On my office wall I have two large areas set aside for quotes, wh ich
are on 2x3 placards. I switch them in and out depending on my mood and the
situation. (Up now are "The point of no return. That is the point which
must be reached." And "To define is to kill. To suggest is to create."
All the quotes are about writing in one way or another.)
Another of them, which will get its turn shortly, is "Writers are not
necessarily corrupted by money. Rather they are distracted, detoured into
I don't wanna be distracted. Making TV and telling stories is hard
enough without adding an extra layer of nonsense. I make a good living.
I agree to license the stuff I'd personally like to have. But money has
never really *meant* that much to me, except the freedom to write what I
want, when I want, whenever I want. When I left Murder, She Wrote to do
B5, I took a pay cut even though the position was higher. My agent said
I was nuts. That's fine. Most of the jobs I've had, in the end I've
walked off, despite people waving money, when I thought that I could no
longer tell the stories I wanted to tell.
After a season on CAPTAIN POWER, when I wrote pretty much anything I
wanted, I got the sense that the second season was going to be more in the
control of the sponsor. They put a deal on the table for year two; I had
no other options waiting. Nonetheless, I passed. When I was on Jake and
the Fatman, the company screwed over my exec producers, to whom I owed a
great deal of allegiance. When they quit, I also walked, even though this
was my first major network staff credit, and I had nothing else pending,
and in fact ended up not working for several months.
Point being...nothing *really* matters to me but telling a story, and
being free to tell it the way I want. And if I got into heavily trying to
exploit every single dime out of B5, approving anything and everything,
softened where the show was going to help it get lots of spinoffs....it
wouldn't be the story I want to tell anymore. A good part of what this
show is, is subversive, and some elements are a bit on the controversial
side. If I had my eye on the dollar, I'd've never put "Believers" into
production. Or "Confessions and Lamentations" this season.
Also, I'm 40. I'll be 41 in July. If B5 goes its full 5 year run,
I'll be 44/45 at the end. And I will have said pretty much everything I
want to say in TV. At 45, I'll probably have 20 years in me to write all
the novels I want to write before the game is called on account of
darkness. I really don't want to waste that time running a franchise when
I should be telling stories. You find your story, you get on the stage,
tell it and get the hell off the stage.
Finally, I'm leery of money past a certain point. Rod Serling wrote,
in "The Velvet Alley," "Here's how they get you: they bring you to
Hollywood, and they pay you vast amounts of money for what you write.
Slowly, your standard of living begins to rise to where now you NEED that
income every day to maintain it. And then they threaten to take it away
from you...and then they own you."