Creative Leadership

Will Your Email Trail Come Back to Haunt You?

Last year, a writer approached me with a screenplay, asking me to help him get his film made. Fair enough. But I made it clear that our company,  Cooke Media Group is not a funding company in a position to finance films. He said fine. Then I read the screenplay and realized pretty quickly it wasn’t something I was interested in, so I kindly told him thanks, but we weren’t interested at this time.

At that point, he unleashed some pretty nasty things, and followed up with an email. He wrote that if I was a REAL Christian, I’d get off my duff and help him get the movie made. He said I was obviously shallow, and couldn’t recognize great writing – or God’s hand on the project – plus, I was a hypocrite (among a few other choice things.)

It was a very interesting email to say the least, but I chose not to respond.

Now – a year or so later, I get a call from a friend who happens to be a significant film producer. This guy has the clout and money to get films made. He tells me he has an appointment set up with this writer I’d met a year ago and is curious if I know him or have an opinion about his project.

I didn’t have to say a thing.  All I did was pull out the guy’s email and share it with the producer and that pretty much said everything. My producer friend immediately cancelled the meeting, and has no interest in this writer or his projects.

Note what nailed this writer:  It wasn’t me or my opinion, it was his own words.  Remember that the moment you hit “send” on an email, you’ve lost control of it. In that moment of frustration or anger, what you write will live on – and it will be in someone else’s hands.

Don’t let your email trail come back to haunt you.

Ever had a similar experience?

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  1. The moment anyone emails me with “God has told me this needs to be on your channel”, or “God has told me you’re going to help me” or any such variant, I immediately dismiss them out of hand.

  2. …OR the email that you went off, or forwarded to someone else with comments, stays in the thread when you respond back to them. OUCH! Don’t make THAT mistake. 🙂

  3. I’ve really enjoyed your articles, and learned a great deal from them. I guess I expected a kinder response from you on this. You completely exposed someone on what may simply have been a very bad day. I’m disappointed.

    1. Perhaps I should have been clear that it involved a couple phone calls and multiple email messages over a matter of weeks. That indicates it was much more than a “bad day.”

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