On Petraeus and Producers: How an Email Trail Can Kill Your Movie Deal or Worse! by Phil Cooke

You don’t have to be a CIA chief to sink your career with an email 

by Phil Cooke • President, Cooke Pictures

Last year, a writer approached me with a screenplay, asking me to help him get his film made. Fair enough. But I made it clear that our company,  Cooke Pictures is not a funding company in a position to finance films. He said fine. Then I read the screenplay and realized pretty quickly it wasn’t something I was interested in, so I kindly told him thanks, but we weren’t interested at this time.

At that point, he unleashed some pretty nasty things, and followed up with an email. He wrote that if I was a REAL Christian, I’d get off my duff and help him get the movie made. He said I was obviously shallow, and couldn’t recognize great writing – or God’s hand on the project – plus, I was a hypocrite (among a few other choice things.)

It was a very interesting email to say the least, but I chose not to respond.

Now – a year or so later, I get a call from a friend who happens to be a significant film producer. This guy has the clout and money to get films made. He tells me he has an appointment set up with this writer I’d met a year ago and is curious if I know him or have an opinion about his project.

I didn’t have to say a thing.

All I did was pull out the guy’s email and share it with the producer and that pretty much said everything. My producer friend immediately cancelled the meeting, and has no interest in this writer or his projects.

Note what nailed this writer:  It wasn’t me or my opinion, it was his own words.  Remember that the moment you hit “send” on an email, you’ve lost control of it. In that moment of frustration or anger, what you write will live on – and it will be in someone else’s hands.

Don’t let your email trail come back to haunt you.

Ever had a similar experience?

 

Phil Cooke has produced media programming in more than 50 countries around the world, and in the process, been shot at, survived two military coups, fell out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison.
And during that time, he’s helped some of the largest non-profit organizations in the world navigate periods of dramatic disruption and change.
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