Saturday, October 15, 2005

Beer Eye for the Pulp Guy

Josh Friedman is again dispensing invaluable advice to writers and wannabes regarding what to do in a pitch meeting. This week he tackles Writer Fashion Sense:

" But here at Josh Planet we are all about monkeys. Throwing our shit, howling at the top of our lungs while we hang our red ass out of the cage and masturbating in front of the tour group."

(Josh obviously caught my pitch meeting for The Sound, but he forgot the tearing off of limbs and the jumping up and down on the Director's chest cavity)
He brings up a lot of cool points in his own humorous style. He's one funny fucker that Josh. We aren't jealous of him one bit...not a bit...at all.
You always want to project a certain attitude when you pitch (your take on) a project. If they want a comedy, you better have them laughing. If it's a dark comedy, they better be giggling and looking around to see that all the sharp objects are put away. If it's a horror project it doesn't hurt to wear a dark jacket and a shirt with an image of Charles Manson on it.
You want to come off as being cool, confident and creative. After all, this is the only time we writers are "on stage" so we should at least dress the part, right? We've got to give 'em a show, and that means the right costuming.
All this is especially true if the people you are meeting have never met you before. I once wore a Misfits T-shirt to a meeting with a German production company, and I ended up explaining who they were, and who the skull-faced guy was on the shirt. The Germans seemed to be impressed that I was - a) an edgy American writer, and b) a student of film history. The Producer could reference an old title out of his ass and it wouldn't throw me. Ultimately they went with a German writer for tax reasons. Bastards.
(If you don't know who The Misfits are then Google the image then smack yourself on the back of the head. Twice.)
If you're meeting executives you've worked with before, wear what they are used to seeing you wear. Then dazzle them with your brilliance, and make them glad they called you into the meeting. Solving problems they have with the story or concept is a surefire way to get hired. They are already comfortable with you, know your work habits, etc...but need to make sure you've nailed it.
I like to wear black to meetings. Not because it's slimming (okay, maybe), but because it projects authority. By mixing that with a cool shirt that says "creative" you're establishing yourself as the "Creative Authority" in the room. That makes them sit up and listen if you have something cool to say and they can see the dollar signs floating before their eyes. If not, then you aren't giving them the show they are asking for - you're just a schmuck in a stupid shirt.
You also have to remember that sometimes they don't want to take a meeting, but just send you the script or concept they are having problems with (story doesn't work, need the script next week, sending the script to talent and it needs a dialogue polish). They simply want your input on what problems you see and if you can fix them (by Tuesday). No face-to-face whatsoever.
For those kinds of (non) meetings I wear a smile.

1 comment:

CD said...

TV Pilots.

Yeah, I'm with you Bill. In much the same way that I don't mind listening to rare demos from my favorite bands, I think I'd enjoy watching some TV pilots that never ran.

I've always wanted to get a copy of that pilot with Owen Wilson, Jack Black and a talking car, that sounded way cool.

Assuming the shows are edited, why wouldn't television studios make those available? Something tells me there money at the root of the problem. Like, if they start making available that Owen Wilson talking car thing, who gets the money? Maybe the whole idea of revenue for un-run TV pilots is uncharted territory. Or maybe, since the pilot wasn't picked up TV companies can write it off as a loss?

Thoughts, Bill?

CD