McCall held open the restaurant door and then followed Holly inside. She held back as he approached the maître d’, who then lead the two further inside and to a small table for two near a window. They were handed their menus and then left alone.
McCall smiled at her. “I hope this is alright.”
She looked around at the restaurant, all white and clean with a freshness in the air, and nodded. “It looks great.”
She flipped open the menu and scanned the list. She couldn’t resist grinning to herself as she realized how different everything felt from the last time she had gone to a restaurant with McCall. It was almost odd now, to recall how terrified and out of place she had felt.
A waiter came over and took their orders and then Victor took a small notebook out of this jacket pocket and flipped it open.
“I’ve written down a couple of things we need to go over,” he explained. “It shouldn’t take too long to go over everything.”
“That’s okay. I don’t have to be back on set for two hours.”
“Good. Well the first thing is good news. The film officially has a distribution company now.”
“You’re kidding? That’s fantastic.”
“It is. Also there’s been some talk about release dates. And it actually might be in a couple of months.”
“Yes. Since it’s an indie film, there’s going to be a limited budget for promotion and we want to avoid having to compete with more major motion pictures.”
McCall fell silent as their waiter returned with their orders and didn’t resume until after Holly had tasted her food.
“Do you like it?” he asked.
She nodded. “It’s really good.”
“I’m glad. Alright,” he looked back down at his notes. “That leads up to the issue of promotion. While the budget is limited for that we’ve got some things planned that you’ll have to participate in.”
“Alright,” said Holly, a little nervously.
He smiled at her reassuringly. “Don’t worry. They’ll be people there to talk you through it. Most actors actually kind of enjoy the process at first.”
“So what exactly is the process?”
“Well first off I’ve called in a favor with a magazine I know and they’ve going to do a photo spread. It’s a little last minute so we had to book the photo shoot for next week for you and you cast mates.”
“All of them?” asked Holly a little hesitantly.
McCall attempted to hide a smile. “Yes. All the main cast that is. I know you and Cynthia didn’t get on very well. She was…well she has a strong personality.”
Holly couldn’t resist a snort.
“But,” said McCall, ignoring her, “She has definitely been building a career the past couple of years and there’s a good chance you’ll run into her again, even after you finish promotion for the film. Learning to deal with difficult people is part of the job. In fact it’s part of every job, unless you become a Carthusian monk, who don’t talk most of the time. But even they have to occasionally see each other.”
“Alright, alright, I get your point,” laughed Holly. “I’ll work on getting along with her better.”
“You don’t have to be friends. You just have to be able to keep it professional. And I know Cynthia made that hard but you did really good on set. I really was proud of you.”
Holly blushed slightly and looked down.
“Anyways. There’s the photo shoot, said McCall, looking back at his notes, “And then we’re trying to get a couple of you on a talk show. Probably a morning show.”
“A talk show?” Holly asked, alarmed.
“Yes. It’s no big deal. You be there as part of an ensemble so you don’t have to worry. And I’ll talk you through it ahead of time. When we have a set date I’ll talk with Ian and Walsh and make sure your schedule is clear.”
Holly ran a hand across her hair and sighed, feeling a little daunted. “Okay.”
McCall smiled. “It’s a lot to take in. But you’ll do fine. Promoting your films is just part of the job. And the more successful you become, the more you’ll have to do it. You’ll get to use to it. And this is a very simple, easy introduction to the process; a low profile indie film. A little bit of attention but nothing that’s going to be overwhelming. It’s the perfect project to learn on.”
McCall referred back to his notebook. “There is one final thing I wanted to talk to you about. There’s someone I want you to meet. There’s a small party at my house tomorrow evening, just some friends over for drinks and I was hoping you could swing by. Maybe bring Alan with you to help feel more comfortable.”
“Who is it?”
“Mal Grant. He’s a big studio head and good friend of mine. I’ve talked a bit about you with him and he’s interested in meeting you. We’ve been working on a couple of projects together and I showed him some clips of you from the film and he was interested.”
McCall held up a cautioning hand. “Now nothing’s definite yet. He meets a lot of people. But it could be a great opportunity.”
Holly ran her hand a second time across her hair. “What time do you want us there?”
She nodded. “Okay. I’m sure Alan will be okay with that.”
Victor smiled. “Perfect.”