You’ve been there. Your friends have been there. The guys at Baboon Animation have been there, too, once upon a time — the royal eff-up at work that you are sure will be your last.
Maybe it’s an innocent joke told at a job interview unexpectedly gets you a “Call security!” look from a senior staff member. Or a well-intentioned gesture of kindness at work takes a sudden weird left turn and then heads off a cliff into a lake of hot poison. Or a bit of fun that, without warning, has you running in fear of your boss’s Hulk-like wrath.
Game over, dude — no doubt about it.
Or is it? Whatever your particular story — and there are truckloads of them out there — we’re here to tell you there’s hope! Lots of it, in fact — in our experience (at least so far).
Just take these terrible true-life tales from three clods much like you, now some of Baboon Animation’s most-seasoned professionals. They, like many in the biz, somehow rode out their own moments of near-epic haplessness — and lived to tell the tale. You will too!
Aron Dunn (Camp Lakebottom, Truck Town, Marco Polo)
During one of my first gigs as a lowly exec assistant for a very demanding producer, I had to organize a pizza luncheon where the EPs would make a major company announcement. Party trays were ordered and placed on the boardroom table. The staff enjoyed the ‘za and the EPs made their big announcement. Mission accomplished. As I cleaned up, I noticed big, square, steam marks on the fancy boardroom table — left by the hot pizza boxes. Assuming the steam would dissipate I gave them a wipe and went about my other duties. But a couple of days later, they were as visible as the day of the meeting. I had ruined a large, very expensive piece of furniture. Needless to say, I was terrified and immediately set out to secretly call all over town for an overnight refinisher at a reasonable price. Before I could cover up my crime, the EP walked up to me and handed me a card for a furniture-restoration company that he actually had a standing account with. Apparently I wasn’t the first person to ruin the furniture there!
Mike de Seve
Mike de Seve (Madagascar, Monsters vs. Aliens)
When I went to my first interview ever for a story editor position, it happened to be the day after Halloween. There were remnants of my costume from a party the night before still in my bike bag that I had forgotten about. As it happens, I fell off my bike on the way. I was fine, and made the interview on time, and it was going fantastically. When the moment was right, I proudly reached in my bag and pulled out my precious writing samples — there was a horrified gasp — not the reaction I was expecting. I looked down — they were covered in vampire blood from some broken fake-blood capsules in the bag.
A Good Match
Susan Kim (Octonoauts, Wonder Pets!)
I had an interview — not the comfy, jeans-and-sandals kind, but the uptight kind — at the network. So I dressed up and even carried a fancy handbag — something I don’t normally do. I was leaning forward, trying to be funny and professional, when I noticed the guy wrinkling his nose. I smelled it too: Fire. We both looked around. Then I glanced down and saw smoke spilling out of the sides of my handbag. When I opened it, flames shot out. “Oh my God!” the guy screamed. It took me a moment to realize that the matchbooks I had taken from restaurants had rubbed together and ignited as I rocked back and forth. I managed to beat out the flames out, and, no, I did not get the job.
But that didn’t mean Susan didn’t get many more – some great ones at that, and that’s our point. Fear not if your interview or job goes up in flames, literally or otherwise. Take it from us: Even a planet-sized screw-up does not mean the end of the world.
Baboon Animation is a U.S.-based collective of Oscar-nominated, multiple-Emmy-winning animation writers with credits on dozens of the most iconic animated shows of the last two decades.