Evil Gal Productions

Mere Smith
is a recovering Southerner,
longtime TV writer,
author and blogger.
July 13th, 2011 by Mere Smith

Internet: 1 Hollywood: 0

Ever work on an Internet series as a writer?  Me, either — before now — but it’s actually turning out to be pretty fucking fun.

Especially ’cause you can write the word “fucking” as many times as you like without worrying about Standards & Practices burning you in effigy, or an EP sighing and rolling his/her eyes and begging you tiredly to just “please, please, work with me here.”

There’s the added bonus of being able to surf the Web at any moment without someone thinking you’re slacking instead of researching (even if you are slacking instead of researching).

Plus the scripts are only 8 or 9 pages long, so you don’t have to keep flipping back to page 22 to make sure what you’re writing on page 45 doesn’t domino backward and screw it all sideways.  Even those of us with herbally-induced short-term memory loss can carry 8 pages in our heads.

Also, there’s no UPM to scream, “WE CAN’T SHOOT IT ON A FUCKING AIRCRAFT CARRIER, YOU DUMBFUCK WRITER!” because you already know you can’t shoot it on an aircraft carrier, so you don’t write it on an aircraft carrier.  Most scenes are written for someone’s house or apartment, because unless you’re living under a freeway overpass (and I can’t deny that some writers DO live under freeway overpasses — especially the ones who write for cable), you’ve already got the location you need: you’re living in it.

Also also, you can shoot out an entire season’s worth of one location in a single day, with only wardrobe and prop changes.

In addition, you can hire (where “hire” means “don’t pay any money to, but can expect work from”) your friends, simply because you like them and they like you — and if the series goes viral (hell, if the series gets more viewers than the 2 a.m. showing of “The 700 Club”), you will have helped them, which gives you a warm tingly feeling in your tummy, which, granted, may be caused by the baked goods they send over in baskets.  Fair warning, though — too many baked goods, and tingly morphs into bloat and nausea.

But perhaps most terrific of all, to paraphrase Cicero: I’ve discovered that I am my own best boss.

For instance, I let myself walk out of the writer’s room on a moment’s notice without muttering under my breath about what a diva or a bitch I am; I pitch ideas to myself that I shoot down without making myself feel like an arrogant yet lobotomized monkey; I give myself as much time as I need to finish a script — though occasionally I do ride my own ass, along the lines of, “Jesus, me!  What’s taking so long?” — and I take notes from friends and colleagues (who are not me) much more graciously: particularly if I disagree with the notes, in which case I totally ignore them and then do a little “neener neener” dance after said friends and colleagues have left.  This helps with my self-esteem AND my cardio!  What could be better?

Of course, there are still the non-Internet meetings to be taken, the non-Internet job offers to be considered, and the original movie and TV scripts to be written — but having a completely interference-free platform somehow makes the other stuff feel more tolerable.  Only writing books can compete — but those definitely have to be longer than 8 or 9 pages, and you can’t write one in a day.  (Unless you’re Stephen King.  And then you don’t give a shit because you’re writing them longhand on the backs of rare thousand-dollar bills.)  Even books have to be approved by editors, publishers, more S&P legal-goons…

But not on the Web.

Now some people may squawk, “AND THAT’S HOW SO MUCH USELESS SHIT WINDS UP ON THE INTERNET!!!!!!”  However, these are usually the same people who possess an overabundance of exclamation points — which is why they feel comfortable giving them away by the armload — and also the same people who don’t know there’s a little button on their keyboard that can make their letters smaller.  And while it could be argued that there is a lot of useless stuff online, if “usefulness” were the sine qua non of existence, the entire cast of “Jersey Shore” never would’ve left their daddies’ ballsacks.

The point is, if you want “useful” or “entertaining” material on the Internet, why not make it yourself?

At least one person will be happy.

And in this world, kid, that’s sayin’ somethin’.

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