At the Birth of “Machete”
Thirteen months ago I was in Los Angeles interviewing Schuyler Moore, a transactional/tax/entertainment lawyer at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, for Southern California Super Lawyers magazine. Moore turned out to be one of my more fascinating interviews. The final article, entitled “A Bit of a Rebel with a Bit of a Cause,” included this line: “Is it worse breaking your neck or losing your spleen? Academic question to almost everyone but Moore, who’s done both.” Read the whole thing here. I know I'm biased but it's fascinating stuff.
I bring all this up now because what Moore was working on that day, a simple term sheet, has now come to fruiton:
“There’s a film called 'Machete' by Robert Rodriguez,” Moore says, “and it’s a pretty high-profile project, and my client [Hyde Park] wants to close the deal today.” His simple term sheet is now 57 pages. “People started sending attachments and approval lists and waterfalls and sales agent agreements that we kept attaching. So it’s now grown into this beast overnight.” Moore has simplified the waterfall—how the profits, if there are profits, get allocated—from 10 pages down to a couple of sentences, and others are e-mailing and phoning to sign off on this change. “I’m a big believer in E=MC²,” he says. “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”
Later in the interview I realized to what extent Moore, who works in the entertainment industry, and who is in fact the grand-nephew of Billie Burke, who played Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, in “The Wizard of Oz,” could care less about the product he helps create. That's part of what makes him fascinating:
“I don’t even know who Robert Rodriguez is,” he adds, referring to the “Machete” deal. “Everyone else seems to know who he is. He did 'Grindhouse' apparently?” He reads aloud the cast list attached to Rodriguez’s film: “Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez.” He pauses. “I know De Niro.”
“Machete” opens Friday. I haven't decided whether or not to see it, but I know that Moore, unless he's invited to the premiere, won't. He doesn't watch TV or see movies. I also know the movie won't be as interesting as he is. Probably a correlation there.