I’m descended from a long line of union-busting industrialists. But the battle of the Writers Guild of America vs. Media Fat Cats is turning me into a Bolshevik.
Perhaps it would be helpful for Mr. Long to take a step back and look at the product that he and his industry are turning out. This article reminds me of the complaints from union auto workers in the 70’s who, for decades, had been turning out increasingly bad cars yet getting increasingly higher pay. And then came the Japanese to take market share from the invincible unionized Big 3. The industry opened the door for its own demise.
The entertainment industry, of which Mr. Long is a 30+ year veteran, has been turning out an increasingly bad product for decades. Humor is not funny. Drama is mostly politicized. Love stories must bend all the multiple gender boxes. What the hell does the industry expect when they have clearly lost touch with their consumer?
The demise of his profession has nothing to do with fat cats. My guess is that Mr. Long knows very well the problem but he can’t say it for fear of being ostracized. The entire industry does not make money for basic business reasons because they hate their customers. It’s the same as the news media. Turn out a bad news product and - Voila, Bari and the Free Press are born.
Perhaps Hollywood is just out of touch with the reality of real everyday working people so that the entertainment you produce isn’t worth our time (which is precious).
Well, it's pretty easy to tell you why you're circling the vortex, Rob. (I'm using "you" here in the collective sense to describe the whole Hollywood/show biz ecology.) You're not producing movies or television shows. You're producing "content."
Here's the deal about narrative: It's strongest when it reflects a singular vision. There's a reason why "Yellowstone" and "Curb My Enthusiasm" are the two strongest shows in the vast streaming wasteland: They reflect a _singular_ creative point of view.
Yeah, yeah, yeah—writers' rooms are necessary to connect the dotted lines, to fill in the blanks. It's virtually impossible to know if jokes work if you don't have a sounding board, so yeah—you need a writers' room for that. Great dialogue kinda works by the same rule. And I suppose storylines, too, to some extent, since once a storyteller is finished with the characters in his or her own head, it can be difficult to envision what comes next.
But narrative by committee? No, no, no.
My understanding is that according to the 2020 Schedule of Minimums, even the lowliest of low writers can anticipate making $4,000 to $5,000 a week. That might be chump change in the Hollywood ecology, but it's serious bank to some of us.
All of which is a roundabout way off saying even if I had access to the world's tiniest violin, I wouldn't play a sad song for you on it.
How many mini writers' rooms does it take to write yet another serial killer series? Asking for a friend.
I believe I am in the same demographic as Rob and I would just comment: "Top Gun Maverick" anyone?! The middle class in this country - the majority the Left wants to crush - simply wants good-guy/gal movies and shows that push some limits but reflect our values.
Cheers, Seinfeld, Sons of Anarchy, Jackass, Friends, The Office, Breaking Bad, Braveheart, The Patriot, We Were Soldiers, Beverly Hills Cop, Alien, Reacher, etc are the shows our kids are drawn to and it isn't because we watch them.
“Maybe instead of mini rooms with fewer writers, the studios should be sending out more emails from HR to more executives.” - bureaucracy in every damn corner of our lives is killing us. Im with Mr. Long and relate to his pivot. Same. Great piece and thank you for the laugh too ( Equinox - lol)
This was supposed to be a good essay? This was one of your recommendations for essay of the week? Very disappointing. This essay contained nothing of interest nor was it thought provoking.
Mr. Long's essay only served to confirm what most of us who have been paying any small amount of attention have observed over and over again for years. Hollywood is failing. It is rare that movies and shows produced and released these days are any good at all. We consumers are looking elsewhere for our entertainment, and we have plenty of options.
Mr. Long complaining about the failures of the industry and only focusing on a small part of that failing and not a more honest evaluation of the whole modern Hollywood culture made for a week and pointless essay not worth the time read.
This was a failure both by Mr. Long and the Free Press.
What mr.Long is thinking???
The Hollywood is already Bolsheviks in their ideology, concepts and practice, so does not need to “become” one of them.
That is how socialism looks like- a bunch of communists have everything and the other are the slaves… I lived through that, ran from it, and now see it here…
Sure, be a better Bolshevik than your boss is a great option!
Dear Hollywood: I have been totally turned off by the wokifying of the classics and changing history. I hate reality shows. I want to be entertained and not depressed. I miss witty dialogue and laughter. Give me true stories of perseverance. Many great stories of marginalized people are waiting to be written for the screens, small and large. I love Yellowstone and its spin-offs.
None of the writers on Amazon's LOTR can compete with Tolkien for writing ability and for his breadth of knowledge. I don't want "inspired by Tolkien". I want Tolkien and if he isn't available, I'll take only what he wrote. Hollywood needs to turn out new stories without all the cursing, PC comments, woke ideology, racially correct - for right now casting, etc. All of these things will age projects and they will never be classics.
It seems the Free Press is devolving to just essays that could be featured on NPR. I’d prefer news. And news that affects real people doing real things and not arcane elitist topics.
Mr. Long, your replacement is here: ChatGPT will rule the mini-rooms.
I want to be sympathetic, but it's hard when Hollywood cranks out garbage. New ideas are as scarce as hen's teeth. I spend as much time cruising all of the apps on my Firestick looking for something worth watching as I actually do watching and when I do watch, I am almost always disappointed.
I can't remember when my wife and I have made it through a Hollywood movie all the way that was made in the last twenty years. They all seem to be formulaic crap. Yet we watch a lot of movies. Mostly indie or foreign. I maintain a list of the ones I particularly like that goes back to the seventies. I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of these movies were written by lone writers. Maybe it's the process of writing by committee that is the problem?
If it’s a great product why is the point of the article that the industry is losing money? The great content of 20 years ago is, well, 20 years ago. How many good shows like Sopranos or Breaking Bad have come out recently? Sales with movies.
Rob Long at The Free Press, my worlds are colliding.