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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

TWITTER, DARABONT, WEINER, SHAVED BUNNIES AND OTHER THINGS

After a few weeks of bad spin about my Frank Darabont comments and in the light of AMC making a deal for Breaking Bad, I figured I'd try to fill in some of the blanks that were not communicated in my 140 characters.  

Let me begin by saying that there is a bigger issue at hand regarding all this Twitter bullshit.  It's a separate blog, but in short, main stream media is going to kill Twitter by using it as a source of on-the-record documentation.  When you have douchebags like Brent Lang at The Warp taking my three tweets and building a story around them, you have news that ends up being ten percent fact, and ninety percent subjective conjecture about, "What I meant".  Lang should be fucking fired for what happened next -- When I tweeted my frustration about the fact that he was too lazy to pick up a phone and actually call me for context, he updated his column, infusing more nasty opinion and pulling older tweets to support his anger.  By his third or fourth "update" his news story was more of an angry tirade than any of my blogs or tweets.  All this in the name of journalism.  This is indicative of what's happening in cybernews.  There is such a need for instantaneous reporting, to be the first to get it up, that truth and fairness are falling lower and lower on the list of priorities.  Using Twitter as a news source is accelerating the demise of real journalism.  Lang is a cunt who should have his credentials pulled.  Or at the very least, someone should beat the shit out of him with an AP Stylebook.

Months ago when Matt Weiner made his deal at AMC, I commented about the need for showrunners to take some responsibility for the bigger picture.  Meaning, yes, a show is the creator's vision, but it also becomes something more.  In my case, SOA doesn't belong to me anymore.  It has a life of it's own.  It belongs to the fans, my cast, my crew, everyone associated with it.  It's my job to steer and not crash it, but I don't own the bus.  So when Matt was holding out for more money, I felt for his cast and crew who had to wait another six months to go back to work.  Then when the specifics of the deal were revealed, I was kinda stunned.  I know Mad Men is a valuable commodity, but the amount they were paying Matt felt unsustainable for a ad-driven cable network.  My initial thought was, "Man, that's a little greedy.  Someone else is gonna take a hit for this."

When news hit of the massive budget cuts on Walking Dead and AMC trying to force Vince Gilligan to finish Breaking Bad in only seven episodes, my reaction was, "Okay, that's who's taking the hit."  It wasn't a stretch of logic, and even though AMC denies the money they paid Weiner had nothing to do with their decisions about WD or BB, I find it hard to believe that the deep payout to MM didn't in some way influence those creative bitch slaps.  

If you're looking for a reason why AMC caved to Weiner, just look at your stock ticker -- AMC is now a publicly traded company.  So how are you going to tell stockholders that your most famous product is potentially going away?  It would be like Apple telling stockholders that iPhones are being discontinued.  Mad Men identifies AMC.  Even though no one really watches it, it is still the most prestigious, award-winning television show in history.  They couldn't let it go.  So, they caved.  Then, like any other corporation, they were forced to apply that loss to their bottom line.  Again, do I have financial documentation to back this up?  No.  I'm not a fucking journalist.  I'm a guy in the business, who is formulating an opinion based on documented facts, history and some inside knowledge.  Am I completely right?  Probably not.  Am I completely wrong?  Probably not.

I know for a fact that when Breaking Bad was being forced to end their award-winning series in only seven episodes, Vince Gilligan approached other networks.  I know for a fact, when AMC got wind of that, they caved.  At the end of the day, I believe the deal they made with Vince was not because they believe in the show, it's because they are afraid of more negative backlash.  Darabont's firing, boggling Breaking Bad, cancelling Rubicon, AMC is really struggling.  Not to stroke the hand that feeds me, but they should take a page from Landgraf's handbook -- empower the artist.  Pretend that it's a forum for creativity not a multinational corporation.  Mad Men is coming to an end, if AMC doesn't figure out how to develop, how to nurture and maintain relationships with writers, they are going to be know an the network who used to have that really good show.

