by Jennifer Bozell
General meetings are kind of like first dates. A creative executive or producer has read your work, liked it, and now wants to meet with you. But having a “general meeting” sounds so…general. What are you supposed to talk about? What is the point of these meetings?
For many writers, writing is a deeply personal, internal exercise, and they want their work to speak for itself. They don’t want to “sell” themselves. There’s a reason why they chose to be a writer and not an actor!
Well, too bad.
In just about every industry, you NEED to sell yourself. There are a lot of talented writers out there. You need to present yourself in a positive light. Because if the executive you’re meeting with likes you and connects with you on a human level, it puts you in a good position. The executive is meeting with you to get to know you. You’ll be asked, where did you grow up? What made you want to become a writer? Do you like long walks on the beach? See, it really is like a date!
As every writer knows, writing is re-writing. So that executive is trying to figure out if you two click. Because if you’re going to be potentially working together, whether it’s pitching a project or working on that umpteenth re-write, it helps if you like the person. The executive wants to know that you’re going to be pleasant and agreeable to work with. That you’re able to take notes and constructive criticism of your work without taking it personally. Basically…are you a professional writer?
The executive also wants to get an idea of your sensibility. Do you specialize in dark dramas, or have you written comedy too? Although the meeting is a general, it’s always a good idea to go in with a few ideas to pitch, even if they’re not fully fleshed out yet. The executive might spark to one of your pitch ideas and maybe you’ll end up developing the project with their company.
Now that’s a successful general.