A well known and respected cartoon writer (with enough emmys to fill a bowling alley) saw my post about Writer-executive jargon and sent me an email relating one of his own experiences with modern buzzwords. I cut out his name to protect his identity so he can continue to work. Here's his story:
I saw your latest blog post about insane animation executive blather. It reminded me of a pitch meeting I had last year at Disney.
I was meeting with some artists I like in their TV division to pitch a new idea to their boss, a cookie cutter idle dandy who had, predictably, failed in all other areas of entertainment then drifted, also predictably, into animation. This Disney ass-ecutive arrived ten minutes late, no doubt to instill the proper aura of fear and respect in his underlings. He was also loudly cracking and popping gum, his way of telling us that nothing important was going on in this room, certainly nothing that required his full attention.
I never actually got to say anything for the ass-ec quickly launched into a full flurry of buzz words to describe the series he was looking for: "fresh," "hip," "hot," "out of the box," and the ever popular "cutting edge," which I happened to be fantasizing about applying to his jugular at that moment. As an added bonus, he became intensely involved in examining his right shoe, to the point he removed his Bass weejun and traced his finger over the stitching while continuing to blather on about "narrative arcs," "the heroes' journey," "Joseph Campbell," and other expressions gleaned from a STAR WARS "Making Of" bonus feature.
After several minutes of this, ass-ec's cell phone rang and he stepped into the hallway to confirm his dinner reservation. I looked to the dazed artists on either side of me and remarked, "Don't like cartoons much, do he?" A few pained grins were my only confirmations. A second later ass-ec popped his head back in to announce "We're done," then fluttered away to spread joy elsewhere. Later he called my agent to complain that for a pitch, I didn't put on much of a show for him. "**** just sat there saying nothing." Ass-ec whined. "What was wrong with him, anyway?"
Give me a shout if you still want to grab lunch. I see you have a booth at San Diego and will drop by. Hopefully you will have a few of those Donald Bastard shirts in mega-size.