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In late May, just after I got back from the premieres, Showtime called me to say they had received a resume I had submitted via and they would like to talk to me further. After a brief phone interview, I was asked if I could come down to L.A. to meet with them. We settled on June 16.

I spent about three hours there meeting with the senior vp of publicity and the executive vp of corporate communications, and received nothing but great feedback. They asked me to take home a copy of the pilot for Weeds, the network’s upcoming comedy series, and write a two-page brief on publicity strategies for it. At that point, I was told that I would probably not hear back from them for a couple of weeks as the exec vp was heading to Europe for vacation.

I submitted the brief the next day, and received a quick e-mail back from only the exec vp saying he was impressed with what I had done. Although I sent e-mails thanking the HR manager and the senior vp (who would be my boss), I heard nothing from them. (And lest you possibly think that doing the “thank yous” by e-mail could have been problematic, Emily Post says it’s appropriate now, as long as it’s followed up with a “real” note — which I did.)

On July 9, I heard from the HR manager that “you are the top candidate for the position,” and that as a formality they wondered if I might be able to come back down again. At that point, we discussed salary issues (which got a little contentious, as the initial comment on salary was that it would be just about 5% higher than I’m making now); my new position at Lucasfilm and the implications of that; and relocation issues, albeit very broadly. I was also asked to send references and to consent to a background check, both of which tend to be steps taken only when an offer is imminent.

Two days later, she called again to say that they were “really pleased” I would be coming back down, and to set a date for that. I went back down on July 21, and this time met with the vp of HR, the other publicist in the department, and the two execs again. I was also asked to do another writing project, this one involving watching the pilot of Barbershop and writing a pitch letter to the media. All told, I was at Showtime for 5 1/2 hours, and received nothing but great compliments and praise. When I asked about the other candidates they were talking to, I was told, “They’re fine, but they’re not like you.” There was some concern raised about my lack of television experience, but I was told that, “If you are who you say you are and you are as sharp as you seem, you’ll have no problem.” The last words I heard: “We’ll be calling you very, very soon.” (Emphasis theirs, not mine.)

I had woken up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the airport and to L.A. in time, and didn’t get back home until after 10 p.m. Nevertheless, the first thing I did was head to the computer and wrote thank-yous to everyone, expressing how impressed I was with the people I had met, how excited I was about the prospect, etc.

Since then, I have heard ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Not a single one of them even hit “reply” to write, “Thank you and we’ll talk soon.” I am waiting for two checks of more than $200 each as reimbursement for my transportation costs (they offered), and they won’t even get back to me on that. It’s like going on a date you think went really well, except you never hear from him again.

I thought seriously about writing them to say, “What’s the scoop?” But at this point, their behavior has so thoroughly turned me off of them that unless there is a very good reason for the lack of communication, I am not remotely interested in working for them anymore. I was angry for a while, now I’m just amused by the whole thing. I forgot how “Hollywood” L.A. can be sometimes — “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

I’ve gone out for jobs I wanted before and didn’t get. But I’ve never had someone court me aggressively, only to never talk to me again! Weird.


Steve Expounded Thusly:

I simply have not had any time to respond to this properly, but maybe I can throw out a few words…

I think you nailed it when you said L.A. can be Hollywood. I mean, it is, after all! Most people here do not have the guts to give anyone bad news if giving that bad news reflects poorly on them. For instance, for them to build you up like that and then realize either that they wanted someone else or that the position is no longer available for some other reason, this is bad. And no one has the guts to tell you to your face (or voice, as it were). Spineless.

Now, if they had been cold and unfriendly all along, then they’d have called you up and told you with relish that you were not hired. I think of course of a situation where the applicant (marketing, acting, or anything Hollywoody) projects an image of neediness and the one hiring has a sense of power over this person—another Hollywood cliché. The one “in power” would string along the needy applicant, then crush them with one well-placed and coldhearted phone call.

Of the course, the best side of Hollywood to be on is the one it sounded like you were on your road to: The one who has what the other needs and is hired and loved (even if fakely and surface-ly) by the new bosses.

Who knows? Maybe they will have a very good excuse of some kind and will end up being very apologetic and want to hire you right away. Maybe it will all end up good in the long run. Then you can get back to deciding if you should stay in SF or move back to L.A.

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005 • 2:00pm • Permalink

John Expounded Thusly:

They finally got back to me. At least, the HR manager did. Their excuse: I’m too expensive, and they’ve decided to go with someone at a more junior level. Yeah. Whatever. If I’m too expensive, they’re cheaper than I imagined it’s possible to be.

Friday, August 19th, 2005 • 11:19pm • Permalink


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