Monday, October 08, 2007

Meetings, and blimey aren't DVDs expensive in shops these days

Still not finished the pilot script yet, some of the small changes turned out to unravel a major part of the second half, so I’ve had to repair and rebuild. Which is always annoying, but these things happen. My arm has stopped hurting now, but I’m still being careful. Lots of meetings coming up, I've gone from someone who never *ever* had a diary to a media ponce with a full diary. A couple of years ago, if someone arranged a meeting with me, they'd go through their diary and pick a free day - I'd just shrug, and go "yeah, I'm free that day, more than likely". But now I have to check my own diary. Google Calendar is a lifesaver, it sends reminder text messages to my mobile, so I usually put the address in the subject line in case I forget where I'm going or who I'm meeting (which has happened more than once, one time I turned up to a meeting a week early). I'm so disorganised.

And I’ve got a big meeting tomorrow, for a TV something that would be really big and very important. I really, really want the gig, so I need to prepare for it as much as possible. Got to watch a DVD of their previous thing tonight, and see if I can re-read a whole book in one night too (read it before, but it was a few years ago, so I want to refresh my Swiss-cheese memory). I don’t *really* have to do either of them, but I want to be able to answer anything they throw at me. I had a meeting a few weeks ago that I completely fucked up, because I hadn’t done my homework properly. I had misunderstood slightly, thought they would be telling me more details of their idea, but instead they were asking me things like "how do you see this working?" I ended up mumbling, going “errr” a lot, and looked like a complete idiot, it was really embarrassing. No excuses though, I should have been prepared for it no matter what – no time, not well, misunderstood? Tough shit, you should know your stuff anyway, and have several ideas ready just in case. So I’ll be very busy tonight, reading, watching, and making lots of notes.

Speaking of DVDs, I had to buy the one above today in HMV, because the meeting is tomorrow. It reminded me why I only ever buy DVDs or music online, because when I walked in the door, the staff held a gun to my head, and mugged me: 20 fucking quid for a DVD. It's 12.99 on play.com, with free delivery. Yeah, sure, I'm a multi billionaire cause I've had a film made, blah blah blah, but that's not my point. 20 quid for a DVD in this day and age is outrageous. I went in a few months ago just to have a look, and a lot of their stuff was similarly expensive - even quite old movies that are just a few quid everywhere else. They had Project A for 20 quid, Project A Part 2 for 20 quid - and get this, a box set which included both films for... 20 quid. Which makes no sense at all. Needless to say, I stormed out of there, shrieking "I'll be blogging about THIS, I'll tell you that for nothing." Well, I thought it. But I thought it *really hard*.

This blog post is 20 quid in HMV.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I've been a fan of your blog for some time now, and I even got around to watch Severance the other day. Brilliant! I believe you mentioned something about that you were going to blog about how the director's shared screenplay credit came about, so I'm still looking forward to that.

I really enjoy your views on the screenwriting profession, and today's post was no exeption. Being a screenwriter myself (Norwegian btw, so please don't kill me on account of spelling errors etc), I could totally relate to the part about comming unprepared for a meeting. It has only happened once, but the only thing I remebered from it was how incredibly rude and assholish the producer was in that special, trademarked way that only bad producers seem to know.

Allright, perhaps I was unprepared, but he didn't know that to begin with, and the way the meeting turned out, I'm acutally quite happy I was unprepared (under-prepared, really, I DID read some pages they sent me), so that a) I wasted his time quite effectively, and b) I didn't end up with the job, I'm sure one full day of working with that guy would have sent one of us to the hospital.

But, as you rightfully point out, there IS no excuse for coming unprepared to a meeting, so I'll be doing my homework in the future. Just in case the asshole turns out to be a not-so-big-asshole, wich often is my impression once the tell my that I got the job.

Keep blogging, and I'm looking forward to reading about writer-director collaboration and all the other posts you've been announcing but never got around to!

Stephen Gallagher said...

Good old HMV. I'd seen some disc at a reasonable price on their website -- I forget what the movie was -- and later, when I was in town, decided to give in to temptation and pick it up. So I went into the HMV store and, guess what -- same disc, almost double the cost.

I took it to the counter and asked if it was a pricing mistake. No, I was told, the prices are lower online because there we have to compete with everyone else.

And I said, well, you've got exactly the same competition here, and put the disc back.

If that's the high street mentality, no wonder Richard Branson's just unloaded the Virgin megastore chain to a management buyout. Because that entire business model is set to go down like the Titanic.

james henry said...

I bought a DVD from Smiths yesterday and was promptly informed by the person at the till I should have gone to Play.com, as it was seven quid cheaper. Just after she took my card.

Jon Peacey said...

A favourite mark-up has to be for Haneke's Hidden (£5: HMV Online, £20 HMV store) but my current favourite has to be this bizarrity: Hot Fuzz at HMV online. Standard 2-disc version: £16; standard 2-disc version 'in exclusive sleeve': £25. So, a different sleeve (!) adds 9 quid to the price... ?!?!?!

Danny Stack said...

HMV = Ha Mediocre Value

That's being kind, really.

Lucy said...

