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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



Fellow Chicagoan-in-self-imposed-exile, Adam, asks what kind of writer he want to be and tries to answer it.

It's a question I ask myself fairly frequently and sometimes the problem is that I, in fact, have an answer. And except for "successful" I am most of that answer.

It's a question I ask myself whenever I start anything other than a spec. With a spec, for that moment, the kind of writer I want to be is an amalgamation of the writers writing whatever that show is. My voice comes through, but tempered. Not a problem.

No, the problem is when I'm brainstorming up a new project, like a pilot, or the many one-acts I've been throwing things at. I come up with an idea. It feels like a good idea. It's something I would most certainly watch, but it doesn't always feel like something I would write. The most recent such thing was a hard crime pilot. It felt like someone else's show. If I were writing that pilot, it would feel like I was writing a spec for that show that I saw in my head. My voice is in there, but it wants to scream, not whisper. Is that the writer I want to be? Is that the writer I am?

The kind of writer I think I am is snarky and smart-alecky. One who tries to zig instead of zag. One who tries very hard to do the thing you've never seen. I have my themes I come back to a lot. Power and its abuse, identity, and the thin line between good and evil.

If it's not snarky, is it still me? Zigging isn't bad either, in that something might feel familiar. I hate doing that, but then cop shows, lawyer shows, doctor shows, are all familiar (no matter how much of a twist there might be) and are successful.

My problem with the one-acts is, besides being a form I don't have hard-wired into my brain the way I do TV (where four pages in one room is a long damn time), I'm overthinking what this one-act will say about me as a writer and what messages I want to send and what I have to say.

I think that I know myself too well. And yeah, you can read that in more ways than one.

So maybe, after I clear this pilot and get a one-act that I want done and finishing ripping the Pushing Daisies and then, if I don't launch into a Sarah Connor Chronicles spec (because by then season two will be underway and I've had this idea int he back of my head for some while now), I may have to write that hard crime drama and see what other kind of writer I might be.

Or maybe that sitcom pilot idea. The one that will never be produced, but might...might get a little pass it around buzz.

But I'm not a sitcom guy.

Am I?
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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