I’ve been going on a lot of what we “in the industry” call general meetings lately.
General meetings are so called because nothing about them is specific. No specific goal, no specific conversation points, no specific offer for any specific employment opportunity. Here’s a little primer I once wrote on the topic, but even that is pretty general. Just think of these meetings as sessions in which the executive sitting across from you is trying to determine your level of sanity, talent and connections, in 30 minutes or less.
During these meetings you, the writer, are asked many questions about your person. Questions like, “so where are you from?” or, “so what got you into writing?” or, “so what inspired that idea,” or, “so what kinds of projects are you attracted to,” or my all-time favorite, “so, tell us about yourself.”
And so for the past several weeks I have been sitting across from complete strangers in a variety of outfits that say, “this is me as expressed through my clothes!” (except for that denim shirt tucked into the leopard pants situation which was more, “this is me on laundry day!”) attempting to say, “this is me expressed through a series of details about my background, current life, hopes, dreams and taste in television!”
It is as weird I just made it sound. That might be because I am as weird as I just made myself sound, but that’s the entire point of this post.
You don’t really know yourself until you speed-explain yourself a dozen times in two weeks.
Case in point: apparently I feel I am the “red sheep” of my family because I’m the only one who moved clear across the country to pursue a career in the arts. Yesterday I literally said, “I’m not the black sheep because they all like me – I think? – but I’m definitely the weird one, so I guess that makes me red.”
I did not plan to say that (no one should or would), but when asked the oddly specific general meeting question, “how do you fit into the rest of your family as a writer?” that is what I said. I have a feeling I lost a lot of sanity points on that response…
It’s not unlike going on a ton of first dates (though I didn’t go on this many dates in total dating experience). You have X amount of time to make an impression upon your audience, and so you prioritize the things that are most important to know about you. In my case that is apparently that I love to collaborate but prefer to write alone, am obsessed with HGTV, am the oldest of four girls who are exactly alike and yet completely different, and love Felicity. Those are the four things that come up in almost every single meeting.
Is that me in a nutshell? Actually, sort of yes. Does the inspire confidence in the creative community that I am sane and talented? Probs not.
But do I know myself a lot better after all these totally bizarre meetings? Yes, yes I do. Though in hindsight a few “dear diary” entries would have been a way easier route…