I had been working as a copywriter at the agency Mother in London when I got the chance to work at MTV in New York as a writer and director of ‘on-air promos’. I think on-air promos are those short commercials on MTV that have an MTV logo at the end and can be about anything.
So I was excited to go to New York and to start directing at MTV where they would let me do whatever I wanted. But it didn’t work out exactly as I had hoped.
I arrived in New York on a snowy April night, and was placed in a corporate apartment in the deserted financial district where everything was wrapped in plastic apart from my bed. The next morning I went to Times Square on the subway. I saw a policeman and asked him where MTV was. He pointed at the huge Viacom building opposite. As I crossed the road, I thought: how did I come here and have no idea where MTV was? How could I be so ill-prepared?
On the first day, in fact on the first morning, I was asked to write a bunch of ideas for a generic MTV campaign. I handed them in to the creative director. And then I went for lunch. When I came back from lunch my stack of scripts was back on my desk with a post-it note stuck on top. The post-it note read: ‘Enough of this lame-ass Monty Python shit already.’
I thought it was strange that he had said ‘enough of this already’ when I had only been there about three hours. I thought he could have allowed me to indulge in at least one solid day of my lame-ass Monty Python shit. But apparently not.