The original title of this post was the less inflammatory “How to Approach ‘Confident-Beyond-Competence’ Executives as a Creative,” but we here at TVWriter™ made the unilateral decision to, you know, cut to the chase.
Although, as your friendly neighborhood muncher thinks about it, I don’t believe you need this whole article to know how to deal with execs who don’t know nearly as much as they think you do. You just have to know how to do what everybody else in your position eventually learns: Pucker up, drop to your knees, and plant a few on their little hipster tushies.
But what the hell. We’re in for it now, so:
by Pen Densham
I’ve met some people in my film career who don’t know, what they don’t know. They “do” know they are not doctors. So, they don’t invite you into their office and remove your heart to see if it works better when stuffed in your rectum. But, when it comes to story they have no qualms about asking us to do that to a script, despite not being writers.
I call people like this, Confident-beyond-Competence (C-B-C). They seem oblivious to the finer skills that we word-toilers and scene jugglers seem to understand. I used to have difficulty dealing with these characters. There are no tests and licenses to be in our business. If they were plumbers, all their pipes would leak and they would put a toilet in every room because they saw one in last weekend’s hit movie.
But, sometimes being C-B-C is not a bad thing. We intricate thinkers may be debating ourselves to paralysis, while the C-B-C person will blithely sweep forward with a flawed concept and succeed, course correcting as they bang off walls. So my position is not so much sour grapes, but the seeds of a truth.
Creativity comes in layers. The act of origination may be deeply subconscious and precious but when surfaced it responds to the tests of clarifications and additional insights, even from the apparently “less” gifted. I have heard other writer’s put it this way- one or two opinions are just that but several prove a “fact” that must be dealt with.
At some point in every creative endeavor we will have to sell our ideas. It is inevitable, we are dreaming up experiences that cost millions to capture. Everyone is an audience. To succeed we have to be prepared to use as much creative problem solving in selling our work to those who do not yet understand it as they are brought to the task of creating it and course correcting so they have their questions answered. Even if not by rote, but by comprehending their underlying cause which can often be a very simple clarification.