Why TV? - Complications Ensue
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Kira Snyder tagged me with the why do you write tv? meme.

First of all, I'm both a TV and feature writer. Whether I write TV or features depends on the story I want to tell. If I get a feature idea, I write a feature. Sometimes an idea wants to be both and then I try it both ways.

I write TV because it is the dominant medium in our time. It is where the best stuff is being done. It is what the most people are tuning into. It is the biggest lever to move people's hearts. If this were the 19th Century I would probably be a novelist, and this would be a diary. If this were the 17th Century I would be a playwright and this would be drunken rantings in a pub. If this were the 6th Century BC I would be a poet and this would be drunken rantings at a private dinner.

The medium is artistically rewarding because you get to create a world and a bunch of characters and then keep telling stories there and about them until they pull the plug. As I say in my book about TV, a TV show is a relationship. A movie is a one night stand.

The medium is also artistically rewarding because TV writers have way more control over their work than movie writers do. On the other hand they have far less control than novelists or songwriters.

The money's nice, but I didn't get into this for the money, and I don't know anyone who got into it for the money.

I have a longer explanation in the intro to my TV writing book. It boils down to "You get to run the asylum."

I don't think there was a specific moment I wanted to become a TV writer. At some point I noticed that I write pretty fast, and that's a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for being a TV writer. So I wrote some specs and tried to get hired. I had more success in movies in LA; I didn't break into TV until I moved north. But in terms of wanting to write TV over movies -- it's been a slow process -- as TV gets better, it becomes more and more exciting to write in the medium.

I would say I'm always open to writing, in whatever medium...

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2 Comments:

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By Blogger Cecil E. Rudd, at 7:55 AM  

This is one of the memes that I'll read everyone response I can find. I like that you say TV is a relationship. You do get to know the people over a long period of time and that's who they become to you.

I especially like the, if this were the 19th Century... explanation. For some people, it's like that. They just want to tell a good story no matter what form it comes in.

I'm starting to get back into movie/TV writing and I enjoy your insight.

By Blogger Cecil E. Rudd, at 7:56 AM  

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