NO GOOD DEED...
So, I almost killed the newsletter this week.
In fact, I even wrote up a draft edition to that exact effect.
Well, I’ll start with a truncated version of what I’d originally written:
“Your phone is going to ring off the hook.”
Such was said to me by a friend who’s old enough to know what “ring off the hook” means.
For those of you younger than that, it basically means that the phone is going to ring a lot.
The friend in question was talking about Crisis On Infinite Earths, a five-hour, six-show television event I was spearheading for DC Entertainment, the CW network, and Warner Bros. Studios.
The project, a live action adaptation of a seminal comic book series that made a significant impression on my psyche, was more than a labor of love — it was a labor in every respect and a project where I spent every ounce of capitol I’d amassed in developing DC Comics-related shows for Warner Bros. over an eight-year period. I called in every favor. I used every chit. I burned every bridge. I even spent $10,000 of my own money.
Years before Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness would mainstream the concept of an interconnected multiverse, Crisis brought together characters from the 1966 Batman television show, the 1989 Batman feature, the 1990 The Flash series, the Smallville series, Lucifer, Doom Patrol, Titans, Swamp Thing, the Green Lantern movie, Superman Returns, Kingdom Come… the list goes on and on. Ezra Miller even reprised their feature film role as Barry Allen to meet the Arrowverse incarnation played by Grant Gustin.
Spoiler Alert: Afterwards, my phone did not, in fact, ring. “Off the hook” or otherwise.
Yes — and I don’t mean to belittle this in the slightest — fans loved what we did. There were Tweets. There were posts. There were memes. There was much discussion. All of which I was — and remain — deeply grateful for. Working on these shows, we always reminded ourselves that the opposite of love was not hate, it was apathy, and no matter what, there was never any apathy.
Except for, well, Hollywood.
Hollywood met everything we did with apathy.
Actually, apathy would have been a step up.
Why am I saying this now?
Well, this week, James Gunn announced that he assembled a “writers room” to help chart out what the new “DC Universe” under his and James Safran’s leadership is going to be.
Suffice it to say, I am not among that group.
I’m not particularly surprised. In fact, I assumed that they would assemble some kind of brain trust to help facilitate what I assumed — hoped — would be a vision as ambitious as the DC Universe deserves.
But I’ll be honest: I would have liked to have gotten at least a meeting.
Not a job, mind you. A meeting. A conversation. A small recognition of what I’d tried to contribute to the grand tapestry that is the DC Universe. I’d only spent nine years toiling in that vineyard, after all. (Not including many more years co-writing the Green Lantern movie, a Green Lantern streaming series, and comic books like The Flash, Batman Confidential, Adventures of Superman, and Justice Society of America.)
And then there was some other stuff which basically boiled down to me lamenting that although working for DC had been creatively fulfilling, it involved a lot of adversity, challenges, and personal sacrifices — none of which seem to have accrued to any professional benefit. Simply put, the Arrowverse hasn’t led to any other gigs, so it feels — at least on a career level — that I really wasted my time.
Of course, I know that my experience in this regard is hardly sui generis. In fact, it’s grown all too commonplace recently that the loyalty writers devote to studios is not returned in kind. And those are the good situations.
Now, you may ask, what does this have to do with ending the newsletter?
To start, when I launched LegalDispatch nearly six months ago, I did so with the promise to myself that I would always keep it positive.
The above post is, obviously, not.
Moreover, I’m clearly not in the mood to pimp my other work at the moment. And I’m certainly not feeling qualified to expound on matters related to writing or navigating the entertainment industry.
So where does that leave us?
Well, I’ve backed away from my initial impulse to cancel the newsletter. Enough people have told me that they like it that I should resist the impulse to throw out babies with bathwater. But I am going to retrench and probably refrain from putting out weekly editions. But what further editions look like… I’m not sure just yet.
That being said, if there’s something particular you are enjoying about, or were hoping to get out of, this newsletter, please sign off in the comments. Knowing what my audience (meager though it may be) is interested — or not interested — in would be very insightful. Thank you.
Be good to each other.
I always look forward to your newsletter, for what that's worth. And it's exactly this kind of heart-on-sleeve-even-when-frustrated message that it's helpful to see, everyone now and then. It reminds me that the things a writer goes through are, often, usually, the things that most writers go through. Please keep sharing both the losses and the wins. We'll celebrate the latter and commiserate with you in the former.
Your newsletters are the highlight of my week, truly. I enjoy cozying up and reading each newsletter with a beverage of choice in hand. I respect and understand your decision to change the frequency of each dispatch, and I’m sure many of us would prefer less frequent posts vs. none altogether.
In this current state of over-saturated highlight reels of people’s lives on social media, your work and honest experiences are a cleansing breath of fresh air. Take all the time you need, and rest assured we’ll support you any way you go.