Another direction

If you’ve never been removed from a project, don’t worry – you will.

If you have been removed from a project, congratulations!

And commiserations, it’s going to happen again.

It’s one of those inevitable facts and just how things work. Sometimes you see a project through, sometimes they ‘want to go in another direction’ … presumably one which is less shit.

Personally I’ve been removed from a project two and three half times.

Some of you might read that as three and a half times, or five; but fuck you. This is my blog and I’ll count it anyway I goddamn please.

On two of those half occasions I actually got reinstated, which is doubly odd. Especially if you consider I got removed in favour of the same guy. Both times were pre-script stage: once during the treatment wrangles and discussions, the other during the contract negotiation phase. On both occasions the (different) producers found this other, amazing writer who had a couple of MAJOR Hollywood credits but was, mysteriously, prepared to work for the shitty pittance a guy of my limited talents commands. And, hilariously, in both cases the guy delivered the same crappy script.

Exactly the same, despite the two projects being different genres. He’d literally taken three months to change the title of the script and the names of the characters. At this point, the producers in question realised the only decent work of fiction this guy was capable of writing was his own CV. And they came crawling back.

A recent, yet amusing removal went something like this:

PRODUCER: You’re taking too long to write the script and I’m concerned you aren’t giving my project your full attention.

ME: Actually, I’m waiting for the feedback you said you were giving me on the treatment.

PRODUCER: Oh, really? Right … thing is, we’ve gone and asked this other writer now, so …

And that was that.

How does it feel to be removed from a project? Dirty, used, humiliating, worthless, crushing, devastating, useless … all the normal emotions I associate with sex.

But the pendulum swings both ways.

I’ve replaced other writers more than I’ve been replaced and not really given it much thought. Presumably those writers had a little cry about it before resorting to the age-old solution of sticking pins in a voodoo doll. It would certainly explain the stabbing pains I’ve been getting in my cock of late.

But you know what? It’s just tough.

Sometimes it’s your fault for being shit, sometimes it’s the producer/director being fickle/wrong/a cunt and sometimes it really is because they just want to try something different. You’re not going to be right for every project and that’s just the way it is. The trick is to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and realise it happens to everyone, it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

And by the way, that burning smell? It’s just me setting fire to your car/house/gerbil – it’s not personal, I’ve just decided to go in another direction – one of crazed, psychopathic blood lust.

Smile, I’m watching you.

Right now, my pretty, right now.

Categories: Industry Musings, Someone Else's Way | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Another direction

  1. So, is this your way of telling us that you just got removed from another project?

    The thing that throws me off projects is the vomit-inducing weaving as the producer tries to vector in something that looks like success.

    • No not really, it’s just a meandering ramble to help fill the day.

      • Oh wait, I remember now – it was sparked off by hearing the same script guy’s name with the same old bullshit attached to it.

        “Did you know he wrote x and y?”

        “Yes. Did you know he’s full of shit?”

        It kind of amuses me how far one man can go on an invented past. I guess it just takes the balls to lie big.

        • Balls of steel the size of babyheads.

          I am brushing tangentially with a slightly well known US TV writer on a project I’m involved with at the moment. The reverence with which these people are treated probably contributes to their self-delusion.

  2. Spent a year on one project as the unwitting replacement for somebody else. Only when all was said and done did the producer ‘fess up. Felt hurt I was second choice, but only for about three milli-seconds.

    Come to think of it, I was a late replacement on my first radio play. That worked to my advantage as everyone was so near the knuckle, I avoided the extended pain of the usual radio drama commissioning process. All the hoops had already been jumped through, I could just concentrate on writing the best script I could. Refereshing!

    • There’s a possible career strategy there, I might employ a crap(er) writer to jump through hoops for me, just so I can swoop and save the day at the eleventh hour.

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