I had a great time yesterday at UCLA talking to visiting film students from the University of Miami about my "journey as a writer" (mostly on the 101 and 405 to get to the campus). It's always good to experience the enthusiasm and fresh perspective of those aspiring to work in the business - and it was wonderful to see my friend, Paul Lazarus, who runs the film program at UM, where I used to teach graduate screenwriting.
Paul, who is a former movie producer (Westworld and Barbarosa are among his credits) told me a tale of the high days of Hollywood in the 1980s, when - during a negotiation on a particular project - he received a call from a heavyweight (in every sense, including the Vegas-"connected" variety) show business attorney, who asked Paul, "Are you trying to screw my client? Do you want to wind up at the bottom of a lake?"
Paul - a former entertainment attorney himself (Mel Brooks was a client) - answered: "Are you threatening my life?"
To which the other attorney simply answered, "I have nothing more to say to you," and hung up.
Somehow I don't think studios like Pixar today engage in such dialogue with those they are negotiating with...but who knows?
Meanwhile, one of the visiting students, Rodrigo Diaz McVeigh, told me of a documentary he has directed called Havana Surf!, which is a mix of travelog and surf documentary following a group of young Cuban surfers around the beaches of that wonderful island.
As a visitor to Cuba twice myself, and a huge fan of its people and culture, I can't wait to see the film, which has already played at festivals around the world. Here is a link to its website: Havana Surf!