The first meeting was very successful, the one about ’til Death (one I almost missed due to Stuart Perry), where lots of good and better ideas were thrown around. The kind of meeting where the only question really asked is “Why’s this character doing this?” If there’s a good answer, move on. If not, why not? These kind of meetings aren’t about lack of clarity in the script, there’re about making absolutely sure writer and director have the same opinion about the motivations of the characters.
Just in case anyone asks any awkward questions.
Afterwards I made my way to the next meeting, a meeting which promised mystery, surprises, laughter, madness and me shitting a solid gold brick. So, pants in hand, I ventured into the lions’ den …
Which is a weird place to hold a meeting. You probably don’t know this, but lions are incredible know-it-alls and have an opinion on *everything*. After I’d had my hair, my clothes, my shoes, my laptop, my use of language and my opposable thumbs criticised, we moved the meeting to a bar which was much quieter.
On the way to the meeting I kept thinking about what might happen. I knew we were meeting to discuss a troubled project and how it could possibly be saved. I knew the producer had an idea he claimed was the greatest idea ever, part madness, part genius and one which would really appeal to my sense of humour.
I’m not that fussed about madness or genius, but I like things which appeal to my sense of humour. So while I’m musing about these things I remember how little I like superlatives.
At least, not when someone else is using them.
Basically, I want my idea to be better, madder, more genius-er and more humourously appealing than his. He’s the god damn producer – I’m the writer. Ideas are my domain, he should stick to schmoozing, raising money and trying to sleep with actresses.
So I tried to think of a better idea. What would be so outrageous his idea would seem pitiful by comparison? Obviously we’d still do his idea because he’s the producer and it’s his film; but I want to chuck something into conversation first which makes his idea seem sane, rational and boring by comparison.
Mulling over the nature of the problem and the possible causes (of which there are many) … I had the idea.
No, that doesn’t do it justice.
I had THE IDEA.
No, still not good enough.
I had THE IDEA.
Right. That last ‘THE IDEA’ is supposed to be in really big letters, a funky colour and flashing.
But it’s not.
Fuck it, you’re mostly writers. Use your imagination.
I get to the pub (the bit about the lions’ den was a lie) and after all the usual pleasantries – you know, what do you want to drink? That’s a nice jacket? My have you lost weight? Usual stuff – we get onto the meat and potatoes …
After the meal, we were ready to talk.
“So,” he says, breaking all the conventions about starting speeches with the word ‘so’ … “do you want to hear the biggest, craziest, bestest idea about how to fix the problem you’ve ever heard in your or anyone else’s life?”
“Yes, but I’ve got an idea too.”
“It won’t be better than mine.”
“We’ll see about that.” I gloat unnecessarily …
And I tell him my idea …
Which, as it turns out, was exactly the same as his idea – to the letter … and the five exclamation marks at the end of the pitch.
And the rest of the meeting was a flurry of laughter and stupid ideas about how best to realise the monumentally stupid solution, whilst both of us squirmed with discomfort. After all, it’s hard to be comfortable when you’ve both just shit a solid gold brick.