Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ideas Available for Execution

If you ask me about the scripts I’ve written, I’ll tell you about them. If you ask me about my new television pilot ideas, I’ll tell you about those too. The novel I’m working on? I’ll send you chapter one. And you can read my short works of fiction (almost) every Friday on this blog.

But I’m a writer, you say. Shouldn’t I be keeping my ideas locked away like precious silver? Aren’t I afraid you’ll steal them and set up a first-look deal at Warner Brothers for millions of dollars?

Not really. Because as a writer, I know that ideas are plentiful. Execution is the real skill. A television show about the personal lives of doctors can look like ER or it can look like Scrubs. Sex and the City is a show about four single women relying on friendship as they navigate the dating world. So is TV Land’s new sitcom Hot in Cleveland.

So when someone files a lawsuit against a wildly successful entertainment product – TV show, novel, film – claiming they had the idea first, I tend to side with the writer. They’re the one that executed the idea to success. The one filing the lawsuit didn’t.

The latest case of “I did it! No, really, I did!” comes in the form of Chuck Zito, an actor and former Hell’s Angel member who recently filed suit against FX claiming Sons of Anarchy was his idea. Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter fired back today with this supremely awesome blog post - Douchebaggery Is The Greatest Form Of Flattery... Again. He dissects the claim and repeatedly misspells Zito’s name. Cheeky fun stuff.

So steal all the ideas you want from me. If you can make them work, more power to you.

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