Script Coverage Chronicles – May 2021: A Conversation With The Producer of Pretty Woman


I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with Gary Goldstein, a billion-in-revenues producer with a unique perspective on networking in Hollywood.

 

Like me, he was once a lawyer who wanted a more fulfilling life. He found himself in L.A. with no idea how the film biz ticked, and yet he somehow networked his way to a blockbuster career.

 

His movies have garnered Oscar noms.  He’s worked with Hollywood royalty.  He’s pretty much done it all.

 

That’s impressive enough in the abstract.  But the thing that really gets me about Gary is this:  

 

He says he used to be an introvert.

 

And what he has to say I think every introvert writer needs to hear.  

 

Gary’s Latest Endeavor

 

Among many other things, Gary is a teacher and a coach, and lately he’s been working with screenwriters – not on craft but on the business of Hollywood.

 

This strikes an emotional chord with me, for a very specific reason:

 

A few years ago, I suddenly found myself armed with a professional team: multiple agents, a manager and a lawyer.  I was sent on a slew of meetings with producers and creative execs.  And – as I’ve recounted in several of my previous blog entries – I didn’t have the slightest clue how to proceed.

 

I made a million mistakes.  I squandered all kinds of opportunities. 

 

I look back at that time, and I ask myself why I struggled so much. 

 

In part it’s because, like Gary, I’m also an introvert at heart.  I never wanted to spend time networking.  I just wanted to sit and write.

 

Gary has an odd way of making a person feel like being honest, and I told him how I had been overwhelmed by the idea of interacting with the “business people.”  

 

Gary had two reactions.

 

One was that writers so often have this sense that the business people carry around machetes, ready to chop out the hearts of new writers. And that’s just not true.  

 

His second reaction was:  Of course you were overwhelmed.  You didn’t have a plan.

 

A Specific And Precise Plan For Success

 

In Gary’s Master Class (creativeedge.com), he works with screenwriters to create a personal business plan, with specific daily and long-term goals.

 

Anyone thrown into any new industry without an understanding of how it works is going to feel at a disadvantage – overwhelmed even.

 

Nobody ever took the time to lay it all out for me – what steps I was supposed to take.

 

Gary has compiled a complete set of strategies for every single step in the process: the cold calling of assistants, the right way to query, working with reps and the various ways to build the network every writer needs.

 

He genuinely believes that, with the right approach, anyone – even the most inward introvert – can consistently “wow” people when networking.

 

Really?  Anyone?

 

I had to push him on that.  

 

Anyone?

 

Yes, anyone.

 

He’s certain of it.

 

And here’s why:

 

It’s not about being the most captivating person, or the funniest or even the most talented. 

 

It’s about being willing to put yourself out there in front of the industry – and to do so in a way that’s honest and human.

 

If you’re nervous on a cold call, say you’re nervous.

 

Be vulnerable.

 

Be real.

 

According to Gary, so few writers manage to do this that actually doing so will in fact consistently wow people.

 

And anyone can do it, if you find the courage.

 

It’s not comfortable.

 

It may in fact be very uncomfortable at times.

 

Miles outside your comfort zone.

 

But Here’s The Thing About Comfort Zones

 

I have an idea of what many of you are thinking, something like:

 

No way. That’s just too painful.  I’m in my comfort zone for a reason.

 

A passage from one of Gary’s books, Conquering Hollywood, provides the perfect response:

 

“The very words comfort zoneare a lie, a dangerous lie.  It’s the place where you settle, where you embrace your lesser self, smiling on the outside and riddled with insecurity and lack of fulfillment in your heart and your soul.  Your soul’s purpose fades from neglect.  Many opt for this phantom comfort so they won’t feel threatened, only to find – usually when it’s too late – that was the single biggest mistake a person can make in this lifetime.”

 

Don’t make that mistake.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Gary, check out his website: 


www.creativeedge.com