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This is a rant.

There are a lot of tweets around the WGA Strike/ AMPTP's wild behavior that boil down to "well maybe the writers shouldn't write such shit shows and films!"

I've pitched a lot. I've sold in rooms. I've staffed twice and consulted for a network TV series. This is because I spent the greater part of my adult life writing. While my friends went to Europe and stacked savings and bought houses, taking low-paying, labor-intensive part time jobs so I could dedicate myself to getting good at a very specific kind of thinking clearly. And when I finally got to what I thought was the top, when I was meeting with developmental executives at Amblin about what projects I might want to do in the future, here is how it went:

We love your book. We are IN LOVE with your voice! What are you working on next?

"passionately conceived original ideal I have been nursing my entire life"

Cool, love that! Anyway, here's what we want you to do: It's Die Hard but girls in STEM. Can you throw together a quick 20 page outline on that for us to pitch to our boss? For free of course. Yes, we will have months of notes while you work and we do not pay you.


The way our current entertainment system works is: you must work hard, get lucky, and be incredibly good to get into a room where someone else will tell you what to write. Your creative contribution is the "why YOU why NOW" part of their idea. And it's not even their own passionately conceived, original idea!!! That I could find a way to enjoy, I LIKE to collaborate when people are passionate.

But THEY NEVER GIVE A SHIT!!! It's something they read in a longform article five minutes ago that they think will help them keep their job for another 6 months. They are terrified of being fired, so they want to be just like something that already succeeded to the point of total market saturation and is ALREADY STALE. They are willing to take zero (0) creative chances. Just to get in a room where someone can tell you what to go write when you go back to your studio apartment took ten solid years of career successes.

This is why I really only want to write books anymore. To the extent that any facet of American entertainment has artistic integrity and real freedom for writers, it's books. . . and it is no coincidence that the best-rated TV and films come from literary IP!

(I can't even imagine trying to get Ned Stark killed off in Game of Thrones if it were an original TV series...not in a million bajillion years!)

AND YES. . .I have worked with network executives who were truly brilliant, and cared deeply about story and character, and taught me things I think about to this day when I write. Honestly there are executives out there who will hop on a notes call and teach you more than a semester worth of creative writing classes. But they are unicorns lost in an army of terrified strivers and at the total mercy of their ALWAYS PSYCHOPATHIC BOSSES.

Every writer I have ever known has shared with me their dream pitch-- original, bold, heartbreaking ideas. None of these see the light of day unless they buy a camera and pay a crew themselves. But not all of us have accounts at the Bank of Dad so it almost never happens.

The legacy systems, the tentpole movies, the stuff on billboards: all of that boils down to the mood of some guy who only watches golf and the stocks on his phone.

I promise you, what TV and film gets made-- gets "the greenlight"-- has very little to do with writers.