You have to be sort of an industry geek to know Steven Bach wrote “Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, the Film That Sank United Artists.” Yes, I am. Great book, by the way.
No, not Final Cut the editing software. Final Cut the book.
My Number 1 rule in taking meetings, no matter how the powers at the table are distributed, is as follows. And, it is very simple to remember.
Give 100% of your attention to those at the table. Turn off your phone and place it facedown on the table. Pull out a pen and have a notepad ready.
Even though I can practically memorize everything said in a meeting, I still take my pen and pad out. It’s a curse, trust me, because everyone asks me constantly, “What did they say?”
Oh, and never, ever, never, doodle on the pad. I Justin-Wilson-guarantee you everyone at the table will pick-up on that inattention.
In today’s world of iPads, iPhones, smart phones, dumb phones, etc., etc., etc., most people get conditioned to flinch every time the damned thing goes off. Do not do this at a meeting.
As a side note, Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson had the exact same ‘huge’ desk design as Steven Bach, when they ran Simpson Bruckheimer Films. It is in the article.
Once, when negotiating a low level contract with a major studio distributor, it was just me and two execs at the table. This was before that there iPhone thingy.
By the time each of their flip phones had totaled eight calls, I walked. Used the bathroom as an excuse. I had actually thought to myself, “Self? Are they just screwing with me? Or, are they just that stupid?” My boss asked me why I
walked re-scheduled and within two weeks, the moron fired me. Hey, thanks, pal.
Flash forward, about a year later, my old boss had been fired from that same company, for… Wait for it… Lack of contracts. Karma was hired in his place.
The two execs at that studio were fired within a month of that meeting. Maybe it was because of a certain letter I wrote their three bosses about their conduct. They hired someone named Karma, too.
Would they expect better of me and my company if we signed agreements? Of course, they would. Never underestimate professionalism.
Oh, and those same studio bosses offered me a job, but, I had already moved-on to another company. That was a class move, which did not go unnoticed, as I mailed each a personal note thanking them.
Know your worth when taking meetings, or, do not even go. You will be wasting your time and theirs if you do not know your worth.
If you are important enough to sit at the table, then everyone is important enough at the table to respect each other’s position.
Great Article: The Time George Romero Walked Out On a Hollywood Exec