One of the things my father taught me as a young man was there’s a right way to be tough with someone. “Step on the toes of their shoes, but don’t mess up the shine.” Years later I’d learn he’d coopted the quote from Harry Truman, but it didn’t matter.
I was tough and gruff when I told my writers they had to show up for this meeting. Now it was time to ‘make nice’. I was cordial and welcoming as I went through what was required. But I was clear about it.
The writers were to create and deliver at least three Care Bears story springboards within forty-eight hours. So they’d understand this wasn’t a frivolous request, I shared that we were two weeks behind schedule and the series could be pulled if we missed airdates.
Another was smiling. The others, except for the writing team, were expressionless. The team of Eleanor Burian-Mohr and Jack Hanrahan was scribbling furiously on legal pads.
They’d been doing this since I began the meeting. Smart, I thought.
After the meeting ended, I bid each writer good-bye. When Jack Hanrahan approached, I knowingly asked, “So what do you think of this ‘Olesker-guy’ now?”
Without missing a beat, he answered, “I like him.” Smart again.
I smiled. I liked him, too. Tomorrow I’d learn how amazing Jack’s writing partner, Eleanor Burian Mohr, was. After they left, I went to find Howard Cohen. He was on staff…but he hadn’t attended my meeting.
Not smart, I thought.