We’re Not Boring! The “Reality” Side of a Writer’s Life

EDITOR’S NOTE: If there’s one showbiz group the minions at TVWriter™ are familiar with, it’s reality show producers. No, we aren’t sure why, but it may have to do with there are so many of them…and they seem to be much more amenable to taking meetings with unknowns than, um, “unreality show” producers, if you catch our drift.

Almost to a man or a woman, every reality producer we talk to has told us that the most commonly pitched reality show idea is “Let’s show the reality of a writer’s life!” As it turns out, that’s also the most commonly rejected idea, which we know because, well, it’s certainly been rejected every time we’ve brought it up.

We have to admit, however, that the following could well be the best pitch evah on the subject. Take it away, Wilnona and Jade!

by Wilnona and Jade

Growing up I had a love for books and movies. When Stranger Than Fiction came out I fell in love with the writing. But more importantly, I fell in love with the value of two forms of entertainment rolled into the ticket price of one movie. It was value I enjoyed so much, that I wanted to be more than an author; I wanted my books to be optioned for movies.

When the first real literary success came across my life path I went headlong into daydreams of the silver screen. These flights of fantasies included the most famous of actors playing the lead in the movie adaptation of my book. I am not alone in these dreams. Many authors wish to see their books acted out in a movie.

Options for self-published authors are limited, that I knew going into my research. But when I came across various blogs explaining the reality of my chances, it was a dark hour for my adolescent dream.

The cold facts were that I was facing an uphill battle at full speed, on full tilt. According to Jane Friedman’s July 27th 2015 blog post, there were two ways for my fairy tale to have a rosy ending:

(1) Write the script myself and send it out cold to studios and agents.
(2) Get my book to the top 1% on Amazon.

One of these two option would give me my happily ever riding toward me on a white horse.

Yet my rose colored glasses weren’t so rose colored that I believed I could make that 1% percent on Amazon or get my script out to studios and agents. It seemed both of these options weren’t going to fit my situation.

The Producer Point of View

A change in perspective created a new query in my mind. Where were the real-life stories and reality shows about writers? If I couldn’t have my book on the big screen, why couldn’t I be on the screen instead, living my writer life out loud? This kicked off on a new bout of research for me where I dug into shows about writers, or the lack there of.

During my research I came across a Pacific Standard article that laid out issues and concerns around television shows about writers. Quoted in the article is Peter Hankoff who simply said, “Literally seeing the process of writing would be torture. No one wants to watch the process of writing. There would be a person hunched over the computer typing away.”

I had to agree with his opinion. There are so many other fascinating programs to watch on TV.

This was further confirmed during the first Inspirational Women in Literature, Media, and Journalism conference where an author/new producer friend of ours asked a more seasoned producer thoughts on her idea of a reality show that dug into the life of a writer in the literary world.

The experienced producer answered, and with baited breath I waited to hear what I already knew: Watching writers write is boring. And the only people interested in this type of show would be a niche market not worth pursuing.

That was four years ago and she is no closer to her reality TV show about writers….

Read it all at stage32.com

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