An L.D. (LD) and PRODUCER (P) are sitting in a bar somewhere, staring at a cocktail napkin.
P: (pointing at napkin) Okay, here’ s the idea I came up with. You like?
LD: Uh…I think you gave me the wrong napkin. This one has beer stains all over it. (looking more closely at napkin) And maybe some…uh… ketchup? Are you sure this is the right napkin?
P: (grabbing napkin) Let me see that…Yep. This is it. Nice, eh?
LD: Ah…I think I see something---
P: Open your eyes, man! It’s right here. (pointing at spot on napkin) Look. I sketched it right there. My pen was almost out of ink, but you can still make it out.
LD: Okay…uh…yeah…uh…is it the beer stain part or the ketchup part?
P: I think it’s the…uh…let me see that again…the…uh…ketchup one. Yeah. See it’s pretty obvious when you know where to look.
LD: (squinting his eyes) This part here? The part that kind of looks like a giant nose?
P: Nose? Really? Funny, yeah. (looking at it again) Hey, you’re right. That’s good. Yeah. I guess it could be a nose.
LD: Could be a foot too…or…uh… almost any other body part for that matter.
P: Yeah. Well. Good! I’m glad you see it. It just so happens that is perfect for my concept!
LD: The foot?
P: No, more the nose. Yeah. Nose. You and I are really on the same wavelength. I feel real good about this. I feel like we are connected, don’t you?
LD: Uh huh...(chuckling, pointing at spot) Kind of like the nose and the foot?
P: Yeah! That’s exactly what I’m going for!
LD: Uh. Okay.
P: You see…. I kind of want a natural, organic feel to the environmental set. After all, we are selling pharmaceuticals.
LD: Uh huh.
P: I want it to be like the uh…giant nose and foot have just grown up out of the floor. Like “body part seeds” have been dropped all over the place and sprouted up everywhere. I want it to enclose the entire audience in it’s…uh…natural, organic, envelope. Yeah. We can even make our theme “The Body Beautiful!” Yeah. Maybe have a few good looking chicks walking around with free product samples…
LD: Uh huh. Got it. Seeds. Body parts. Free samples. Uh…the whole audience?
P: Yep. Hey, do you remember that old movie about that really ugly guy, the…uh…Elephant Man?
LD: Uh…yeah…vaguely. Had some British guy in it?
P: Yeah. That’s it. The guy had some kind of rare skin disease or something. Huge, slimy, tumors too. Lots of rotting skin.
LD: You want the entire audience to be surrounded by rotting skin?
P: Yes! Yes. You got it! I want our audience to really feel the PAIN of people with bad skin conditions and other genetic disorders. BUT, at the same time, and I say this with real meaning, I want it to BEAUTIFUL too!
LD: So, the rotting skin needs to appear diseased and slimy, but it also needs to be…uh…pretty?
P: Only when we talk about the TRAGEDY of rotting skin diseases. When we talk about our NEW PRODUCT, I want it to be---
LD: ---Beautiful. Got it.
P: Hey, maybe you could back light it or something. Give it a luminescent glow of some kind?
LD: Sure. Uh. That could be beautiful.
P: Yeah. When this new cream is smeared on, I want them to feel and really SEE the diseased body parts JUST MELT AWAY.
LD: (chuckling) Smear it on the audience? Will there be a very large tube of this stuff on stage or something?
P: Don’t be ridiculous! I can’t afford those kind of stage props! No, no, this all has to be done with some of your lighting magic! Oh yeah. Hey, don’t forget the tumors. I want to see a lot of oozing tumors.
LD: Sure. Tumors. Oozing. (chuckling) But isn’t that more of a scenic thing?
P: Usually. But I am really thinking outside the box on this one. I want it to be all done with PROJECTIONS! Very forward thinking and progressive, don’t you think?
LD: Uh huh. (chuckling) Does the video department know about this?
P: Oh no. This is much more a lighting thing. I want to explore some of the newest technology. I want to do it all with your lights. Those…uh… DL things.
P: Sure. They are better than 1’s or 2’s, right?
LD: Uh…Sure…Okay…Uh… Do you realize how many it will take to cover the entire room?
P: No. That’s your job…All I know is they’re cheaper than real video projectors.
LD: Wow. Probably take at least 50 or 60…
P: That sounds like a lot. How much will those cost?
LD: Uh…maybe with a good discount, $35,000 or so…If I can get that many from one source, not likely…Plus, that’s not counting labor or custom…uh… oozing skin… content, of course…or any prep time at all.
P: You won’t need any prep time. Just do it all on site.
LD: Is there time allotted for that in the schedule?
P: Uh. Sure. We’ll make time. 2 hours okay?
LD: (chuckling) I think we might need a little more time than---
P: ---50 or 60, you say? That’s way too many. I’ve got about 10k. I need you to do it with about 9 or 10.
LD: Even with wide-angle lenses, I won’t be able to cover the whole room.
