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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Assistant Files


Assistants have different coping strategies to get through the day. Some people trawl Facebook. Some people gossip on tracking boards. I do those things too, but mostly, I read blogs. And messageboards. Often about screenwriting. There's something fascinating about eavesdropping on public conversations, I find. Here are some recurring themes I see over and over, to my amazement:

*Person on the internet: Writers should wear suits to meetings.
Reality: What?!? Have you ever seen a writer? Writers just barely change out of their pajamas. Recently a bigshot writer and his manager came in to pitch to my boss. The writer was wearing ratty old jeans, a t-shirt that had a big brown stain on it, and designer glasses that probably cost 700 dollars. If you wore a suit to a meeting, people would be upset and confused.


*Person on the internet: You don't have to live in LA to be a screenwriter.
Reality: What kind of screenwriter are we talking about? The kind of screenwriter who actually sells projects and works consistently?


*Person on the internet: But I'm special! The industry will come to me.
Reality: Don't you think it's more like how people who want to be in national politics have to move to DC?


*Person on the internet: How dare you claim that I'm not the exception to the rule.
Reality: I can see this isn't making a dent. Let's move on.


*Person on the internet: I demand that you acknowledge that I am the exception!
Reality: I wonder if this bagel I found in the conference room is too old to eat safely.


*Person the internet: Hollywood makes moves that are too liberal! Or conservative!
Reality: Hollywood makes movies because it hopes that they will make a lot of money, or because they might win an Oscar. Those are the only two reasons. I always feel kind of embarrassed that instead of being deeply evil, Hollywood is just disorganized and haphazard.


*Person on the internet: I have a production company. You can tell, because my email address is joesawesomeprodco@aol.com. It will really impress people to know this.
Reality: This is so uncomfortable. People who work in the industry know pretty much everyone. Nobody is ever going to think "Wow, I guess there's a hot new player in town I hadn't heard of yet! I should definitely check out the script."


*Person on the internet: My script is the first in a planned trilogy about vampires.
Reality: Oh no.

xxo,

Andy Sachs



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16 comments:

Mike Scherer said...

Andy,

Good stuff! Thanks for validating my assumptions about the 'system'.

Keep Writing!
Mike

ps. Wanna read some scripts ;-)

Christina said...

The writer was wearing ratty old jeans, a t-shirt that had a big brown stain on it, and designer glasses that probably cost 700 dollars.

Yeah! Then I have the right wardrobe to be a screenwriter. The stain alternates between coffee and beer. And the glasses were $650.

Kirkland said...

*Person on the internet: Writers should wear suits to meetings."

Oh, I dunno. Every writer I know wears a suit. We sleep in a suit, we wear it to walk the dog, we were married in it (and likely divorced in it), and in all probability we'll be buried in the same suit.

That torn jeans and coffee stained shirt thing is a myth, just like we're all anti-social and just a therapist meeting away from the looney bin.

The truth is, some of us writers like wearing suits...but that's only because we also aspire to be directors or maybe produce. And wearing a suit to a meeting is a requirement for those guys. We just want to fit in.

PJ McIlvaine said...

But I don't live in LA and I still wanna write scripts. Guess I should put plastic bag over my head.

BrettSnelgrove said...

*LOL* I'm new to Rouge Wave but I'm already finding it highly entertaining and enlightening. Keep you the great work. Assistant Files are a hoot!

Julie Gray said...

Welcome to the Rouge Wave, Brett! If we try to do one thing around here, it's to effing entertain you. Tell all your friends and stick around. I think you'll like it here. Cupcake for you!

Dave Shepherd said...

The vampire genre really needs to be reinvented, similar to what Ginger Snaps did for werewolves.

And anyone who hasn't seen the Ginger Snaps trilogy should really check them out.

Reminds me of a time when horror films were metaphors for something (Ginger Snaps being a metaphor for a teenage girl's sexuality and development)

James said...

Haha, this is a great one.

I am one of the few that actually likes dressing up for interviews and whatnot -- and I have found that producers, agents, and managers ALL frown upon this.

I really couldn't tell you why.

It seems my best meetings happen when I am wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Maybe a hoody sweatshirt if it's cold.

Basically, the stereotypical appearance that is widely accepted in Hollywood for a writer is just above that of a very hygienic bum.

It is almost as if, the worst dressed you are, the more seriously they take you.

Julie Gray said...

I have often counseled writers to show up at meetings with bedhead, a few tattoos and a serious hangover. It makes us look cool and unpredictable. Which is what they think we are. Except the cool part. ;)

E.C. Henry said...

Interesting points, Andy Sachs

Wish I lived in L.A., but I've got to play the cards I'm dealt.

Sounds like the writer you mentioned lacks fashion sence. Screenwriters are part of the entertainment industry, thus I believe it's in their best interst to be entertaing--and that includes how you dress. Suits no. Looking cool... o yeah!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Chris said...

writers do not wear suits to meetings.

the writers call execs at studios, prod cos, etc. "the suits" because THEY wear the suits.

the dress code is quite functional and is an easy visual representation of the hollywood caste system.

the further up you go, the better dresesd you have to be. actors and writers are below producers and studio execs, hence the requirement that we have to dress down.

if you are a writer and go to meeting in your sunday best, it shows that you either (1) don't know the code, i.e., amateur; or (2) are trying to aspire to a level that you are not at. so dress your class and be happy about it.

Anthony Peterson said...

I could never work this out. If someone else has a problem with me dressing above their expectations of me - then maybe their expectations were too low?

Or do I have to "pretend" that I enjoy wearing T-Shirts with coffee stains to get the sale?

Dave Shepherd said...

Really? Jeans and a t-shirt?

I thought that was too "bad". I seem to hear "nice pair of slacks and a polo shirt -- no tie of course"

But if we can do jeans and a t-shirt, that's flippin' awesome.

Kirkland said...

@anthony:

The facts are this: you wear what you wear. If you're comfortable in a casual suit and wear one most of the time, it's no big deal. As it happens, I generally wear tee shirts and jeans most of the time--when it's cooler out, I dress it up with a sports coat (it's all that time I spent working in NY and Europe) to meetings. One writer I know wears shorts and tee shirts and sandals, another writer always wears black, complete with black combat boots (even in summer), and another wears the modified preppy look: khakis and a white button down shirt. Whatever you're comfortable with, ya know?

Anybody who passes themselves off as an expert on what you should and should not wear to meetings, as a "uniform," is not to be trusted. In fact, "experts" period shouldn't be trusted, especially when it comes to what to wear. Let common sense dictate you wardrobe and you'll be okay.

Emily Blake said...

Whew. Ain't no way I'm wearing a suit to a meeting so this is good news.

Christian M. Howell said...

Crap. I can't go to an office without a tie. I don't actually wear suits but a sportscoat and non-jeans is my personality. I guess you have to be yourself and pray.