There is a little backstory that shows it was not an enormous leap.
Producer Robert Schwartz was from Minneapolis, MN before going to Hollywood. A friend of mine, who had been instrumental in helping me as a mentor my first years as a freelance writer a decade earlier, had also spent 10 years in Hollywood. He and Robert Schwartz were acquaintances. When he heard I was going to be an extra in the film he encouraged me to go say hi to him if I saw him.
It was the third day of waiting around in the holding area when I saw the producer. I had conceived what I thought was a pretty good story concept so I used the occasion of saying “Hi” for my friend John as an opportunity to pitch the film idea.
Mr. Schwartz was talking with two other men when I walked up to him with the greeting. I asked permission to pitch, sharing an idea called The Extras. He turned to the other two men and made light fun of me and they all laughed. (He said, “If he were Spielberg, it wouldn’t matter what he said. We’d be all over it.” and something about making a film about a a hockey team called The Mighty Ducks, which was made the year before.)
Still, I suppose it did take a little gumption, but it there was a little more to the story. Thanks for the note.