Dump Calling

Mimi ON Aug 27, 2013 AT 9:54 am

Dump Calling

Dump Calling

By Chrissy Iley 

I’d never heard of Dump Calling. It’s not even a new thing. It’s something that was apparently invented by West Coast agents who specifically wanted to look like they were calling someone back when in fact they wanted to avoid them.

Now I know if my whole life makes sense, or rather doesn’t.

I’ve often wondered why people I was desperate to get hold of, and they wished to avoid me, would perhaps return just one of my half a dozen phone calls. Or not respond to my many emails but would call randomly, usually on a landline.

Why did they do that? They knew I wouldn’t be there, but they wanted to keep me hanging on because saying nothing is more powerful for them, more tantalising for you, than saying no or yes.

Publicists, agents and general PR flunkies are all at it.  Even editors have been known to cotton on to the fact if they don’t say yes or no to a certain article or story idea you’re left hanging on and you can’t place it anywhere. They communicate with you, but minimally. They give you the Dump Call.

For instance, if you post a picture on Twitter that may reveal you are in another country or time zone, that’s when they call. That’s when they leave a voice message, a really vague one, just saying that they called and that they were trying (lying) to get in touch with you.

Since the invention of the mobile phone when communication was supposed to get easier, it got harder. No one wants to talk on it. They want to send texts but they don’t want to have a conversation.

In a text it’s easy to answer only part of a question or not answer it at all. In a Dump Call it’s even easier.

An LA producer told me, ‘Dump calling is really big. For instance, usually the person you want to avoid is someone you know. If you don’t know them you don’t even have to try to avoid them. You will know for instance at around 6 o’clock they leave the office and go to a screening room. You call them when they’re in the screening. You know if that person is a luncher and how likely they are to pick up their cell phone during lunch, or better still, that’s when you call them in the office.’

Why is it so hard to just tell people no? ‘LA is a town that never says no. New York and the world followed on this. You don’t say no because you don’t ever want to be known as the guy that turned something down that went big. That would not only be embarrassing it would be career ending. So you don’t say no, you just never say yes.’

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