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lingo #3: she’s all that

12 May

I know I really should write a lingo post which actually helps people…but to hell with it, I’m going to write about something which amuses me about the stereotypical producer.

the way they talk.

particularly with female producers.  you can hear them coming a mile off: their laughs, darlings! and air-kisses reverberate around studio cafes as they sweep in and out avec entourage.

they either have generic London accents, or are cultivating them (I mean the London-Surrey kind, not the London-Essex kind, god forbid). they exaggerate. they mostly have long black hair which gets thrown around a lot in a kind of confident, business-like way.

you can tell whether or not they approve of the guy they’re talking about, by noticing if they refer to him as a boy or a man, regardless of his age: it’s either oh, she broke the POOR boy’s heart. such a SHAME, such a GORgeous boy, or, oh my god, I saw that VILE man in the cafe queue earlier. the one we didn’t cast, I KNOW! you’re going to HAVE to pick up my lunch from now on, I just CAN’T BEAR it.

similarly, ladies they get on with are lovely girls, and those they don’t are ghastly women.

the stereotypical producer makes sure she demonstrates just how creative and intelligent she is by use of flamboyant vocabulary, constantly. things can’t just be disappointing, they’re horRENdous. the pitch last week wasn’t slightly rushed, it was a NIGHTmare.

when I first started working in the industry, I was 18 and reserved in a kind of dismissive way.  like you have to be when you’re 18.  I listened to these people, who were able to simultaneously bark and drawl, (a seemingly impossible feat) and wondered why they felt the need to be so damn affected.

but after a month, phrases like woefully inept, completely abysmal, the most atrocious behaviour, and, I could have died were slipping out of my mouth, too.  I found that gushing, oh, thank you so much, you’re an absolute star! at some guy we needed a favour off gave a 60% higher success yield than simply saying thanks, I really appreciate it.

of course, I had to be careful not to speak like this around my school friends.  at a time when we all wore variations of the same outfit from Morgan, and where boyfriends were won or lost according to how well you pulled off a house party,  I would have sounded far too self assured.

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the lingo #2: soho house, home house, the ivy, chinawhite

8 May

the ivy  I can’t look at the words “The Ivy” without hearing an Ab Fab-esque woman in sunglasses bawling them at her terrified PA.  situated in London’s west end, just off Shaftesbury Avenue, it is THE restaurant where the rich and famous “do lunch”.

the only time I was ever almost doing lunch at The Ivy was when I was production secretary-ing about 6 years ago.  myself and a producer (who coincidentally bared strikingly similarities to Eddie in Ab Fab) were on our way to meet a prominent writer and animal activist.  unfortunately, as we disembarked our train at Waterloo, the Eddie-esque producer spotted an injured pigeon flapping pathetically around the platform.  she stripped off her top down to her bra, flung it around the maimed rodent, and jumped back onto the train to hot-foot it to an animal shelter in the countryside, while I scuttled around after her wondering what the hell was going on.  we left our writer/animal lover high and dry, but she didn’t mind of course.  these are the types of people who frequent The Ivy, and this is the type of thing that happens when you start hanging around with them.  I can’t imagine what the outcome would have been if this had happened to, say, a plumber.

soho house  no, not a brothel in the seedy red light area, although almost…it’s at 40 Greek Street, halfway between Tottenham Court Road and Picadilly Circus tube stations.  there are also Soho Houses in West Hollywood and Berlin.  it’s a bit of everything rolled into one – breakfast meet up, coffee hangout, bar, posh restaurant, all under the umbrella of a nice, exclusive members club costing between £600 and £1200 a year to join.  providing you can get a letter of reccomendation, that is…

although I fully support the art of blagging as a first time producer, you’ve gotta be pretty damn ballsy to try and impress someone with “well, let’s meet next week at Soho House and discuss the project further” without actually having a membership.  if you do get through the door, I doubt you’ll manage to sit in there long enough to drink your mint-infused tea.  but if you are successful and stay for a second drink, I highly recommend the freshly-squeezed apple juice: it’s liquid joy.

a typical breakfast at soho house

home house  basically the same as Soho House, but seemingly with more relaxed rules – “Home House welcomes people from all walks of life…the only rule of the House being that nudity is discouraged”.  the only rule??? my mind reels at the possibilities…located off Portland Square in W1 – a slightly posher, less funky area of London than Soho.

chinawhite  once achingly trendy, Chinawhite nightclub in the west end has been somewhat deserted by the celebrity bandwagon for clubs such as Funky Buddha, Rouge and Boujis.

a couple of years ago I viewed a tiny flat on Air Street, but was put off by the fear of constantly tripping over perma-tan over-30’s / inebriated footballers lying in the gutter after a night in the club.  expressed perfectly by today’s issue of The Evening Standard: “last week, in a scene which sums up what Chinawhite once was but has become, Prince Harry was almost seduced on his bar stool by a former lapdancer, Lauren Pope. Harry, of course, is the kind of client the club still wants; Lauren, on the other hand, is what they normally get.”

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the lingo #1

8 May

there’s a lot of ‘biz speak that goes on in the film industry.  some of it’s necessary, some of it isn’t, but nevertheless if you don’t speak the lingo you ain’t gonna earn the trust.  I spent about 60% of the time in my first TV job not having a clue what people were barking at me.  however, this was when I was a lowly production secretary aged 18, so it was acceptable.  people aren’t going to be so lenient if a producer looks blank when confronted with terms such as ‘pilot’, ‘above the line’, ‘EP scheduling’, or ‘BECTU’.  they will start to look particularly worried if you blithely ask if Soho House is a chinese takeaway, mispronounce Verve Clicquot, or fail to verbally thrash the runner when they produce a black coffee for the lead cast member rather than the requested double-ristretto-venti-nonfat-frappuccino.

and if you ever let slip to anyone that you don’t know what the producer’s tax credit is, you’ve lost them forever.

instead, read the lingo definitions I’ll be posting up regularly.  you can thank me later, when you’re accepting weekly lunch invites to The Ivy, simultaneously chatting about the latest article in Variety magazine while tweeting via your blackberry to multiple members of the Allen household.

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