Saturday, 7 August 2010

Obstacles to Entry

STOP sign in Australia.Image via Wikipedia
A hundred million years ago, when I was but a bloodied-knee tyke with a slingshot, television sets were not only monochromatic marvels but were so round they looked as if the picture was projected onto the bottom of a mixing bowl.  There were but three (terrestrial - they're out there, man) signals upon which pictures and sounds were magically transmitted.

Broadcasting was in its infancy and, for exactly that reason, rubbish, by today's standards anyway.  Please don't get me wrong: that was not a criticism, nor even disrespect. After all you don't criticize a baby taking its first steps: you nurture it, encourage it and help it reach its potential, which is what we all did for around seventy years.  Over those two thirds of a century, either through public or advertisement based funding, the companies were able to branch out, taking shows that covered every topic which touched on every part of our lives, ambitions and imaginations.

John Logie Baird, BustImage via Wikipedia
These times showed us or at the very least gave us a hint of what televisual media was capable of from the legendary to the lame, the best to the worst, and just about every possible combination in-between.  The number of categories of different types of show list into their hundreds and the shows themselves into their thousands.  For each and every single one of them since John Logie Baird hit his oscilloscope hard enough to get a picture out of it, someone had to read a script, read it and approve it.

As I mentioned earlier, back in the day there were only a couple of TV stations on the air.  This meant that there were only a finite number of shows that could be physically aired in a 24hr / 7 day week period.  With the population expanding, along with the related unemployment, it was logical to assume that script agencies were being bombarded by scripts on a daily basis.  You can almost see why barriers were set up to slow the whole process down.

Now that was twenty years ago.  Back in the early 90s, the night sky was given a few more dots.  These dots were multimillion pound/dollar satellites that could stream not one or two, but hundreds of TV channels into our living rooms.  TV was revolutionized.  At the time, as there weren't sufficient new shows being made, the main fodder for these new channels were re-runs or imports from afar.  Things have moved on, kind of.  As is the natural order of things, some channels have upped their ante and show current and popular programming that appeals to the masses and have attained a prominent place in the viewer's pecking order.

The point that I'm trying to get around to is this. If there are an increasing number of channels who are, as I gather from what is currently being shown, chomping at the bit for new, original and brilliant material, why is the industry shunning potential Mozarts, Bachs, and Pavarotis of the TV writing world? Perhaps shunning is too hard a word.  However they certainly don't appear to make it easy.  I mean, without extensive research and asking around, would you know who to go to to publish a script?  And if you think of your favorite writer, find our who his/her agent is and approach them, I can practically guarantee that they won't even look at your script unless you have been recommended or have already published.

I really do hope that I have to eat my own words and can prove some of the last part wrong over the next few months.  I suppose we shall just have to wait and see.

Blah.  Hate waiting.
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