Saturday, August 21, 2010

Revenge Of The Words

When it comes to creating new screenplay characters I admit I've used the names of family, friends, or acquaintances - perhaps even borrowed a few of their life experiences or personality traits... but I've never done it in order to scare them or settle a score or anything, unlike the writing examples profiled in this wonderful article by Amy Choyzik for the Wall Street Journal.

After several seasons of disappointing reviews, writers on the USA network's mystery series "Psych" decided to get revenge. They crafted an episode involving a psychotic killer doctor. The deranged murderer's name? Ken Tucker, who in real life is the mild-mannered, 57-year-old TV critic for Entertainment Weekly magazine.

"It was never 'Dr. Tucker' or just 'Ken.' It was always 'Did Ken Tucker eviscerate the body?'" says USA original programming chief Jeff Wachtel.

Hell hath no fury like a TV writer scorned.

In the movie business, writers hand over a screenplay and creative power to a director. In television, the writer rules. Writers often make the creative and day-to-day managerial decisions, even if their work weeks can be unglamorous, pulling late nights in their sneakers surrounded by empty take-out pizza boxes.

They also possess a little-talked-about power: the written word as a way to settle scores, keep high-maintenance actors in line and poke fun at anyone who gave them a hard time in junior high.

With more network shows premiering this fall than in any of the past three years, and original cable shows continuing to multiply, more and more writers are creating TV episodes — and poking needles into a few voodoo dolls along the way.

Read it all's a killer good piece!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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