The Water Bottle Tour: Secrets Every Writer Must Know To Survive

You’ve all probably heard about the so-called ‘Water Bottle Tour’ — a series of general meetings with industry folks that a writer takes once a script of theirs begins to drum up some heat. For some writers, it’s a launch pad for a long-lasting career in Hollywood. For others, it’s a flash in the pan. But at the end of the day, it’s all about that water bottle.

SECRET #1 — Whether you accept the water bottle or not will make or break you

If you’re at a traditional network like CBS or ABC, you sure as hell better take that damn water bottle when they offer it to you. Do you really want to look like some indecisive twerp when halfway through your “Tell me about yourself” monologue your throat goes dry and you ask for that water you just turned down? How are they supposed to trust Thirsty McWishy-washy with millions of dollars? Take that water!

However, if you’re at one of these hotshot streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, keep your hands off that water bottle. They’re looking for fresh confident voices with tons of spunk. “Water?” you’ll say, “You mean that stuff that horses drink out of troughs? Buddy, get me a Pomegranate La Croix mixed with Cherry Sprite Zero before I can say Seeso.” Then snap your fingers in the air until your requested beverage arrives.

SECRET #2 — It’s how you sip it that counts

Nobody likes a slurper. It’s loud, it’s distracting, it’s super gross. Word on the street is that Charlie Kaufman has had trouble getting his last couple projects off the ground due to his knack for being a noisy sipper. “Hell, we’d love to make another story about a sad white dude with a quirky job but why does it sound like you’re using that water bottle as a bong?”

What you want to do is carefully lift the open end of the bottle to your lips and gently raise the heavier back end. Too fast and you’ll get that horrific fish tank glug-glug effect. That’s how Dan Harmon lost his show.

SECRET #3 — Never drink the whole bottle

I don’t care if you have a bladder the size of Texas, you better not reach the bottom of that water bottle in your meeting or you might as well strip naked and hang glide out the window, you weirdo. Take three to four legitimate sips that are all spread out by at least six minutes. We’ve studied this and it’s the whole reason Lena Dunham got started so young.

If you’re having trouble picturing this amount of water, basically the goal is for the assistant who comes in to clean up the conference room to find the bottle and go, “Ugh. What a waste.”

SECRET #4 — Every brand of water bottle requires a unique approach

Arrowhead bottles crunch like the crispiest leaves of Fall so ease up on your grip with those unless you want to make it sound like a firecracker just went off. Fiji water bottles were designed by some sort of Lego person with sharply angled hands — you might as well hold it with two hands. If you’re unlucky enough to be given one of those stumpy mini water bottles — first of all, you’ve been insulted and you should leave — secondly, pinching it by the lid like you’re a magnetic crane is most effective if you decide to stay.

SECRET #5 — If it’s going well in the meeting, do a spit take

Not joking at all. My last and most important piece of advice is that if you and the executive in the room are hitting it off, take a sip when you can feel that they’re about to tell a joke and spray the conference room table like a broken sprinkler. Of course, this is a pretty high-level move and is an incredible risk. But if you want to be the next Shonda Rhimes, you’ve gotta butter them up with some big laughs and nobody forgets a conference room spit take.

Oh, also just be professional and friendly in the meeting, prepare plenty of questions, remember to listen, all that stuff. Good luck!