After Hours

If sci-fi geeks ran Hollywood...

A few weeks ago, our buddies over at SFSignal asked a bunch of top-flight sci-fi writers, editors, and bloggers what would happen if, say, a bunch of top-flight sci-fi fans ran Hollywood, rather than the usual collection of business-school rejects and soulless, jaded, film-school burnouts. Now that the Hollywood writer's strike is over, it seems a good time to revisit this font of wisdom.

A few weeks ago, our buddies over at SFSignal asked a bunch of top-flight sci-fi writers, editors, and bloggers what would happen if, say, a bunch of top-flight sci-fi fans ran Hollywood, rather than the usual collection of business-school rejects and soulless, jaded, film-school burnouts. Now that the Hollywood writer's strike is over, it seems a good time to revisit this font of wisdom.

Chris Roberson, Paul Levinson, Lou Anders, John C. Wright, Jayme Lynn Blaschke, and Angela the Sci-Fi Chick all weigh in, with such money quotes as these:

"Network television in general needs to get over giving new series minuscule chances if they don't establish a huge audience in the first few episodes. Otherwise, television will be even less watched than it is today, with viewers increasingly preferring YouTube and the Internet."

"I'd make one change. One sweeping, across the board change. Proper respect for writers. When I lived there, a writer was lucky if he was even allowed on the set of his own film. And there is a reason that Philip K Dick is so popular with Hollywood - he's dead, and hence, unlikely to get involved with production. (Quick prediction: the same will happen to Harlan Ellison when he's gone.)"

"First, I'd have to say enough with the remakes. If you can't come up with an original idea, you shouldn't be in the business in the first place."

"Were I emperor of Tinsletown, ballsier would be my decree—hopefully the smarts would follow as a matter of course. Instead of looking at any SF offering as a summer tentpole product, a dazzlingly expensive eye-candy fix for the masses, I'd instead redirect the process. Contract with indy filmmakers to produce something not beholden to corporate beancounters and focus groups. Good science fiction, contrary to what one might believe in this post-Star Wars cinematic reality, need not be overly loud, bombastic or expensive to be good. "

"The question is, what should fans do? Easy. Stop watching the crap. Ask as much of genre television (and movies, for that matter) as you would from anything else. If you're watching a show that can't seem to remember that if it's daytime on one side of the planet it's not likely to be daytime on the other side, you should probably switch off and go watch a show written by someone who knows how to read."

"What would I change? Nothing. Not a darn thing. We live in the Golden Age of Science Fiction films. What will change? Aha! That is a different question. Read Remake by Connie Willis for a picture of the future of Hollywood. Sky Captain and Beowulf are the sign of Things To Come: once Hollywood finds out it is cheaper to computer animate the actors, backgrounds, props and sets, except the live-action film to go the way of the Radio Play, the Silent, or Black-and-White film; or maybe they will go the way of the Western and the Musical, not forgotten, but merely not the top draw any longer. Fantasy and Science Fiction will be the order of the day in an all-animated popular entertainment, since it is no harder to draw or render a space-castle or an exploding planet than it is to draw or render a shack or a trash-fire. Films will be wired straight into the home, as soon as some wiz-kid figures out an economic model for it. Okay, maybe I would order them to put Firefly back on the air."

I agree...mostly. Now go read the rest and report back with your own "If I ran Tinseltown" wishlist in the comments.

About Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

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