The Proposal

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Where: A Restaurant

When: July 21, 2012; Evening

What: Zan takes his movie idea to Celia Crain to take her up on her offer of funding production.

The call may have come as some surprise. An unfamiliar number attached only to the city. However the caller would have been fairly familiar. If only by name. It wasn't exactly a social call, though, with no real reason for Zan to engage in idle chat with Celia Crain. There was a purpose: his movie. With forming an idea just a couple days before, notes hastily scrawled onto a few pages, he felt more comfortable taking the next step. Even though the next step involved actually meeting with the woman.

One of the smaller dining establishments was suggested, a place of quality, but locally owned and drawing less tourist attention. Zan, while not dressed for any kind of business interview, was at least cleaned and groomed, in blue jeans and a button down shirt, and of course his jacket and backpack. He'd arrived early enough to secure a booth for two, even taken liberties to have glasses of water and a small dish of lemon wedges waiting. And a portfolio sits on the table in front of him, fingers idly if nervously brushing against the bottom edge while he waits.

Unlike the younger Crain, Celia arrives without entourage or fanfare. Name is given and an impeccably dressed older woman is soon seated opposite Zan with as little commotion as possible before she smiles at him, offering her hand up to Zan. "Mister Caldecott. I must admit to surprise when it was relayed to me that you wished to speak with me. I had been expecting your father to be the Caldecott requesting meetings." A purse is arranged beside her and the man who walked in with her, melts away into the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, not meant to be seen until he's needed.

It's with a little haste that Zan stands, most of the way, when Mrs. Crain arrives at table. He accepts the offered hand, giving it a small, polite shake along with an almost mumbled word of thanks as he sits again. "Ah, yes, ma'am. Well, I don't know what my father's up to these days besides working and campaigning. But I… had hoped to… ask you to reconsider your offer." He hesitates, just briefly, gaze flicking to the folder in front of him before pushing it just to his right. "But… Um, first. Dinner? Anything you'd like, please."

"Reconsider my offer? You mean the one I offered up on the platter to you and have never taken away therefore there's only a need for you to reconsider my offer young Mister Caldecott." There's a gesture for the menu from the waiter, glancing at the offerings. "Why don't you choose for me Zan. May I call you Zan? Please, call me Celia."

He isn't entirely put at ease, caught staring with some small lack of understanding before he manages a breathy laugh. Which is followed shortly by swallow of water from his glass. "I… yes, certainly. Zan is what I prefer to be called anyway. Ah…" Order? For her? He looks up at the waiter and then to the menu he's given. Not usually the Caldecott boy's fare, but he makes due selecting a couple of grilled chicken dishes for himself and his dinner partner. "I've been considering it a lot," he admits, once the orders are given. "Rylie came up with the idea while we were tossing around ones I'd written out."

"And naturally you thought of my offer." There's a nod of approval to the dishes selected, passing it over, a request for a drink. "Make your proposal. If I approve, if it piques my interest, then we'll see how it goes from there." Celia leans forward, forearms on the table and waiting.

Skipping the pretense of eating might be easier, and so Zan pulls the folder back to him. "What I'm working on, right now, is a small horror film," he says as he opens the folder. The papers inside, all hand written, notes scratched out and words changed, aren't entirely turned for Celia to see. But it's enough to make out a compiling of ideas. "Most of this is Internet research, addresses of supposedly haunted sites around the city. But the storyline is fairly simple. A film student begins work on a slasher flick about a local urban legend, only to have that legend start haunting production."

The notes, what few of them that she can see makes her smile a fraction. "Not even took the time to type them up and make them more presentable in your eagerness. I presume that you are aiming for a short film, or standard? Have you thought up a budget?" She gestures to the sheets of paper.

"I'll type up the first draft of the screenplay," Zan promises, quirking a somewhat embarrassed grin for his note taking. "Just easier to put things on paper and not worry much about keeping a document file open, switching back and forth between screens." He pauses to consider, gaze staying on the papers in front of him for a long moment before he turns them so Celia can look them over. His writing isn't terribly neat, but mostly legible, and details are missing but the story seems to pull ideas from various urban legends from around the city.

"Longer than a short film," he answers after giving it some thought. "Possibly shorter than a feature. It's… hard to say, without a script. I haven't thought up any numbers yet. But I plan to film around here, use local talent. Which will save on fees some."

"You can have a hundred thousand. Oscar winning movies have been made for less than that. I won't need to see a script, I couldn't tell you what would be good or bad, what would win anything, if anything. Besides, sometimes in matters like these, one needs to trust those that know better and in this case, I feel you are a far sight better qualified than I am," she points out, smiling to the waiter when her scotch on the rocks is brought out. The notes though, are taken in hand and looked over, a frown for penmanship.

While he's obviously stunned by the exorbitant offer, Zan has the grace to keep his mouth from hanging open. His eyes remain fixed on his notes, every self deprecating comment he can think of regarding his skills, to counter those compliments, come to mind and have to be shelved again. "I don't know what to say," he manages when the waiter leaves again. "That's… very generous, Mrs. Crain. I… Thank you. This is… Thank you, very much."

"That is enough thank you's. If you should use less than that, then you have enough for a second film. But there will be no more than that. So do not get so overzealous that you will go over budget. I am indulgent to a certain point only," she cautions. She passes back the notes. "I, of course, expect the first screening yes?"

"Y-yes, ma'am." Zan may be caught staring now, his expression a mix of disbelief and humbled excitement. "Second film," is repeated, as though he hadn't considered anything beyond a first. And it's a minute or two before he shakes himself out of his thoughts and back to the present. "Of course. Definite, Mrs. Crain. With the budget and the first screening. Certainly."

"Now, shall we diverge from business and get to the act of eating? Before you are gobsmacked furthermore and are unable to talk to me without kissing my hand between each bite?" Celia smiles, even as she folds her hands in thought. "You shall have to tell me over our meal what other movies you might have in mind."

"I don't have anything definite in mind for a second film," Zan says as he flips the cover his folder closed. His tone slowly shifts away from shock and awe to thoughtful musing. And as he speaks, their meal is brought to table. "Depending on the success of the first, I might try another horror. Sci-fi can pretty easily be done on a small budget. Maybe a fantasy adventure. I can probably fudge special effects with the few programs I have."


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