Bring ‘em on.
Broadway Becky gets us started:
Why don't they use more Broadway stars in these big Hollywood musical films that are coming back. Case in point: Russel Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Anne Hathaway scored huge parts in Les Miserables but there are tons of Broadway stars that are maybe better suited to live singing roles. Now they're making Into the Woods and Meryl Streep gets the lead (big shock). Of course, Ms. Streep is a tremendous talent but in the case of a huge musical, why not throw a bone to the tireless Broadway stars who are every bit as talented? It worked for Glee. They launched film & television careers of tons of unknowns & it worked out great.
Movie studios need movie STARS to open movies. It’s as simple as that. The $50 million dollar safe bet. Broadway performers may be better but they’re relatively unknown to the movie-buying public. Recognition and star power are way more important to Hollywood than talent.
And thus it has always been. Natalie Wood starred in WEST SIDE STORY even though someone else had to do her singing. Same with Audrey Hepburn taking Julie Andrews’ part in the screen version of MY FAIR LADY. Audrey’s songs were over-dubbed with someone else.
In the Bob Fosse movie version of SWEET CHARITY, Shirley MacLaine played the wondrous Gwen Verdon part, and poor Ms. V. was hired to coach MacLaine.
Dan Ball has a question about my post detailing how Bill Cosby worked his writers to death.
How bad would conditions on THE COSBY SHOW need to be in order for the WGA to intervene on behalf of the writing staff? Would the WGA ever intervene in a situation like that?
It’s a tricky area. First of all, the writers are generally well paid. It’s not like they’re working around the clock for nothing.
And reader, John Levenstein, who was also a producer on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT offers this excellent point:
I have discussed this with the WGA. They will never intervene because then they would have to intervene when writers overwork their own staffs, which is usually the case.
If conditions become too intolerable there is always the option of quitting. But sometimes it’s hard to do that. Being on a good, well-respected show has its advantages. Episodes you write will rerun and probably go into syndication thus yielding residuals. Just having the name of the show on your resume might put you in line for better jobs and better salaries. And since over-paying is the most common way of keeping good writers on shows run by monsters, you can parlay that into better deals for your next show. Assuming you live through this one.
There is also the possibility of awards. Writers will eat a tremendous amount of shit for a chance to nibble on that carrot.
Barry Traylor is one of the very few people in America who actually pays attention to credits.
I have a Friday question for you. In episode "Fade Out, Fade In" part one and two you and your writing partner are listed as Story Editors. Was that your first jobs on MASH? And just what did the job entail?
I was soooo thrilled to have that job I didn't even care about the money. But don't tell 20th.
And finally, from Shawn K:
As 'new media' is increasing in popularity, have you ever considered doing a web series, for a good idea that you've had, but maybe didn't merit a traditional 30 minute sitcom structure?
I would not be adverse to doing a web series if I came up with the right idea. And funding. But at the moment I’m focused on playwrighting; developing my third play. I’ll probably make the same money for writing a play as writing/directing/producing a web series – namely table scraps. But at the moment, I’m having a blast working on my play.
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