P: I’m sure you’ll figure out a way.
LD: No…uh…I don’t think I----You know these won’t be as bright as real video projectors, right?...Especially if the custom content has a lot of dark, diseased skin in it.
P: Ah, don’t worry about custom content. They have a bunch of stuff already in them, right? We’ll just use that. I’m sure you can find something that will work.
LD: I guess some of the abstract stuff might…
P: That’s the idea! Yeah! I knew this would be a GREAT collaboration. Work with me, babe!
LD: Sure… If you are willing to compromise a little.
P: And don’t worry, I’ll put all the really important content on our real video screens, RIGHT NEXT to the DL images. Hey, it will all appear SEAMLESS, right?
LD: No, not really. The screens will be a lot brighter.
P: Oh, that won’t be a problem at all.
LD: Uh. You say that now but--
P: --Bu, I can’t afford that many real video projectors! Besides, I really want to put all that money in the lighting budget. Give you a chance to strut your stuff, you know? This is a very exciting concept, don’t you think?
LD: Uh huh. Exciting…But, very expensive.
P: Oh, I’m not worried. I hear you are one creative guy. Yeah. You just need to have a more positive attitude. It’s all about attitude, you know.
LD: Uh huh. But, if you can’t afford all the DL’s, I don’t think it can be done. Maybe we could just put some custom skin gobos everywhere instead?
P: Skin gobos? That’s ridiculous and so 90’s. This concept is way past that.
LD: But your budget is---
P:---I know I’ve only got a limited budget! So what else is knew? Are you telling me it’s not possible at all?
LD: Uh huh. Definitely not possible with your existing budget. Now, if you change your concept a little---
P: ---Oh…sorry. No can do. That’s nonsense. Can’t do that. This is what we SOLD the client.
LD: You sold the concept without knowing how much it cost?
P: Well, we had a general idea. Based on past shows.
LD: Did other shows involve a room full of rotting skin projections?
P: Well, uh, no. Not really. But some of our other shows had some really fantastic PowerPoint images. Charts, graphs, pies, you name it. We had it all.
LD: Well, I’m sure they were great, but you need to reconsider your ideas on this one. It can’t be done with the money you’ve got.
P: Yeah? They said the same thing about the Pyramids…and Stonehenge.
LD: What? Whose they?
P: You know. All the naysayers from ancient times.
LD: Ah. Them. The “naysayers” said the Pyramids couldn’t be built?
P: Sure they did. But they kept a positive attitude and got it done anyway.
LD: A long with about zillion slaves who never said “no,” because they had chains around their necks.
P: I don’t like to hear “no.”
LD: How ‘bout…”yes”… BUT we need a LOT more money!
P: Man, you run a tough bargain. (chuckling) Okay, Mister Master Negotiator! I give up! I bet I can squeeze out another 500 or so. Does that make you happy? Of course, I may have to cut out crew coffee service, and make per diem $23 a day.
LD: Uhmm. Great. No coffee. I’ll be cranky in the morning and have half a DL3. I don’t think they rent them that way.
P: You know something? I don’t like your attitude. You’re way to negative. Creativity doesn’t need a budget. When you’re creative, you just figure out a way. Haven’t you seen those inspirational wall posters?
LD: Like… “When the going gets tough the tough get going?”
P: Yeah! Like that!
LD: Sorry. Never paid that much attention. Guess I’m not creative enough for you.
P: I haven’t gotten where I am by saying “no” all the time.
LD: Okay. I understand. But think I better take a pass on this one.
P: But this is a great opportunity. Great exposure. More work for you down the road! This company is huge!
LD: Yes, but I can’t do it for the money you’ve got. If they are that huge, an extra 35k shouldn’t be that big a deal.
P: Hey, these guys didn’t get where they are by being foolish with their money! Besides, they need that money to help pay for the open bars and chocolate chip cookies.
LD: I see. Well. Don’t think this one is a good fit for me. Maybe---
P: ----Fine. Fine. There are other LD’s out there who need the work.
LD: Yes, there are.
P: Pass on this one and I’ll never call you again. That’s for sure.
LD: Well, uh…are all your budgets like this?
P: Well. Not all. But we always make it work, no matter what. We don’t throw in the towel simply for lack of money. We make it work with our POSITIVE ATTITUDE!
LD: Well, that’s very nice. Thanks for considering me, but I need to leave now. I think I have something else to do.
P: Fine. Go ahead. Leave. You’ll never work in this town again.
P: Good riddance, Mister Negativity!
LD: Sorry. Maybe next time.
P: Ha! There won’t be next time, buddy. You’re too much of a downer. You depress me.
LD: Good luck then. (He gets up to exit.)
P: Luck is for losers. Like you.
LD: (as he walks away) Losing is underrated, I guess.
LD: (turning around) What?
P: I called you a loser. You’re a loser!
LD: Okay. Thanks. (softly chuckling as he walk away) Maybe next time you should try
using a different napkin.