One of the first things everyone learns when they get into this business is that they have a choice: You can either be an asshole and treat people like crap OR you can you can be kind and respectful to everyone you work with.  And, by everyone, I mean EVERYONE.  Not just those who can help your career, but the grips and stand-ins and assistants who work just as hard but don’t necessarily have the reach or influence of a top-flight director or television executive.  As someone once told me: “Be nice to the people you meet on your way to the top because you’ll probably meet them again on your way to the bottom.”.    And it’s true.  Believe me, I’ve seen it happen.  Powerful  individuals – at the top of their game one day; reduced to a mere afterthought the next.  And, in each instant, there was little if any sympathy to be found.  People have long memories.  They’ll remember those who treat them unfairly.  Alternately, they also tend to remember those who have treated them with kindness and respect.

I bring this up because, today, I was presented with an incredible opportunity that came my way from a totally unexpected source.  I met this individual on set several years ago and we struck up a friendship.  She was interested in getting into scriptwriting and producing, two subjects on which I’m fairly well-informed, so I offered her some advice.  Over the course of the past few years, we’ve kept in touch, updating each other on our respective careers.  Then, last week, she emailed to me ask if I had time to talk.  So we chatted this morning.  Apparently, her hard work, perseverance and, of course, talent, have finally paid off.  Things are moving quickly for her and she needed some advice which, as always, I was more than happy to provide.  But that wasn’t the only reason for her call.  It turned out she had another opportunity, this one for me.  I was touched.  It’s an incredible project and a real honor to be in the running.  Totally unexpected but greatly appreciated.

All this to say, in the words of the immortal Frank Burns: “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”

44 thoughts on “December 5, 2013: Be nice to the people you meet on your way to the top because you’ll probably meet them again on your way to the bottom!

  1. Good news Joe! It’s good to hear that nice people still get recognized, and I’m sure your skill in writing and producing had something to do with it as well ;-). I hope this leads to something exciting for you, and good luck! Dare I ask, would this be Sci Fi related?

    @PBMom:

    ‘Cake’s all done! Pics tomorrow.

  2. Joe, I’ll put on my serious face for once. You know that most of the time here I am a bit of a pest, teasing you and – at times – even insulting you, albeit playfully. Well, USUALLY playfully. 😉 I’d like to think of myself as your antagonizing big sister…or, mebbe more accurately, you’re slightly psychotic next-door neighbor. 😈

    That being said, the reason I feel so very comfortable being myself here – be it my serious self, my outspoken self, my OCD Save the Wraith self, my obnoxious self, or whichever self decides to show up on any given day – is because you are so nice and ever so gracious! You’ve been patient with me – with all of us – as we go off on little personal tangents, practically hijacking your blog with comments that have nothing to do with the entry du jour. You have been generous with your time, with your personal life, and with your knowledge and insights into the industry and projects on which you’ve worked. In your book discussions and question and answer sessions you’ve introduced us to authors and actors and many others that we would never have known or chatted with before. But more than anything it’s that nice, casual way you treat us that makes you so approachable, just like an old friend who you can share anything with, laugh and cry with, and even joke a bit with. This is my ‘warm and fuzzy’ place, the place I know I can come to and find a listening ear and share the day and maybe a laugh with an unseen friend. This is my confessional blog.

    Ya know…come to think of it…if this tv thing doesn’t work out for you you’d make a GREAT Irish Catholic priest.

    Just sayin’. Joseph O’Mallossey. Has a nice ring to it, no? 😉

    (I know, I know…the serious face didn’t even last to the end of the post. Sorry. 😛 )

    das

  3. @ Mike A – From yesterday – Love the snowflake (and the Atlantis ‘snowflake’ ) pictures! Thanks for sharing – some beautiful stuff there.

    @ PBMom – I love that song! It’s very catchy. 😀 I love watching Eddie’s face as he’s singing it – he looks both intensely serious and incredibly perplexed at the same time!

    Here’s a recent interview with Eddie on Fallon’s show where they talk about that infamous song (just about the entire thing is funny so worth a watch):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYqIm602cao

    @ JeffW – How ya doin’, ol man? Feeling better?

    das

  4. Seriously Joe, words to live by in any profession or life endeavor.

    Now….of course your adopted family want to know allllllll about it when you are able to share.

    sweet!

