Happy Birthday to Barry Katz.
I was 23 years old and it was Spring of 2015. I had one semester of college left and I was working at a toy store as the store manager. I realized to late that throughout my college years, should have been interning instead of working full time but you live and you learn.
One day, a customer walked in and I helped her find some toys for her nieces and nephews. Chealy was very kind and we got to chatting. I told her my story and my passion to become a filmmaker and she recommended that I should work for Barry Katz. They were good friends and she said she could help me get an interview with him. I followed through and a couple of days letter, I was sitting in the mall on my lunch break having a skype meeting with Barry.
Barry Katz hired me on as his intern and this was my first gig in the industry. Let me tell you, it was one of the most exciting yet stressful jobs ever.
Barry Katz is a talent manager and he is huge in the comedy world. Everyone knows him in the comedy world. I had no idea who he was or what the comedy world was even like. I never told Barry but I hated comedy…it never made me laugh but I became well verse after working for him.
Barry’s office was in Century City right next to the mall. I wore a purple skirt with panty hoes, a long sleeve collard shirt and black heels. I was nervous yet excited. Still, I was a couple of minutes late because of traffic even though I gave myself what I thought was ample of time. I think that’s how it works in life…you try so hard to make a good impression but you still manage to screw up. Barry didn’t care and said it was no big deal.
My first day was memorable. Throughout the day, I learned what I was expected to do like answering phone calls and checking emails. It was a Friday, and my hours were from 9am- 7pm. But, around 7pm, Barry walked in and asked me if I could stay a little longer. I said sure. Then he explained that he had a flat tire and if I could find a tire shop. He walked over to his desk and started talking on the phone. It sounded important. So, I looked up tire shops and everything was closed. I mean it was Friday night…then he told me he had Triple A after I interrupted his phone call. Then he looked at my face and saw how I was struggling. LOL Then he said, “Frshta, if your mom was in this situation…what would you do?…Now whatever you would do for her..do for me..” LOL So I called Triple A and when the guy finally got to the building, he was lost. But, it was my first day and I had no idea where anything was. Barry sent me down to his car so Triple A can check it but I didn’t even know what kind of car he had….oh and the car was actually a rental. So here I am in the under ground parking lot looking for a car with a flat tire with the Triple A guy on the phone..trying to give him directions. Finally, Triple A guy found me…he was a weird man that made me uncomfortable…so Barry came down…because they needed his I.D….and guess what…they couldn’t even change the tire because the rental didn’t have a spare. I offered to give Barry a ride but he said he was fine.
I was told I could leave, so I went to the elevator to get to the floor where my car was.
You must be thinking…this guy sounds like a jerk…but he wasn’t..and he isn’t…but he was always trying to teach me a lesson so that I was prepared when I got a film job.
Another time, I messed up his lunch order…he wanted this cobb salad..I think…finely chopped..I told the chef but of course…it wasn’t finely chopped. He still ate it but let me know that I would get fired if this was for someone else.
My second week there Barry told me that behind every talented comedian there is a sad story of what inspired them to tell jokes. So he asked me if anything horrible has happened to me…and I told him that my brother died…and I cried..and he thanked me for sharing something so personal.
Barry has the Industry Standards podcast and he invited his interns to sit in while he interviewed industry celebrities. So, I met Norman Lear, who thought I was falling asleep but I wasn’t. I met Judd Apatow who was very sweet and so inspiring. One of the most memorable moments every was meeting Judd on the Sony Lot at 6am in the morning. Judd was filming the show LOVE at the time.
I told Barry I didn’t know where to look for jobs and he said look for places that have done films you enjoy. That is when I realized that I want to work for horror films and that led to me finding my way to Blumhouse which will be a whole other post.
Barry has this soothing, calm voice. He never yelled at me even though half the time I had no idea what he wanted me to do because he has this mentally where he wants me to figure it out on my own…aka I had to learn how to read his mind.
Barry always made jokes about how I was a Muslim and everyone else working there was Jewish. I am not sure why the other interns were all Jewish..lol maybe a coincidence? It was funny. Lol
Barry became a good friend of mine and even after I left his company, we stayed friends. He was always available for a phone call or lunch. Always gave me his million dollar advice for free. He wrote a great recommendation letter for me which I used so many times.
I know this blog might make Barry sound like a tough boss but he wasn’t. Actually now when I look back….he was right about everything.
Barry you are a gentle soul and probably one of the best people I have met in the film industry. I am grateful for our somewhat friendship and I know we don’t always see each other..but your always in my thoughts. I have some of the best stories to tell….just because of you and I am grateful. Happy Birthday Killer. Love you.