Q. How should I deal with canceled meetings, something that happens a lot? I had an important pitch meeting with a studio, and my writing partner and I worked through a holiday weekend to be prepared. Then, day of the meeting, they canceled. I’m frustrated but don’t know what to do.
—Los Angeles-based screenwriter trying to sell a script
It’s okay to feel frustrated, but don’t take this personally. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes. Maybe something really important came up, and the only choice they had was to cancel your meeting. Priorities conflict all the time.
You might want to consider a few things before you decide what to do next. Are they genuinely sorry to cancel? Did they let you know why? Are they willing to meet later, or better yet, did they already try to reschedule? If so, the cancelation is probably forgivable. And, if the meeting is rescheduled, they are under a higher obligation to make the meeting work next time.
Unfortunately, in this situation, you have less power than the party you are pitching to. Still, I think you can set up some ground rules that will make this kind of situation more tolerable. Perhaps you are willing to deal with cancellations two times, but if it happens a third time you can decide this isn’t the kind of partner you want to do business with and you can cross them off your pitch list and look for someone who is more dependable and who will be more respectful of your time.
As with all collaborations, you need to find high-integrity people with which to partner. Just because someone is being a jerk doesn’t mean you can stop knocking on doors. You just have to knock on better doors.
Good luck, and I hope you sell your script to the right partner, one who treats you with respect. Remember, if this works, it will be a long-term relationship that will have far-reaching ramifications, so think carefully about who you are committing to.