Perhaps. But then I've been around a while and can see changes taking place over time. One thing I've noticed is the number of people I have meetings with nowadays who look like they've just stopped breast feeding. Now, I'm all for youth, but it seems to me a culture has developed of chasing the yoof market. The powers that be seem to have decided that in order to do this you need yoofs in charge.
Big mistake. Ideas are one thing. Execution is another. In this business, be it production, directing or writing, experience counts for a lot as far as producing quality is concerned. But it seems nowadays there is no 'apprenticeship' Dev Execs with no background of developing anything. Producers who were story editors for a couple of months. And the saddest by-product of all this is a gradual erosion of the respect for writers. And you know what? We've brought it on ourselves.
We've dumbed ourselves down to fit in with the wants and needs of people who have no business in this business. It's all about marketing and ratings and very little to do with quality. It's becoming like the film business. A load of dross with the odd gem which seems to appear more by accident than design.
Not only have we dumbed ourselves down, but we cowtow to the Indies who cowtow to the networks. Here's how it works. The network will issue an edict to producers on 'what they are looking for and what they are not looking for'
The producers then issue the same to writers.
Result? Some 12 year old at a network is dictating not only what gets seen on screen, but what ideas get written in the first place. And we all go along with it because we have to earn a living. Because while Network execs are on hefty salaries, us poor schlepps are freelance. Indy producers need commissions even more so. They have bigger overheads.
Originality is stifled. And even if some brave producer takes something risky and original to the networks, there is little chance of it seeing the light of day. It's a dogfight over an ever decreasing market, getting smaller because of fear of failure.
An example of this is THE FIXER. yep I watched ep 2. Nope it didn't get any better. It was as if someone had said ' find the dumbest person likely to watch this and then write it with them in mind'
The Americans do this type of show soooooooooooooooo much better. To my mind the reason being the showrunner system. The head honcho is usually a vastly experienced WRITER. Someone with dramatic sense and imagination. Of course they have network notes to deal with but they have the nounce and savvy to circumvent them or at least dilute them to do least damage.
In the old days when I were a lad, writers here were held in greater respect. That is one of the reasons why I think historically, drama was better. I think back to GBH, Edge of Darkness. The Singing Detective. I Claudius. Boys From The Black Stuff, and on and on and on. Do any of the shows I've seen in the last few years stick with me as much as those examples? Can't say they do.
And I don't think that's me saying pop music today is just a loud noise, like some curmudgeonly old git. I think it is an indisputable fact. Where are the classic series of tomorrow?
At some point the networks will realise that throwing the same old shit at the screen and hoping it sticks is not going to work. They'll realise that viewers are not stupid and stop the patronising twaddle I see on screen on a regular basis. If something is entertaining it doesn't matter if we actually have to concentrate on it a little. Drama is about truth more than clarity. I hope a lot of good people don't give up and leave the industry before that time comes. Or worse still, a lot of good people don't join the industry in the first place.
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5 years ago