Exit Interview #3: A Top Writer-Director
On the selling side, "There's an awkward dance...trying to figure out, 'Do you still love me?'"
In the last week of every year, we say goodbye to the 12 months past by having talks with some of the smartest folks we know in this business, hoping they can help us make sense of what the hell that was all about. I talk to them anonymously so they can express the full extent of their thoughts and feelings about this business.
Reminder these thoughts are not necessarily our own but hopefully offer a range of perspectives and opinions
Earlier this week I published my pointed conversation with a top TV exec and a chat with a major producer. Today, in this penultimate installment, I talk with a multi-hyphenate creative seller about what she sees happening in the marketplace, what is selling, and whether or not the industry’s executives with green-light power have any idea what they want in this climate: '“There's an awkward dance between people trying to figure out, 'Do you still love me? Do you still love this? Or is this not something you care about anymore?'“
“I've been cautioned to wait and not pitch now because, quote, it's a hard time, or people aren't buying that type of thing, or let's wait till January. So I don't know if January is going to become February is going to become whatever.”
RUSHFIELD: So, how do you think 2023 went? Are you a fan?
It was a big reckoning, the second in a few years, given that Covid was also a reckoning that changed the shape of the business. It was community-building in a way because it sort of refocused everyone's priorities. We all had to confront the possibility that we'd have to make different choices and prioritize different things in our work, which can be good and growth-ful and self-reflective, but also really stressful and draining.
So it was all of the things that Covid was, plus the sense that we weren't on the same side as people we'd collaborated with. I did reconnect with a lot of creative people though which actually felt really good and really unifying in a way that was nice on the heels of Covid.
But in terms of projects, it still seems unclear. Between fear of the strike, the actual strike and the post-strike panic, and suddenly reconnecting with people who wanted to hurry up and get things in the pipeline, after there had been no pipeline — it was a pretty stressful year. It’s felt really manic and whiplash-y to me.
Since the strike ended, how have things gone for that community you found during that time?
There's a little bit of a panic about whether people are buying furiously or not, or when they're buying, or no one's buying, or everyone's buying. So it does feel like everyone's trying to figure it out, looking to each other to lead the way as far as what the market is doing. It feels like we're a bit paralyzed, and it's hard to figure out what to put your weight behind creatively.
And what’s happened to all the tensions between the creatives and the executive class that developed during the strike?