From One Media to Another
I’ve been fortunate to have several television deals, and I can tell you from experience, the two forms of entertainment are utterly dissimilar. If you suppose I mean seeing the action of a plot rather than reading the action of a plot, you’re mistaken. Sure, that makes a tremendous difference; not everything that reads beautifully on the page films beautifully. And an actor’s interpretation of your character can be quite surprising.
But here’s the difference that means most to me: scheduling. In publishing, there is little spontaneity. You have a deadline. You have to stick to it. Then comes the other steps necessary to produce a book: the cover is scheduled to appear, the copy editor and editor have a time budget to work, the author has to have this new incarnation back in by a certain date, and the actual printing is figured into the schedule of a printing company.
This is all far in advance, right? It often takes a year to produce a book, after the manuscript is on the desk of the editor.
Television is not like this, and that’s putting it mildly. When I was asked to visit the Midnight set in Albuquerque recently, it was hard to find a day when the rest of the cast would be there. I was due to film an interview at noon. I filmed it at five-thirty p.m. I know it cannot actually be this way, but it seems like the production schedule is determined on a day-to-day basis.
I could not deal with this state of affairs, after years of being in the publishing industry. It feels haphazard and random to me, and I feel insecure and jangled when I’m swept up as part of it.
Maybe that’s mutual. Sometimes the people I deal with (and they’re all hardworking and talented people) can’t get the rigidity of the publishing world. For example, it’s hard for them to see that a signing schedule is not something that can be lightly re-booked.
Maybe we seek our industry because of our predilection for the style of the thing?