Monday, February 20, 2006

How to lose a job

Mainly a post to see if I can do it! But also something dear to the writer's heart. Getting canned!

It happens, in fact it is an occupational hazzard. The main reasons tend to be -

1] A new exec arrives and there is a general cull as they bring in their own favourite writers

2] Deadlines are routinely missed [Deadlines are King]

3] You 'don't get it' [ or as I prefer to call it 'they don't get you]

4] You slept with the producer's daughter and/or wife


I'm guilty of two of these, but unfortunately not the fourth.

The first time I got canned was early on in my career. I'd written about a dozen eps of a 'certain soap'. A new exec producer came on board. I was initially a little concerned but the outgoing producer assured me I was fine. I'd be getting a letter in the next few days confirming this. Lo and behold the letter arrived. I was gushingly welcomed to the team. Given a grand an ep pay rise. I bought red meat for the weekend. High cotton!

Then I never heard another word. The phone just stopped ringing. Now, being naturally a worrier, I was a little suspicious at the old producers leaving party when the new exec seemed to be avoiding eye contact with me. But then, I know the hump back and body piercings can be a little off putting. Just my imagination I thought. Okay I only said one word to her the whole night but I'm pretty sure 'Hello' has no known negative connotations.

Much later, I found out that the new exec had brought on a number of writers from her last show. There wasn't a slot for me as it was pretty much a case of last in first out.

Of course they never directly came out and said this. Rejection by silence is a practiced art the business over. You can't blame them. It's a very small world. The writer you piss off might be the same one that has a brilliant idea in a couple of years that everyone is desperate to get their hands on- and guess who won't be producing it?

The second time I got canned a new exec producer arrived. Having just delivered the third draft of an ep my agent got a call to say they didn't think it was 'working out'.

Guess what? It was the same exec producer as above!

So I've had my number 1 and number 3

But I'm thinking maybe it was number four and I just don't know it?


Am I bitter? Not in the least. Shit happens. Shrug and move on. Just make sure you have as many irons in the fire as possible. Maintaining a career is hard work. Breaking in is only the first step.

Good luck. Good writing.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Number 4 might possibly be worth it though!