One Last Thought Before I Dive Into Book Writing for Several Hours
Posted on January 2, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 29 Comments
Not that I have any time to watch late night shows tonight, but if I did, I’d be watching the ones that have actual writers working on them, and not so much the ones that don’t.
(And yes, I’m still writing Zoe’s Tale. The plan to finish during the holidays? Holidays got in the way. Stupid holidays. PNH, please don’t hit me. And also, PNH: Happy Birthday!)
I’m less confident that the best television entertainment is the scripted kind.
I’m a little conflicted on this. I support the strike, but watching Leno tank also sounds like a lot of fun.
Then record it and skip through the commercials.
What, you mean, watch it like normal?
I’m very disappointed in Steward and Colbert…I figured Leno didn’t care, but those two are actual writers. I’m still hoping for a stunt, like maybe a half hour of silence.
I’m recording both tonight (we don’t normally watch them), but I want to see what happens.
Next week is the real fun one — Stewart and Colbert return, without writers. And Stewart is the main reason CC has union shows, I’m told.
It’s like Churchhill said about democracy: It’s the worst of all possible systems, except for all the rest.
Admittedly, the scripted schtick on Leno/Letterman/etc. (except maybe Conan) is often the worst part, but do you really prefer “Survivor” to “Lost”? “Cops” to “Heroes”? Even the critically acclaimed “Amazing Race” has less appeal to me than the thrice-cancelled “Drive”, for which I still await the last two episodes.
The only reason I haven’t written blistering critiques of Stewart, Colbert, Leno, and Conan is that they were blackmailed by their networks to return: “We want you back at work by [date]. If you don’t do it, we will lay off n people working on the show, and you will be to blame.”
Granted, any rational person would understand that the last is bullshit, and that at worst the on-air folks would share the responsibility. I understand, though, that at least one of them (Conan, I think, but can’t find the link) specifically cited that as the only reason he’s returning.
I hope they find a way to stick it to the brass by keeping the WGA’s case in the public eye in a positive way. They may not be the last, best hope, but they’d be great if they did.
Is that strike thingy still going on? Does anyone who doesn’t have money in the pot care?
I care because it’ll start affecting the production of Battlestar Galactica and Heroes.
Of course, if all the well-written shows get replaced with “reality” TV, I’ll have more time to read and do projects around the house, etc.
I care and I don ‘t have money in the pot. I know people who do (ie, TV writers), but I’d like to think that, even if I didn’t, I would still care because I hate to see the studios fuck over the writers. That kind of thing pisses me off.
You know, if Patrick is as smart as you claim he is, I bet when you told him you’d deliver the thing on “December 24th” (or whatever the hell date that was) he actually wrote that down on his calendar as “January 15th”. Or maybe that’s just the software development manager in me thinking.
I don’t doubt it; even so, I don’t like being late.
I care, and I have no financial interest.
The strike has already affected production of Battlestar Galactica and Heroes, and many other scripted programs. There’s a big list of them at:
The only way production could be affected further is if studios start calling ‘Force majeure’ and canceling shows and development deals because of the strike.
I’m more curious to see what Leno does, actually – after all, I know what scripted Letterman is like. And since I’m not a Nielsen family, what I watch won’t affect the ratings.
Fair enough. I guess I’m just not enough of a TV watcher to notice.
Though, in re:#10, I don’t think screen writers are nearly as oppressed as say, 19th century miners or steelworkers. MFAs getting screwed by MBAs just doesn’t tug at my heart-strings the same way.
Well Jeez Brett, just show me where all the 19th century miners are picketing and I’ll bring them all some coffee and donuts.
Support you 19th Century Miners!!!
“MFAs getting screwed by MBAs just doesn’t tug at my heart-strings the same way.”
Maybe not, but it doesn’t mean the MFAs should allow themselves to get screwed over financially by the MBAs.
And by the way, this strike is definitely costing me money. No new productions are starting up until the thing is over, so I’m out of work. And I still support the writers.
I used to work in entertainment and, as I’ve said before, I know TV writers who are marching those damned picket lines every day (one of whom is a strike captain), so I admit, it might be more personal for me. It’s not because I watch a lot of TV, because I don’t. There are maybe three shows I watch with any regularity. Unfortunately, two of those are The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I am truly torn on this one, but I think I may have to end up boycotting them, even though I know that Comedy Central is behind the forced return (WGA statement, halfway down).
Still, Brett L., I get pissed off whenever those in power fuck over those not in power. Possession or type of degree matters not a whit. That’s why I do political stuff in my free time.
I would love to virtuajoin ya… but the DIrectv access card in my DVR got fried, so I am stuck with DVDs till the repl arrives.
Why can’t the electric compay DO anything about the fakakta lightning!!!?
It’ll be even more interesting if the strike continues past March, and all the Heroes actor’s contracts expire, thus leaving them free to do whatever they want. Yikes.
JD Blackwell: The electric companies do the best they can, but it is the multitudes of sensitive electronic devices which come off the worst with lightning strikes. That’s why they make surge protectors and UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) — to absorb or shunt the surges. Price of admission to the modern age, I guess. And surge protectors cost a lot less to replace when they take a bullet for the home team.
Early PC users got the religion early on for their computers, but I routinely put ’em on TVs and their associated devices, stereos, answering machines, microwaves, etc. Happened right after I got an answering machine fried four days after I bought it back in 1989. My first answering machine… gone like that… it only took one message, we hardly had time to bond… sorry, I can’t talk about it.
Oh, and surge protect your phone lines — and you can get surge protectors for cable TV and external TV antennas (not that they’ll be any good in 13 months — grin).
Vigilance – Surgius – Protectus
Dear Dr. Phil,
Please to unnerstan… I was fully Surgius Protectada! I am a computer geek by profession, 10 years a PC tech and consultant. I currently work for the a state (of VA) Dept (of Ag) and support multiple makes/models/types of systems PLUS my home wireless/wired LAN etc., etc., ad nauseum…
Please believe me, I have Isobar surge protectors on my undershorts!!!!!
Hence my chagrin, vexation and the attendant nashing of teeth and manual hair removal, at the loss of this wee simple access card… which I had bonded very strongly with these past months (TV was new, DVR no so much).
We did experience a… power “flicker”… earlier that day, but ALL else, technologically speaking, is verifiably OK (mentally speaking, well again in the not-so-much category). The Isobar protecting the DVR and my (new from Santa!!!)(Lord love im and keep im all the yar!) big screen HD TV had not tripped.
Yet, alas poor DVR-Access-Card… I knew him Dr. Phil., a fellow of infite channels, most excellent screen quality…
As I understand it, and I’ll admit to having paid little attention, the major sticking point is that the last union negotiated contract was not negotiated with $39 DVD players in mind. Okay, I get it. But writers are (or tend to be) smart enough, educated enough, and mobile enough to either (a) negotiate a decent contract, or (b) find a better paying gig. If they want to hold out for a 21st century contract, I don’t care. If they don’t, I don’t care. I’m not rooting for the studios, I just don’t find this on my priority list. Which makes me stupid for continuing the thread.
…And I’m just gonna stop now.
Tim Keating: Shhhhhhhh.
Why I aughter……
…And I’m just gonna stop now.
Personally, I think editor giving any writer with a family a holiday-ensconced deadline is just itching to be disappointed.
To be fair to PNH, I was the one who said I would get it in when I did.
I don’t have a television, so the only programming I see is either on DVD or streamed. I am the eyes that this strike is about.
So I would like to tell the network doodyheads: