A few days back I wrote about two idiot producers I worked with and how they were a bit on the annoying/twatty side.
And that bothers me.
Not because they might work out who they are, I’m pretty certain their egos filter out any unpleasantness long before it hits their brains, but because I don’t really like being so negative. Yes, I know the Internet is largely a place for people to opine on how everyone else except them is shit and how the world would be much better if only they were given a chance; but I think there’s enough of that out there, don’t you?
Most of this blog, for example.
So in an attempt to redress the balance, I thought I’d follow up with two tales of producery loveliness:
Loveliness the first:
I’d been doing this project with a writer/performer who is, quite possibly, the most egotistical, talentless twat I’ve ever met in my life. And this is coming from me, so that’s saying something.
I know, I know, it’s all gone negative again; but it’s necessary to highlight the loveliness.
So this writer/performer and I are not getting on. I’ve been hired to write her story and she is … look, just imagine the worst possible person you could be locked in a room with – that’s her. I can’t work with her, even though I’m contractually obliged to. I try to get fired, but she doesn’t seem to get the hint. The project lurches from fresh hell to foetid hell until, in the end, I ring up the producer and tell him flat out I can’t work with her any more.
“Don’t blame you, I wouldn’t.”
Huh? There’s not going to be a fight, some contract waving and legal letters?
“Tell you what, I’ll just tell her she’s the best person to write the project and lie to her about you until she’s forgotten who you are.”
“Yeah, it shouldn’t take long – let’s face it, if she can find a pensioner to mug she’ll be dead of an overdose by Monday anyway. Don’t worry, I’ll sort everything, you enjoy your weekend.”
And that was pretty much that. Hooray! Freedom! What a lovely man.
Loveliness the second:
A few years back I was lead writer on an Internet thing which never actually happened. Okay, so that’s not true – it did happen, sort of. It was filmed and then nothing happened with it. I was getting notes from the producer, interpreting them and distributing them to the writers. He didn’t like the way one story was developing and asked for some changes – big, bold changes.
“Change it. Change it all. None of it works, don’t force it to work – find a different way.”
Dutifully, I suggested a totally new story direction to the producer, he forwarded it to the writer who set off to make it happen.
All well and good.
Except, unbeknownst to me, a director had been hired. A director who had very specific ideas about how to fix the original script … so when the revised, completely different script was delivered, the director was a bit pissed off and wrote a series of notes to the writer about how he’d ruined his vision.
The writer then contacted me, wondering why I’d given him a set of notes which were contrary to the director’s vision and why I’d made him look like a twat. He also contacted the director and told him I’d ordered the changes, which led to the director thinking I was a twat too.
To be fair, I am a twat; but on this occasion it wasn’t my fault. The producer confessed he hadn’t actually read my suggested story changes and had sent them on without thinking. Nor had he told the director he’d requested the changes in the first place.
You’d think this wouldn’t be a problem, since it was obviously a mistake on the producer’s behalf. All it takes is a couple of phone calls and the blame is transferred …
The problem there is, my experience shows producers rarely like to admit they’ve made a mistake. The slightest whiff of egg approaching face and they start pointing fingers so fast their hands break the sound barrier. I don’t recall any producer ever saying ‘Yeah, that was my fault’ so either I contact the writer and director and blame the producer (which contravenes the first rule I learnt on my first day at school – no snitching) or I just assume the all-too-comfortable mantle of ‘twat’ and work to resolve the problem.
And then the producer offers, offers, to take the blame.
“I’ll just ring up and tell them it’s my fault.”
But … then they’ll both be pissed off with you!
“Yeah, well, it is my fault – I’ll just tell them.”
Oh my God, he must be suicidally depressed or … oh no, he’s just a nice, professional chap who’s more interested in producing the best product he can than appearing infallible to he can lord his power over drunk, desperate actresses.
What a nice guy.
Unless he lied to me and told them it was all my fault.
Nah, I choose to believe the positive. I have worked with some nice people, people I would work with again in a heartbeat, and although the incompetent, unpleasant ones make for a better story; I’d rather, just for once, acknowledge the nice, competent professionals out there.
Normal service will be resumed soon.