Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Working on my package

And that title was to illustrate how difficult it is to be funny. Really. It wasn't an actual attempt by me to be funny...

Moving on. My main assignment this week seems to be putting together a "package" for "talent." What does this mean? Well, gentle readers, sit right back and allow me to regale you with tales of working on an real, working production.

As always, these are just my experiences and are not meant to be representative of the way things are done everywhere. Frankly, half the time I don't know how things are done here, so I wouldn't dare to guess how they're done elsewhere.

A talent package is basically a sales document sent out to an actor that you want to cast in a particular role for your production. The package I've been working on consists of a title page with a little cartoon in the corner, several pieces of artwork to show how the character looks and let them know the visual tone of the story (I imagine this is one pretty specific to animation), and a couple of written documents.

(Here's where we writers tend to perk up and take notice, and here is what's been the bane of my existence the past few days. But in a good way. Really.)

The written documents include:

A letter from the writer/directors, which includes a description of the character the actor is being asked to read for.
A separate character description of the same character, ostensibly in greater detail (no idea here; still haven't figured this one out).
A 1-2 page story synopsis.

On Friday afternoon I was told that these documents would need to be ready by today. I was also told that the previous writer's assistant should have left copies around somewhere that I could draw from. For the most part, neither of these things turned out to be true.

After a fruitless search through the old assistant's things Friday (not to mention searching my bosses' computers without asking for anything that looked helpful--they were gone or I WOULD have asked), I spoke to my bosses Monday morning and by that evening had received a couple of old documents that would prove useful.

But let us recap for a moment. Given this assignment Friday. Due Wednesday. It's basically now Tuesday and I'm finally getting started.

Part of Tuesday is spent in the room taking notes; a larger portion is spent pulling bullet points out of a meeting transcription and delivering it to executives. Still, I manage to get through a couple of drafts of character descriptions and synopses...but nothing great.

Go home, sleep, and WAKE UP AT SIX IN THE FRIGGING MORNING because I'm nervous about coming up with something good in time. Write for an hour before I leave for work. Spend all Wednesday at work rewriting the synopsis and character description and tweaking the letter to the actor. All the while dealing with coordinating getting the artwork from various departments and physically putting the package together. Continually being told by the producer that it must be mailed out today.

Writers still haven't had time to look at the documents because they're, you know, a little busy writing the actual movie. Finally I meet with them at the end of the day to look over it...and they tell me there's no way it's going to be mailed out today. Not because it's bad--they haven't read it yet. But that's the point: The writers haven't read it yet. Documents that will be read by someone they hope to cast as the lead of their movie are not going to go out without their approval. Duh.

So here I sit, writing this to you as they rewrite me. And I couldn't be happier. Except for maybe losing some of that stress I hold in my back. Not that I have anything to stress over.

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