Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cabin in the Woods

I watched CABIN IN THE WOODS for the second time recently on a satellite channel on TV. I still found it interesting in a train-wreck sort of way. Once the film was over I was half asleep on the sofa and too tired to reach for the remote control to change the channel. So the credits began to roll. And roll and roll and roll. Hundreds of people were listed involved in the making of this movie. Considering this wasn't a Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise film I was surprised to see how much money was put into the movie and how many people it took to make it. Hundreds, I tell you. I mean they had about twenty drivers for goodness sakes. The credits kept rolling and, mesmerized, I kept watching it and reading all the sorts of people it took to make the movie. I know it had a lot of special effects and those kinds of films take a big crew, but this was astronomical. If you don't believe me, watch the end credits next time you see it. 

Then I began thinking along another line. Do you know who put all those people to work? A writer. Do you know who puts all the people in the movie and television industry to work? Writers.

I started thinking how many people it took for me to write a book and see it published. It took me, of course, to write it. Then a publishing house used an artist, an editor, a proofreader, a sales crew, a copy editor for the cover, and probably a few more people I know I'm forgetting. But let's say it involved less than twenty people total. A book, even from a major publishing house, takes so few people to make it a reality. While a movie takes..sometimes hundreds. 

If you think about digital ebooks, you're looking at considerably fewer people. Maybe five and that's including the author. (Artist if you use one, editor, beta reader, proofreader.)

In all of the entertainments, every single one of them, who is the most important? You might say in film it's the director or the actors. I'd say you're wrong. Sure they're important, they're of the utmost importance, but the MOST important is the writer. I know Hollywood doesn't think this way, but it's the bald truth. Who is the most important in television dramas and comedies? The writer. Who is the most important in the making of a book? The writer.

What I'm telling you here you probably already know, but might not have thought about it much. Writers rule the entertainment world. I know they aren't given the credit they deserve, oh absolutely not, especially in Hollywood. And the movie/TV industry would never admit the writer is that important--they'd have to treat them better and pay them better. But the truth is they have nothing without the creative genius of the writer behind it all. Often the writer is the silent partner. The novelist's book is bought by Hollywood and they hire a scriptwriter (also a writer, of course!) to do the screenplay. The novelist is paid off and largely ignored from that point forward. But I'm here to remind you and to remind the world, you would not have the wonderful series of the TV drama of BREAKING BAD without the writer. You would not have DEXTER without the writer. You would not have short stories, novels, magazine articles, great blogs, comics, movies, television, or even video games without the writers. Think about that the next time you see a good movie or TV series or read a good news article or a good book. Writers are not given the credit they deserve, they aren't always upheld and noted and praised, but without them your entertainment would go away; it would disappear and leave you without any visual, cultural, or print entertainment at all.

The end credits of CABIN IN THE WOODS rolled past and I sat immersed in the thoughts of all those people doing all those jobs to make one movie less than two hours long. Then I snapped to it: It all started with the idea. From a writer. And the dialogue was written by a writer. The plot. The story. None of those hundreds of people would have been working just then without the writer. 

It was a pretty good horror flick. I got a kick out of it. 

I received more of a kick from realizing (remembering) how the world of entertainment spins on the axis of the thousands of talented writers.  Without them and their creative work alone at a desk, working from inside their heads, none of us would have any of these entertainments we take for granted and give all the glory to others for making it for us. I salute my profession. I salute the writer. I am sad I have to remind people how important the writer's job is. But someone had to do it.

Rock on, world. Next time tip your hat to the real artist behind the movie-documentary-TV episode-novel-story-news account-blog-article-advertisment-textbook-presidential speech you enjoyed. You know who gave it to you.


  1. This is very true, Billie Sue. I have thought about it often while watching films and T.V., where writers are treated like the least important element but are the real wizard behind the curtain. :)