  5. Agreeing with what Das said. You are pretty special to us Joe. Eventually it will come back at you. I hope you find an interesting, fun, challenging job you enjoy for a long time. And selfishly wishing you keep taking us along for the ride. Good luck!

    It’s sleeting and freezing rain here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. No one is going anywhere Friday. It was 80 degrees on Wednesday. Thursday it is freezing and icing up. Temps won’t get above 32 for a couple of days. Lovely roller coaster weather.

  6. One of the best things you can do is to cultivate the people who are least noticed. These are the folks who are unsung, but who may do so much in the long run. I’m a teacher. What does it cost me to get to know the custodial staff? Nothing. Maybe a breakfast taco now and again or a dozen doughnuts a couple times a year. What does it benefit me? Myriad ways – little things like getting the best new pencil sharpener installed the same day as mentioning that my pencil sharpener is lousy…having loads of boxes of paper delivered to the copy room without having to ask (yes, it would seem that this is is given -NOT) Having your classroom given extra attention so that things are dusted and vacuumed regularly (not the case for everyone) And the smiles of all of them – knowing that I acknowledge their hard work which is almost universally unsung. Are these folks ever going to be in a position to help me “on the way up”? Unlikely. Although I did have some cafeteria ladies talk to the principal about how they’d like to have me as an administrator.

    Everyone in an organization contributes to the end product, no matter how humble their job. If a person wants to make their workload lighter (in the long-run obviously) be kind to EVERYONE who makes your job possible.

  7. @Father Joe: What Das said. 🙂

    DId something to my back yesterday and the thing’s on fire. My daughter’s in London till Sunday and I’m dealing with Anakin and the dogs and the house and the everything. Good thing I have nannies to help me. 🙂

  8. What a lovely illustration of Frank Burns’s aphorism. I’m grateful it holds quite true in my work environment. In general, jerks and a-holes stall out. Of course, some move to headquarters, but they never have the influence they think they will. I worked for a time in a different group, full of d-bags, where my tendency to be helpful without expecting anything in return was looked upon with great suspicion. I left that viper pit of a project just before it got cancelled. Such karmic justice.

    I wish you the best with all your airborne balls. Surely one will achieve orbit 🙂

  9. Totally, “KARMA”!

    yes.. ALWAYS be *nice* to the Hardworking “Little People” behind and under the scenes… Just a simple “hello” and/or “thank you” can often go a long way. As @NOLA implied, the “return” – even if *minor* – kindnesses DO add up! — you know… like that little Extra “food sample” at Costco… the odd “discount” at other frequented stores…

    And, in the *END*, the real A**holes “run out of TP” in their “Executive” Bathrooms! 😀
    #Don’tSqueezeTheKarma

  10. Hope that things fall into place. I’d like to say that what I admire most is your talent– but I agree, your graciousness to others (unless they screw with you! ) is even more appreciated. That said, watching all you go through to get work makes me glad I never felt the desire to do anything in the entertainment field. Those of you who make it spend so much time in limbo I couldn’t handle it. I very much admire your perseverance because that is what it really takes.

  11. It’s difficult to add anything to Das’ post – she pretty much said it all and very well. What is so wonderful is that you’ve created an actual community here, Joe, and I’m so thankful for it. It’s frankly difficult to imagine you NOT being nice to those around you. It’s just your nature, and I know sometimes you’ve said that you need to stop being a Mr. Nice Guy sometimes, but I don’t think you would wear it well. I know sometimes I’ve kicked myself for not being more forceful, insistent, and yes sometimes even rude – because those things do seem to get (short term) results. Finally though, I’ve come to accept that I’m not comfortable with acting that way. Kindness is never a shortcoming.

    I’ve also heard a corollary to your blog heading before: “If you want to know what someone’s really like, watch how they treat someone who can’t do anything for them.”

  12. OH goody for you Joe, you certainly deserve it and I hope smoooooooth sails in your ocean of projects. Wow thats still a lot of stuff, breathe and get back to reading!