I can't remember the last time I bought a DVD at full price 'cos I am a champion scav - if it can't be found on eBay for approx £1 with a £1 postage I don't want to know. Plus I have lots of journo friends who offload ridiculous amounts of crap DVDs they get sent by random prodcos on to me. I don't pay to go to the cinema either - if they won't let me in free, I won't go. Simple philosophy, gives me hours of fun - tho it does mean I end up in some really rubbish press screenings sometimes at stupid times of the day but swings and roundabouts my friend.

Oli said...

HMV have the brand, so no matter how much they charge, it's always packed. All the other local DVD and music stores have closed down. So for instant gratification, it's either HMV or *shudder* Tesco...

Peter Pan said...

HMV always reminds me of my mis spent youth .. 12 inch singles, goths, and drinking strawberry Yops in the arndale ... George Bush was Presiendt of America and there was trouble in Iraq .. hang on....

Jon Peacey said...

I finally found cheap CD and DVD on the high street in the shops Fopps and Music Zone. But despite prices a third of HMV's people still crowded out HMV while Fopps and Music Zone have gone bust! I've said it before: 'Democracy just doesn't work!' ;-)

Anonymous said...

On the other hand the Oxford Circus store alone has sold over seven hundred copies of Severance, never mind the other 250+ stores. So you've not done too badly out of it, have you James?

Matt M said...

I toyed with the idea of getting myself one of the classic series Doctor Who's on DVD while in town yesterday. Quickly changed my mind when I found out they were all £20. You can get 'The Invasion' 2 disc set on Amazon for less than half that price.

It was exactly the same in Virgin. They were even selling the new range of cheap versions for £20 as well!

Why would anyone with Internet access even think of using the high street?

Dan said...

I use HMV purely for the 3-for-£20 deals. Online, I used to buy mainly Region 1 stuff for £15 a go, until cash became tighter and I became more patient.

These days I rarely buy DVDs online, as I've been using loads of "free trials" with Blockbuster and LoveFilm rental services.

Also, after going to America recently, the fact a BRAND NEW film on DVD costs £7 annoyed me so much I'm considering writing to my MP. Or just going off in a huff and commenting on people's blogs.

James Moran said...

1st Anon: Thank you! I'll try and do that one next then, cause it's the earliest one that needs doing. And I hope that rude producer gets a good talking to by someone.

2nd Anon: I'm not quite sure what your point is. My point was that "high street" shops are more expensive than online shops. Am I not allowed to say that, because HMV sold lots of copies of Severance? If you meant that I shouldn't complain because it means more money for me, you should know that the money doesn't go straight into my pocket. I doubt I'll ever see anything of the profits myself (there's a reason net profit points are called "monkey points"), so it probably won't affect me either way if someone buys the movie for 20 quid or from the 99p bargain bin - but I'd rather people weren't fleeced at gunpoint. If you meant something else, please let me know. By the way, are those figures publicly available? I'd be interested to see them, just out of curiosity.

Dozeymagz said...

Hope the meeting went well and you have better luck with Tuesdays than I do - Tuesdays and me do NOT get on well! (See blog entries marked Tuesdays for absolute proof of this fact!) Sorry - getting side tracked again! Anyway, I'm sure you don't need luck - you know what you're doing and you'll knock their proverbial socks off!
Know what you mean about HMV - I almost bought a DVD from them (Think it was Father Ted part 3) or something similar) mumping away about how it cost - yes, you guessed it - £20! until I looked down an aisle not two aisle-blocks away (same shop, same floor) and found the same DVD for.... £9.99!!!!
Bandits and thieves, I say!!!!

Danny Stack said...

Maybe HMV could start an honesty box policy, like Radiohead...

Piers said...

I did manage to pick up all three Die Hard movies in a box-set from HMV for a tenner.

So I was quite chuffed about that.

His Masters Voice said...

James, I wouldn't dream of denying you your opinion - I just felt it was worth reminding you how much exposure being in the main dvd campaigns pretty much constantly since the film was released has given you. I know you won't get a holiday home from your DVD percentage! Worse luck.

Chart and campaign product is heavily discounted and makes the company very little money. Full price 'Back Cat' is our bread and butter and that's where having a full range of titles to browse through comes into play. And why they aren't discounted.

It's online competitors (who have no shops to power and light, less staff to pay, etc etc and are usually based off shore - as is our online department) and supermarkets who have driven the small indie shops and other chains out of business. We co-existed with independent shops for over a century quite happily. In fact we've recently bought and reopened a number of Fopp stores (and re-employed their staff) with no intention of rebranding at this time.

90% of titles in our stores will be in a sale every three months or so. It's usually worth waiting if you can.

And no, those figures aren't publicly available sorry.

Sorry to drone on - just wanted to address some of the points raised. No one knows what it's like to be the bad man..!

james henry said...

Woth bearing in mind the current writers residuals deal in the States for a DVD is 4 cents per 15 dollars (not HMV's fault, that one).

Although if HMV wanted to give 5p per DVD to the writers, we'd probably give them at least 15p's worth of free publicity....

James Moran said...

Mr/Ms HMV: Sorry, I thought you were someone having a go at me! Thank you for that, very interesting to hear the other side of the story. It all makes sense, and I don't rightly know what I'd do in your position, it must be strange. So how many DVDs would a new movie have to sell to get the number 1 slot, usually? Is it your own in-store chart?