Why is this any of my business?  It's not.  I don't work for AMC.  I don't know Vince.  I know Frank a bit, but he's not a close acquaintance.  Why am I ringing the bells?  I don't know.  I think what started out as just a desperate need for attention has turned into something greater.  Perhaps, my bombastic opinions are my service to fellow creatives.  There's a large part of the entertainment community that would just like me to shut the fuck up.  They think I'm a loud-mouthed, arrogant douchebag who should just collect my big check and stop rocking the boat.  To them I respectfully say, "Suck my dick."  This Twitter thing has reignited my fire to blow the balls off of shit.  And even though I'm doing it anonymously on social media, I will continue to proudly own it here.

Thanks for reading.  

35 comments:

lowecat said...

Ah, darlin', it's gettin' to the point that I rush to my home page to see if there is a new blog from y'all. A day without words of wisdom from Sutterink is like a day without sunshsine.

I agree with you about Bret Lang. Unfortunately, in the interest of fairness, I read his 'article' and it made me physically ill. Guess I should've called him out on the spot after readin' it, but really didn't wanna lend any credibilty to his bad fiction by commentin'.

BTW, I do have a copy of the AP Stylebook. It's 20 plus years old, but it works. Should my path ever have the misfortune of crossin' that whanker's, I shall definitely give him a few whaps upside the head with my copy! (I also have a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style, but it's a paperback and won't make as big of an impression.)

I have to disagree with you about the media goin' downhill these days. That's not new. It's been goin' downhill for decades. The good old days of Edward R Murrow are long gone, as dead and buried as he is.

We're down to soundbites slipped in where they'll do the best to support the writer's own version of the facts, not the facts themselves. You saw that happen yourself, my dear.

It's not surprisin', as 'doin' the right thing' in news reporting has been sacrified for the bottom line for years. Let me give you a personal example.

Back in my own broadcast journalism career, while working for a college station in my home state, a prominent citizen was arrested for DUI. This was a major story, as the citizen was not only three sheets to the wind, but he also fought with the cops.
The prominent citizen was a major sponsor of the station. I was told not to run the story. My response was that if it were anyone else, there wouldn't be an issue and ran the story anyway.

Guess what happened next? Yup, I got put out on the street. Unceremonisouly dumped. Even more suprising, instead of sayin' "Hey, she stood up for what was right', the sheep bleated their support of the station owners.

It's frightening that so called journalists are takin' the easy way out and using someone's social media comments as quotes to support a story. It's even worse when said journalist places his or her own thoughts and feelings into the story as fact. That's not fair dinkum. It shouldn't be allowed.

Trust me, once I finish this response (and thanks for readin' it, by the way), I'm gonna fire off a feisty epistle to The Warp. Not that it will do any good, about like a lone mosquito in a nudist colony, but what the Hell. It's the right thing to do.

Just as you did and said what you thought was right about AMC.

cubezombie said...

I do not accept you going off twitter...I understand why and it sucks. The fucktards that are just after the "next big controversy" are the reason we can't have nice things...I've never felt more tuned into and a part of a show as I do with SoA..Yes, the story is great, the actors are amazing and the concept is something I haven't seen before.

The big thing for me was when I found you on twitter..I've never seen a showrunner (I didn't even know that term until I heard you use it) that plugged into the community..I remember the days of sub 1000 followers..And you'd off some SoA shit when we hit a certain number...I *loved* that interaction.

I do not accept that you're no longer on twitter but I still love you and your creative spirit. I'm an SoA fan for life.

Jake (aka cubezombie on twitter)

just jj said...

OMG..I love your brutal honesty..of course from your perspective..Im not in the industry but am glad for the insight you sent my way..of course the line that gave me the best thought for the day was they can Suck your Dick...Thanx..

Janet

mq01 said...

thanks for keeping it real kurt! the media mix/bias/spin pisses me off...

Pam said...

Wow amazingly put Kurt. Speechless kinda really. I 100% agree with you and have deleted my Twitter. What a shame too, Twitter is huge and now the media is destroying it. Thank you Kurt for telling it how it is. The good, bad and ugly, the truth. Hahahaha fucking cowardis cunt ass journalists LoL

Robin said...

You're welcome and your comments are thought-provoking ... Keep on writin'!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kurt,

This is Brent Lang. Would love to interview you about this post and your decision to quit Twitter.

My number is (424)248-0662.

CAL said...

