Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Places, Everyone.

Responding to a summary of my WGA strike thoughts posted to Crimespace, mike D suggested writers should be paid more than actors because writers come up with the ideas and write the scripts while actors just perform them.

I'm not a screenwriter, but I'd guess the same way authors aren't fulfilled until their work is published, screenwriters aren't fulfilled until their work is performed by actors, and actors are most fulfilled when they get to play well-written characters.

The practical reality is, if a writer pulls out of a movie or a showrunner leaves a series, a new writer can step in and rewrite a script or retool a concept. If need be, the new writer can mimic the original writer's style closely enough to satisfy most viewers.

On the other hand, if an actor bows out of a movie or TV show, most of that actor's fans will probably follow suit, and whoever fills the actor's shoes has to build up a new fan base (e.g. George Clooney leaving White Jazz, Mandy Patinkin leaving Criminal Minds, James Caan leaving Las Vegas). The new actor cannot duplicate the original actor's presence or drawing power. This is why actors will always be paid more than writers.


Steven said...

Yeah, but...If a writer leaves and takes his or her concept, that would be a disaster - there'd be no show. Imagine if the creators of MONK took the concept of the OCD detective with them...

Gerald So said...

There would still be a show; it would just be a different show. CBS's MOONLIGHT changed concepts three times before it ever aired. Only lead actor Alex O'Loughlin remains from the pilot cast as well.

MysterLynch said...

There is a difference between a writer and a series creator.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer used many writers (19), but creator Joss Whedom kept the flavor of the show on track.

When Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing, not only did they lose the creator, but the writer as well. That did have a notable (and negative) impact.

Homicide has writing credits for 20 people. Some were on most shows, but some were for 20 or so.

Writers are very important, but unless they are also the exec producer/creator, their leaving does not completely change the show.

MysterLynch said...

Monk has had 23 writers in it's six seasons.