Sunday, May 18, 2008

More LA Stories

By popular request, and I mean request in the singular, thank you Jaded, another tale from the boulevard of broken dreams.

There are still some characters in Hollywood. Bob Kosberg is one of them. I first met him at a Pitch fest in the Hollywood Roosevelt. It was one of those that stank of desperation from the would be writer and a quick buck for the organisers, but I didn't know this. I was so green then that Carls Jnr could have stuck me in a bun and called me salad.

The guest role looked pretty juicy with some big name prodco's represented. I wasn't aware that mostly they were actually the relative prodco's assistant to the assistant's assistant. The Nodders of Wodehouse lore.

But Bob Kosberg was there in person. A legend in town as the super-salesman. He didn't really sell scripts, mind. He sold ideas. If you had a great idea, He could sell it. In fact even if your idea sucked farts from swans and he had a mind to he could probably sell that too.

The first thing I noticed about him was that he was a dead ringer for Ted Danson in his Cheers years. The second thing I noticed was he gave off a vibe of being a straight down the line guy. He said what he meant and meant what he said. A rarity in Tinsel Town.

He opened up his spiel by saying that if we had a good script or good idea he could sell it.
There's something to warm the old cockles as I grasped my page of log lines. But he then quickly added that if he did sell it we should be under no illusions. Our connection to the project would probably end then and there. No way would a studio trust a newbie to write a draft. The upside was that we could cry all the way to the bank with our 100k 'story by' fee and have a screen credit.

He told us how after years in Hollywood he was still struggling for his first 'producer' credit. The studios took the same line with him. Happy to buy his pitch, but no way were they going to trust him to produce the project. He got his first 'producer' credit by the following means:-

If you want this project I want to be the producer.

Studio Head
Bob, you don't know how to produce.

Ok, I'll settle for co-producer. I know how to co-.

And he got it. Chutzpah!

He once sold an idea called Meter Maids, a story about , well, traffic wardens. Here's how:-

It's called Meter Maids. Barbara Streisand and Goldie Hawn are giving out parking tickets when.....

Studio head

Anyway, if you have a high concept script or idea, check him out. He's one of the good guys.


Jason Arnopp said...

I've seen Mr Kosberg speak too, at the 2006 Screenwriting Expo. A likeable guy, whose basic concept seemed sound enough. He even gave the large room full of people his e-mail address. I wonder how many people sent him ideas. I never did...

English Dave said...

And he probably told the same stories, Jason.

Then again he's a salesman not a writer. lol

Jason Arnopp said...

He certainly had some glossy spiel. I'd say half his trouble is probably trying to convince people that his proposition isn't too good to be true!

English Dave said...

Too good to be true is right in most cases. Bob Kosberg can sell given the right product. You have have to look at his position. He's a great salesesman. No discernable talent apart from that, apart from the talent to spot something he can sell. But how many writers are great salesmen? It's a symbiotic relationship worth exploring for a writer with few real contacts at Studio level.

I wouldn't hype him if he wasn't kosher.

Jason Arnopp said...

Oh yeah, I didn't doubt the Bobster (as he's affectionately known to... uh, no-one, I expect) at all. He'd be especially good for people like a friend of mine, who continually comes up with great ideas, but can never be bothered to actually turn them into scripts...

Jaded and Cynical said...

Thanks for the reply, ED.

I've got this great idea about Keira Knightley and Jessica Biel opening a Volvo dealership together in Rotherham.

Maybe Mr Kosberg can help me get the sale.

English Dave said...

Jaded, make it Dodge's in Sacremento and you're golden lol