Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Tricks of the Trades

Matthew Baldwin (no, not that Matthew Baldwin) at the Morning News is a funny guy. On his blog, the brilliantly named Defective Yeti, he bravely blogs about such topics as his kid's pretending to be a Red cat and his attempt to converse with his wife through Black Eyed Peas lyrics. In his pieces for the Morning News, he writes about such topics as "Tricks of the Trade" - "clever little occupational secrets" such as

Every actor eventually is called upon to act drunk. Most do this by slurring their speech, stumbling around, and perhaps drooling a bit. This is what a freshman drama teacher calls “indicating.” A better way to appear drunk is to act very, very sober. Walk very carefully, and try not to let anyone see that you’re inebriated. This is much more subtle and will register on a level the audience won’t immediately recognize.

Do whatever it takes to fit your contracts onto a single page: Format with single-spacing, use a 10- or 9-point font, and reduce the margins to less than an inch. Most people assume any contract that fits on one page will be simple and straightforward, and even sophisticated negotiators can be charmed by the lack of a staple.
The full list is hilarious and useful, and so successful that Baldwin spun off another site,, on which he is compiling and soliciting more tricks for a possible book. Fascinated as I am by how people work, I think I might try to send him a couple from my own experience. But I can't tell you what they are, because they're secrets. Duh.