Thursday, September 04, 2008

This one hit all the high notes

I've just finished reading "Waiter Rant" by A. Waiter, which is a really fun read, and I think it just highlights the fact that no matter what you do, what industry you're in, and what career you've chosen, the baseline statistics will always be the same.

Up to 99% of your clients will be great to work with.

Then there's the 1%.

I had a meeting scheduled right in the middle of lunch hour today, which is fine, because it doesn't happen very often. It was a first time meeting a prospective client who was also a cold call. Also, fine.

The guy turns up half an hour early for the meeting, which basically means I have to stop eating or trying to eat, and just hustle down to the meeting so he is not kept waiting.

He is wearing a singlet (a singlet) and khaki pants, and holding what I can only describe as an ancient Hello Kitty notebook, in which to take down any precious information he might be able to glean from our very first meeting. Judging by its size and appearance, he may have acquired this notebook about 10 years ago during a holiday in Lilliput.

He is a movie producer. He is in the process of producing a movie with a budget just shy of US$100 million. We asked him, is that not a little bit on the high side.

No, he replied. Because this movie is a blockbuster.

We discussed the work required at some length, and I can summarise it very quickly for you by simply saying that he wanted us to do "everything". And by everything, I mean every agreement with every individual actor, investor, director, co-producer, cameraman, key-gripper and assistant that would have any part to play at all in the movie, as well as the document offer. Which, when one is producing a blockbuster, can amount to a huge pile of paper.

We quoted him what I thought would be an eminently reasonable price for the work. He responded by asking if we would consider accepting movie tickets and credits in lieu of fees. And by "credits", I mean the words that flash on the screen long after the movie theatre (if it was even occupied in the first place) has been vacated by the patrons of that movie. He seemed a little bit put off when we suggested that we might need to consider the proposal at length before reverting, rather than punching the air and screaming the affirmative while taking the name of the Lord in vain.

Then he departed, leaving behind the smell of perspiration and a lasting memory of his chest hair, which is now burned into my brain.

I just don't get it. Has this man never eaten at a restaurant before? When you have finished your meal at a restaurant, do you turn to the manager and suggest that the restaurant accepts something else in lieu of cash, like movie tickets and credits? I don't think the manager would even pause to consider it - they would just whip out their mobile phone and call the fuzz. Similarly, has he never bought property before? Would he offer to pay the seller and the estate agent with movie tickets and credits?

If he couldn't even do this in a restaurant without getting arrested, what makes him think he can do this in a lawyer's office? Do we look like frigging movie ticket vendors? Is that how he expects us to earn our money off this file, by selling off the movie tickets to raise the cash?

I think we should accept, I said to my boss, just to see his reaction.


At 6:11 PM, Blogger Fore! said...

Eh, you missed out the part where he showed you still pictures of the movie plot which contained an inordinately high degree of nudity and poor quality cut & paste of a famous actor's face.

I'm sure if it weren't for the nudie pics, your boss would have walked out of the meeting halfway.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger knobby said...

singlet? was this his idea of how stylish movie producers dress? or was he just a beng?

you wait den see lah confum got mehhhnee law fum wahn do dees kine work one. geev cledee enough oredi. some more got flee tickay no! don praypray.

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He has a US$100m budget for a nudie film but no spare cash to pay his lawyers?

So. Bizarre.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Indiana said...

Did he really have the money? Or was he some looney just wanting to spend the afternoon with you Smoot?

At 1:21 AM, Blogger Cobalt Paladin said...

Once I was dealing with a client from the hotel industry, they wanted to offer 1 night room stay in exchange of our services!

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous inex said...

I think he is a escapee from IMH.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger expat@large said...

Did he offer you shares in the eventual profits? Was his name Leopold Bloom? Has he seen "The Producers"?

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