The Prosciutto brothers’ offer had a number of attractive features. My movie would get made. There was a reasonable probability that I would get my money back. I was promised, with JC, a measure of creative control.
Vancouver is a beautiful city. My cousin lives there and I have never visited. It would be an adventure.
This was a sure thing, while the alternative was unknown. Would anybody else bite on the movie? Would money come through? Could I assemble a team to execute on the vision? Did my project even have commercial potential or was I just lost in a cannabis fog?
Self-doubt crept in as I contemplated the offer on the table. Who was I to refuse an offer which guaranteed production of my movie at minimal risk? But there were negatives. Prosciutto would take all the upfront tax credits, putting very little of their own money at risk. I would be paid $15,000 for the screenplay, but that didn’t even cover my cash investment in consultants and marketing. Return of my principal was subordinate to theirs, and but I would receive a priority 15% return on investment from profits before the Prosciuttos scooped up the excess, if any. For someone who wanted to make a movie quickly, it was a great offer.
They agreed to let me sleep on the deal for a few days to make up my mind, and Voldemort encouraged me to counter any terms that I found unacceptable. I sent the offer over to Leia, who suggested I review movies in the Prosciutto Productions catalogue. The next few nights I bought movies online and watched the stellar Prosciutto productions, “Bloodsicle”, a vampire meets the Donner party, and “Fistful of Mercury”, boxer Eddie Mercury overcomes a crooked meter maid chasing him with a boot. But their biggest success was the controversial, “What Would Jesus Eat?”, a down-home comedy that turns Popeye on its head, challenging and confirming the virtues of a non-Kosher diet of ground beef patties and sweet cream. Their repertoire proved them to be technically proficient at telling a story. They used a range of capable actors, including some A-list Hollywood folks. A few of their movies had successful theatrical runs. But, in my opinion, there was no art there. Nothing that I would be proud to have my name on, anyway. It was… forgive me… tripe. Menudo.
The God Helmet was my baby, and I didn’t want to screw it up. I had one shot. One wad to blow on this deal and then I’m either in or it’s over. This was a business decision, but it was also a lucid dreaming decision. Do I follow the gnome with the cookie or stay on the thorny road to the rainbow? A rational person seeking the lowest risk would take the Prosciutto offer. The artist in me wrestled with the rationalist.
Making a movie is kind of like other businesses: it is built on relationships. Who you work with determines to a great extent your happiness in a job. Compatibility is required. The Proschiuttos were courteous and encouraging, but would I want TO WORK with them?
The offer on the table was tempting, but it was nothing like what I was looking for. Both Leia and I saw the Proschiuttos’ offer as failing to give me fair equity. It was my baby and my money! The Proscuittos were an ugly step-sister production company in Vancouver. I didn’t have to marry them. This was not a shotgun wedding. I would not go to bed with the Prosciutto Brothers.