Businesswoman Voice

October 20, 2008

You know that Jerry Seinfeld routine about how airports seem to think that they’re sovereign nations that can do whatever they want? (Specifically, he’s talking about how they believe that they can charge 42 dollars for a sandwich.)

Studio lots are sort of like that, aren’t they? In most places in the world, calling someone and going “My boss doesn’t like pickles. I put it on the fax. NO PICKLES. But there was a pickle in here, and it touched the bread!” would get a kind of “…” response, but on a lot, it tends to be met with the appropriate level of OH GOD WHAT A DISASTER WE’LL GET YOU A NEW SANDWICH RIGHT AWAY!

Sometimes I wonder about people who get to high places in entertainment and then leave to go work in a different industry. How do they handle it? It must be a complete shock to the system, what with people going “Please stop yelling” and “If you throw that at me, I’m calling HR” and “So… take the pickle out! What are you, five years old? If your foods touch you have a meltdown? NEED ME TO CUT THE CRUSTS OFF, YOU BIG DORK?”

There’s a kind of arms race of urgency that goes on in entertainment. On some level, I think, people do actually know that making movies is not… very important. I mean, sure, it’s fun to make movies about giant robots and all, but it’s not like you’re curing bird flu or moving oil around the globe or anything that has real and serious consequences attached if you fuck up. If you fuck up in entertainment, uh, somebody gets a package tomorrow instead of this afternoon. Which is just not very exciting! And people in entertainment like to feel important and excited. So I guess they create the stakes themselves.

Even though I get pretty eyerolly about this stuff, I am totally complicit. Sometimes I hear myself on the phone, talking to some poor FedEx guy in what Naomi calls Businesswoman Voice, saying things like “This is just unacceptable!” (even though… come on, I don’t actually care if some dude gets his screener this afternoon. NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN if he gets it tomorrow.) and it’s always a shock. I DON’T WANT TO BE THAT GIRL!

Last week I had a horrible moment where I heard myself doing Businesswoman Voice, and I realized that OH NO, I had BECOME Scary Female Entertainment Assistant. OMG! The worst. I DON’T WANT TO BE SCARY FEMALE ENTERTAINMENT ASSISTANT! I want to be things like: your friend who tries out cookie recipes on you. Or: that girl up the street with the hilarious dog with the giant paws. Or: a person who is generally pretty nice and laid-back.

(I would also take: a girl who is a super fabulous writer of big-budget Guy Movies featuring explosions and interesting female characters.)

Here are some pleasing things:

Here, Denis’ kid puts business reply envelopes to good use. HILARIOUS. I remember being very, very interested in writing when I was about four years old: I would scribble madly on pieces of paper and take them to my mom and demand to know what I had written. (Yes… my grasp of how “writing” worked was sort of shaky.) I remember my mom squinting at one such epistle and saying “…well, that part looks sort of like “camel”, I guess.” I found that VERY satisfying.

The BEST blog: Upside Down Dogs. DOES WHAT IT SAYS ON THE CAN:

Finally, I am embarrassed by how much I dig the cat on the right. LOOK AT HIM! He is glorious in his smugness.



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