Meetings. Insulting people.

May 16, 2008

Yesterday I went to Manager-Guy’s office to meet with him and the other manager-guy. I told them my BRILLIANT IDEAS and they said things like “Hmmm!” and “Let’s keep thinking about that one.” and “HOLY LORD, ENOUGH WITH THE AGRICULTURAL THEMES ALREADY.”

Meetings, as a writer, proceed thusly: You start out with fifteen minutes of chit-chat. Like, if it were a date, this would be the part where you would say things about your job and where you’re from– you know, the segment where you try to figure out if the other person is crazy and/or boring. And then you switch into the part where you talk about things you would like to write, things that will make the person you’re talking to UNTOLD WADS OF CASH (preferably.)

I am okay at the first part. (I think. If you have met with me and think I’m hideous at it… don’t tell me.) The second part, I am still kind of bad at, in really lame ways. I don’t know why writers are so bad at talking about things we want to write. I personally like to go off on these tangents, like so:

GUY IN MEETING
Cool. So what else are you interested in?

ELANA
Have you ever heard of the Monsanto Corporation?

GUY IN MEETING

ELANA
I have a fifteen-minute, rambling, boring lecture about soybeans. If you don’t mind.

GUY IN MEETING

ELANA
(horrified realization of own lameness)

Other kinds of pitching errors I routinely make include:

ELANA
Okay, so I don’t actually have a plot for this or anything, but I think there’s this guy, he’s like a COMBAT PASTRY CHEF–

And… well. I guess a lot of the errors I make are variants of “Here’s a character or subject I’m interested in, but there’s no story yet”, such as: “I don’t really have a PLOT, but! How do you feel about COD FISHERMEN?”

Now, another writer would probably go “I don’t know, tell me more!” but People You Have Meetings With aren’t writers. So they are pretty clear-eyed about story and plot and unwilling to listen to you talk about migratory patterns of fish for twenty minutes.

So, obviously, I need to work on that. It’s getting better. I imagine that eventually I’ll be a veritable pitching machine! Probably a machine that periodically seizes up, but still.

After the meeting, I went into Manager-Guy’s office, and, AMAZINGLY, had the following conversation:

ELANA
(looks around office, notices movie poster)
Oh, [Movie X]? Did you like that?

MANAGER-GUY
Yes.

ELANA
I thought it was sort of bad. REALLY, you liked it?

MANAGER-GUY
I kind of, you know, found the property. That’s why this writing here is the filmmaker thanking me.

ELANA
(vaporlock)

I need some kind of service dog (OR MONKEY) who can go around with me and nudge me when I’m about to do something spectacularly stupid, perhaps.

(Also, he could bark warningly when I have been talking about soybeans for too long, with “too long” being “anything over ten seconds”.)

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4 Responses to “Meetings. Insulting people.”

  1. t_ellis Says:

    OMG! You are freakin’ HIGH-larious!!!

  2. anonymousassistant Says:

    I’ve always thought we needed a system like that. Maybe something in the way we arrange our office supplies.

    “Stapler on the right, assistant’s delight”?

  3. anonymousassistant Says:

    Shit, I put that on the wrong post. Sorry!

  4. anonymousassistant Says:

    So, wait, the fact that it was on his wall didn’t indicate to you that he worked on it?


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