  13. @ Deni – I read your post five times – FIVE TIMES – as “Did something to my back yard yesterday and the thing’s on fire.”

    I read and read, wondering how – or if – you put out the fire. No garden hose, no fire company – nuttin’. And so I was thinking, “So, she’s just letting it burn? That can’t be good – what about the house? The neighbors’ houses? And what the hell are nannies going to do about it? Have a bucket brigade?”

    Really. Those are the actual thoughts that ran through my head. And I can’t blame it on being tired, drunk, or hepped up on Vicodin. 😛

    das

  14. We are fair to those who practice fairness(even chimps understand that dicta) and we respect those who tender respect.

    I’ll just be sitting over here in the corner,,,clapping for your success.

  15. What Das said and Thanks for putting up with all of us!

    Deni: Oy! Good luck with Anakin and everything.

    I hope the project works out. You know, it would be a good thing for your friend too. Sometimes it’s hard to find people you trust in business and when you do find them, keep them close to guard your flank. She won’t be watching her back working with you.

    Dear Canada,
    Please keep those cool Northern winds up there.
    From The South (ice storm today)

  16. I am smiling, because I believe in the power of nice. My mom was the nicest woman on earth, a lofty I aspire to, but often fall short of. So glad to hear your “nice” is coming full circle. Yay!

  17. Always did say you wrote some of the best Stargate episodes Joe, not because this is your blog, nah I genuinely meant it at the time and still do. That being said there was a huge pool of talent in the SGU writing team and really it would be hard to say someone was overwhelmingly better than another.

  18. @Brent

    Seems to be a bit of karma at play there too. They haven’t even announced Season 2 of the thing, not to mention its just stalled. What a baffling way to treat a series that so much money was invested in, the least the studio could do is say if its cancelled, not just announcing another broadcaster picking it up internationally.

    I quite enjoyed The Transporter, but its just so odd how nothing seems to be happening with it.

  19. @Das:

    ‘Ol Man’? I thought my new moniker was ‘Gimpy’? 😉

    As for the knee, it’s mostly going in the right direction. It’s still swollen and I’m still on crutches (the surgeon said I’d be on crutches for as long as I had significant swelling), but it is slowly reducing and I am steadily getting more range of motion day-by-day. I’m hoping to be off the crutches by next Tuesday, but it may be a week after that. Thanks for asking!

    And I concur on your analysis of what Joe has created here with his blog community and how nice and generous he is. You and others have said it so well that there’s nothing more I could add. He is the genuine article!

    I had to laugh at “Joseph O’Mallossey”, although it immediately made me think of Father Guido Sarducci (even though Joe would need to grow a mustache and add a hat and glasses to complete the look). Father Sarducci might be an easier fit for Joe culturally though 😉

  20. @ JeffW Gimpy – Glad to hear you’re on the mend and hopefully will continue to get back to yer ol’ self. See…I just had to slip that ol’ in there somewhere! 😀

    I think with his whisky tippling and twinkly eyes Father Joseph actually make a better Irishman than an Italian. 😉 Besides, I won’t be convinced Joey’s really Italian until he starts making his own wine and plants a fig tree and tomatoes and zucchini in his backyard.

    🙂

    das

  21. A little something about Mandela from François Pienaar, captain of the Springboks when they won the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApxYq59t5KE

    For those who did not seeInvictus, a little background. In SA, rugby was the game of the rich elite, and the national team – the Springboks – were considered a the symbol of apartheid and white supremacy. When Mandela became president he was advised to dismantle the team, crush something that the white South Africans held dear. In his wisdom, he chose instead to embrace the team and encouraged the nation – black and white – to embrace it as well. He met with team captain François Pienaar and suggested that, with the Rugby World Cup on the horizon, a South African win – on home soil – could truly inspire the country, bringing all together in one united goal. South Africa did win, black and white did celebrate together, and Pienaar’s words in this video show the depth of his respect for the man who, through his wisdom and dignity, kept a nation from falling apart during a very fragile time.

    das

  22. Ugh – sorry about the typos above. My editing skills need some serious honing. 😛

    das

  23. Father O’Mallossey if you are who separate women from evil l. Please separate two for me for Saturday. 😆

  24. @Das: LOL, I can just see the nannies with buckets/hose/ 🙂 Not drunk, yeah, right. NO MORE BOOZE FOR YOU. 🙂

    I’m a mess, lotsa pain, blah blah blah. Sigh, wtf did I do?

