GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Larry Masser

I have had only one formal agent during the time I've been active as a filmmaker. I'd always created my own work which obviated the need for 'job procurement' as such. That changed when my (Interview) series started attracting interest in the form of deal offers from A-list Hollywood producers. I had no idea what a story idea--the 'underlying property' as it would be designated in contracts--was worth. I felt I should get the advice and counsel of someone who did.

To that end, I short-listed some agencies that had standing in the industry and with whom I could work and communicate easily. I forget now which agencies were on the list but the Paul Kohner Agency and Stone-Masser were. I called them all saying that David Permut was making an offer on a story I had created and asked if they would like to represent me. Not one of them said no. In the end, I went with Larry Masser. He was an epicure, drove a black Corvette, lived on the beach north of Marina del Rey, was politically astute and could hold his own in just about any conversation with just about anybody. I liked him. He was also a partner in his own agency which I liked.

I think Larry enjoyed going with me to meet David Permut or Ron Koslov and it was nice being invited rather than having to knock on doors. Later, when Larry folded his agency to join the Agency for the Performing Arts--well known for its literary department--he graciously asked me to make the trip with him and I was happy to follow him. It was at APA that my first-look deal with Tri-Star was entered into. I don't think it is any exaggeration to say that it took nine months to negotiate the deal, which was complicated by the fact that it was tied to the stories that I was creating in the (Interview) series and had to take into account the possibility that some might be developed for feature films and others for television. Larry and his support at APA were very thorough, as was Tri-Star. At one point, I asked Larry if Tri-Star was really serious about doing the deal as so much time was passing. There was a pause on his end of the phone line where he must have rolled his eyes and made a face reserved for the idiotic pronouncements of a not-too-bright offspring who had overstepped. "If they didn't want to do it, we wouldn't still be talking," he told me with a maximum of forbearance. He was right, of course, and the deal was finally executed.

The post script to the story comes some while later when David Permut, who had arranged for the deal with Tri-Star to happen, realized that he had not been included in the contract. David, who had deals, blind deals and production deals all over town, had been left out of the equation. So it was that Larry received a phone call from David who tells him he has been left out of Stephen's Tri-Star deal. In the driest possible way that would have bested Wodehouse's Jeeves, Larry Masser responds with, "What do you want, David?" "I want to be included on the deal," says David, or words to that effect. After a pregnant pause, Larry tells him, "We can do that."

That brief exchange between the two men is how I remember Larry Masser--bright, sharp as a tack and not above pulling the leg of a mega-bucks, Hollywood producer who, it seemed, was momentarily over a barrel. A good fellow to have on your side.

I recently enjoyed having lunch with Larry at a restaurant he suggested saying, "You never know who you'll run into there." Only three tables were occupied in our section. A gentleman at one of the tables kindly snapped our photograph. Seated at the other table was Mick Jagger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice, Stephen.

Thank you.