Monday, February 23, 2015

Calling All (Recent) Expats

So there I was, having a Skype chat with a television producer in New York City and he asks me to do him a favor, so I say, “Joey, baby, anything for you!” and he says, “Don’t call me ‘Baby’ and get your feet off your desk; who do you think you are, Cecil B. DeMille?”

No, this really happened, except for the part about me calling him ‘Baby’ and that Cecil B. DeMille thing.

Here's how it went down.

About a week ago an intern from a film company e-mailed asking if I’d like to be on a popular US travel-type show and provided the name and e-mail of the person to contact if I was interested.

Now, my personal code is this: anyone – that’s anyone – who contacts me that I do not personally know, or who I have not asked to contact me, is, de facto, a swindler, criminal, distant relation looking for handouts or some other person of low cunning whose sole aim is to part me from my money.

It’s great code to live by and I encourage you to adopt a similar one. I find is saves a lot of time and it occasionally allows you to do fun things like hang up on BT or refuse to pick up your father-in-law from the hospital because the discharge nurse can't pronounce the name of the hospital clearly enough to convince you she isn't calling form a boiler-room in Bucharest.

The BT call was classic:
ME: “Hello?”
BT GUY: “Hi there, Mr. Harling. This is BT and we’re calling to ask how you’re enjoying your WiFi.”
“Why on earth would you do that?”
“Well, … we just want to know. You do have WiFi, don’t you?”
“You’re BT?”
“Then you should know if I have WiFi or not.”
BT GUY: (Forced chuckle) “Ha ha, just answer the question.”
ME: (Click)

But as my mouse hovered over the delete button, I noticed several strange things about this e-mail. First of all, it had no words in ALL CAPS and the words that were there appeared to be spelled correctly and were strung together in a way that made me believe the author was not running the text through an on-line translator.

Also, I was not promised billions of dollars or asked for my banks details and the e-mail was sent directly to me, not a mailing list and the sender appeared to know at least a little bit about me. So I Googled the movie company, and the show, and the producer and there they all were, in the IMDB.

Even so, I still felt a twitch of trepidation when I sent back a short reply asking for more information.

A few days later, the producer himself e-mailed me and said, “Let’s skype.”

So we did.

Long story short, I was not what they were looking for. What they want are fresh expats, people who have made the jump less than a year ago, which makes perfect sense; they need to find these folk while the experience is still new and exciting and while they are still filled with the awe and wonder of their new surroundings. You know, like I was when I wrote my first book.

If you stuck a camera in my face these days, I’d probably just complain about the taxes or the chavs with their skateboards chipping up the paving stones.

And so that opportunity slipped away from me (for which my wife, I suspect, is eternally grateful) but as our call drew to a close, he asked if I would mention this on my blog and I told him I would, so here it is:

Hello! My name is Joe Pinzone and I work on a very popular international travel series that documents adventurous individuals’, couples’ and families’ experiences as they make the decision to move abroad. This series is a great opportunity to tell your story and share more about what you like/dislike about your new home. If you think that you or someone you know could be a fit for the show, or if you’d like to get more information, please contact me at JoePinzone ( at ) LeopardUSA ( dot ) com. Thanks!

And that’s the story of how a New York City television producer asked me to do him a favor. Perhaps you, or someone you know, will be a better fit than I was. 

If you do make it to the Skype-call stage, though, let me give you a word of advice: don’t call him “Joey Baby,” he hates that.

1 comment:

  1. He must be ok, because he can use apostrophes.