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.
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
Click photo to see example clips from Stephen's movies
Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...