Thankfully, “fear of being eaten by a zombie” ranks pretty low on our list of daily concerns right now. But sometimes, workplace negotiations can be just as terrifying as flesh-eating monsters.
In the latest Mediabistro interview, Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks to us about how she negotiated with legendary filmmaker Roger Corman to get the gig she wanted — even though she was offered a different position.
Most people don’t feel comfortable laying out stipulations to their superiors. Why did you feel entitled to make your own rules? How can others follow suit?
I wasn’t given a choice. It was, “OK Gale, I want you to be the marketing department starting Monday.” (And this was a Friday). I had no training period, so the odds of my failing were pretty high, especially since I was taking the place of two people who had significant experience. I think you have to take some initiative and show that you have the potential to be a leader. I was about to take a position heading a department and negotiating with him proved that I had a degree of the skill set that I needed in that position. If you want to prove that you can take on more responsibility, take that responsibility and be willing to also take the consequences. I knew I wasn’t prepared and I had that conversation up front with Roger. And, if it didn’t work out, my fallback position was going to law school. I think it’s really important to have a fallback position.
For more of Hurd’s thoughts on the fine art of negotiation, film vs. television and a moratorium on slow dying gender roles, read: So What Do You Do Gale Anne Hurd, Executive Producer of The Walking Dead?
— Sherry Yuan