Chapter 3: The Manuscript’s Influence Hasn’t Changed
Today was still a normal day. There were no surprises or losses. The skinny George Wales kept grumbling in his heart, as he came out from the conference room. He felt like a giant failure as the team leader for the editorial department of the Touchstone Films company under Disney. From the time he’d taken up this position, they haven’t produced any films that had a great impact.
This couldn’t actually be blamed on him. Regardless of how you put it, the main focus of Disney’s film and television entertainment company was on animations. The company was only set up in the year of 1983, and had then been divided into television shows and films. Sharing the same history, comparing Hollywood and the seven great film companies, there were still some differences between them. Even if they’d produced a few rather good films in these years, such as the movie version of the Little Mermaid, Three Men and a Little Lady, Who Framed Roger Rabbit etc., their influence could be said to still be very small.
“Mr. Wales, Mrs. Meyers Is currently waiting for you outside the office.” the secretary miss called out to him at this point.
“Nancy? When did she get here?” George asked in a rush.
“About fifteen minutes ago.”
“Still good, it hasn’t been too long, but if God is willing to hear my prayers, maybe there’ll be a surprise for me today.” George busily headed towards his office.
When he pushed the open the doors, he saw Nancy Meyers sitting at his bureau desk and reading a book. Her usual grey work clothes made her appear very competent. There were quite a lot of independent filmmakers in Hollywood, but there were only a handful of female indies out there. Moreover, Nancy was a producer and a screenwriter in one. And her husband, Charles Shyer, was also a film director. Although the husband and wife didn’t really count as the best of the best, they still held relatively high standards. This year, they produced the world wide distributed Father of the Bride and received a pretty good box office success. Now, she had come to him, perhaps carrying a pretty good script that she wanted Disney to invest in.
“Sorry, Nancy, hope I didn’t keep you waiting for too long.” George greeted. He, Nancy Meyers, and her husband Charles Shyer, could be counted as old acquaintances.
“Of course not, it’s only been a God’s minute.” Nancy quipped, closing her book.
“You’ve really left me with no way to respond to that.” George shrugged and sat down on the spot. “Got any good scripts for me?”
“Okay, you know what George, you’re looking about as impatient as an Indian hunting cattle ready for winter.” Nancy shook her head and smiled.
“Don’t tease me, Nancy, don’t you know about my difficult circûmstances? I’ve been devoutly praying every day, but evidently God is taking a holiday every day.” George helplessly spread out both hands.
“Okay, take a look at this.” Nancy retrieved a parcel of papers from her briefcase and handed it over to him.
“What beautiful writing,” George praised, and began to read carefully. Very soon, he became intrigued, nodding his head at times, and giving off one or two knowing chuckles. In the end to make ends meet, he spoke, “Quite good, although it is still a romantic love story, it is still ingenious, from the perspective of little girls, it is very interesting, is this your new work?”
And then he gave his head a pat and laughed as he spoke, “No, that’s not right, this isn’t your handwriting, and the way the scenes are divided up isn’t strict either, are you training up a new person?”
“To be honest… how should I say it, take a look at this then.” Nancy handed over another several pieces of paper to him.
George doubtfully accepted it. The writing on this paper was the same as the one before. He couldn’t help but read it aloud in a light voice, “Dear Mrs. Meyers, I am a loyal fan of your movies, I really enjoy your films. Regardless of whether it is Baby Boom or Father of the Bride, or Protocol, in which you were the screenwriter, they all made me and my family feel the joyous laughter and warmth. I believe you are a gentle missus, if there is a chance I would really like to meet with you. Below are the ideas that I have spontaneously come up with in a flash, I’ve written them into a manuscript, if you like it then make it into a movie, if you don’t then please put it in your collection, this also counts as a gift from a movie fan. Angela Mason.”
He finished it in one breath. George scratched his head and swung his arms, as if he didn’t know what he should say. A long while later, he looked at Nancy and spoke, “Then does that mean, this script… is written by a fan of your movies, correct?”
“From the looks of it, it must be so, yes.” Nancy shrugged.
“How interesting is this, this is the first time I’ve seen a script being delivered to a producer. Can it be this missy has never known the steps in the production of movies?” George couldn’t help springing into a smile.
“That might not be so,” Nancy sighed, passing a letter to him, “Take a look at the address.”
George’s brows wrinkled slightly. He took it over and looked at it, very soon revealing a face of disbelief, “128 Blanket street?!”
