Who would have guessed the reaction that we got for my article in Campaign last Thursday. We’ve had responses from all over the globe – from Bangkok to San Francisco. It was just a little reflection about the state of the industry. The bottom line is, it seems we’re all in it together, up to our necks in it to be precise. Anyway, here’s the article for anyone who hasn’t read it yet…

Hello, Mark Denton speaking. How can I help? Yes, you mentioned that there’s not a lot of money on this one in the pre-pre-pre-pre-prod. No, don’t worry about it. It’s not that unusual nowadays.

So there’s a script change? The tiger is now appearing on a snow-covered mountain top? No. That’s fine. But, obviously, when we were talking locations in the pre-pre-pre-prod, we didn’t know that.

Sorry? And there’s no budget to go abroad? I see. You do know it’s July now, don’t you? In England?

Of course I’d be happy to attend a client get-together before the research results are in. Oh! So you need a new treatment seeing as the script has changed? Right, great. When do you need it by? Tomorrow! That could be a bit tricky. Milton Keynes by 8am? It’s doable. In a leather-bound treatment folder? I’m sure we can find one of those somewhere.
Just out of interest, why do you need that? Another director produced one? Well, that’s understandable. And should I write my own treatment or get a bloke with A-level English and a book on Film-Making For Dummies to write it for me?

Oh. You’re not judging the director’s vision, you’re still trying to make your mind up who the treatments are for exactly. Well, what are the choices? The team, the creative directors, the account group or the client? That must be tough. And how many directors did you say are pitching now? Six? No, I don’t mind repitching. It’s good to know that you’ve whittled it down a bit.

Reference? Well, I thought I’d, er… sorry? I’m in a contest for who can find the best reference pictures on Google? I’m not sure that will necessarily tell you who the best director is – more like who’s got the best researcher. I see. You want something original? I’d be happy to. But you want me to show photographic evidence of it? That might be a bit awkward, since it hasn’t been done yet. OK, I’ll see what I can do.

What about the storyboard? You know that I draw my own? Not make it too cartoony. Any special reason? The client might think it’s animation. Does that mean you don’t think that the client can tell the difference between a storyboard and the finished article? Well, yes, I suppose it is best to cover all bases.

By the way, your colleague mentioned that you didn’t want to pay the first 50 per cent of the production budget on time? Yes, I completely understand.

So we’ll bankroll your multi-squillion-pound company and wait three months for our money, after the event, because the client won’t have paid you yet? Great!

Oh, just one last thing. On our last job, when we went to visit your client in Edinburgh, there wasn’t so much as a sandwich laid on. Nothing. Not even a biscuit! Which was just as well, really, cos there wasn’t even a cup of tea to dip it in.

What? You have to create a purchase order in order to get tea? Right. No problem. See you tomorrow morning at eight. Bye.

Sara! Wash out the thermos, we’re going to Milton Keynes.

This article was first published on

10 Responses to STONE THE

  1. Andrew Brooke says:


  2. Gabi kay says:

    Your courage is legendary Mr Denton. I heard those words behind closed doors for ten years but never admitted in print.

    What do you think the solution is?

  3. Pingback: If This Is A Blog Then What's Christmas? - A brilliant article that exposes some grim truths

  4. oh mark! never a truer word NOT spoken in jest! – I’ve been through more hoops than a trick pony and still been beaten to the post by some young geezer from a company called COY! and what kinda name is THAT for a company when you’ve got sensible names like MOON around!? ah my – best, mike x

  5. M Denton Esq says:

    …’young geezer’. Thanks Mike. x

  6. Graham Rose says:

    …haha, nothing funnier than the truth, Mark. Brilliant.
    I was recently asked, before they set up a call, for my rates, a detailed biog and a photograph!
    I sent one of me directing Adolph Hitler in my short film. Never heard back. x

  7. M Denton Esq says:

    … see Graham, back when I was a creative that photo alone would have secured you the job.

  8. Graham Rose says:

    …aah, my homeland guys. Come to think about it, it might have been job for Poland. Moving swiftly on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *