Let's face it, writers aren’t the best when it comes to self-care. We stretch ourselves thin competing with ourselves and people we have never even met, trying to write the perfect scene while our eyeballs sear like steak. We may think we're doing our due diligence. As the saying goes, writing is suffering... but that’s bullsh*t.
Because they suck. Kidding… but maybe they do. Characters carry your story. There is no way to get around that. It doesn’t matter if you have the best plot ever. If people don’t like your characters, then no one cares about what they’re doing or how they’re affected by what’s happening in your story. So let’s talk about what makes characters likeable.
Whiplash. My boyfriend made me watch it. I didn’t even know what the effing movie was about. I almost missed it. The movie of the century and I almost missed it. (Slaps self in the forehead but not too hard). But Whiplash isn’t the movie of the century for conventional reasons of film analysis. It’s the movie of the century because in 2016 people just don’t give a f*ck about art.
F*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck. The new word on the street. (I’m such a lady that I can’t even spell the word out without blushing…lol). But as I told you guys in a previous post, one of my new obsessions is Survivor’s Remorse. If you can’t handle a few…well, a million f*cks, then you can’t handle this show.
So… this is going to sound totally crazy to you but there is a different Director for each episode of your fave TV show. I know what you’re going to say: But the episodes stream so seamlessly, never changing in the tone or look! I know. Crazy, right? How and why do they do it? Well, it may not make much sense to you but here it is.
Let’s just face it; Networks have a hard time with African-American programming. There is a thin line between comedy and shucking-and-jiving. The line becomes even thinner between drama and gospel stage plays. Black folks also love to live in the past. For some reason, a generation of people who were barely alive are infatuated with A Different World. Modern day African-American artists are obsessed with Martin themes, especially those damn shapes from the maintitle sequence. And of course, since the Obamas got into the White House, black folks just can’t let go of The Cosby Show. (Well, many are due to other unrelated Bill Cosby factors that I shall not name…). With that being said, Networks and Showrunners get stuck in a cycle of failing nostalgia because face it, it’s 2016 and multi-camera comedies with soft music during the emotional climaxes just aren’t going to cut it. Let it go.
I don’t give a sh*t… just bring on Season 2. Talk about dynamic programming. I don’t give many props to many things because I don’t believe in glorifying mediocrity. But this sh*t was awesome. Way to go FX. Way to go Creator Ryan Murphy (like he can ever do wrong). Way to go writers, directors, cast and crew of American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson. You won. (I’m literally clapping right now).
Just like being in front of the camera, people break into the entertainment industry in different ways. We all have our own stories. Luckily these days, top industry professionals offer programs to help you "skip" the line. Now, don't get it twisted. These programs are not shoe-ins. Just because you are accepted and excel in a program doesn't mean that you will get hired after walking across the proverbial stage with your certificate of completion. The industry has its ups and downs, high and lows. You may be the best writer or director out there but if the industry isn't looking for you...you won't be found. With that said, we're all just looking to perfect our craft. So instead of looking at these programs as the fountain of youth that will fix all of your unemployment problems, look at them as an opportunity to develop your skills not only with professionals but with your peers, who will soon be running the industry.
We want the titles to be super cool and meaningful... I hate to burst your bubble but that's what I'm here for. Writing staff titles equal seniority and only a little bit more responsibility. But like other things in Hollywood, for some it's just a title. Just something to make someone feel more important than they are. No real surprise there, it's La La Land. However, you would think that some of the titles at least mean what the title says. I've found that to be misleading.
Answer: Then you don’t want to be a writer.
Shannan E. Johnson, CEO