Saturday, November 13, 2010

What’s in your rider?

Post By Trai Cartwright

While working in Hollywood, I spent more time as a development executive than on movie sets, so I primarily dealt with pre-production. I was all about the development process, working with the writers, and assisting with casting, location hunting and of course, contract administration.

At one point, we were in negotiations to get Sylvester Stallone into one of our movies. We didn’t have a big budget, and we were even shooting overseas to keep costs down. He did us a huge favor by agreeing to cut his salary by something like 80%. Score! We were in luck! And then we got his rider.

A rider is an adjunct to the contract that includes all the perks, staff and extras a star requires to be on the movie. His included three assistants, a personal chef, two trainers, his own wardrobe, hair and make-up person, plus the largest trailer made on the planet as well as a portable gym flown in from the US. The expenses on his rider were five times as much as his reduced salary, and one-third as much as the entire budget.

I was privy to plenty of riders, and could track a star’s cache depending on their list of demands (and it did feel like a hostage negotiation). I remember when Jim Carrey didn’t even have a rider, and I remember when his $20 million salary was augmented with a three page list that added another $10 to his asking price. Movie stars aren’t the only ones cashing in: www.thesmokinggun.com has a whole, equally astonishing section devoted to musician tour riders (JLo’s is not to be missed).

In reviewing some of these lists of hubris and luxury, I’ve decided that’s what my life is missing: a rider. So here’s a list of my requirements to guarantee my performance:

* A private bathroom attached to my office, each to be cleaned daily before my arrival; garbage is unsightly and can be a hazard (thank you, Elton John).
* One (1) case of Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite Zero on hand at all times.
* One (1) meat and cheese lunch platter, but NO ROAST BEEF and only Honey Smoked Ham, and no yellow cheeses.
* A laptop that won’t crash, with enough memory to game as well as hold my entire iTunes library.
* An iTunes Account, funded through the year 2020 or until the planet runs out of music.
* A Kimble pre-loaded with every book featuring a Victoria heiress, a psychic or a detective ever written. NO VAMPIRES.
* One (1) package of thick winter socks, M, any color except yellow.
* Three lamps, each with 1000 watt bulbs to make my office bright enough to resemble a sunny day, or a day on the sun.
* A window through which only squirrels, cats and birds can be seen; no humans are to be within eyeline, and especially no screaming children.
* A check in the mail every day, followed by a rotating delivery schedule of Asian food.
* An unlimited supply of ideas, all original (NOT generic) to write about.
* An unlimited supply of distractions ranging from Netflix, Facebook, TiVo and magazines, which I will later assign blame for my lack of production.

These rudimentary items are required for my comfort and continued creativity. Did I mention the socks? Very important they aren’t yellow. Assistants have been fired for buying yellow socks.

What’s on your rider?

5 comments:

Kay Theodoratus said...

LOL. Dream on.

Patricia Stoltey said...

My rider would include my own coffee pot with a never-ending supply of dark roast fully-caffeinated coffee, a frequently replenished stash of quality dark chocolate, and a clean set of sweats every day. And an on-site, available on demand, massage therapist.

Kay, it's good to dream. :)

Deborah said...

#1 on my rider would be a room with a view, i.e. a window to the outside, minimum size = 4'x5' (so I have something to stare out of . . .
#2 is a hot pot with readily available filtered water and a well- and frequently-stocked assortment of black and white (no herbal) teas;
#3 is a mechanic to keep the motorcycle collection ready to ride at a moment's notice (so I don't have to take time checking tire pressures, etc, before throwing a leg over the saddle and hitting the start button) and a butler to keep the riding gear cleaned and ready to put on. Riding is therapeutic; it relieves stress and provides inspiration. :)
One can dream . . .

Name: Luana Krause said...

Funny stuff, Trai!

My rider: Unlimited Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes; foot massage every hour; a quiet forest path right outside my door to walk on at a moments notice when I need a break; a perfectly well-behaved Australian Sheepdog/Lab Mix with one blue eye and one brown eye that sleeps at my feet. That's all.

Trai said...

Funny how so much of our dreams involve caffeine....

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