Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Chris and I met at the 79th Street Station at 7:30. The sun was just cresting over Central Park. It was already 84º.

We had an 8:30 appointment with Kenyon & Kenyon partner Jonathan Reichman. This home grown little documentary of ours was suddenly getting kinda' serious.

My original thinking for this film was simple: we'll interview a bunch of people and cut it together. There was no budget as I figured all we'd have to pay for is travel to interviews; Chris and my time was "free." But it became immediately apparent to me that, at the minimum, we'd need to form a company (henceforth known as Wagner Bros., LLC), we'd need help with any contract negotiations (licensing, distribution, etc), and we'd need to work out media rights (clips from award shows, still photos, etc). All of a sudden our little project is into six digits.

Kenyon & Kenyon is a 125-year-old firm specializing in litigation, prosecution, licensing and counseling services relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and related matters. They're big, like Capital B Big. Which is kind of a mixed blessing. Chris and I love the independent nature of this project. But we also want it to be done right, and seen by as many people as possible. I'll do whatever it takes to make that happen, even if it means working with The Man.

Kenyon & Kenyon's New York offices are located at One Broadway. This is appealing to my symbolic sensibilities. Where better to start the long road to completion than at the beginning?

We were early, so we grabbed coffee and a muffin across the street at the Bowling Green green Market, and discussed our strategy. Now, Chris and I are creatives. We're not businessmen. Which we decided to own outright. We don't know much about the law, or retainers, or any of the stuff. So we decided to say so.

Jonathan ushered us into a massive, well-appointed conference room ten stories above Battery Park. The view was sweeping: from City Hall to the Statue of Liberty. It was impressive (as, Chris noted later, it should be).

The meeting began with my re-telling of the "Mr. Rogers & Me" story. Jonathan caught on quickly.

"So it's like a quest," he said. "You're looking for deep and simple."

The best part of the meeting was reading the enthusiasm on his face. It's been one of the best parts of this project. People relax and engage when they're talking about Mr. Rogers. They know that they're safe. Its pretty cool.

Chris and I plan on interviewing other potential attorneys. And expect to lean heavily on our cousin Bill, who's a partner at Lewis, Rice in St. Louis. We'd like to keep it home grown. But we also want it to be big. It's a big message, deep and simple. It deserves to be heard, whatever the cost.

Either way, it was fun to start at One. It's a pretty good place to start.

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