Thursday, August 16, 2007

12 Ways to Really Piss Me Off (if you're a director)

A primer for how a director of a staged reading for one of my plays can piss me off:

1. Make changes to my play without consulting me, after I've made it very clear that I don't want you to cut or change the script without my permission.

2. When you call me for the first time, make sure the first thing out of your mouth are things you think should be changed in the script. Even though I don't know you and have never met or talked to you before.

3. Ask me to change lines/jokes because they're not funny to you. Even though you've never heard the play in front of an audience, and I've had three workshops/readings and a full-production of the script.

4. Learn that the time slot for the reading is only 90 minutes, when the play runs about two hours. Find this out a few weeks before the reading, but don't tell me. Cut the play to fit the slot, without telling me.

5. When you call to talk to me about the script or schedule, be sure to use a cell phone with poor reception.

6. Whenever you call, make sure you don't schedule a time first. It's much better to ambush me when I'm at the grocery story with my son.

7. Invite me to a rehearsal, but wait to do it until about an hour or two before rehearsal starts.

8. When you start to worry that I might not react well to unauthorized cuts, call one of my director friends to see if there's a good way to butter me up.

9. When you call me, sheepishly, to confess that you have perhaps, "screwed the pooch", by making changes without my permission, wait to do so until just a day or two before the reading, so that the actors have already spent time working on the piece and the event has been publicized. In other words, if the reading gets canceled, make sure I'm the one who comes across as the bad guy.

10. When you semi-apologize, make sure you also insist that it's really my fault this happened, because I initially refused to let you make even small changes. Suggest that I clearly wasn't interested in being a good collaborator.

11. Use the phrase, "It's better to seek forgiveness rather than ask permission." I might remind you that you were already explicitly denied permission, so your cliche doesn't apply, and even my children know it's wrong to go ahead and do something after dad says No.

12. If you're going to do all this, make sure you do it with a play that's incredibly personal to me and that deals with a touchy subject, like race. Even better, make sure it's a play that's had some workshops and a strong production that was blasted in the press. Oh, and do it in my home town, so I might have wanted to invite friends and colleagues.


Adam said...

wow! did all of those things happen? People should know better. People like this should be boycotted. You should tell everyone about this person and how they should not work with him/her.

Mark said...

My God! This is so out of the norm. Normally, I'm not a fan of ad hominem, but this person really needs to be outed.

patrick said...

Yes, all those things really did happen, and all by the same guy, for the same reading.

The reading is happening tonight (only because it's a small, low-impact venue, otherwise I would have forced them to cancel). I might have to blog tomorrow about how it turns out.

Malachy Walsh said...



How 'bout shot?

You should frickin' pull the play from him.

Mystic Morpheus said...

It's takes a lot to piss me off. Nice read though....