I got this email today:
"Fan fic writers have no deadlines, networks/producers/actors to please,
and often have a better grasp on the characters and their history than
the tv writers usually because We Are more Emotionally attached."
You said that comment is stupid. I don’t get it. What’s stupid about it?
Okay, the email is probably a fake, but I’ll treat it like it’s not. I create the characters and the world they live in. I figure out the relationships, what they do, and why they do it. And then I come up with every single thing that happens next. I also hire the actors, the directors, the writers, the set designers, the costume designers, the composer etc. etc…. and they all are charged with interpreting my vision of the show as I see it. We all spend every waking hour making the show (and even non-waking hours…my dreams are often filled with scenes and characters from the show I’ve spent all day working on).
And somebody who merely watches the show says he has a better grasp on the characters and their history than I do? That he’s more emotionally involved in the series than I am? The guy who created the characters, who came up with every single thing they have ever said or done or experienced?
Okay, let’s say I’m not the creator. I’m a hired gun, one of the writer/producers. I am working hand-in-hand with the showrunner to articulate his or her creative vision of their show. All I do every day is live with those characters, whether I’m writing a script of my own, rewriting someone else’s script, plotting a story, editing an episode, prepping an episode with a director, or discussing character with one of the actors. I am as emotionally involved as it’s possible to be. The show is all that I do and all I am thinking about for most of the working day…and, because I am a writer, I can’t stop thinking about it once I go home, either (even if I don’t have a script or story to write/work on every night).
And somebody who watches the show thinks he’s more involved than that? Knows more about the characters than I do?
That’s why it’s a stupid comment.
…but I can see how the fanficcer’s emotional involvement with a show is very different than the one that I have as a TV writer/producer. A TV show is something I write, something I do, it’s not my world, it’s not my religion, it’s not who I am and my reason for breathing. It’s not my obsession. I don’t dress like the characters, wallpaper my house with their pictures, or fantasize about having sex with them. Whe the show is cancelled (or I leave it for whatever reason), I stop thinking about the characters and their "lives." I move on creatively and emotionally to something else. There are viewers who are incapable of doing that…who become so emotionally attached to fictional characters and an imaginary world that they can’t ever let go. And in that sense, yeah, a fanficcer is more emotionally attached than I am. Frighteningly so.