Respecting the Imagination of Hollywood Writers

I’ve never written for television or films, but I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some who have. And I am in full solidarity with the Writer’s Guild of America strike by Hollywood writers.

Yes, this walkout of important creative talent will mean production on beloved TV series will come to a sudden screeching halt, but that’s the point. Compensation for writers is the issue, and without those writers, these shows don’t exist in the first place.

Without writers, the funny dudes on late night shows don’t get to be funny. Without writers, that beloved actor never gets to utter that famous line or portray the role of a lifetime that lands an Oscar. Without writers, that actress doesn’t become famous on a TV series that catapults her onto the silver screen.

Without book authors and screenwriters, many made-for-cable TV series and big-screen movies would never even come to fruition.

It’s an age-old story. Greed. But not the greed of writers, who merely want to be paid a livable wage for their craft. Along with being respected for their ability to scribe words into magic.

It’s the greed of those who merely want to make money at the expense of creative talent that they don’t value.

It’s bad enough that there are so many folks who think anyone can write. Folks who don’t see it as a special skill but instead think it’s easy. The same kind of people who don’t want to shell out full price for a novel because they have absolutely no appreciation for what it takes to produce a written work.

People want to be entertained, they want something to make them laugh, but they don’t want to pay for it. In their mind, they could write a novel, or write for a show. It’s no big deal.

Why do people think this way? Do they also believe they could be a surgeon or a fighter pilot without any experience or training?

It’s bad enough how too many people somehow believe that being on social media makes them experts, vastly knowledgeable on any given subject. Plus, it’s abundantly clear on Facebook and Twitter that despite it being a written form of communication, the ability to type on one’s phone doesn’t automatically make anyone a literate or lauded writer.

And no, all of those glaring mistakes aren’t always the fault of a computer program like spellcheck.

Then there are those who know they aren’t adept at grammar or punctuation or merely stringing intelligible words together, but they figure that’s someone else’s job and they could still write a book or an episode of their favorite TV series.

Except, if it were so easy and every job came with a professional editor, everyone would do it.

But everyone can’t, including those who refused to negotiate in good faith and render respect for the work of Hollywood writers.

And as for “Artificial Intelligence,” maybe one day soon, people will begin to realize that the concept of artificial is exactly what it is defined as. Fake. Phony. Baloney. As in not genuine. Robots can’t write from the heart of experience and have no soul.

Computer programmers are not creative writers. If they were, they wouldn’t be creating an end-run around the vast wellspring of imagination of actual talented writers who deserve to be paid and respected for their contributions to society.


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