October 15, 2013

Scripts–Needing Prescriptions

By Susan Reichert,  Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine

Not long ago half the world watched the Emmys. I found myself flipping back and forth to see who was winning and in what category.  I must admit, I have been unhappy this year with many of the series I watched. I was thrilled when one I had been watching for 7 seasons finally ended last week. Why did I keep watching it when I clearly did not like the character anymore or the way the show had changed? That question can be answered simply with– I was hooked on the show and wanted to see how they were going to end the character, even if I didn’t like him anymore. When I watch TV, I’m one of those people that makes comments.

It seems when a series takes off and everyone loves it, the series comes back the next year, and the next; then the show starts going off on some wild pathway. The main actor sometimes feels he has earned his wings and wants to either produce or direct and before long, the show that began is no longer the same; the characters have morphed into something different in their personality and their roles. What you have now is not what you started out enjoying. For the most part, this is the first nail in the coffin for the show. It is just a matter of time now, as to when it takes the last breath of life.

Where do we place the blame? You can put a list together. The producers, the director, the actors, all are involved in this make no mistake. Even the sponsors are involved because they keep promoting the show. The main culprits however, are the writers. If they wrote better segments perhaps, the other people wouldn’t be looking for other ways to go. Yes, I know, that sounds harsh.

Writing for a TV show isn’t an easy job. You are constantly writing and rewriting. You only have so many hours sometimes to get the script written. However, you are also making a living, hopefully, doing something you love– writing. The writer of a TV script owes it to themselves, cast, crew, and viewers to write a top-notch show.

Think how many people see the scripts on a TV show before they film a segment? Wouldn’t you think someone would bring up the point they are getting away from the character, purpose and show the viewers liked to begin with.  If only someone would ask the question, “Is this really the way we want to go”, and what about asking the question “What happens if our viewers don’t like this darker way” or maybe the question, “Will this eventually end the show we wanted to make when we started”.

Writers of novels write and rewrite, asking themselves these questions and many more. They work on polishing their manuscripts trying to make it perfect–to get it ready to send to a publisher. Should writers of TV scripts not do the same?

Please realize, these are my personal opinions, and are not necessarily that of Suite T,
Southern Writers Magazine, staff or writers. In fact, shhhhhhhhh…don’t even tell them about it.

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