November 10, 2006 3:54 PM
Ratings on the premiere were strong. The show received excellent critical notice and the network is happy. On my other series, the ratings are higher than first season, they are growing week to week and the cast of the show is starting to show up in pulp magazines, a true mark of success in this world of television. Who cares what the program is — get your star in US Magazine and people will think you're a hit.
There has been a seismic shift in government and a quieter one in television. No one wants to pay. The world of mass entertainment has always been about the money, and that is fine with me. But now, as we look to launch our new series in ‘07, there is more importance put on the financial side of the deal than the creative. Nobody wants to risk anything. The corporations want their downside covered and their upside limitless.
No one discusses the creative risks that one has to take. How much do I listen to a "creative executive" before I stop listening? How many times can notes be given by a development team before the original idea has been so watered down that no idea exists? How much does one have to give of themselves before they are merely a vessel for bad ideas coming from a financier's plan?
This conversation has been had since entertainment has begun I'm sure, but now our "product" is merely a small percentage of companies that have global and diverse interests that extend not only beyond TV, but beyond creative content in general.
But that is the challenge that makes this worthwhile. How do you get a great idea through this maze? Well it answers itself: You have to believe that the show/film is worth everything, that its worth all the time, heartache, broken promises (no one "lies" anymore, their "marching orders” just change minute to minute) The idea is the only thing that matters. I cannot let the process diminish how good it feels to get something completed. Something I believe in that has an independent voice and point of view. The process of getting there is what I hate about this Job, but it's what I love about it also. Anything that matters demands a fight, and I'm ready for battle. So now I go back to my phone and talk to yet another buyer, who has every reason to tell me no; to talk to several international networks who will tell me that they love my show but can I make it sexier, less sexy, more actiony, less actiony, more male, more female... but always: less expensive.
I will have to listen to them and consider their opinions and wisdom and then I will go to my computer and write the show that I want to see, not the one that they want to finance... until I convince them, they're one and the same.
Until next time...