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The Pitch

Reading Variety at the Regency Wilshire following our pitch.

Reading Variety at the Regency Wilshire following our pitch.

How do you define a perfect moment?

It’s fleeting—or at the very most relatively brief. It’s unexpected. And it’s overwhelmingly clear in the present—not just recognized in hindsight.

When I finished pitching Syrah Syrah at the Napa Valley Film Festival I was relieved and just wanted off the stage, certain that the pitch would elicit some tough criticism.

The amazingly positive response and the “win”—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Nancy and me to go to L.A. and pitch our story to the execs at The Weinstein Company—propelled me into a state of a perfect moment.

I flew out to New York the next day and sitting on that plane I knew it was a moment to be savored. I smiled. I savored. I smiled. I savored.

I knew it wouldn’t last. I knew that rare perfect moments are time suspended between hard work and more hard work…time before fantasy gives way to reality…time when the potential for anything and everything is huge.

Mine slowly faded and was gone completely by the time I arrived in Los Angeles the day before Nancy and I were to present our pitch in longer form.

It was a totally new experience for us and while it was thrilling it was challenging. We struggled with how to create our pitch, which was a first for both of us. And we approached it as collaborators do: with different styles and different emotional investments.

On top of our already heightened emotions over the pitch, we were staying at the hotel where President Obama was also spending the night. The sheer number of police, secret service and dogs (pictured below as they headed into the tower to sniff for bombs) was as surreal as Nancy and I in LA to pitch our novel as a movie.

We spent the next 10 hours working on our pitch. By 10pm neither of us could keep our eyes open—neither of us had slept more than four or six hours a night since the pitch in Napa. Our pitch wasn’t ready but it would have to wait.

Until 4am.

I woke up and as if by a miracle it came to me. I started to get up to grab my computer and write it down before I forgot. Before my foot hit the floor Nancy bolted up.

“I got it,” I said.

We turned on the lights and started working.

Five hours later, we were ready to go—in dresses, make up on and jangled nerves masked by an eerie calm.

We passed Zach Galifianakis at the valet. The sun was shining. And we were on our way to the Weinstein Company, still pinching ourselves.

I had no idea what to expect. I was still in shock that we were there—something I could not have even dreamed up in my wildest imagination.

Nancy and I had always seen our book as a movie, but I had always imagined an agent of some sort pitching it for us.

Instead we entered the Weinstein Company offices, which were decorated for Hanukkah. On the counter was a bedazzled bottle of Moet & Chandon. A sign! I thought.

The president of distribution greeted us and we went into a conference room with a view of LA I’ve always loved—the north side of Wilshire Boulevard with its red roofs and greenery.

The vice president of production met us in there and without any pause Nancy introduced our pitch and I gave it, flubbing a few times.

Afterwards, the president of production arrived and the five of us chatted like friends just catching up. They all could not have been nicer and the experience could not have been more positive.

When it was over, they said they’d have an answer for us on Monday. Great, we said. Thanks.

Then we went outside, looked at each other and said, An answer? About what?!

Yes, we should have asked. But in that perfect moment it was enough just to be there.

When and what was your last perfect moment?

The dogs getting in to the elevators.

The dogs getting in to the elevators.



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    • Thanks, Heather. I thought of you when I was in L.A. Nancy and I met working together at Bon Ap and when I was there last week I couldn’t help think of the offices on Whilshire, my first visit and the last when I dropped off an open bottle of Salon for you.

      I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that your turkey and gravy were delish!


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