A note before we start: This post is all about assumptions. But they are assumptions that aren’t too far out of the realm of possibility, and so they are worth making. Hence the title.
I am a fiction writer. That is what I do. If you ask some people, I do it quite well. I’m trying to learn not to care about those who feel otherwise. It isn’t easy. Regardless, I love making art.
I also support anyone else who finds joy in fashioning their own forms of art.
I have been a Seth Rogen/James Franco fan since their early days, the much-loved and gone-too-soon Freaks And Geeks. These two know comedy. They grew up in the school of the mighty Apatow with Jason Segel and Martin Starr. They know the kinds of movies they make, and they are paid well for making them.
I don’t remember what movie I was seeing–could it have been The Giver, or was it something else?–where I first saw a preview for Rogen and Franco’s newest vehicle, The Interview. I remember thinking at the time: Wow, that got green-lit? I’m sure it’ll be funny, in its own rogen-y way, but whoever green-lit that movie has some balls. Seth Rogen agreed with me, thanking Sony exec Amy Pascal for having the balls to make his movie.
Well, apparently Ms. Pascal misplaced her balls.
While I understand fully Sony’s decision not to release The Interview in theaters over Christmas, and really they had no choice (no one was going to show the thing), their next decision was the one that really got to me. Sony has no plans to release The Interview… in any form. Translation: No Video-On-Demand, no DVD, etc.
I’m a writer. But deeper than that, it should be clear I consider myself an artist who finds value in the art of others. Rogen’s intention was to make a funny, crude comedy that has at its heart a provocative premise. But the time to nix the concept was at the pitch meeting, Ms. Pascal. Not after you’ve poured $42-44 million into the making of the movie and much more into promotion. You should have cut your losses and released your big Christmas movie on video. Or, at least you could sell it to Hulu or something. The public deserves to see it without having to resort to the kind of shady downloading your industry calls theft.
What happens the next time someone cries out against a film of yours? “No problem. We’ll just pull it. Problem solved.” That scares us artists, because, in America, the people say what we want to say as a right, and our fellow Americans have the right to partake of it/agree/disagree with it–or not.
I recently finished a novel in which I believe, with all my heart. It’s a great book I have worked extremely hard to make great. I’m in search of the agent/publisher who will do the same. Both love it and make it even better. I understand that books/movies/entertainment are big business, and you’re completely covering your butts here, but shouldn’t loyalty count for something? Where I come from, if you say you’re going to do something, you do it.
Even if it’s through Video-On-Demand. Or Hulu.