  25. @Das:

    Maybe my new full nom de blog should be Gimpy Ol’ Man?

    To settle the Irish priest versus the Italian priest issue, maybe we should ask Joe:

    “Whiskey or Grappa?” 😀

    @Janet:

    Thanks! I’m trying…

    @Joe:

    For pizza-movie-night, Barb and I are watching “The Christmas Lodge” (2011) off of Amazon Instant Video (chosen on a whim). After starting this film, I’ve seen a bunch of Stargate alums (Michael Shanks with a lot of other Stargate guest stars). Looking at IMDB, about 2/3rds of these actors have done guest spots on Stargate.

    This puts me in the mood for re-watching some Stargate SG-1 episodes later tonight!

  26. not only do you get points for helping her, she gets points for remembering that you did and wanting to return the favor. hope the project works out for the both of you.

  27. @Tam Dixon: “Cold Northern winds” are our largest export!

    @JeffW: “Gimpy Old Men” sounds like it would be a great title of some comedy film. Too close? Joe could write it, although not from his personal experience, of course!

    @Jenny Horn: Good things have already come Joe’s way – Us!! 🙂

  28. Looks like Almost Human may be the next cancellation to happen on Fox, they’ve done a funky schedule change and have Sleepy Hollow down for a 2 hour finale and not airing a new Almost Human ep that week. Following that the week after they have an encore episode of The Following leading into a new episode on that week.

    Given how the ratings have declined, this just seems like a vote of no confidence to me, I don’t know why they would not bother airing any new episodes of Almost Human for 2 weeks to give priority to shows they feel are more important beyond the network not thinking it’ll last long..

    I could be wrong.

  29. Yes! Unbrella! It made instant sense the moment I saw the picture. I hate the regular umbrella design. One conspired with a wind gust to try to deglove my finger. But the cost will have to come down. For now, I’m used to getting rained on without my fingers and face next to an arrangement of thin, metal spokes designed to collapse in unison.

  30. @ Deni – I swear – I was totally sober (unlike right now – long story, but let’s just be glad I’m a happy drunk… *runs around smooching everyone on da forehead* 😀 ). I just totally thought your yard was on fire (perhaps because my sister, also living in Florida, has had brush fires precariously close to her house).

    Okay…I’m just watching a rugby match from last weekend – Leinster (in blue – Ireland) v Scarlets (in red – Wales) – and I think the referee, Ian Davies, is also Welsh. Anyway, his accent is pretty strong and I swear he just said (and it’s been verified by my very sober husband), “Rat sex…you know you were doing rat sex.” 😕

    I can only interpret it as ‘Red six, you know you were doing it (an infringement) red six’…but even knowing that and no matter how many times I listen to it, it still sounds like ‘rat sex’. 😛

    It doesn’t help that the commentator (Irish or Welsh? Not sure) says ‘third’ as ‘turd’ – as in ‘that’s the turd tackle’ or ‘that’s the turd time the referee has gone upstairs’.

    Sometimes I wonder if I really understand the English language.

    And Deni’s yard is still burning. 😛

    das

  31. I’m catching up here (again) but I agree with what Das has to say about you and how we’ve become a little family here. I would miss having this in my life, so please continue this forever.

    @JeffW Left a comment on the blog. Impressive son!

    @Deni Hope that by now your back [yard] is feeling better.

    @Joe What a wonderful thing to have happen. I think sometimes karma gets clogged in the tunnel of life. Sometimes good deeds you do awhile back gets returned at some much-later date. And then there are people who hurt others whose karmic payback also gets delayed, but trust me, it will come and pay it back tenfold when it does. The universe knows your heart. You can’t fool it and pretend to be a good person when you are rotten to the core either. The universe knows you have a very good heart.

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