Written By November/December 2010 : Page 2

fAde in the MAGAzine of the Writers Guild of AMericA, West WHAT DO JESSICA ALBA, Stephen J. Cannell, and Lewis H. Lapham have in common? Never before have these three names shared a string of verbiage ending in a punctuation mark. Who are they? Why here? In this issue, Charles B. Slocum defends Internet Freedom. His ar-gument has the full force of logic grounded in facts. But you might remember last December’s Written By that contained passionate essays that defended the independence of cyberspace. Must we revisit the topic? Here’s an example of the Internet’s ubiquity: Jessica Alba graces the current cover of Elle . But the profile emerged online a full month before the magazine’s hard copy and it insulted . . . well, in the story, the pretty but undistinguished actress philosophized that, “Good actors never use the script unless it’s amazing writing. All the good actors I’ve worked with, they all say whatever they want to say.” (Tip: They memorize their lines, Jessica.) In the pre–Cyber Age, such delusions would linger uncontested except for letters to the editor. Screenwriters felt powerless to correct and educate. But bozos beware: Now screenwriters instantly defend their profession. Ms. Alba found herself deconstructed via a multitude of postings. On Deadline.com/Hollywood, Nikki Finke wrote that the cover girl had been “bitchslapped.” Now imagine Elle owned by a conglomerate that also happens to be leasing you cable and satellite access. What if all critical responses were delayed or blocked? You say it can’t happen here? It already has happened here. Ask the band Pearl Jam about their antiwar broadcast being censored online. Such “technical difficulties” are too numerous to list. But Georgia Archer’s forth-coming documentary Barbershop Punk exposes special interests using the Internet as a spy tool to monopolize—rather, corpora-tize —cyberspace. See it and be afraid. Very. We can take comfort in the musings of wise essayist and editor Lewis H. Lapham. In the November Harper’s magazine, Lapham bids adieux to his indispensible “Notebook.” That column debuted in 1984 and, Lapham wryly says, within two months Apple was “bringing forth the first of its Macintosh computers.” Before ex-iting the stage, Lapham leaves writers with a final note of hope: “What preserves the voices of the great authors from one century to the next is not the recording device (the clay tablet, the scroll, the codex, the book, the computer, the iPad) but the force of imagina-tion and the power of expression.” Two qualities that Stephen J. Cannell possessed in abundance while creating more than 40 television series and 16 novels. In his latest fiction, The Prostitutes’ Ball (published shortly after his death this fall), Cannell finished the novel—and his writing life—with these, his last words in print: “So that’s it. Cue the end music. Roll the production logos. Bring up the final card and we’re at: The End.” — Richard Stayton, Editor 2 • WGA W Written By NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010 W ritten B y © WGAW officers President John Wells Vice President Tom Schulman secretary-treasurer David N. Weiss MARK HANAUER WGAW BoArd of directors John F. Bowman, Linda Burstyn, Ian Deitchman, Carleton Eastlake, Katherine Fugate, David A. Goodman, Howard Michael Gould, Mark Gunn, Karen Harris, Chip Johannessen, Kathy Kiernan, Aaron Mendelsohn, Billy Ray, Howard A. Rodman, Steven Schwartz, Patric M. Verrone, Dan Wilcox executiVe director David Young GenerAl counsel Tony Segall WGAW Phone inforMAtion The Guild (All Departments) 323.951.4000 FAx 323.782.4800 WeBsite: WWW.WGA.orG WGAW dePArtMents Administration Agency Awards & elections claims contracts credits dues diversity executive offices film society finance human resources legal library Member services Membership organizing Public Affairs Publications registration residuals signatories theater operations Written By Pension & health 323.951.4000 782.4520 782.4502 782.4569 782.4663 782.4501 782.4528 782.4531 782.4589 951.4000 782.4508 782.4637 782.4615 782.4521 782.4544 782.4747 782.4532 782.4511 782.4574 782.4522 782.4500 782.4700 782.4514 782.4525 782.4699 818.846.1015 800.227.7863 800.890-0288 Writerscare info. Written By welcomes your comments. Send letters to: 7000 W. Third St., L.A., CA 90048 Or E-mail us at writtenby@wga.org

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<b>WHAT DO JESSICA ALBA,</b><br /> <br /> Stephen J. Cannell, and Lewis H. Lapham have in common?<br /> <br /> Never before have these three names shared a string of verbiage ending in a punctuation mark. Who are they?<br /> <br /> Why here?<br /> <br /> In this issue, Charles B. Slocum defends Internet Freedom. His argument has the full force of logic grounded in facts. But you might remember last December’s Written By that contained passionate essays that defended the independence of cyberspace. Must we revisit the topic?<br /> <br /> Here’s an example of the Internet’s ubiquity: Jessica Alba graces the current cover of Elle. But the profile emerged online a full month before the magazine’s hard copy and it insulted . . . Well, in the story, the pretty but undistinguished actress philosophized that, “Good actors never use the script unless it’s amazing writing. All the good actors I’ve worked with, they all say whatever they want to say.” (Tip: They memorize their lines, Jessica.)<br /> <br /> In the pre–Cyber Age, such delusions would linger uncontested except for letters to the editor. Screenwriters felt powerless to correct and educate. But bozos beware: Now screenwriters instantly defend their profession. Ms. Alba found herself deconstructed via a multitude of postings. On Deadline.com/Hollywood, Nikki Finke wrote that the cover girl had been “bitchslapped.” Now imagine Elle owned by a conglomerate that also happens to be leasing you cable and satellite access. What if all critical responses were delayed or blocked? You say it can’t happen here?<br /> <br /> It already has happened here. Ask the band Pearl Jam about their antiwar broadcast being censored online. Such “technical difficulties” are too numerous to list. But Georgia Archer’s forthcoming documentary Barbershop Punk exposes special interests using the Internet as a spy tool to monopolize—rather, corporatize— cyberspace. See it and be afraid. Very.<br /> <br /> We can take comfort in the musings of wise essayist and editor Lewis H. Lapham. In the November Harper’s magazine, Lapham bids adieux to his indispensable “Notebook.” That column debuted in 1984 and, Lapham wryly says, within two months Apple was “bringing forth the first of its Macintosh computers.” Before exiting the stage, Lapham leaves writers with a final note of hope: “What preserves the voices of the great authors from one century to the next is not the recording device (the clay tablet, the scroll, the codex, the book, the computer, the iPad) but the force of imagination and the power of expression.” Two qualities that Stephen J. Cannell possessed in abundance while creating more than 40 television series and 16 novels. In his latest fiction, The Prostitutes’ Ball (published shortly after his death this fall), Cannell finished the novel—and his writing life—with these, his last words in print: “So that’s it. Cue the end music. Roll the production logos. Bring up the final card and we’re at: The End.”<br /> <br />

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