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Friday, August 29, 2008

The Assistant Files

And continuing Good In the Room Week here at the Assistant Files…

Truth be told, I guess I forget how daunting it must be to writers -- especially new, trying-to-break-in writers -- to walk into a strange room and try to prove unequivocally to people you've never met that you are a genius and they should give you large sums of money.

At least, that's probably what it feels like on your end. "Look at me! Watch me dance! Faster? I can go faster! Watch these tricks!"

But you know, from the point of view of the exec or producer, he's really just hoping that you won't be boring, and might even be someone that'll make him look good, what with your killer project and your undeniable awesomeness which everyone else in town will soon be clamoring to get a piece of.

A while ago I stumbled on this video of Michael Wiese teaching some folks how to act in a meeting. It's short, and it makes some good points, so you should watch it.

Here's what I think you can take from this video:

1) Listen to what he says about assistants. That Michael Wiese is a wise, wise man.

2) I've said it before and I'll say it again: be confident. No, not a cocky know-it-all. But do show the folks you're meeting with that they are in capable hands and that you are confident in the material. Outward calm and confidence makes them think you know what you're doing, even if inwardly you know you're just fumbling around in the dark. Again, confident and calm, not needy and desperate.

3) Know your audience. What is it that they're looking for? What brought you into the room to begin with? There must be something that they liked about your idea if they agreed to meet with you; try to highlight that. If you know your audience, you can show them how you're really on the same team. That's the whole point, right? Not so much to sell them something, but to get in business together. You each have something to offer the other. If you look at it that way, you're really on equal footing. Just two people in a room, working together toward a common goal.

Everyone likes a winner, and Basking In Reflected Glory is an important and valuable skill set in Hollywood. Everyone wants to be associated with a hit property, however tenuously, because hustling for that next gig isn't an activity exclusive to writers. Being associated with a winner adds to their worth, helps them get the next meeting, the next project, or maybe just the next M/A/W to come talk to them instead of the guy over there who worked on MEET DAVE.

So be the winner that they want to know. Be the likable hero of your own real-life adventure.

Does that help? I hope so, because I really do want you to succeed. That way when I'm making the rounds, trying to get my next gig, people will be really impressed when I drop your name.

Andy Sachs

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1 comment:

E.C. Henry said...

Thanks for the tips, Andy. Hopefully someday I and the other writers who visit this blogsite will have a chance to put them in practice.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA