Tuesday, December 20, 2011


As a filmmaker outside of Los Angeles, you get used to hearing "No".

We live in a culture of "No".

"No" that is only possible in Hollywood.

"No" you should get a proper job in mining or accountancy.

"No" way there is room for you in the overcrowded film industry.

For the thin-skinned it's demoralising.

There are far worse alternatives though. Apparently, in LA, compliments are free flowing, but the all important "Yes" to your film project is rarely forthcoming. There is even a famous line about it:

“Hollywood is the only place where you can die from encouragement.”
- Dorothy Parker

And it's worse if you take a lot of meetings. "Death by Meeting", I call it.

Even a thick skinned person has trouble enduring weeks of meetings where all you hear is "No".

This week's meetings were unusual for me, hence the late newsletter. In one evening alone I was fortunate enough to meet luminaries such as Paul Cox (the noted director of 'Exile'), Chris Murray (Popcorn Taxi director who launched Empire Magazine in Australia) and Vincent D'onofrio (acted in everything from 'Full Metal Jacket' to 'Men In Black').

But while this shoulder-rubbing was fun, as was the horrifically blatant name dropping I just did, it wasn't actually the best part of my week.

Earlier in the week, I had a meeting to discuss a strategic proposal around social networking and marketing. It had the potential to be dreadful, truly truly dreadful.

Instead, there was a metaphorical sparring match. It was polite, but we challenged each other. Ideas were thought of, and then replaced with better ideas.

Just over an hour later, we shook hands and headed our separate ways. "No" had not been said once, only "What if instead..."

My mind was flowing with ideas. I was energised.

And I realised, one good meeting will outweigh a calendar full of bad ones.

A good meeting will remind you why you expend the energy in pursuit of an idea.

To be challenged. To connect with peers. To produce your best work.

So, don't be dismayed by the sea of bad meetings you have to navigate. They serve a purpose.

They remind you what a good meeting looks like.

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