2.11.07

WGA strike

A quick comment on the impending WGA strike.

I understand there are important business issues at stake. And just as in any labour-management dispute over the tantalizingly lucrative-but-still-out-of-focus future - there will be many hours of tough bargaining.

But after being on both sides of the executive / freelancer divide I believe there's a toxic undercurrent of DISRESPECT for what writers and creators actually do. This is fueled by a secret belief amongst many execs that THEY COULD DO BETTER.

The curse of “creativity” is in its abstractness. Everybody THINKS they’re creative. I mean does anyone really wake up in the morning and say... “you know what ? I’m a slug. Not a bright idea in the old brain.”

Everybody has ideas. It’s the price of admission. You can’t play hockey without skates. You can’t stay in the biz without ideas.

It’s the "framing" and the development of those ideas that separates players from poseurs - workers from wannabees.

I don't have the skill set, the gene pool or the personality to be a killer producer. Got it. Believe it. Happy with it. And I respect those who do, because their life really IS "nasty, brutal, and short".

But it's my sense that many execs aren’t quite as candid about their own shortcomings.

True story-:

I once received THIRTY TWO pages of notes written in THREE DIFFERENT COLOUR OF MARKER PEN for a half hour script I wrote for ...for....for (blog don’t tell, Don...blog don’t tell) -- let me just say that it was for a network in a big snowy country.

Thirty-two pages. Three colours. Structure. Style. Grammar.

Now YOU tell me that the exec didn’t think he could write ... spell .. and create better than me.

Maybe he could. But I’m still working. He’s toast.

Why ? Because he spent too much time doing MY job at the expense of his own.

So good luck to the WGA and if you’re interested in a play-by-play from the frontlines check out “By Ken Levine”. He used to be a writer for MASH and knows ridiculous when he sees it.

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