No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I call Ted Sann.

These scripts suck.


Why did you send them?

Because they suck.

The scripts were for GE Mammography Medical Equipment and was called EXCUSES.  It was a bunch of women giving excuses for not having a mammogram, but all I had to do was shoot the equipment.

What do you want me to do.

Make them not suck.


What do you think?

You have to see the women.

That sounds okay, tell them.

Why don’t you tell them?

Tell them.

Phil Dusenberry called me another creative director of BBDO in his book.  They used me as a hit man to do dirty work that they didn’t feel like or want to do.  This was a prime example but there were lots more.

The agency shows up and I tell them and they’re not happy.  They sold the idea of the machines to the client.  I tell them we’ll shoot the machines AND shoot the women.  You have to pay the women anyway for the voiceovers and the difference in fees for on-camera aren’t that great.

Nobody’s that happy.  Ted is supportive but the agency guys sulk.  After shooting, I tell them that there aren’t enough women to be effective and that I’ll have to shoot some more.  I have another shoot and I say that I’ll have to shoot more stuff in a few days.

Rob Watsky, a Larry Bridges protégé, is cutting the spot at my request.  The dialogue needs a special overlapping style of editing that these guys do beautifully.  When I’m away I get a call from the agency that the spot isn’t working.

Of course, it’s not working.  You don’t have enough footage.

The spot’s not working.

You’re not listening.

I get back to LA and shoot the additional stuff.  The agency guys have gone back to New York.  I check with Rob and he says they’ve taken the editing back to New York. I get on the phone and call the agency guy.  He gives me a line about how they were always going to finish the spot in New York.


They’ve sent the film back but we still have the video dailies.  Rob cuts in the new footage and the spot finally works.  It’s a Friday night but we still have time to ship the cut to New York for Phil Dusenberry’s screening in the morning (weekends don’t exist in Phil’s world).  Rob asks if we should send a version with time code.

Fuck ’em.

The delivery guy gets the edit to their editor mid-morning.  The agency guys open it just as Phil Dusenberry is crossing the street to get to the editor’s.  They put the cassette into the deck and screen the cut for the first time.  When the spot ends, the agency guys hear Phil’s voice.

That’s pretty good.  I thought you said it didn’t work.  Lemme see it again.

I get a call from the agency guy at eleven at night.

How’d they like the spot.

Phil loved it.

When did you get it?

This morning.

Why are you calling so late?

We just finished eye matching the film to the video edit. There was no time code on the edit.

I know.

You know?

I wanted you guys to suffer.

The spot was a success and won a Clio.  I think it was the first Clio GE ever won, for whatever that’s worth.  Years go by.  A friend calls.  He’s gotten a new job with an new agency.

I can’t work with you.


‘So and so’ hates you.


He says you insulted him on a GE shoot a long  time ago, something about mammography.  You said the writing sucked.

I guess.