Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

How Screenwriters Should Behave in a General Meeting

So, you’ve got a general meeting. That is BIG! I hope you’re celebrating that win. But, you’re probably not, because you’re too dang nervous for the big event. If that sounds like you, this interview with veteran TV writer and producer Ross Brown (“Step by Step,” “The Facts of Life,” “The Cosby Show,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation”) should help.

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“The best advice I can give for meet and greets, or for anything in life really is you’ve got to be yourself,” Ross began.

Sounds easy enough. But, it’s also easy to overthink a meeting, retreat into our fears, and say something weird or desperate to this person on the other side of the table who seemingly holds our life in their hands. So, Ross has advice for when that happens, too.

“Try to relax,” he said. “Try not to think that this is the most high stakes meet and greet you’ve ever had in your life.”

Consider the meeting from the executive/agent/manager’s perspective. They do dozens of these meetings per year, and you want to set yourself apart by being completely, uniquely you. A general meeting is just a chance for them to get to know you and decide whether you’re someone they might want to work with.

“If you’re trying to put on a persona and say, ‘I need to seem like a confident writer to them, or I should seem like a this-type-of-person or that-type-of-person,’ that’s not going to work,” he said. “The biggest asset you have is who you are individually, and that’s going to lead to them getting a sense of what your voice might be on the page, and so, just be yourself.”

The biggest asset you have is who you are individually, and that’s going to lead to them getting a sense of what your voice might be on the page, and so, just be yourself.
Ross Brown
Veteran TV Writer & Producer

Are you still feeling stressed? Consider learning some breathing exercises or meditations specifically for creatives, don’t eat or drink anything strange before the meeting, and take the water when it’s offered to you. Always take the water. Your voice and mouth are the first things to dry up when nerves start to get the better of you. Have a list of questions prepared to ask the other person, so the conversation doesn’t dry up, either. Lastly, remember that a general meeting is meant to be casual.

“It’s just a chance to meet other people like you might meet them in the waiting area of an airport,” Ross concluded.

So, where are you headed? How about that TSA line, huh?

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