by Larry Brody
We all see and hear, all the time. I’m talking the dreaded BAD WRITING, self-indulgent, uncommunicative stories, poems, TV shows, films, web series, YouTube videos.
I’m not saying everything being presented to us is bad. Most of it isn’t. But there’s enough of the let’s-call-it-“disappointing” stuff to make even the most open-minded pop culture fan cry.
(Pop culture? Where did that expression come from? Oh yeah, the 1960s, before everyone living in the world today but a few old rock stars and obsolete movie stars were born.)
Anyway, after a week spent not finishing the latest books I bought for my Kindle and removing at least half a dozen critically acclaimed series from my various streaming watchlists, I thought about my reaction – and realized that for most of my career I’ve been accused of the very self-indulgence I mentioned in the first paragraph above.
This, of course, gave me pause. And it was a long, self-deflating pause at that. I thought about what I’ve tried to accomplish with my own writing. Then I started going through buried files, where I found examples of where my head was at in terms of what my responsibilities as a writer were at various stages of my career.
And discovered that, whoa, I had been pretty damn guilty as charged. But then something happened, and my outlook changed.
Because I became a producer.
Not a writer with a producer title, but a working, getting-up-early-and-being-on-the-set-worrying-about-the-budget-reading-all-the-actors-supervising-all-the-writers-sitting-with-the-editors-to-pare-down-the-final-cut and all the rest of that stuff producer.
Not only did the 12 hour a day, 7 days a week work schedule give me absolutely no time to regard my work as “my work” alone, because I’d worked so closely with so many others who knew way more than I did about most TV and filmy things, so did the fact that I was accountable to cast, crew, studio, and the network for the success (or failure) of each show I was on.
And “success” meant being accessible to the largest, most devoted audience we could get.
During that time, I wrote a kind of “Credo” for myself to go by. It was intended as a way to keep my perspective on what my job was all about. Years later, first while writing a column for a now defunct film magazine called Screentalk, then while doing a column for the Final Draft website, I shared that credo.
And now that I’ve rediscovered it, I’m putting what I wrote out there again.
Here we go:
TO THE AUDIENCE
I want to express my inner truth, my vision of life in this universe – not only for myself but for YOU. My goal is to share, to communicate so others can learn and feel and taste and appreciate and be moved in the most positive way my experience as a human being out in the world trying to do the best I can for that world and everyone and everything on it before I’m gone.
To do this I can’t write merely to please myself. Talk about preaching to the converted! Instead I must express my truth in a way that will get to you, the audience. A way that will stab you right in the heart and go to your soul.
I have to write using all the tricks I know that will help you be entertained and enlightened.
If I don’t have some effect on you, don’t lift one or two of your burdens, make you feel better about being alive, or just plain move you in some way for even one small moment, then I will have failed. My purpose, won’t have been fulfilled. There will have been no sharing, no joint experience, no art or salvation.
So here we go again, with me giving it all I’ve got, hoping like hell it works.
Audience, this one’s for YOU.
Larry Brody is the founder and boss of TVWriter™. Learn more about him HERE