Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Customer is always right.

I just got slaughtered on a scene by scene. Justifiably so. It was crap. But the interesting thing is that I was slaughtered in a nice way because the script editor knew what she was doing and couched the bloodshed in writer terms. Clear and concise. What was wrong and why and how to fix it.

I could come up with any number of excuses why my sxs was crap. Some of them might even be valid. It's all wrapped up in the history of the show. The personalities and dramatical likes and dislikes of a 'regime' for lack of a better word.

The 'regime' is changing on that show, and if yesterday's black becomes white, then you have to become either an ammonite or a shark. One died out, the other survived intact.

The key is to recognise what has changed and why. Then adapt your writing style appropriately. Now humour is important? Write humour. Drama as opposed to melodrama? Write it. Studio/lot breakdown used to be the watchword but not now? Deal with it.

I happen to agree with every single one of the notes I was given. Well almost every one. C'mon it's me.

But, as writers, for me the ammonite and shark analogy doesn't really hold up. Writers make a free choice to say ''bollocks to this'' They tend not to be constrained by either evolution or rational thought. They work on feelings and emotion. The best producers and script editors know this and factor it in. The worst take no account whatsoever.

This is a business. In business the customer is always right. But in this business the customer is ultimately the viewer. Long term, for a writer, satisfying the viewer is going to be much more rewarding both financially and spiritualy, than satisfying just the paymaster. Search for paymasters with the same vision.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Not really relevant to above, but I was wondering if a tv writer can claim a subscription to SKY as a tax-expense? i know you can claim half the tv license so could you claim half a SKY subscription too.

Also is there any other odd stuff which writers might not think of which can also be claimed. Someone told me CDs, surely that can't be true?


English Dave said...

ymgYes you can in certain circumstances. It can be classed as research expenses. Ditto movie tickets, dvd purchases and rentals, and if you work from home a percentage of some utility bills. Heck if you wiite a two page treatment of a movie set in Venice you can claim back your last holiday there! Always check with an accountant first though!