I read some entertainment news this week that made me stop and pause. That is, after my anger subsided. You see, on publishing's beloved blog, GalleyCat, it was announced that procrastinating's beloved time-suck, Awkward Family Photos, is becoming a TV show. The article is here, and it also brings up another success story that we know and, well, have mixed feelings about.
We all remember that Shit My Dad Says was a hilarious Twitter feed that became a less funny book and is about to become what I assume will be a god awful TV show. Likewise, I assume Family Photos will have a similar "so quirky it's forced" premise and may or may not star a has-been celeb like Willie Aames or George Hamilton.
Blog/Twitter feed to book to TV deals, as a whole, are not bad things. Blogs becoming books seem like a logical next step in the right instances, and adding TV to that mix can work, again, with the right subjects. What bothers me so much about Awkward Family Photos is the same thing that bothers me about the recent trend of fake Broadway musicals like Rock of Ages. They completely disregard the talent and importance of original writing just to make a quick buck.
What they are is glorified fan fiction. This is cheating, writers. These blog-to-TV shows are every other typical family sitcom disguised as a recognizable brand. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why this is good in theory. Rehashing something we already know is fun, for about a minute. (Remember the Geico Cavemen show? Exactly.) We can sing along, we see familiar faces, and we're in on the joke. It makes us feel special. But attention-grabbing gimmicks do not a lasting career make. Once people realize they've been duped into watching just another According to Jim, these blog-to-TV shows will get canceled.
Now, if your life dream is to produce one massively successful project that will make you tons of money in one fell swoop, even if it means being a nobody a year later, then go for it. I will not stand in your way; I will even support your endeavor. (Everyone likes money, right?)
But if you want to be authors - as in, real, this-is-my-career authors - then do not get discouraged by this flashes in the pan. Things like integrity, patience, and talent not only matter, but they will be what make you last in this business.
I realize I'm sounding a bit Pollyanna and I apologize. My faith in writers, publishing, and humanity in general can't be snarked out the way the rest of my emotions can. (Usually.)
Lastly, relevant to nothing, I leave you for the weekend with this awesome rendering of various Harry Potter characters' social media pages (courtesy of @NathanBransford)! My inner geek wishes I could comment on these pages so I can "Like" Ron and Harry's marital relationship status and tweet to Cho Chang that she's totally a popularity whore. (R.I.P. Cedric...)
Have a wonderful weekend, everybody! And if you find yourself getting restless, you can always go take some awkward photos and hope for the best.