Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Writers are the Background Boys of the Movie Industry."

Just yesterday, I've caught the end of a new program by the BBC called "Meet the Author". The author was Jonathan Lynn who is an actor, comedy writer, and director. 
He is best known for being the co-writer of Yes Minister.
He's releasing a book called "Comedy rules", a combination of a memoir and anecdotes and a sort-of guide for would-be comedy writers.
During his interview with Nick Higham, he said something interesting about Comic writers, he said that they are often angry.
I think he may be right there. 
He doesn't go on justifying it because he adds, "it's rather a difficult thing to explain" but the thought did play in my head for a while as I do know a comic writer and she is rather angry.
But more to the point, Nick sensed in Jonathan's book a " suppressed rage" about the Yes Minister awards as there wasn't any award towards writers (only in the end, did they create an award for them) not to mention the fact that Jonathan wasn't even invited to the ceremony awards.
Jonathan gives an interesting reply.
He says : "We're writers! Our faces weren't going to sell anything."
He goes on adding that every time a movie is out, they never interview the writer of the film, the director sometimes, but mostly they interview the actors.
When you think of it, it's pre-posterous. What would the actors know that a writer doesn't?  On that subject, he concludes that "Writers are sort of background boys". 
Sadly enough, it's true.
It'd be so much more interesting to hear how the writer came up with the idea of the film or where he struggled but what we hear instead is how the actors struggled on the set.

I wonder why this is. Who decided that writers were just going to be "gadgets" to the Movie Industry? Who said nobody is interesting in hearing what a writer has to say about his own movie and how did it move towards having actors to speak for writers?
Anyone any thought on that? And what do you think of this phenomenon in the Movie Industry?

Ref to the video interview:


  1. I've often had similar thoughts. Almost no attention is paid to the writers of movies and TV dramas/comedies despite the fact that without them the actors would have nothing to say!(this was literally the case recently when Hollywood and TV writers went on strike). I am much more interested in hearing what writers (and directors) have to say than actors but they are rarely interviewed. The typical interview with an actor is just a bland plugging of their latest movie with little insight into what the movie is about. The writer would be able to provide so much more insight if only someone bothered to ask them.

  2. Ooo, I like this idea. I started to think of all the movies I've seen that were books first, and even The Wizard of Oz was a book. It's amazing how long this has been going on. I'm going to go read the article right now.

  3. No writers = no movies! Let's hear it for (and from) the writers!

  4. yes indeed! Thanks guys for your feedback! I'm actually considering submitting this to an online magazine as an essay. The truth is you get so used to see actors getting interviews done for a movie, you don't even question it anymore.

  5. Writers are often the background people. I'm actually happy with that. We know who the credit should go to...

  6. I've never thought about this before. I'll bet there are a lot of behind the scenes stories that might be interesting to hear.

    Have a nice day :-)


  7. That is so interesting. I guess actors are the recognisable face of the film - and to a certain extent I think they can speak for at least their characters, as they have had to saturate themselves with the motivations etc to make the magic convincing. But completely agree with him that writers are the 'background boys' - and have never really thought of that before. But I don't think anyone goes into writing for the glory! There are no lists for 'top ten hot writers'. :)