A conversation with a promising new writer has got me thinking about the perils of getting overexcited. Not that I got hot and steamy over their well constructed first sitcom script, that would be weird. I can promise that I did not get excited during the phone call either, that would also be weird and highly inappropriate.
There’s a thin line between unrealistic excitement and sounding like you don’t give a shit. I try to sound genuine and be honest, but sometimes I can feel myself overcompensating for the inner worry that I’m sounding like I’m not arsed about a project the creator has put their blood, sweat, tears and possibly more into.
If I’m talking to someone about a project of mine I hate it if they are either not bothered or are ‘passionate’ to the point where the bullshit alarm starts screaming and I think there’s no way this is ever going to happen… you, mate, are just too enthusiastic, you should have been a kids television presenter. This is nonsense, this project is not the best thing since The Office.1 Somewhere in the middle, that’s what to aim for.
It reminds me of the time I went to the televisual trade fair MipCom in Cannes. Sounds glamorous. It isn’t. Or, rather, it wasn’t for me. Want clips of men’s trousers falling down or boobs exploding Babs Windsor style on big screens? Then this is the place for you. I’m sure behind all this there are lots of serious meetings, deals being done and then champagne being drunk, but I was on a subsidised trip with very little to sell so what the hell. What I did have is a series of ludicrous meetings where people from across the globe got incredibly excited about my projects and guess what happened to them… that’s right, absolutely diddly-squat. This didn’t surprise me and, like the sugar coated triple chocolate honey smeared candies or Murphy’s apparently, I’m not bitter.
What I’m trying to say is that it is great to be excited about a project, but it’s also good to be realistic and understand the hard work that’s still to come once you’ve written a good pilot script, made a good taster or short film. So if you’re talking to different people about your script or idea, listen carefully to what they’re saying, their thoughts and ideas for how to take it forward as much as their enthusiasm and passion.
Of course, you may only have one person interested. In that case cling onto their coattails until they make you rich and famous and if you thought they were a dick then you can always ditch them once you’ve leapt from the stinking gutter into the glorious cosmic beauty of the stars.