Thursday, September 15, 2005

Meetings 1

It really is autumn now (sorry about that), and the air is thick with the smell of bonfires, squirrels and meetings. Both Ori and Danny have recently written about meetings, Ori laying bare the searing insights into the human soul that arise when more than two GW writers get together, Danny explaining the varying time scales of film meetings and their implications.

The strangest meetings of all tend to be actual television channel executive meetings. Mainly because the channels (and correct me if I'm wrong) tend to commission producers rather than writers. Which gives any meeting I've had with executives from the major television channels a slightly bewildered air, as both of us try with the utmost tact to find out what the other one actually does.

The tone of these meetings will also depend greatly on the status of the person in whose office you are meeting. Unlike big LA film companies, where the lowliest post boy hires himself an office and wears suits he has recently mugged off a minor Scorsese (Nick Cage), in Britain it's reasonably easy to tell what end of the scale you're encountering. Hence:

INT. OFFICE - DAY

Door creaks open, tearing a thin curtain of spiderwebs. The office is dark. There are no windows, and the bulbs have long ago been taken away by senior management.

A thin white hand stretches out from under a solitary three-legged desk, covered in the bones of small animals.

VOICE: (hisses) Did you bring the biscuits?

ME: Um, is the right place? I had a meeting at three-

VOICE: Biscuits!

Fortunately, I managed to pick up some Peek Freans on the way. I slide them towards the hand, careful not to go too far from the door. The arm extends (surely too far, and too long) and the biscuits vanish. Munching ensues, and the packet is suddenly spat out into the air.

ME: Right. So, about my Romey loves Jools script....

VOICE: You must leave now.

ME: Bloody hell, I came all the way from Cornwall for this!

(Always work the catchphrases. You never know)

VOICE: Soon, he will come. The murderer of comedy...

ME: (alarmed) DELETES NAME OF HIGHLY RESPECTED TELEVISION EXECUTIVE HE'LL BE MEETING IN THREE DAYS*

VOICE: Yes.

ME: Oh bollocks.

VOICE: I tell you this because of the biscuits.

ME: Okay, thanks.

I get up and leave, closing the door behind me. Behind me I hear the sudden scuttle of a mouse, a scrabble of claws and a high pitched keen of victory. Back to Cornwall for me.


.... is the lower end of the scale. I'll do the top end tomorrow.


* actually Jon Plowman, who turned out to be perfectly charming and encouraging. Turned down my script though.

28 comments:

JonnyB said...

but...but...

where's James?!?

james henry said...

I decided to try and look more efficient and practical. I have't been eaten or anything.

It's probably a bit too early 2000's though, like those bars that called themselves 'duvet' or 'flange'. I may change it back - my ways are whimsical and capricous, like a bored French king, who's just discovered coffee.

surly girl said...

you could go all postmodern and noughties and be blucat. which is also a bit french-kingy, if said in the right accent.

or not.

james henry said...

It's a thought.

'Bluecat'

Hmm...

patroclus said...

Rhymes with "ducat".

Marsha Klein said...

Sounds a bit like one of those corporate rebrandings (British Steel = Corus or Scottish Power Telecommunications = Thus) which make it impossible to discern the nature of the company's business. I believe that Thus was orginally going to be Let It Be Thus - presumably they decided against this on the grounds that it was too "Star Trek - The Next Generation"!

patroclus said...

In my view, you can never be too Star Trek TNG. Although that Commander Riker - talk about being promoted beyond your abilities.

james henry said...

He really was a complete dork, wasn't he? I always used to assume that Picard was constantly on the communicator to his superiors, desperately trying to get someone less annoying assigned, only to be stymied when Riker burst into his office to confess to falling in love with an alien ambassador, or turning into a caveman or something.

Not as bad as Merina Sertis' 'drunk' acting in First Contact though. Wow.

patroclus said...

I always assumed Picard had appointed Riker in order to make himself appear even more erudite, authoritative and sexy. It's a risky strategy, but it seemed to work.

Loganoc said...

My chinese housemate has a washing powder called superstrength Whitecat.

Jack Spanners said...

