L'Internet, TV, writing

That and fifty cents will get you a formulaic television series

My father, who is more up on his entertainment industry news than I am, due to living in Los Angeles, informed me of what the world has known for two days – Quarterlife has been picked up by NBC.

TVSquad:“This isn’t a realistic portrayal of twentysomethings (at least I hope it isn’t). It’s merely an interpretation of twentysomething lives as seen through the eyes of fiftysomething producers.”

And, from the comments on that same post: ” “I only see one relevant sentence in that NY Times article. “The series … will not be affected by the current writers’ strike because of its ownership structure.” I think NBC just jumped at the chance to have any kind of scripted programming on for the spring.” “

So, since Herskovitz is a producer – and like all the producer/writers on reality TV and otherwise, is avoiding the WGA by claiming not to be writing – and since he’s writing QL, making it bad, but also making it scabbable – he’s managing to not only sell out the indie-cred of the Internet, but also work around the WGA strike (which is ABOUT getting WGA members paid for Internet work) thereby undermining the strikers even further. His rhetoric about working outside the studio system has played back into the studio system’s hands.

Now THAT – a producer tries to be indie and ends up selling out days later, through a model of creating scripted TV that removes the need for striking Guild writers – would be an interesting concept for an Internet television series.

WGA negotiations resume Monday.

L'Internet, TV

In for a Quarter –

in for a Life.

I have been excessively disturbed by what I see to be the flaws in Quarterlife and have been considering writing an open letter to the creators about what could be done to improve the show. I find myself composing this letter when I’m supposed to be working on other things.

It really bothers me. Its formulaic television representation of the people who are me – my friends – is nothing more than more of the same.

Why be so formally radical, why start your own Internet TV series and publicly speak out against network television, if you’re not going to have the content be innovative? Why write about the limitations of network TV if your show, network-free, is equally limited?

I do have a lot of faith in the producers as artists, but I’m not sure what a difference it would make my writing to them. I just think my hopes were very high for this. I was imagining what the show could be, not what it is.

For the moment, I’ve decided to watch at least one more episode before responding, and hope they develop it more.

L'Internet, TV

Having just

watched the first two episodes of Quarterlife, the Internet TV series from the producers of My So-Called Life, all I can say is that television on the Internet is still television.

But at least it’s replete with gratuitous women lounging around in their underwear.

“I don’t have to wear clothes around my own house if I don’t want to.”

I wonder if this is really what my generation seems like to other people. If so, we have an enormous image problem.

I have a lot of respect for the producers as producers, and I admire their wish to break free of the constraints of the medium. I just want them to break free of more of them.

Amina showed me Clark And Michael as an example of the medium working better.

interviews, moving, the chorus, TV

Going to California

Driving to SF / Menlo Park with Kersti today, via the 5 to the 505 to the 80 to the 680 to the 880 to the 84/Dumbarton Bridge. Bay Area!!! It’ll be very surreal to see Stanford again.

Everything I own on the planet is now down to 9 boxes.
2 books,
2 files,
1 videos/dvds
1 cds
1 photos
1 weirdly shaped objects
1 papers I need to sort through (usually this is more like three, so I’m proud of that.)

Interviews proceed well – talked to Shigeru yesterday, Rob Kendt and Jeff Hatcher the day before. Next week I have a very full slate of interviews plus trying to check in with SFMT, TJT and EMMA – so we’ll see how that goes…

I babysat Rosalee yesterday and we watched Fraggle Rock, and I felt a strong identification with Gobo’s Uncle Travelin’ Matt.

I also checked in with THE LITTLE MERMAID after she was asleep – I’ve always thought that maybe my chorus obsession came from “Under The Sea.” There may be some connection there, but upon watching the number again, I’m not really sure. The movements their choruses do are much more linear and flowy, like lines, than groups.

Canada, directing, quotes, TV

Outrageous Fortune

Having just watched all of Season One, I’m going to take a drastic step – I’m going to put SLINGS AND ARROWS director Darren Nichols (Don McKellar)on my resume as one of my references.

Darren: I’m used to being hated. That’s my thing. But I can’t function as a director unless that hatred is kept in check by a thin, calculated veneer of invulnerability.

They really understand him in Germany, of course.

I loved him playing with the little plastic horse while he was reading the script, too – and the roll-up Bosch poster that he carried with him. There’s a very fine line between him and me. You could almost call it a thin, calculated veneer.

PS. Don McKellar also co-wrote the book for The Drowsy Chaperone, with Bob Martin (one of the Slings & Arrows writers, too)