. I was catching up on watching several TV series’ this week. Most of them were good, some brilliant, but some were dire. It wasn’t the actors fault, they were good actors who did their best, the directors did pretty well – no, the sad fact was, some of the episodes were just very badly written.
People tend to ignore the writers. They don’t get the high profile awards. They’re one of the early, less-important categories at the Oscars. They don’t get photographed clutching their statuettes and talking about their work, like the directors and producers do. Their credit tends to get lumped in with editors and lighting directors. They’re rarely mentioned on movie posters, and then only in very small print. When writers do their job well, they’re barely noticed. When they do their job badly, everyone notices.
Maybe I notice it more because my particular passion is TV sci-fi, and that has to be really well written to work. But then again, its this genre who does tend to place importance on the writers. Doctor Who, for example, right from the beginning, put the writers name right after the lead actors names, right under the title of the story.
But other genres, and movies, tend to ignore the writers altogether, as if the words and stories just sprang spontaneously out of the actors and directors minds. But whilst watching this badly written episode, wincing at every cliché and every awkward line, and comparing it to the previous episode, full of truthful lines and memorable moments, it’s obvious – the writer is the most important person. He creates the story, and the words, and the tone of the whole episode. It’s success depends on them.
I think its time the writers got their due. Its time the writer’s name went under the movie title, not the director’s. The writers award should go in-between best actor and best actress. They should get at least half the credit, not the tiny little scraping of it they get now. And most of all, people should finally recognise – whether what you watch is good or bad mostly depends on the writers. Yay us!