In my guise as an itinerant joke farmer I sometimes have to go places to find work. I hate that part of it. It’s not that I mind collaborating as much as it’s the meeting part. Unless there’s a specific plan afoot it’s usually a waste of time.
As odd as it may sound, I have a very specific and deliberate work path:
1) Get subject
2) Think of subject
3) Come up with nothing
4) Go find funny cat videos
So, as you can see, having other people around tends to cramp my style. Some people would rather see funny dog videos.
I do brainstorm with others well but even that can only last so long. It can be helpful to dislodge ideas you may not have come up with on your own but, even with that, most of the heavy lifting is done alone. Two writers, one keyboard is even more difficult to watch than two girls, one cup.
I answered an ad for a scriptwriter and, a few weeks later, heard from this guy. He liked my samples and wanted to meet with me. That has never made any sense to me. You’re not auditioning me for best friend. Meeting me isn’t going to influence how well I churn out the pages. Tell me what you want, I’ll do my best, you decide to use it or not. None of that needs personal contact.
I know it makes me sound anti-social or agoraphobic or just an giant asshole but none of that is true (to a point). I’m actually just lazy. That and I’ll probably have to put on pants.
But he was adamant. He wants to meet me and discuss his vision for his company. What the fuck am I? Your optometrist? I don’t give a shit about your vision for your company. I’m only in it for the words. Just tell me what you want typed and let me type it. What pie-in-the-sky, half-baked, grandiose delusion you have is of no interest to me. I’m only in it for the words.
And the money.
And the more half-baked the pie-in-the-sky the less money seems to be there. So not hearing your plan for world domination is probably best for everyone. That way I’ll be distracted with the words and not yet disgusted that I’ve, once again, wasted my time and dwindling abilities.
But, duty calls, so I go. He wants to meet at his condo. Fine. Good. Great. Lets get it over with. I go to his building and up to his apartment. It’s a weird space. It’s large and packed with furniture that looks as if it hasn’t been used, or dusted, in twenty years.
He sees me looking around and explains that it’s a family condo and, since everyone moved out of the state many years ago, it doesn’t get much use.
“Or cleaning.” I say moving a pile of twenty year old, dust crusted Boston magazines out of my way to clear a space for my laptop. He’s bouncing around the room filling me with his master plan. It’s plan seventeen, ‘My concept is unlike anything ever. It’ll change media forever. I just need to surround myself with dedicated people.’
Meaning: I have this one idea I’ve been thinking about for years but can’t seem to get it on paper because I write like a gopher with dysentery.
After a few minutes I’ve already coming to the conclusion that it’s not all that original (I can’t say what it was but, trust me, you could come up with it by looking at a theater marquee, picking three flicks and mash ’em together) and, more importantly, I have no interest in the weekly meetings he wants, so have decided this isn’t for me. Besides, I’ve started sneezing from the dust and stagnant air so it’s about time for me departure.
Possibly sensing my disinterest (note: don’t close your laptop too early) he begins to play the good host. He offers a beverage. Then, to prove he’s classy, asks if I want a coaster.
“No thanks,” I say pushing some dust into a small pile. “I’ll just use this two inches of dust.”
It’s funny how easily people who think they’re funny get offended.