Hollywood vs. the Writers

A Tribute

by Nikki Tranter

10 December 2007

 

As the Writer’s Strike heads into its second month, I thought it might be fun to view perspectives on Hollywood from leading authors. Over the next few days, in the Re:Print Tribute to the Writers Here and Gone, we’ll peek behind the curtain a bit to discover the truth about how Hollywood treats its most creative (and necessary) force.

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison

There is much to share on this topic, old and new. The more things change, right? It appears authors and screenwriters of the 1940s were no better off than writers today. If the fight’s gone on this long, will it ever really end? I’ve found some fascinating documents on this subject and look forward to sharing them this week. Not only will we look at struggles for compensation, but a wide range of other issues, as well, such as gender roles, domineering directors, and problems adapting books to the screen.

Let’s kick off with Harlan Ellison’s wonderful “I sell my soul at the highest rates” rant in Dreams with Sharp Teeth, available here. Then get on YouTube and watch Harlan on Dark Dreamers talking about his writing life.

Another cool view on Hollywood vs. the Writer comes from novelist Jodi Picoult, on her website. Head to the Podcasts section, and you’ll find an eight-minute recording called “You Oughta Be in Pictures”, wherein in Picoult describes her various Hollywood experiences. She briefly analyzes, too, just how vital to success or failure on the big screen depends on gender. This is especially interesting—why, she asks, do Nicholas Sparks and Robert James Waller get to see their books made into blockbusters, but women writers with similarly themes books are relegated to Lifetime? Picoult isn’t bitter, but she is blunt, and she makes some strong points.

Tomorrow, Raymond Chandler gets in on the act.

 

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