THR

The Hollywood Reporter has thousands of videos featuring actors, directors, film producers, and musicians. There are some screenwriters thrown in, like Aaron Sorkin. And a few authors who are also directors, like Alex Garland. Mostly, those videos are short and talk about the movies. The George RR Martin video is under two minutes, and concerns the premiere of the series on TV. John Green merits 33 seconds. Emily Blunt talks about Paula Hawkins for a couple minutes, but again it’s about the acting. There are roundtable discussions with actors who live in the Hollywood hills in mansions that escaped the fires, and those last over an hour. Many of these actors and directors describe themselves as “storytellers,” but few even mention reading the books on which their films are based. Amy Adams did mention Ted Chiang in passing, since Arrival would not have happened without him. The director did not mention Chiang, nor Philip K. Dick on his Blade Runner 2049. He talks about Ridley instead. Now, you can say Hollywood is about movies, and writers don’t really matter. Most movies have horrible writing and huge special effects budgets, thanks to nepotism and the directors also doing the writing. Why pay some struggling author anything? Authors like in trailers and stock cheese doodles at Wal Mart, while performers skip along red carpets from stretch limos, the white hot spotlights of the media upon them and what they are wearing. (Will they start a new fashion trend? LOL.) Authors are a dime a dozen, and no one wants to dress like a writer, not even the homeless! Stephen King does not appear in any Hollywood Reporter videos, and he’s inspired more movies and TV series than most. Get the picture? Granted, one of the stars of Stranger Things mentions tweeting King and getting a response, but that too was just in passing. And then there is the Literary Agents roundtable, lasting an hour, in which agents from Writers House, Trident Media, Fletcher, ICM, WME, and Inkwell talk about being pitched books, and the problems with getting books adapted for film and TV. “Development hell,” says one. A studio may option a book, and then either not do it, or will balk about being true to the material. There are also legal issues. Most viewers do not know that Ridley Scott was sued by A.E. Van Vogt for stealing the idea for Alien, and it settled out of court. Or that James Cameron was sued by Harlan Ellison for stealing Terminator, also settled out of court. Clive Cussler sued and won. Conclusions: the social media dominated general public are more interested in performers. We live in the age of the stage. Great performances in politics, the media, sports, viral cat videos, dancing stars, singing sensations, white hot spotlights and special effects. Spin, shake, rattle, and roll. It’s a winner-take-all culture. Or as Jaron Lanier, the father of Virtual Reality, put it, “the business model favors the microscopically few at the very top, who nonetheless drive people to obsession. Follow the money.”   

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