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By Annie Dillard

A publication that immediately captured the hearts of readers around the nation, An American Childhood is Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Annie Dillard's poignant, brilliant memoir of turning out to be up in Pittsburgh within the Fifties.

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What, am I alone in this world or are we a team . . blah blah blah,' before restraining himself from turning someone's head into grapefruit. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? 31 These kinds of mistakes, particularly when they are in the press, always give the executives at any studio a jolt of insecurity, reconfirming their deeply hidden fears that maybe they don't have a fucking clue. Before they can regain their confidence (and it doesn't take them long), the next bunch of salesmen through the door get the benefit of the doubt.

I'm lookin' to sign a couple of producers to help supply us with movies over the next few years. ' Bill was simple and direct. 'Yes,' I said, even more directly. I explained that I could start after my Warners contract ended. Since Heat was still in the early planning stages for Warners and none of us knew what a sizable hit it was going to be, it was appar- WHAT JUST HAPPENED? 17 ent to me that Warners would be only too happy to let me sign elsewhere. If they let me out of my contract early, they could save some money.

In the delicate mechanism of Hollywood meetings, this was a positive exchange. Bill was basically saying that he really liked the material, that in fact he was seriously inolined to make the movie, but that he needed as much ammo as possible. His job was to protect the downside, to second-guess the options, and he t l WHAT JUST HAPPENED? 41 did it in an amiable way. I knew he wanted more than a good movie, he wanted and needed a hit. W h o can blame him. I needed a hit as well. ' Bill smiled.

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