March 3rd, 2003

ledbetter tat

Help me out here, ladies....

I find myself involved in two projects in which women are sitting in the driver's seat. I sit there, offering to help, handling the steering wheel when make-up needs applied, offering directions when we are hopelessly lost, and watching helplessly as we head straight into a roadside tree.

This musical I was brought in to produce has its biggest show of the run coming up tomorrow night. There are going to be a number of financial and theater people there with checkbooks in their pockets. They are flying in from NYC and Chicago to see if they want to invest in the show. We are going to hold the performance in a new venue and record it. There are so many moving parts for tomorrow night, it takes a team to keep them straight. So what do the three women who are responsible for the primary decisions do?

My co-producer goes to Taos, "I really need a break," she tells me in her low mumble. I often have to ask her to repeat herself three to four times since it seems too much trouble to speak above a furtive garble of words. I have eventually found this speech pattern to be funny. At times, I'm tempted to mumble back to see if she hears the same way she speaks.

The director left for Aspen last week. "I have so many friends I need to see there!" I'm breathlessly told. "Who doesn't?" I want to ask.

That leaves the writer/creator of the play in LA. With me. Just us. That would be fine if not for the fact she is a raging alcoholic with an afternoon slur. A drunken, slurring woman strikes a chord so deep inside of me, it takes all my will not to call her "Mom."

OK. I'm a grown-up. I know what has to be done and I'll do it. I will face the recriminations should something go wrong. I accept it.

On another front, I have been working with my girlfriend/producer on this off-network cable pitch. Well "working with" isn't exactly accurate. I have been creating all of the content and she goes in and pitches it as her own with a promise that I will be at the creative table when one is assembled upon the show's sale.

Because they liked my ideas so much, they asked for expansion. More programming ideas were needed within certain parameters. I was given the off-network cable's "programming ideas" (sidebar: these ideas were written by some $300K/year chimp who cribbed every original idea MTV ever had) from my girlfriend last Friday and we were to work on Sunday to fully develop what I came up with. I stayed up until 4am on Saturday and most of Sunday to work on them. The ideas are challenging, fun and they fit the image and target the channel wants to brand.

Go ahead. Ask me if I could reach her yesterday to do "our" work. Finally at 9:30pm, I get a call from her. Exhaustion and weariness voiced that she got my - increasingly angry - emails with my ideas. She said she looked them over but in the next sentence, it became obvious she was reading them for the first time. She said they looked fine and she would re-format them for the pitch. "Where were you all day? We were supposed to be working on this."

She could barely eke out the words, "Oh, were we? I just needed to get away. My marriage needed to go to Ojai. But, really, these look great. You nailed it."

I do not mean to make any sweeping generalizations. Honest. But I find, in my experience, working with women in business brings very different priorities to the table, er, car.
  • Current Music
    John & Ken - KFI