There was an interesting article in Los Angeles Magazine about women directors. A woman director makes one bad independent film and her career is over. Guys tend to get an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
There are professional negotiators working for the writers and the actors, but basically you’ve got the writers and actors negotiating against businessmen. That’s why you get rhetoric.
The ad revenues still go up because nothing dependably delivers the eyeballs that successful series do.
The agendas on the management side of the table now are not in sync like they used to be because you have vastly different entities supplying programming to networks.
People recognize certain things, like ‘D’ means ‘this dialogue stinks.’ We’re dealing with shows that are written here, shot in New York and posted back here. Accurate communication is a necessity.
I would say that if you really wished to be a working member of the community, don’t go out on strike because then there’s no work and no potential of work.
Their argument is that most shows are losers, which is true, but it’s also disingenuous to say, ‘We are not going to take the risk unless it is totally covered by the few successful shows that are out there.’
I get bored with establishing shots of people getting out of cars and walking into buildings, getting into elevators and then 45 seconds later they have a line.
The most positive step is to try to expand the employment base by making it, if not economically friendly, at least not economically disastrous, for studios to take on deficits.
Drama or comedy programming is still the surest way for advertisers to reach a mass audience. Once that changes, all bets are off.
I don’t think you can really make television based on what you think audiences want. You can only make stories that you like, because you have to watch it so many times.
I do love television. But the business is accelerating and people are not getting the chance to fail.
People do have viewing patterns, and you disrupt those at your own peril. That’s something that everybody learned after 1988. The numbers have gone down every year since that strike. Big time.
Advertising is the art of the tiny. You have to tell a complete a story and deliver a complete message in a very encapsulated form. It disciplines you to cut away extraneous information.
You have this disturbing reality that there are a lot of people who would rather say, ‘I’m on strike’ than ‘I’m unemployed.’ And those are the people who vote for strikes.
Everybody knows things are not the same. The people running the TV end of a major vertically integrated company know how much money a successful show can make.
The story drove the book. That had a very seminal effect on the way I saw writing and storytelling. If you can set a character in a story that is compelling and has a backbone, you draw people in.
When it went on the air, the sales department hated it. It was the highest advertising pullout show in the history of NBC. At the early focus groups, people were saying, ‘Who are these people? Why should we watch them?
If you’re going to vote on a television contract, there is a certain rationality to saying that the same structures that are applied to Health Plan participation should be placed on the right to vote on a strike.
The threat to free television. The reason television is free is because it is a life support system for commercials. That fundamental aspect is about to change.
TIVO executives stand up and say, ‘Well, we’re not getting rid of commercials, but we are letting them fast forward, because people like commercials, and if they see one that they like they stop and watch it.’ I mean, please.
The heart and soul of network programming is series programming, the weekly repetition of characters you like having in your house.
It was like in Samoa when they’d put up a movie screen on the beach and show movies and the locals would run behind the sheet to see where the people went. It was pretty grim.