "Great!", I think, "My fucking rental car is going to break down while I'm not wearing pants in the middle of LA.
I pull into another parking lot. Pull up my pants and get out. I'm not sure why I did this now. I don't know anything about cars. I got out and looked at the car. As if looking at the car was going to give me some idea as to why it was running weird. My visual assessment over, I get back into the car and type Ryan's apartment into the GPS hoping to God the car will make it there.
It's a 20 minute drive. I call Ryan and tell him I'm just going to wait at his place. He says that's cool they are finishing up and the restaurant they are at is just around the corner from his place.
I arrive only having to wait about 5 minutes for Ryan. Getting into his apartment was what I imagine getting into heaven might feel like. Ryan has already transformed his couch into a bed for me. He turns on the tv and then gives me his key. Ryan leaves to continue his date and I sink into the couch.
I call the rental car place and get sent to a guy that sounds like a mechanic from Arkansas. He tells me to screw on the gas cap tighter to fix the problem. I do it the next morning and it turns out I am a mechanic after all.
That night, not wanting to have to even think about changing channels, I leave the tv on the channel it's on and watch the rest of what has to be one of the worst movie I've ever seen in my life Whatever it Takes. Apparently whatever it took was terrible actors, horribly written characters, no original plot points or any assemblance of a soul. Welcome to Hollywood Gibbons! This is your town now.
More trip to come...