As we made our way through the Paramount Pictures lot to the licensing department Jim and I marveled at the hustle and bustle of the working movie/TV studio. When we walked into the licensing conference room we were greeted by our new friend Mr. Charles Myer and an army of other top Paramount executives.
All of that childish excitement had left, replaced with a lump in my throat and a sense of surreal disbelief.
“I can’t believe we’re here. How did this even happen?”
I thought to myself as we settled in for what was sure to a long meeting. But before the complex negations could start, per Hollywood tradition, the meeting started with a movie. Before we could hash out the details, Jim and I were treated to a twenty-minute highlight reel of Paramount Pictures biggest hits. As those celluloid images flashed by, Jim leaned over to me and whispered.
“I think they’re trying to win us over.”
I heaved a sigh of relief. This was too good to be true. But it was. It was truly happening. As the film ended and the lights came on we showed some samples and some photos of the kind of products we thought they could use for their project, but as the talks wore on it became apparent that what Mr. Myers and the rest were most eager to see was the our “Isabella Wall Mirror”.
Unfortunately, the mirror was not in attendance for this meeting, it being 24 x 48 inches, we had decided to leave it in Jim’s truck. But not missing a beat we decided to take our tinsel town friends on a little field trip to the truck. So we left the conference room and headed out. Now mind you, we were still on the Paramount lot, so as we made our way to the truck we happened to stumble upon the filming of a scene from a television show.
It was the ABC primetime show Dirty, Sexy, Money. And amongst the cast shooting that day was film-legend Donald Sutherland. Known for his roles in The Dirty Dozen, JFK, and The Hunger Games, now I had been a fan since I was a child and couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing an honest to goodness legend at work.
I tried to compose myself. I didn’t want to seem like a silly star-struck girl from Florida. But to my surprise, I wasn’t the only enraptured by the production. All of the Paramount folks looked on with just as much excitement and glee as I did. As we walked away and on towards the mirror, I asked one of the executives if seeing movie stars ever got old. He simply smiled and told me “no”.
When we finally made it to the truck and presented the mirror, you’d have thought that our audience was still watching Donald Sutherland at work. To put it simply, they loved it. They loved my image and our product and they really loved the mirror. With all the attention and praise I’ll be honest and say that kind of felt like a Hollywood starlet. Mr. Myers was pleased and so were we. On our way out of the meeting, I thought to myself,
“We’d done it. We’d done good.”
Mr. Myers told us we’d be in touch and he was true to his word. But as the saying goes, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” It’s true. There are factors in life that you just can’t control, try as you might. Reality had crept into our La La Land dream.
In the later half of 2008, as those of you who are old enough to remember, the economy started to ripple and fall apart. And like many people’s plans, the Paramount hotel idea fell apart in the midst of the chaos of the Great Recession. I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed. But the break up of the Paramount deal was just one of the many causalities of the economic downturn. And though we faced many challenges, many ups, and downs in the history of our company, I’ll always hold near and dear to my heart, that time I felt like a Hollywood starlet.
- From the desk of Isabella Adams