Monday, September 29, 2014

Guess who's working -- and who's not!

 There's been some interesting changes in the world of screenwriting. 

"According to the WGA's annual report since 2008, writers ages 41 to 50 have replaced writers ages 31 to 40 as the group enjoying the largest share of employment in the movie business" LA TIMES.

 So what does that mean to anybody?

Well it means that the baby boomers are once again walking all over the younger writers.  The article also said that work for writers has gone down 24%. This is due to the fact that studios are cutting back on more screenplays of substance and more on the big box office hits that are often 4 or 5 times as expensive. 

It also means that studios are making international movies for everybody, meaning China for one reason. There's a lotta people over there who like American movies.

Ironically the "down home" movies like Annie Hall, Jerry Maguire or any movie with Jack Nicholson are history. There's no real answer why; unless it has to do with the current audience which sees the creature/superhero movies. The last thing they want is a human story about life.

My feeling is that they don't really want to face life because it doesn't look very good to them, fewer 20-somethings are looking for work, the others are going back home to mom and dad. And now, they're at the bottom of the list for writing gigs.

Where does that put me?

Definitely a boomer of course, at the far end, but still working mostly because, in Billy Joel's words; "Retire to what?" I couldn't imagine playing golf or going on vacations or any of that. I write. 

Another question though, is this; why are older writers getting more jobs than younger writers?

Simple. Because they know more.

Does that mean they're better?

No, but they know more. They've done great work and bad work and they know the difference.

But mostly because they are more of a guarantee for a TV series or even movies. As the old saying goes; "They've been to the party before."

What about the hundreds of kids coming out of film school?

Good luck.

What they'll face is that the really good writers will get work, but with an emphasis "really good." I know about that; I taught classes at UCLA extension back in 2003 and after a few years came to realize the truth.

That not everyone is gifted.

In fact there are very few who are gifted.

I wasn't gifted, I just worked hard to learn how to write reasonably good screenplays, enough that I got 20 movies shot (although half were Page 1 rewrites of another writer's script but it still counts in credits).

And I was lucky as I got in before the whole country began having film courses.

But consider this;

You're not an actor... 

 The actor for The Flash, soon to be on TV, has had his face done over in CGI for scenes that would be harder if he had to do them.

My take on it is this; How long will it be before all actors are CGI'd? First the face, next the body. Avatar was the beginning of this and now it won't be long before we see a real Yul Brynner (a famous actor for those who don't know him).

And a realistic Marilyn Monroe.

It's coming.

More this week.


  1. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it won't work. Animated figures don't have personal lives, no weddings in Venice and they can't improvise. Maybe Mickey Mouse type of animation or Scooby Doo for some comedies but you'll always need the actor - to act!

  2. Sadly the Simpsons generation won't know the difference.