Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lunatics and asylums

I guess I'm what's called a 'middle ranking writer' I generally make a good living but I'm far from a household name. Even in my own household.
But I have a feeling that middle ranking writers are like the middle classes, or silent majority or Mr Average, call it what you will. When they get pissed off and militant you know something is badly wrong.

I have a busted ankle right now, which let me relax today and watch a lot of tv. Or would have until I surfed the channel guide and saw there was absolutely nothing I wanted to watch. So I went to 'on demand' and luxuriated on about 6 episodes of 'Band of Brothers' back to back, an ep of 'Two And A Half Men' and the DVD of 'Flags Of Our Fathers'
All good.
Why would I want to watch the school dinner regurgitated rice pudding that is served up on Monday night TV when I can watch something good? Where's the heart? Where's the thought? Where's the connection to real people?
Maybe it's lost in a sea of no talent careerists who have forgotten or never knew that ultimately the audience will spot a fake. I speak of both producers and writers here.
In the stock market you have 'day traders'. A bunch of people who have no regard for anything other than their own short term enrichment but who can severely distort the market to the detriment of what is good for everyone else. Too many of those types are in the entertainment industry. They don't know the difference between rape and seduction. All you can do is point it out. Diplomatically if you want a career.


Anonymous said...

"don't know the difference between rape and seduction" - gosh, strong, but an exquisitly succint summation.

Lucy said...

I don't know anything about the politics of television, but then I've said that before. This is a serious question tho btw, not one that's meant facetiously:

have you considered ED that perhaps it's not that TV is crap or even that you are a golden ager, but just the fact that people's perceptions alter person to person and what they WANT from TV changes not only over generations but year on year, week on week even?

The reason I ask this is because I am a fan of TV right now, I think it's good. But I'm not a div (I'm not saying you are btw).

I've watched soap opera since I was literally a small child. I effing love it. But people tell me at least once a week I shouldn't: I'm an educated woman, I should apparently be above that sort of thing.

And my retort is always: why?? And those people nearly always shrug and tell me I just SHOULD NOT LIKE IT.

But I don't just want to like it, I want to write it too. I'm sure that once it's a job rather than a hobby my perception will change again (though not nec for the worse I hope), but just WANTING to write it - does that make you despair? I've applied to The Writers' Academy - again. Maybe I'll get an interview this year, hopefully I'll get in. But you don't like this initiative.

I'm genuinely interested.

Jaded and Cynical said...

The problem is not one of perception.

The problem is real.

British broadcasting is firmly in the sewer.

Look at the phone scandals, where viewers on every network were conned out of millions.

Look at the crack addicts presenting kids' TV.

Look at the awards ceremonies where prizes were handed out to the wrong people just because certain egos demanded it.

And don't get me started on the crap that passes for entertainment.

British television was once the best in the world. Now it's an embarrassment.

fionnbar said...

Alright Dave, always interested and amused by your comments and insights but I have a question. I recently had a Casualty script editor request a script sample from me. What if anything should I expect to come of this. Also, I'm an Northern Irish Taig (that's how we say Pape over here)does that mean I get a specially category all to myself?

English Dave said...

terraling - ty, nice to be appreciated lol

Lucy - Don't get me wrong. I don't think soaps are any better or worse than they have always been. There is a large and specific audience for it and is a vital part of any schedule. I'm talking more about the non soap dramas. The 'must see' ''appointment'' tv. because right now I can't see any. I don't think it's about perception. The ratings speak for themselves.
No I'm not a fan of the academy for several reasons. some selfish. it takes bread out of my mouth for a start. But mainly because I'm deeply suspicious of training writers to maintain the status quo. There are other reasons which I may go into in a seperate post.
But I'd never suggest that wanting to write soap makes anyone a div. Quite the contrary. It's tough to write well.

jaded, yep. Give me one great drama that actually has something to say about the state of the world or the human condition this year and I'll be happy. But I can't see it coming anytime soon.

Fionbar - was it a request for a a spec script or a spec Casualty script?

A spec casualty script means you are a little further down the line. A spec script request is good but not uncommon. It means you are on their radar which is a start. Knock them dead with the script and you may get a commission.