The writer as entrepreneur

Paul Raven @ 22-11-2007

Striking writers outside Disney studios The WGA writers’ strike rolls on, pitting the justifiable desire of creatives to be paid a fair deal for the fruits of their labour against the same sort of grasping tactics that are causing the music industry to eat itself like a cancer. [Image by NoHoDamon]

While I’m supportive of the writers’ position on this issue, I’m intrigued by the outsider opinions. Techdirt points us to an LA Times article discussing the rise of alternative financing models in the movie industry, and suggests that if the big studios stick to their guns they will actually hasten their own demise by creating an environment where smart and talented writers can bypass the traditional system and take their scripts straight to the market, funding their productions using a venture capital process similar to that used by technology startups.

Now, I’m not an economist or a script-writer (and nor do I play either of them on television), but I find the underlying logic of this idea appealing – it seems to be a business model that fits the internet age. But then TechDirt, as fascinating a read as it is, is very much biased toward the independent operator/startup philosophy (as demonstrated by its previous coverage of the WGA strike). Perhaps this idea places too much of a burden on the writer – whose job is, after all, to write. But then again, it’s an accepted truism that novelists must self-market if they hope to be successful, even with the support of a publisher.

I guess only time will tell. But from my personal point of view, a significant lessening of the corporate homogeneity of Hollywood could only be a good thing – it might result in a movie industry that produces more than one film every year that I can actually be bothered to go and see.

[tags]writers, Hollywood, strike, entrepreneurship, business[/tags]
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One Response to “The writer as entrepreneur”

  1. Tomas Martin says:

    I do think the Movie and Music industries have one main problem – they are run by businessmen who sell art. Increasingly the businessmen, especially in Hollywood, seem to have decided that all these writers aren’t really all that important. And with all the money, they have to be listened to.

    The number of horror stories of good pitches being ruined by executives who don’t know anything about writing are legion. However the model changes, if artistic output is to get more consistent, the writers and directors need to be left to do what they do best far more than they do now.