Since our dance cards have finally opened up, Paul and I can now look forward to several rounds of industry meet-and-greets, those ubiquitous sit-downs with studio and network execs so crucial to future employment. We’ll head down to L.A. and spend a week making the acquaintance of players big and small, sometimes pitching projects, sometimes taking pitches, mostly sitting in an office or conference room discussing where to find the best eats in town. One would assume these types of get-togethers would be big dog and pony shows but, in truth, by the time you’re sitting down, all of the legwork has already been done by your agent. He’s already told them all about you (your many years of experience, your strong working relationship with past studios and networks, your incredible telekinetic abilities) so all you really need to do is show up and demonstrate you are not: a) a drunk, b) an addict, c) crazy, or d) likely to burst into tears at the slightest provocation. If you can pull that off, then you’re halfway to landing your next gig.
Again, since your agent has already filled them in on what a , you’re not really there to talk about yourself. Rather they’re the ones who will talk about you. You, on the other hand, will talk about them. A typical conversation will go something like this:
THEM: So, I understand you just got off Visigoth P.I. [note: They’ll usually only talk about your last show in general terms because it’s unlikely they’ll have ever heard of it, much less watched an actual episode].
YOU: Yeah. It was a great five years [note: Whether true or not, you want to convey a positive attitude. No one wants to work with a chronic complainer. Although, given the realities of television production, sooner or later, they invariably will.] and now I finally have the opportunity to pursue some other projects [a.k.a. “Please buy my spec script about the talking baboon who gets sent back in time and helps Oliver Cromwell establish the Commonwealth of England.”]
THEM: I’m glad you were able to find the time to meet with us [note: What they’re actually saying is “Consider yourself fortunate we made time to meet with you. This is your cue to start talking about us.”]
YOU: Well, I really enjoyed the last movie you guys produced. I was shocked Aston didn’t get a best actor nomination. [note: usually untrue. Alternately, if you don’t feel like lying, you can go with:] / Congratulations on the success of Sweat Shop: The Musical. You must be very pleased [a.k.a. “You must be very pleased given that you no doubt assumed it would crash and burn like Jason Statham’s King Lear.”].
THEM: Thank you. [a.k.a. “That’s it. Kiss the ring, you lowly worm!”]
YOU: I’d love the opportunity to work with you because I really admire your accomplishments. [a.k.a. “From all indications, your checks clear on a regular basis.”]
THEM: And we’d love to work with you too [a.k.a. “You’ll never hear form us again.]. It was really nice meeting you. [a.k.a. “Get out of my office.].
More or less.
Yesterday, Paul and I had a meeting with a local production company. Their offices are located in one of the city’s most unsavory neighborhood and, as I backed into a spot, I considered whether I really wanted to waste the two dollars on the parking meter considering my car would, in all likelihood, be gone by the time I got back. My cell phone rang. It was Paul. “Where am I going?” I told him the address and, as I walked up the street, I spotted him winding a circuitous path through the legion of vagrants, alcoholics, druggies, and street punks. We met up in front of the place, a blink-and-you-miss-it reinforced door on what I’d taken to be a condemned building. “Geez,”muttered Paul, casting a glance back at the local flavor. “I feel like I’m in an episode of The Wire.”
I buzzed. “Hello?”came a disembodied voice. I explained who we were and what we were doing loitering outside his building (Uh, Joe and Paul. We’re here for a meeting?). There was a suspenseful pause as though the guy on the other end of the intercom was weighing the truthfulness of my statement. Then – buzz, click. We were in.
As far as meet and greets go, this one went well. We met with some very nice people, discussed one of their upcoming projects (a big screen feature that, while incredibly challenging, has the potential to be a lot of fun), then wrapped up in plenty of time for lunch. Paul headed back to his car and I headed back to mine – or, more to the point, where I thought I’d parked. Between my terrible memory and my horrible sense of direction, I ended up wandering aimlessly through what one of my fellow writer’s refers to as “Cracktown”. Fortunately, I didn’t stand out too much in my suit, dress shoes, and scorpion cufflinks and, eventually, located my car that was just as I’d left it – undamaged and unstolen.
I look forward to the upcoming L.A. leg of our meet and greet tour. At least there we won’t have to worry about braving any sketchy neighborhoods.
Today was the last day for our front office trio of Tanja, Nathan, and David so, to commemorate the occasions and their many years of hard work on the show, I went to Dairy Queen and picked them up an ice cream cake. Check out the festivities. Aren’t you sorry you missed out?
Okay, I have more than enough questions for Brad. Starting today, I’d like to start collecting questions for Stargate: Atlantis Costume Designer Val Halverson. Tomorrow, actor Tyler McClendon drops by for his hotly-anticipated Q&A.