Sorry to barge in all unknown and unannounced but I feel I must defend Will Riker...erm...damn...next time I'll try and come with a plan. Sorry.

JonnyB said...

The Evening Standard rebranded its jobsite to Big Blue Dog or something or other. It lasted around three months.

Please, please, can we have our broadsheet back??? Oh hang on - sorry - wrong thread.

james henry said...

No worries Jack, there's room for all points of view here, from the correct to the utterly utterly utterly wrong.

james henry said...

And 'superstrength whitecat' brings me to today's post above...

james henry said...

And JonnyB, I'll see what I can do.

Wow, three comments in a row on my own post. A worrying sign, I fear.

Paula said...

I have had meetings like that. Nothing to do with tv. Am now worried that all meetings are scary traumatic events in which nothing really gets done...

Jack Spanners said...

So, what about when Will went undercover on the Klingon ship? That was pretty good work. Admittedly that's one thing in 170 odd episodes but it's a start.

Matt said...

a rather dull point that always amuses me in Star Trek:Generations (and thus marking myself out as really sad).

In the really naff battle against the bird of prey being captained by Lursa and B'etor (when for some reason the enterprise doesn't bother firing until they can disable the shields, 'cos really, why would you bother..... ahem).
Anyway, there is a point where Lursa says 'Fire at Will' and then they cut to a shot of will riker.

oh lummy, that was really a very dull anecdote with way too much much in-depth 'trekkie' to do anybody any good. I really shouldn't post things when I've had that much port.

Matt said...

I was also thinking the other day when I started re-watching star trek films that riker never really gets much to do.

Generations: just don't crash the ... oh never mind
First Contact: just don't shoot... oh never mind
Insurrection: Just don't lose the warp ... oh never mind
Nemesis: Just don't fall off the bridge... well go on then Just die!!!

Couldn't even do that right.


and I shall now cease with the nerdy ramblings (which sounds like a Kenneth Williams character really)

james henry said...

Good points all. I believe the plan for 'next gen' split the original 'Kirk' style character into two - one to be serious and bald on the bridge, and one to lark about on rocks with a beard on, so they could then cut between A and B plots to pick up tthe pace a bit from the original series.

Of course all that really happened was that Picard got to be statesmanlike and cool, and Riker pratted about, constantly being shown up as an complete arse.

Always wanted Joss Whedon to take over ST, and do a series about a prison ship, or a catering ship, or a spaceship made of wood.

I haven't even had port - I have no excuse.

patroclus said...

I had a meeting in a client's offices the other week, in a tiny meeting room they'd called Ten Forward. For some reason this made me feel all warm and fuzzy towards the tech industry.

In my opinion Riker's finest moment was when he brought that game back from the planet where he'd been on holiday, the one that was like a cross between Tetris and Ecstasy. In no time at all the entire crew was addicted, thus completely knocking out productivity for about a week. Nice work, Commander.

Of course, this plotline is as naught compared with the nadir episode of Voyager, where Tom Paris and Captain Janeway travel to the end of time, become lizards and shag wantonly in the mudflats, thus inadvertently creating a race of mutant super-lizards.

james henry said...

The entirety of Voyager was a nadir, wasn't it?

And then came Enterprise.


Still the new Battlestar Galactica is fricken' awesome, so my little space opera heart is still beating.

patroclus said...

I quite liked Voyager. I'd even go so far as to list Seven of Nine as one of my only two female role models.

james henry said...

The other one being...

patroclus said...

Well, er, Germaine Greer. But as Germaine undoubtedly disapproves of Seven's not-very-feminist attire, the two probably cancel each other out.

james henry said...

Doubtless Seven would try to assimilate old Greery, only for the borg to suffer numerous re-inventions (lipstick borg, hairy borg, girl power borg) only for the entire collective to collapse under the crushing weight of late stage capitalism and junior borgs who want to grow up to be Paris Hilton and own Playboy pencil cases, while the older borgs can't work out if they're being ironic or not.

I don't really know what my point was. This is why I stay away from politics, on the whole.

patroclus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
patroclus said...

Shame. We could do with more of this type of debate in the House of Commons. Might make the Parliament Channel (is that still going?) more watchable (than Enterprise).