The vehicle slowed to a halt on the road. A man and woman got out of the car. The woman was approximately forty years old, wearing a grey work uniform which made her look very competent, and the man looked to be about thirty years old. His suit was pencil straight, even though he had a very skinny build, he still managed to look very spirited. These two were Nancy and George. George placed a hand to his forehead and surveyed the area. At last, his sight fell onto the gates of the Mason family villa that stood not far away from them.
“128 Blanket street, top grad residential area,” he mumbled a sentence, then looked towards Nancy, “Hey, I say Nancy, you sure that missy who sent you the script lives here?”
“My dear George, we’ve already went over this inside your office. I believe that regardless of you or me, we haven’t yet reached the age where we have poor eyesight.” Nancy smilingly said.
“Fine fine, now I can almost be certain, this script must have been written by some rich family’s missy after she had nothing better to do,” George shrugged, “Although the writing’s great, it’s just all too unexpected.”
As the two discuss, they arrived at the doorway. Pressing the loud doorbell, very quickly, the voice of a female came through the intercom: “Hello, this is the Mason Family. May I ask who you are looking for?”
“Greetings, may I ask if Angela Mason is home?” Nancy asked.
There was a short delay before a reply came, “Please wait for a moment, okay.” And then there was the sound of running. Nancy and George exchanged a look of confusion, then spread their hands out at the same time to show their bemusement.
Very soon, the speaker at the door transmitted that girl’s voice again. “Please come in, the madam is waiting for you at the entrance.”
Madam? Nancy and George exchanged another look. Seems like the lady who wrote this script turned from a rich family’s missy to a rich family’s missus.
With the opening of the gates, the two people passed through the overly beautiful garden and arrived at the front of the mansion. The large marble fountain placed at the center of the grass sparkled like magnificent jewels beneath the sunlight. It could be seen that the master of this place had great taste in decoration.At this time, a female with a royal aura was already waiting for them by the entrance, reaching out a hand towards Nancy.
Nancy was surprised by the female’s aura while courteously shaking her hands and spoke, “Hello, Mrs. Mason, I’m Nancy Meyers, independent film producer.”
George also followed and went forth to shake hands, “Hello, Mrs. Mason, I am George Wales, the team leader of Disney’s movie screenplay editorial team.”
Mrs. Mason gave her eyebrows a small wriggle, a sliver of surprise flashing across her eyes, but she quickly covered up her emotions and made the gesture inviting them in. “Please come in.”
After arriving at the living room and being invited to sit as guests, Nancy and George were secretly taken aback once again. From the looks of the decor in the living room, it all displayed the master’s tastes. They couldn’t help but begin to err, the lady in front of them should be a successful person, how could they have the mind to write a script? And at this point of time, Mrs. Mason smiled and asked, “Coffee or black tea?”
“Black tea, thank you.” said Nancy.
“Coffee, thank you.” This was George.
Mrs. Mason gave a look to signal the housekeeper beside her, and soon after, she brought forth a tray upon which were two pots of differing heights and three cups. The high-opening mouth of the spoutless tin pot held, of course, coffee; meaning that the rotund silver pot was filled with black tea.
“This is authentic Chinese Lapsang Souchang black tea, the richness of the pine in it makes it a fitting drink for afternoon tea. My husband and I are both quite fond of it.” Mrs. Mason smiled as she poured the black tea and coffee for her guests. Then, she added a bit of milk and sugar to her own cup and gracefully took a sip.
Nancy grew more and more puzzled, and unlike George, after many years of film making she had clear eyes. This villa, from the arrangements, to the silver teapot, all, without exception, displayed the owner’s status and aesthetic taste. How could someone like this have such a vivid and romantic writing style? On top of that, how had they written her such a passionate letter??
George, who was getting impatient by now point set down his glass and began to speak: “Mrs. Mason, it’s like this. Ms. Nancy’s already had us look over the script you sent to her. Honestly speaking, it’s very good, so we decided to invest in it to make it into a film. We hope we can receive your consent. Anyway, since you aren’t a professional screenwriter, but a newcomer, the price may be a bit lower, probably about $40,000.”
Mrs. Mason couldn’t help but to slightly wrinkle her brow, apparently somewhat puzzled, causing George to hurriedly explain: “This is the usual practice, Madam. $40,000 for a newbie screenwriter is already quite a high price. Even if you were at David Copperfield’s level, it’d still be like this.”
“I’m very grateful for your explanation, Mr. Wales,” Mrs. Mason serenely stated, “But I think there must be a misunderstanding.”
She gave a small smile: “Let me introduce myself. I am Elena Margaret Mason, humble chief designer of Price’s Fine Jewelry. Angela Mason, is my daughter.”
Confronting the two people’s amazed faces, she quickly added on another sentence: “And she is turning eleven this year!”