Step 1: Have Other Plans
It isn’t worth scheduling a meeting if you can’t say you’re “moving things around” to accommodate it. Otherwise, how will anyone know you’re important enough to warrant meeting with in the first place? They’ll cancel on you if you don’t have other plans.
And don’t try and make something up by just saying you have plans. If word gets out that you said you had other plans and you didn’t cancel those plans to make this meeting…don’t bother showing your face in this town again, kid.
Step 2: Cancel at Least Twice
If a meeting happens in Hollywood without being canceled beforehand, did it even happen? No. The answer is no.
The longer the meeting goes without happening, the more important it is—why else would you keep rescheduling? The ideal meeting is one that is rescheduled forever and never happens.
Tip: If you can cancel within an hour of the start of the meeting, you will look better. Mention that “something urgent came up.” This will make other parties involved more eager to reschedule as it creates the illusion that you have a lot of very urgent things to deal with.
Step 3: Start Late
Around 15 minutes is appropriate. After all, you’re too busy to get anywhere on time. It’s just not possible. You’ve got wall-to-wall meetings and calls. You’re taking calls as you walk from meeting to meeting. At least that is the impression you need to create in order to foster the ideal environment for a true Hollywood meet (industry term. Got it? Good. Remember it).
And never forget: sitting in your office and staring at the wall until 15 minutes has elapsed achieves the same effect as actually being busy.
Tip: if you can have an assistant communicate all of these things on your behalf, instead of having to interface with the people you’re meeting, that is ideal. The less face-time you spend with the person you meet, the better.
Step 4: Mention Other Meetings
This is the most important step, since the only reason to have a meeting in the first place is to discuss other meetings you’ve had or will have. It is important that anyone you meet with knows that you’re taking other meetings. It will affirm your legitimacy and increase the likelihood of a second meeting with them.
Other conversation topics should focus on famous people you’ve worked with or in relative proximity to, and how long it took to get to the meeting. When discussing famous people, you don’t want to be too name-drop-y, but you have to be precise where it counts. For example: “I just met with this young writing team yesterday who worked on _______—the new cable show starring ______.”
This has enough generality that you seem humble, but enough specificity to create jealousy, and that’s the sweet spot.
Step 5: Use Tons of Hyperbolic Language
It’s important to seem enthusiastic. This is the entertainment business, isn’t it? Why else would you be wearing red sneakers and a shirt with a scoop-neck that barely conceals your nipples? This isn’t some stuffy law firm in midtown Manhattan. Imagine! You need to be relatable. Words/phrases to make sure to use:
• “Love.” You don’t like things, you love them. Know the difference.
• “Hilarious.” Things aren’t funny in this business. They’re hilarious. Remember that.
• “Amazing.” Good? No. Great? No. If you managed to watch or read something all the way through it was amazing, hilarious, and you loved it.
Step 6: End Early & Mention Meeting Again
It’s important to create a sense of undeniable urgency. Do not let the person you’re meeting with get comfortable or settle in. If they feel comfortable they might think you’re lazy or that your job is effectively a useless do-nothing title given to you by your family member who runs the studio/network/production company. But that’s not true.
Oh look at that! Check the time and explain that you’re already late for your next meeting.
Step 7: Agree to Meet Again
Without this verbal commitment, your meeting is a resounding failure. Meetings are the lifeblood of the industry. If you meet with someone and they don’t want to meet again, you should quit because you just don't get it.
It is advised that you begin scheduling your meeting as you walk out the door to your next meeting, to let the person that you’re meeting with know that you’re serious. Keep dates vague, as you’ll want to keep pushing it back once you’re in the scheduling phase again (see Step 2).
Step 8: Repeat
The industry exists to keep the meetings going, and not the other way around.