Why We Write


Last year we linked to George Orwell's classic essay Why I Write, in which Orwell explains his motivations (including massive ego) for writing. Today let's look at Why We Write, a series of essays by TV and film writers in the wake of the WGA strike. In the essays, we see an interesting mix of writers -- including those for game shows, TV, movies, blogs, and even producers. In all cases they tell personal stories, revealing some part of the path they've taken to get to being professional writers today. Below, I've picked out a few examples.

From the essay by Mark Gaberman, a writer on "Jeopardy":

There are 61 blue boxes available to play in one game of "Jeopardy!". We make 230 shows a year—that's 14,030 boxes that 8 of my friends and I have to fill. I have learned things about Queen Victoria that I never really wanted to know. Some information about car repair that I have since forgotten. Morgan Freeman has spoken words in celebrity clues that I wrote for him. He was God, you know. At least twice. I love to fill in those blue boxes.

From the essay by Danny Rubin, writer of "Groundhog Day":

My experience after Groundhog Day was that everybody kept hiring me to write another Groundhog Day. That's what they asked for. And somehow these movies never materialized: the ship wasn't getting to port. I seemed to be getting something wrong. Clearly nobody was asking me to write another trapped-in-time in Pennsylvania story, so what they were asking for, I assumed, was another innovative humanistic comedy with a surprising and unconventional structure. Bad guess. They in fact really did want another trapped-in-time comedy, or something similar. It didn't have to be in Pennsylvania, of course. We could set this one in, say, Ohio. Think outside the box, they told me.

Read the whole series for lots of insight into the writers currently on strike in Hollywood.