KS,

I completely agree about twitter killing real journalism. This is something that has really taken root in college and professional sports over the past couple years. Outlets such as ESPN will dedicate lead stories to comments made on a player's twitter account. Real investigation and reporting is no longer associated with Edward R. Murrow personalities, but rather gossip websites and provocative lines from on-line postings. It is sad, and what's even worse is that anyone using platform takes a hit credibility-wise. "If Kurt Sutter thinks Twitter is bullshit, than his tweets are also bullshit." Never-mind that there are people who know more about situations than what is being reported on TMZ and they try to share that insight (see the now defunct KS twitter account.)

Bottom line is reporting has largely become a career for the lazy. A profession for those who can't fathom getting real facts, from real people, but would rather take the postings of a celebrity, use that as a water-balloon story and hope enough readers get splashed.

Julie said...

Kurt, the entertainment industry (and every other damn industry) needs more people like you willing to call a spade a spade. I will miss your Twitter posts but thank God you're still blogging! Keep it up, pal. Maybe if some other people take your lead and do the same, the entertainment industry will take notice and get their collective shit together.

Then, please run for President. :)

Anonymous said...

SAWEET!...GIVE THEM ALL A SHOT TO THE "CHONES"...LOL...WAY TO TAKE A STAND!

(ONTHEMARKSTUNTS)
BRYAN

Anonymous said...

Please update your post so you can (rightfully) slam the correct site: The Wrap- not The Warp. And BTW I fully support your post here- the way people have started encorporating tweets into stories or building stories around tweets is ridiculous.

I'd rather you didnt print this comment, but if you do, i stand by it and you.

Jason W. said...

I don't see a link between the bus driver analogy and the accusation of "Matt Weiner is greedy because look what happened to Breaking Bad." Weiner doesn't run Breaking Bad. His fans may or may not watch it, his cast isn't on it. Unless him taking X% more than you deem reasonable results in people he's responsible for being hurt, why does Weiner deserve blame? Where is the moral or ethical line that Weiner crossed?

Siobhan said...

You're not a journalist if you sit on your ass and wait for a source to drop on your screen. Social media is not a source, never should be.

However, they teach that in j-school. Since graduating I have more disrespect for that profession than I do anything else.

If you're inclined to be an edjit, spin the story without presenting all sides or context. If you want to be a journalist, get a recorder, press play, do the legwork and write an actual story.

And with the Mad Men fiasco, my opinion is the same as Sutter's.

Papa said...

I am no longer sorry you are not on Twitter. This is a whole lot better. Maybe I am too old.

Anonymous said...

Kurt, Thank you for continuing to post your opinions. I am a fan of SOA but I don't assume that I know anything about show business. I agree with you that it is difficult to express an opinion in 140 characters. I see some on Twitter use multiple messages in order to be clearer, but I think this blog is a better medium for you.

I like the fact that you recognize that SOA is no longer just yours. I wish the corporate CEOs would take that approach (and politicians) because it would make more people's lives better. Keep the show rolling and I'll keep watching.

Thanks,
Mark

Little Miss Nomad said...

Absolutely on point.

Anonymous said...

The macbook was discontinued a few weeks ago...

Unknown said...

I don't watch SOA only because I don't have the time to. After hearing about you and reading the things you have to say as I am a Walking Dead viewer, let me say, it is nice to know who you are. You have the balls to call things out the way they should be called out.

You really don't have to be working in the industry you are in.. to know how this industry works. If one has brains, one can see Holly Wood is pretty transparent.

Also your reasons for quitting Twitter ( personally I won't have one lol) and the issues of the internet and responsible journalism is right on target.

Your voice of reason is much needed and not for just what is going on with AMC and all of that, you make so many points.

Will continue to read your blogs and am going to make time to watch SOA .. have to record it.

What a way to get a viewer to your show, telling it like it is, you are the Johnny Rotten right now in this area that is needed.

Take care...

Reese

Sterling said...

Love it....

sailingkiwi said...

that Lang is such a fuckwit!.....and his mother dresses him funny.

Anonymous said...

Kurt, you're a showrunner on a popular show and in an era where showrunners are celebrities, you have to watch what you say. Most importantly, you're taking attention away from your wonderful show. The cast, the crew, the network, everyone associated with SOA are represented by you. Remember that.

Anonymous said...

How anyone deserves that much money in a world where most of us can't score jobs is beyond me. It's so f*ckin stupid and sad. :\ I don't care if there's more to the story with Mad Men or AMC. I won't watch that show for anything. F* with decent programming like The Walking Dead, cut their budget to hell. Who needs Mad Men. Bunch of pr*cks.

