To the Editor:
Apparently, Bob Shayne has not been on the writing staff of a television drama for a while (“Tube puts squeeze on middle men,” July 9). That is revealed by his inaccurate statement, “The only services all these (staff) writers provide for their salaries … are brainstorming, rewriting, and giving notes.”
Rather than try to justify hiring more freelancers and keeping mid-level producers out of work, he should think about what staff writers actually do.
In my experience on five shows as a staff writer/producer, I have done the following in addition to what Mr. Shayne has pointed out: worked in conjunction with other staff writers to “break” stories; helped an overwhelmed executive producer hone his vision of the show; helped the exec producer change his show when directed to do so by the studio or network; projected the course of a series beyond its initial year; built a character and his/her psychology from the ground up; honed the show’s tone, look, and feel; participated in casting, pre-production, location and tech scouts, tone meetings, was on set to help guide my episode; and worked directly with editors and composers in post-production.
I have also rewritten scripts of other writers, including freelancers who deliver unusable scripts because they haven’t lived and breathed the show all year long like I have.
Mr. Shayne should stop whining about how other people are getting the work he used to have.