Ranter: Noisy TV writer in his late forties
Location: Langer's Deli, 704 S. Alvarado
Time: Noon on a Thursday
Topics Covered: Salary differences between regular writers and creators; projects maybe worth getting to if pilot season doesn't work out; the joys of TV writing; cautionary tales; the failure of Cheers money to guarantee love; the human cost of the demise of R-rated action movies.
Does Rant Include Advice on Whom You Should Not Fuck With: No.
[Noisy TV Writer scarfs his sandwich while gossiping with an old college buddy visiting town. They discuss about old friends.]
Noisy TV Writer: He's on one of those late night shows. He makes 250, maybe 300, but there's nowhere to go. He gives them access to a more sophisticated world than they might have had, but what next?
Me, I'm the type of writer they think of as a creator.
Right now, first year, I could make a million. That's if they pick it up and it goes a full season. They probably won't, but they'll maybe contract me to rewrite. If a pilot gets shot, you get 80. But if it goes to show, and I'm EP, I get a million a year. Then if it goes for four or five, there's syndication. That's easy, a million a year.
If not, I'm toying with the idea of a book or another play. Not movies – I hate movies. But TV is the way to do it. You get a lot of money, millions of people see it, and there's some high-class stuff these days. Even at NBC.
But lots of these guys, there's a clique of them, they're cautionary tales. I have a low tolerance for them. They don't create. There's that one who wrote for Seinfeld for a couple years, made his million, and now what? They just write into their 40s and get a little rich and vanish. I know one who did Cheers and now does some journalism for National Review. He's a libertarian in a big house in Venice without a girlfriend!
All those guys in the '80s wrote their Die Hardish movies and don't know what to do now that those movies are dead. They sit around in their houses and feel like life has passed them by.
[College Buddy mentions a girl they both knew.]
Noisy TV Writer: I saw her. She's pretty. I mean, make-up helps, but she's pretty.