Crying on cue in front of the cameras is an impressive talent. On the other hand, crying in the midst of a tantrum, always complaining or just plain being difficult, can put you on the dreaded LITS list.
I want you to know about this list because even though it’s not written down, those with the power to hire and fire know it by heart. Why LITS? Because “Life Is Too Short.”
Now, if you’re very talented or an in-demand diva you might get away with outrageous behavior (just check out TMZ) but if you’re a regular creative professional who’s a constant pain in the ass, getting on the LITS list can derail a promising career.
I’ve seen it several times.
When I was at CBS, there was a New York writer who had written an amazing play so we gave him a pilot script based on the play. Our first meeting went well, but during the notes meeting on his outline he fought us every step of the way. He didn’t compromise on any points and he let us know, rather loudly, that he wouldn’t tolerate having his creative vision “fucked with!”.
We got his first draft and while it was okay, we didn’t give him notes. We also didn’t give him another script the next season, or ever… because L.I.T.S.
We all know writers, directors, producers and actors who aren’t the most talented, yet continue to work a lot. Their secret? Aside from maybe knowing someone who gave them their first break, it’s often because they’re easy to work with, and more importantly, pleasant to be around -- a highly valued trait, especially in a writers’ room where people spend 10+ hours a day together.
One of my friends once made me a T-shirt that said: “Save the Drama for Your Mama”. I love that saying. It’s a great mantra to follow and it’ll keep you off the L.I.T.S. list.
You want to make waves with your talent, not a L.I.T.S. attitude.
What behavior have you witnessed that would put someone on the LITS list? If you have any questions about getting ahead in Hollywood tweet me @Carole_POTL.
All my best,
Director of WGA's Showrunner Training Program, creator & Director of the CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program, international speaker and a leading expert on entertainment career strategies, Carole Kirschner teaches creative professionals how to navigate the often mystifying landscape of show business. Her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment is a primer on how to break in and move up in the entertainment industry. Through her popular workshops, Carole teaches writers, producers, directors and executives the real world strategies that will help them not just succeed, but thrive.