Tuesday, June 02, 2015

A meeting in a restaurant.

Recently I had a MEETING. I haven't written about MEETINGS for a bit, because looking after small children makes you tired, and the people with whom I was having MEETINGS were starting to pick up the disconcerting habit of actually reading the blog afterwards. But the kids are at school now, and this was a little while back and I don't think this producer is in the habit of reading blogs so I think we're fine.

Anyway, I was in London, and my agent likes it when I'm in London, he can ring around television producers and say things like 'James is in London! You have exactly twelve hours to book a meeting before the bright lights and moving vehicles become too much and he scurries back to his burrow in Cornwall THE BIDDING STARTS NOW!'

So amongst my other meetings, agent had scored me a quite last minute thing with Quite A Big Producer, who I'd never met before, and much more excitingly, the meeting was arranged for exactly lunchtime, in Quite A Posh Restaurant. I even had to check beforehand if I was supposed to wear a grownup jacket or summat and not a stinky old fleece with a lego space logo on it (model's own).


I discreetly give my name to the discreet waiter person at the discreet bar and he checks the list, discreetly, obviously, then ushers me over to a small table, where Quite A Big Producer is sitting, staring into space.

I introduce myself, sit down, and wait for QAB Producer's focus to zero in on me, which takes a while, quite frankly. Discreet Waiter comes over and asks if I'd like anything to drink. I force down the impulse to shout AHAHAHAHA FREE BOOZE ALL OF IT, and ask for a still water, because I am professional. All the time I am looking down at the menu laid discreetly to one side. I am quite hungry, because I had to rush to my first two meetings, so didn't have time for breakfast, and after this meeting I am going to have to rush to another meeting, so this meal will have to be planned precisely.

QAB Producer and I shoot the breeze for no more than five minutes, trying to work out who we have in common (no-one) and discussing what the broadcasters are looking for at the moment (I know, but I'm not telling them, in case they get someone else in). Then there is a silence.

Discreet Waiter comes over with a notepad.

DISCREET WAITER: (discreetly) Are we ready to order?

There follows a silence, during which QAB Producer looks at the menu, then at the other restaurant patrons who are all nomming merrily, then down at the floor, then back at the other diners again, then back at me. I am using this time to pick out items on the menu which are not French, but will comprise a full meal, which turns out to be totes doable, huzzah.

Then there is a slightly longer silence, after which QAB Producers utters six words that still echo around my brain sometimes.

QAB PRODUCER: No, I think we're done here.

Discreet Waiter takes my menu away. QUAB Producer looks at me. Discreet Waiter looks at me. Slowly I stand up, turn around and leave the restaurant.

Luckily, my next meeting is with one of my Top Favourite Producers, who takes pity on me and lets me have one of her fruit pastilles, so never let anyone tell you everyone in television is evil, it's just most of them.