Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Colossal Dick Move

Television and film writers are the quirky weirdos that the producers tolerate. Producers, generally speaking, don't get them and don't understand why they just can't re-type the script they way they want it to be. As opposed to theater, where the playwright tends to be revered as a mad genius architect, in film and television they are regarded as immigrant laborers doing creative bricklaying. They should just be happy they have a job. If not, the producer can easily drive his pick-up over to the Home Depot parking lot and find a dozen more for cheap.

When a film or TV series is bad, people seldom blame the writers. If a film fails to be a huge blockbuster in its opening week, it's not because of a bad script, it's because the star's shine is fading. And if it is a hit, it, again, is because of the star power, not the great writing.

That's not to say there aren't bad scripts out there. Oh, there are. But film and television has such a system of hurdles, that when a project gets the go ahead, it's usually in pretty good shape. It becomes a bad script with the interference of producers and directors imposing an artistic vision. For more on this, read the classic Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman or check out this article, Building the Bomb by Terry Rossio (Thanks Avella!), about the writers who adapted the great Heinlein sci-fi novel The Puppet Masters into one of the biggest turkeys of all time.

You might think I am overstating things. Surely there are producers out there who appreciate and even cherish the originators and caretakers of their many hit television shows and franchise films. And I have faith that there are a few out there, too. However, the writer's strike has been going on for a week and a half. We quickly saw the effect on the late night shows. The producers know what's coming and haven't, at least publicly, shown any signs of compromise.

Even though it's clearly about to get worse...

Fox's Family Sans Guy

The overlords at Fox have announced plans to air an original episode Family Guy this Sunday and move forward on three more without the participation of mastermind Seth MacFarlane, who not only serves as the showrunner but supplies many of the key voices.

The move has angered MacFarlane, who stopped work on the series last week to join the picket lines with other WGA members.

"It would just be a colossal dick move if they did that," Family Guy's creator told Variety, noting that the next three episodes of the animated comedy are "relatively close to completion, but they have not had a final pass."

MacFarlane acknowledged that both the network and producer 20th Century Fox TV are "legally within their rights" to finish new episodes without his input, but doing so, he said, could not only affect the show's creative direction and thus alienate viewers, but also harm the successful partnership MacFarlane and Fox have built up over the years.

Read the full story HERE.

This is such a colossal dick move by the company to keep their ratings and advertiser money at the expense of the quality of a show. They are killing the goose to get to the golden eggs. Expect more dickery from the producers as they move to film scripts that are just first drafts.

For more on the writer's strike, go to the United Hollywood website and sign their petition.


6:30pm. The Uptown Writer's Space. 4802 North Broadway. $5. Plus snacks! Word on the street is that Chris Othic and I will both be there to spew gutteral noises that pass for genius feedback on your work. Stop on by!


Yesterday, I wrote...

"Chilo, a small town of 97 in southwest Ohio, can't get anyone to run for mayor, but did have seven people sign up for what?"

50% said "An anti-immigration group"
- They are going to build a fence around Chilo to keep their population from breaking 100.

28% said "A mayor search committee"
- That would leave 90 people to "search" for mayor material. You don't need a committee for that. You just need one person able to turn his or her neck to the left and right and have vision in at least one eye.

7% said "A terrorism watchdog patrol"
- Yes, because if they infiltrate Chilo, we lose all of Clermont County!

14% got it right, sadly, with "A pie wrestling contest"

According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, last week's election in Chilo didn't attract any candidates for mayor. There were no names on the ballot for clerk/treasurer, either, or two open spots on village council. However, seven women have signed up for a Nov. 21 wrestling match in pie filling at Everybody's Sports Lounge, one of three businesses in the village about 25 miles southeast of Cincinnati. Village council members get paid $5 per meeting, while the winner of a wrestling match staged in a wading pool filled with pie filling gets $100. Now, if they would just combine the two...