Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Keep Your Mouth Shut!

No not you. Me.

I had a meeting a few days ago with a Dev. Exec for the BBC. Her boss also happens to Exec a show I write for. Lovely girl, we got on like a house on fire. The meeting was in BAFTA and the first question she asks is 'what would you like to drink?' That's pretty much guaranteed to get her on my Christmas card list.

As always the breeze was shot for a few minutes, life, the weather, penis envy, the usual. We moved on to the current state of BBC drama, which in general has me reaching for a bucket.

As I was still on my first pint I had enough sense to be non committal. A nod to the fact that most of the shows I bother to watch are American, but nothing derogatory.

I learned my lesson early when I attended a screening of a director acquaintance's first cut of a movie. The cgi hadn't been added or the soundtrack. When it finished my first words to him were 'you're going to have a few sleepless nights after this'

I saw his face fall. It was only later I realised my well meant comment about getting the film ready for the premier was taken as ' that was crap'.

In truth it wasn't all that good and maybe that seeped out subconciously. But from then on I said to myself ' when dealing with 'Industry' types say nothing remotely controversial - ever!.

Anyways back to the meeting. I'm on my second pint and I'm pitching like the chief pitcher of the gold medal pitchers in the pitching Olympics. Eloquent, passionate, Jeez it even made sense to me.

I was very convincing. She even said that. 'You're very convincing' she said. I liked that. Until I thought ' does she mean I've never heard such utter crap delivered so convincingly since Chamberlain waved that bit of paper shouting Peace In Our Time!

Maybe. I'll find out in a couple of weeks. But that isn't the point of the post!

On my third pint she started asking about the show I write for that her boss has just become exec producer for. What do I think of this? What do I think of that?

Now, bearing in mind my history of faux pas and the fact I am no callow youth bought over with a few pints and a winning smile I was fully aware that the smart thing to do was nod, say yes and divulge nothing. And that's what I did. Apart from SING LIKE A FUCKING CANARY.

I can't keep my mouth shut. It is a curse. I'd like to think what I said was constructive and helpful and supportive. But truth be told I don't remember. I was still too busy thinking of ways to ram home the two projects I'd been pitching.

The moral of the tale is that film and TV is a very small world and the most innocent comment can come back to haunt you. Be very careful what you say. It's a bit like chatting up a girl in a pub. One false note and much previous effort has been wasted. Unless you have roofies. And that really doesn't get a script bought.

I've got another meeting next week. It's with a guy who has just started work for a major star's prodco. He's raving about a script of mine my agent's sent him. In fact the letter to my agents was so glowing they sent me a copy!

You know what? He read that same script about 5 years ago when I was with another agent. Heard nothing much back except a standard ' not really for me'

Will I remind him of this? Absoloutely not!!!!

Tattood to my forehead. Keep Your Mouth Shut.


sarajb said...

Did he tell you it was beautiful, too?

I very much appreciate the amusing way you tell a tale, ED. I'm sorry I haven't been by sooner.

English Dave said...

Hi Sara!!!

Thanks for dropping by.

He didn't say it was beautiful, no. lol

But it was better than 'not quite what we'd hoped for'

So in my mind, high cotton!!!

sarajb said...

High cotton!!

lol. I've got you bookmarked, Dave. Very good stuff to absorb.

Mac said...

Enjoyed the post (about a month after it was written) but must point out one obvious problem:

If you get "Keep Your Mouth Shut" tattooed to your forehead, then only the person you are speaking to will be able to read it - you'll forget it entirely.

Maybe tattoo it on your drinking arm so you'll see it ...

Hope you haven't had it inked in yet ...


English Dave said...

lol Mac

I'll have it tattooed on the inside of my forehead. The pain alone should serve as a reminder.