Two Hats

Hosted by

This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.

I have a theory. When someone makes a simple, clear declarative statement about themselves - you know what I mean, when someone says something like, "Hey, I'm the kind of person who just tells it like it is!" - the only thing you can be really sure of is, that person does not tell it like it is, ever. I knew a woman once who, for some reason, felt it important to say every now and then, "Hey! I'm crazy! I'm nuts! I'm spontaneous and zany and you're just going to have to learn to deal with it!" Except, of course, that she wasn't crazy or nuts or spontaneous or zany at all. She was a fairly predictable, change resistant, cat owner and denizen of internet chatrooms. Which was obvious, because anyone who spends that much time and energy telling you how zany and unpredictable they are is pretty much guaranteed to be spending nights collecting, labeling, and dating their bodily waste and alphabetizing their shampoo.

But I've lost the thread of my story.

The point is, I don't stay anything clearly or directly, and you don't say anything clearly or directly, so when someone pretends to be saying something clearly or directly, we're both naturally suspicious.

I once was trying to hire a pilot director - a pretty good one, too: she's accomplished and highly respected and her quote was huge. When we say "quote" in this business, we mean what she got paid for her most recent pilot directing assignment. You see, people in this business don't mind paying a lot of money for someone's services - well, they mind it, but they're philosophically resigned to it - but they do mind paying more that the last guy. And because it's deeply embedded in the moral code of Hollywood that you never never offer someone less than his or her quote, and that you never never have to take less than your quote, well, you see the problem here. No one's ever going to pay you more than your quote, but the only way to get more money is to get a bigger quote. In this director's case, it wasn't the money so much as the points. Pilot directors get points, and she was a pilot director, and she wanted points. But she didn't get points on her last gig, so what her agent was asking for was, essentially, for us not just to meet her quote, but to make her quote.

Lucky for her, she and I had the same agent. This happens a lot in Hollywood, which is why quotes get bigger every year.

"Look," my agent said when he called, "I'm the kind of person who just says it like it is. I'm just super blunt, and super direct, and I just lay it all out, clearly and directly."

"Uh huh."

"And I need to be scrupulously honest here. And totally fair to both sides. Because you're both clients. But I'm the kind of person who can do that. I'm the kind of person who is honest and fair."

"Uh huh."

"But I'm wearing two hats here. I represent you and I represent her. So I'm going to have juggle hats. I'm going to have to represent both of your interests. Both of your hats, if you will. Let me wear her hat for a minute. She's a great director, she's put shows on the air, she's in the top tier, she deserves a point. Okay, now I'm wearing your hat. I get it. I hear you. Give her the point. Okay, now I'm wearing her hat. Thank you for the point. Okay, now I'm wearing your hat. You're welcome, you deserve it. It's no big deal. Okay, now I'm wearing her hat. Are you kidding? Let me take you to dinner. Okay now I'm wearing your hat. That'd be great. How about Rockenwagner. Okay now I'm wearing her hat. I love Rockenwagner. How about seven? Okay now I'm wearing your hat. Can we do seven thirty? Because I have...

I assume he had a nice dinner with himself. I had hung up several hats earlier. Look, I was always going to give up the point. Because I'm extremely generous and incredibly fair. You should know that about me.

That's it for this week. Next week, we run out of ideas. For KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.



Rob Long