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5 hot tips for crushing your television staffing meeting

by Adam Capell

You’ve worked your ass off as an assistant, made some strong connections, or you’re just a wildly talented, barrel-chested, Latvian playwright like myself. Now you’ve got your shot to meet with a showrunner for a TV staff writing job. Here are my five hot tips how to crush your TV staffing meeting:

1. Find the perfect outfit.

There are only two mistakes that you can wear, but they’re big ones. One, under no circumstances should you ever walk into a staffing interview wearing slacks, they’re going to smell the horseshit coming off you from a mile away. Having said that, number two, you don’t want to dress too casual either, or you might give off the I just ate a bunch of edibles vibe. Recently, I showed up to a meeting in a sweater vest/Madras shorts combo. Disaster. I wasn’t even allowed to go through with the interview. Though, I think I was in the wrong office. Anyway, if you really want to woo them, ask yourself, “what would Channing Tatutm wear?” If you’re a lady, think Jessica Chastain from Zero Dark Thirty. Classy and fun while still being respectful to the Muslim culture.

2. Be yourself, but don’t say “dude” or “bro-cat” more than seven times.

You need to be yourself. Your charming, funny, and wonderful self. But you don’t want them to think you’re on mescaline. So don’t treat a showrunner or a producer like they’re your contemporaries. Think of them more as a potential lover you’d like to take. You need to be the very best version of yourself, not your actual self. So hide the you who’s often late, or tips the valet with an expired transit card, and occasionally hisses at small children.

3. Compliment, compliment, compliment.

Tell them everything you’d want to hear if someone read your script or saw your pilot. It’s brilliant. You’re brilliant. I really connected with it. You reached me. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the characters. Okay, stop right there. Leave it at that. You’ve made your point. Too many times I’ve gotten caught up in the moment and continued to excessively compliment the showrunner or producer . . . You smell nice, or you’re very pretty for a man, or I really dig your curves.

4. Be thankful.

You want to let them know that they’re important and kind of a big deal. So thank them for their time and tell them how much you appreciate the opportunity. But please leave it at that. It gets weird, and potentially litigious, when you start sending them pictures of yourself in elaborate Victorian costumes.

5. Do not touch the complimentary bottled water – ever.

It’s almost always a test. Just last week, I was totally vibing with this showrunner, we’re laughing, and telling each other wickedly delicious gossip about a mutual friend who has the clap. Then, damn it, I realize how dry my mouth is getting. I glance down at a beautifully arranged tri-pod of miniature bottles of water. No. Don’t even think about it. But I fear my lack of saliva is leaving a grotesque white residue on my lips. I can feel them caking. Do I look like I just smoked crack? Probably. He’s not going to want to hire a crack addict. He’s going to think I’ll steal his tape deck. Someone put these delightfully small bottles of water on the table for a reason. It’s implied that it’s available for the interviewee to enjoy. I’m just gonna take a tiny bottle and an even tinier sip. So, I cave. The laughter slowly dies down. He can’t take his eyes off my tiny bottle of water for the rest of the meeting. Was this his water? Was he saving it for someone more important than me? We’ll never know, because I didn’t get the job.

I know that was a lot of information to digest, but relax. If you’ve made it this far, you’re golden. Remember, you’re out here to chase your dreams, I just want to ensure your talent wins out over a couple of correctable offenses. Who knows, if this reading material was available to me, perhaps I could’ve avoided some seriously uncomfortable elevator rides.

Adam Capell

About Adam Capell

Adam Capell is a writer, sculptor, classically trained concert cellist, sous chef and cat enthusiast. When he’s not doing all of the above he’s usually leg wrestling a drifter at a bus depot. Despite the rest of his body getting soft, his thighs are still rock solid. They have been featured in Men’s Swimming Quarterly as well as Women’s Swimming Quarterly.

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