TN_Debi said...

First Facebook, then Twitter...if you abandon this blog I'm gonna kidnap the shaved bunny and hold it hostage until you return.

We miss you...Diatribes, rants, kudos and all. Some of us DO get you ya know? It's nice seeing someone with power speak the truth when we feel so powerless ourselves. As far as journalism goes...well, let's just say I lost faith when Walter Cronkite went off the air (Yeah, I'm old).

I look forward to Season 4 but will miss the instant gratification of telling you via twitter whether I still love you or hate you that week.

As always, you will remain my favorite evil genius rat bastard (no offense to your mother).

See ya on Tuesday's at 9:00 p.m. C.S.T. TN_Debi on Twitter

Cavu said...

If, you had a renegociation this year, and you knew you could get a shitload of more money, wouldn't you ask for that amount, even knowing it could hurt the channel and the other shows?

It's not a rethorical question, I'd love to have your answer.

Anonymous said...

Kurt,

I agree 100% with what you are saying about Twitter, and personally I feel it is damaging our collective intelligence as a whole. Meaningful thoughts -- worth basing a news report on -- cannot be expressed in 140 characters. It is supposed to be a simple chat forum, but the popularity of it, and celebrity presence on it, has caused American journalists to treat it as a form of legitimate published media. It should not be a news story that a famous person Tweeted something. Particularly when the lack of moderation and short-form nature of Twitter is designed specifically for people to make shocking or attention-getting soundbite comments.

I do not participate in Twitter for this reason -- I think it is empowering the lowest common denominator of thought (idle chit-chat) in our culture and promoting it to the level of published journalism or literature. A vast mistake.

However, I feel that you are being just a bit naive about AMC. You seem to think that there is a sense of justice or fairness about the way a corporation will deal with its creative employees and assets. This is not the case. There's certainly no guarantee that if AMC refused Weiner's financial demands that they would turn around and dole that money out to the other shows on their network. They might simply decide to gut them ALL and keep any extra profits for themselves. That IS what corporations tend to do, after all.

MAD MEN built AMC. Furthermore, it is a piece of art and Weiner is a brilliant writer/showrunner. When I heard of the negotiations, my comment was "they're a fool not to give him anything he wants". To do the show without Weiner -- the visionary who fought to create it, and the only person who knows what arc he intends for it -- would be a travesty. To cancel it would cost the network dearly in both critical acclaim and public good will. Not to mention, whatever show Weiner creates next will doubtlessly be a similar success, unless he magically forgets how to write. What network would alienate someone of such proven talent and ability?

It is not Weiner's fault that AMC used the cachet and industry clout granted them by the success of MAD MEN to create additional shows they could not afford. Nor is it his individual responsibility to make sure other shows succeed. He can only take care of his own show.

Bear in mind, I feel the same way about SONS as I do about MAD MEN. You know the difficult decisions and hard-ass stances that showrunners have to make, and sometimes there is no room for sympathy for anyone other than your own family (like the MC itself!). If you found yourself in a position where you felt you had to ask the network for more money to accomplish your goals, I would say, again, "they would be a fool not to give Sutter anything he wants. They can't do it without him, and they can't just let it go". JUSTIFIED and IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA are great shows, but if they had to be gutted to keep you doing SONS and doing it right, I would say "gut them" without hesitation.

Not every decision can be made based upon ratings. Sometimes, it is an investment in the genius of a person whose work is deeper than the average TV entertainment, and is making a bigger impact on the culture than just getting people to tune in and watch the commercials. David Simon's television series have never had good ratings and probably never will, but wouldn't you take THE WIRE or TREME over other shows -- even good ones -- on HBO?

So, have some sympathy for Weiner. You may yourself be in the situation one day where you have to fight for your show and your show alone, knowing that you can't do so without costing someone else. And if that is the case...devil take the hindmost, man. Sometimes you have to make sure your family is taken care of first.

Grapes 2.0 said...

Nobody watches Mad Men? Are you sure? Listen, I'm a big fan of SOA, but it's not the only show on TV. I admire your outspoken ways, but it doesn't go you or your show any good at all when you're bad-mouthing other shows. