Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Power and the Glory

The back-slapping season is well under way as the Lovees continue to congratulate themselves over how much attention they’ve received and how much money they’ve earned and how clever they all are.

It was ever thus, dontcha think?

We (the plebeians) await the next set of awards (laurel leaf) from the Academy (the Senate) being passed on to the actors and directors (the gladiators).

Since the first coin was, well, coined we’ve paid handsomely for our entertainment. Fame, money and power (sex, drugs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) await those who are particularly successful in their endeavours in this arena. We elevate them in our minds as people who are demi-gods. We quiver in their presence. We hang on every syllable that slides from behind their perfect dentistry.

But they are just people, people.

Anywho, I digress. What I wanted to say that was while they wipe sweaty palms on each other’s backs some of the people who are vital to the whole process will be missing. Ignored even.

I’m talking about the writers of course.

Walter Kirn penned the book that was the inspiration for one of the year’s most celebrated movies, Up in Air, starring George Clooney and nominated for six Oscars… but Kirn hasn’t been invited to the Oscar ceremony.

Twitter rage ensues.

According to a New York Post report, Kirn “took to Twitter to bitterly complain that he wasn’t invited,” writing on his Twitter page “Caution to writers: Don’t expect that because you write a novel that becomes an Oscar-nominated film that you’ll be invited to the Oscars …. Novelists are like oil in H’wood: they drill us, pipeline us, pump us and then burn us.”

Sadly, it was ever thus.

William Goldman author of “Adventures in the Screen Trade” (which is required reading for anyone interested in scriptwriting) noted that even when he was nominated (and won) the Oscar for writing the script for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he was missing from the invite list. Crazy innit? Are there any other industries where the innovators are given such shoddy treatment?

I’m guessing that until we writers move from behind our computer screens and get our faces displayed on the large screen (and into the minds of the plebian) nothing will change.


  1. Sadly true, Michael and, after all this time, it's hard to see what's going to redress the balance.

  2. I agree with Bill. Been that way for so long, it's just accepted. Rise up, writers, unite then get squashed by the wheel of enterprise.

    I read somewhere a few months back that 5-10 years in the future, writers will not be paid for their books but see them published as free reads. They said the money would be made in signings, readings, the support functions of the marketing and distribution. Very strange. I wish I could put my hands on that article again.

  3. Writers - who are they? Glad someone is bothering to complain about the injustice.

  4. Eek, Marley that's a scary thought and hopefully just somebody indulging in mad theorizing.

    Rosemary, if not us, who? Power to the peeps.