It was a seminal moment. I’d been having a breakfast meeting with a television producer about my incredibly brilliant idea involving modern witches and warlocks living in space when the bill came, and I reached for my wallet. The guy looked at me as though I’d just dug in my pocket and put a live, beating human heart on the table, then he waved me off and put a card on the tray. “You’ve got a lot of things to learn, my friend,” he said. “The talent never pays.” And there it was. In just a matter of an instant, quite suddenly, I became an entirely new class of stereotype: The Hollywood Douchebag. This went immediately to work on my sense of entitlement, and within the hour I was dreaming up scenarios in which I no longer waited in lines or shelled out for macaroons at the coffee shop. In any room or meeting I walked into from then on, I imagined, I’d wait for all the tiny, petty people to make their introductions before the eyes turned to me. “And you are?” “I’m the talent,” I’d say, coolly, adjusting my beret and taking a drag on my pencil-thin cigar. Not the PA, not the development guy, not the motherfucking intern. The Talent.
No arguments, no discussions, no back talk – just people immediately falling silent when you want them to. With shut up checks you are never wrong. Why? Because you are rich and they are not. There’s neither one person nor one scenario that a shut up check won’t work for:
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