The Silent Negotiator
Why is it the minute I go away on a wee break I became very popular?
Me and my sister had a few days in Budapest just before Christmas. We were getting ready to go out and experience more cocktails. Ping! I got an email from someone with the poshest name I have heard in my life.
Hello I am I’m Penelope Lyle Mountbatten D’Arcy Le Poo
Penelope says she really wants to use me for a project, would it be possible to have a conference call right away?
Me: No, I’m on holiday
Penelope: Unfortunate. We really would like to use you and it’s a lot of money. Never mind….we have a 2nd choice.
Me: Wait wait wait!...How much?
Penelope: This much
Me (lies): Hmmm…normally I would charge a bit more but…
Penelope: Let’s negotiate. Speak soon
I’m apologising to my sister promising it won’t take long.
No, no, she says, suddenly looking hungry but not for food.
I’ve heard my sister in action, she’s good with figures, calculators and percentages, negotiations and won’t take a prisoner under any circumstances. Normally, I would tell her to stop being a smart-arse and I would do it myself. BUT if I wanted to end up with 20p for my trouble because there was no time to think, I needed her. She became The Silent Negotiator. I found a notebook I’d shoved in my bag for just this type of occasion.
Silent Negotiator: Aim high, charge more than usual. Let’s squeeze the posh bird…
Me: What! I can’t do that!
Silent Negotiator: Of course you can- she’s going to try to hammer you down so you start. Ok. Let’s connect……this notepad is completely full!
Me: Stop talking.
Penelope (posh voice to go with posh name): Hello Angela, thanks for this, realise you’re on holiday, much appreciated.
Me: No problem.
To say Penelope is brisk would be like saying Donald Trump is orange.
Penelope: We’ve got Lisa here too….say hello Lisa. Let us know you are with us please.
Penelope: Speak up Lisa
Penelope: Alright, alright! Don’t blast poor Angela's ears off……Now, this is a very, very important and highly top secret job and we need you to sign disclaimers, agreements, NDAs we need to check you out with the police and get the SAS to storm your house and check for listening devices. Alright? First question. Are you alone?
Lisa: Errm…. yes
Penelope: Not you Lisa. You work for us.
Penelope: Right good.
Silent Negotiator: (writes on notebook next to note from daughter which says ‘Mum! Get me Tampax when you’re out’) This one's going to be a hard nut.
Penelope: So, we need these files back without any excuses 5 hours after we send you the script. We need any pick-ups within 10 minutes. We have clients in America, this could be the middle of the night…on a Saturday or on Christmas eve.
Silent Negotiator on notebook: Say yes.
Penelope: Now that will be £xxxx for the job plus 13.4 percent, minus 6.2 percent. We need completely clean and mastered audio. If it isn’t clean it’s coming back and you have to do it again for nothing.
Silent Negotiator writes ‘are you joking?’ Taps on phone calculator. Shows me.
Me: I need this much –
Penelope: What about this much…Will you’ll be able to do it? It’s a tough job.
Silent Negotiator: YES and you want more money don’t forget the VAT…and you need someone to help you with that mastering stuff. I know you can’t do that!
Me: Ok so what if we meet in the middle…
Silent Negotiator: You are weak!
Penelope: Right Lisa will take over with details on the project.
Penelope: Speak up Lisa, we’re on a conference call to Budapest, Angela is alone in a hotel room, trying to think fast and negotiate
Silent Negotiator: HAHA!
Lisa: I need the files to be -
Penelope: We’ve covered that!
Lisa: You need to sign a -
Penelope: We’ve done that!
Lisa: The files need to be -
Penelope: Done! Right I think we’ve got that all covered. Thanks Angela
Call ends. Silent negotiator on notepad ‘You need me’
Turns calculator upside down so it reads BOOBS.
Epilogue: Feedback from Penelope when project completed in January: ‘Wow! I’ve never known a voiceover work so fast!’