Isolation. It is what many might assume a writer needs. Time, a quiet space, focused attitude, no distractions, etc. Sure, those things are necessary when we are ready to write something down. But do we rely solely on our imagination and our keyboard keys? I would say not.
It has been said that “write what you know” is some of the worst advice to give to a novice screenwriter like myself. I completely understand this argument, to an extent. A writer must have imagination to create a fictional realm that will intrigue and inspire an audience. But here’s the thing: From where do we draw imaginative ideas? Are these truly from scratch? Not quite.
Our imagination is rooted in personal experience. Shonda Rhimes, a writer I look up to a great deal, spent time in hospital rooms and was fascinated by the atmosphere and dynamics. Thus, she imagined her own hospital. 12.5 years later, Season 14 will premiere on ABC. The same can be said for all of my fellow writers. Our imagination is an extension of what we learn when we spend quality time. Quality time absorbing the imperfections of humanity. I was celebrating the 4th of July earlier this week with a group of family and friends. So many conversations, emotions, stories, experiences, challenges, and triumphs were shared. It was a simple set up, but such rich conversation. This quality time is what inspires us to write.
Quality time is what inspires us to tell stories that connect with an audience. To remain isolated is to remain inexperienced in the struggle that is every day relationships with strangers and loved ones. We must value the lessons we learn from quality time and use them to impact an audience. After all, everyone’s got a story.
Well, hello. My name is Jake. I like to call myself a storyteller. In other words, I’m a kindergarten teacher who sings, writes television on his laptop, tells jokes at parties, and learns choreography by pop groups like Fifth Harmony. Oh, and apparently now I am a blogger. This blog is about the power of live, scripted television. The concept that a single human can sit down and concoct a fictional realm that millions emotionally invest in. Not only do they invest, but they do so in the moment, at the scheduled time, with wine or whiskey and friends. One day, one day, my story will join the ranks of Michael Crichton (ER), Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) , Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and so many more. Because live television celebrates how a story can create a family – a family of humans that want to know they are not alone.
“The age of Netflix. I’d rather binge.” Hmm, more power to you. But it is my goal to find those that prefer to see it FIRST, to see it LIVE, and to pour more red wine on the second commercial. Sometimes, let’s face it, you refill EVERY commercial. Live, scripted television is necessary. We are family of humans celebrating fictional human that supposedly portray our own problems. It is the thrill of watching them fail, succeed, and fail again that keeps us coming back. The HOPE we feel when a character overcomes something seemingly impossible. The ADRENALINE we feel when a near-disastrous situation keeps our hearts racing so we wait through the commercial with anxiety. We are in this together, right?
So, I want to open the door. The door that celebrates, critiques, and debates the power of a pilot. Of a midseason finale. Of a premiere. Or a miniseries. Who’s with me?