Hollywood Bound and Gagged

Re: Joyce-ing in Tinseltown


Outside the meeting room, with its thick carpeting and glossy-topped mahogany table, Los Angeles throbbed and clanked in the summer heat, ten floors below.

Inside, the gathering at the table couldn't see the vista through the plate-glass windows; the blinds were drawn to keep out the scorching sun and searing heat, and the only noise was the faint hum of the air conditioning.

Seated around the table were a movie studio's Head of Production, his Assistant, a Director and a Writer.

The Writer was just finishing up his presentation, his 'pitch' for a proposed film: "...In this part, the atmosphere should be something like James Joyce's descriptions of Dublin --"

"Wait a minute," the Head of Production cut him off, putting down his double latte. "Who's this James Joyce?"

There was a long pendulous silence as the Director and Writer examined the Head of Production's face for any hint of sarcasm.

Breaking the deafening awkwardness, the young, California-blonde Assistant piped up, "Oh, he's that British screenwriter -- I think he's done some stuff for Miramax."

The Head of Production, possessor of an expensive college degree from a prominent American university, nodded his head in agreement, "Sure, I know I had heard that name somewhere -- he worked with the guy who made 'Lawrence of Arabia' or something."

The Director jumped in, "Maybe we should go on to something else." Turning to the Writer he said, "How about that animated sci-fi feature? You'll love this," he said, shifting back to face the Head of Production again, "It's like ‘Shrek’ in outer space."

"Sounds like a moneymaker," replied the Head of Production, "Let's hear it."

Ten floors below, the afternoon traffic crawled like ants caught in hot tar, and pedestrians prayed for a cool Pacific breeze to dry away the sweat on their brows. It was just another summer day in the entertainment capital of the world.