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-
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*
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.