We've Got Hollywood Covered

Playing the ‘Hollywood Game’ Game

You probably get dozens Twitter messages a week asking you to join somebody’s mafia. Game play may seem nothing like a pitch meeting, but ….


They call it “The Game.” As in “You have to know how this Game is played.” But what if they really wanted to make a real game out of Hollywood and give us yet another way to waste time on Facebook/Twitter/MySpace. (The Movies doesn’t count!)
What would it look like? What popular game would it emulate? And would it really resemble the real Hollywood/L.A. scene.
Mafia Wars
One of the most popular network games. If you’re like me you probably get dozens Twitter messages a week asking you to join somebody’s mafia. The basic game play may seem like it has nothing in common with a pitch meeting.
Buying weapons and armor and using them to rip off the Armenian mafia doesn’t sound like something you read about in the Hollywood Reporter. But there are a few similarities.
In Hollywood your weapons and armor are the internships and assistantships and reader jobs you’ve done. You need a certain combination of those before they’ll let you on bigger, more expensive jobs. Instead of building bars and casinos to make money, you write screenplays or work on directing projects to get you noticed (hopefully).
The constant danger of being robbed and your properties stolen, that’s 100 percent accurate. But what really makes Mafia Wars like Hollywood is that the more people you know and can get to join you the more powerful you are. The extroverts rule, the introverts tend to sink.
The big stress reliever. After the day has ground you down there’s something very relaxing about logging on and watching your pineapple crop grow.
As such, there’s nothing even remotely like Hollywood in this game — with the one exception in that it is vegetarian. You raise animals but not for meat. Even the pigs are used to collect truffles. It’s not Vegan because you do collect milk and eggs, but it’s pretty close.
And you do get to build super expensive villas in the later rounds complete with swimming pools.
And some farmers show off a tendency for landscaping in their farms.. which really makes the bigger ones look like a celebrity compound, albeit an eco friendly tree hugging compound.
No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em
If there’s one game that completely captures the movie business at this moment it is Texas No Limit Hold ‘Em, albeit a game played with nothing but what they call super tight super aggressive players.
Imagine the cards are projects and the players are the studios. Today’s studios will fold (pass) on everything until they are dealt pocket aces or pocket kings (Michael Bay and "Grand Theft Auto"! Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis!) Then they go all in and throw every chip they have into the pot.
Usually that’s how people play in real life when they’re betting with scarred money, money they can’t afford to lose. I think that sums up the big studios today quite nicely.
Of course, once you change the stakes to fake online dollars, the game would loosen up considerably. That way you’d see players go all in on a Jim Jarmusch project starring Felicia Day.
Ah, if only.


Michael Lee is a novel writer, blogger and freelance journalist living in L.A. He's been a judge for the prestigious PAGE Awards and blogs about his two biggest passions, screenwriting and food, at Screenwriting Foxhole and To Cook and Eat in L.A., respectively. Lee is also a co-author of "The Insider's Guide to Screenwriting" and has just published his first novel, "My Frankenstein."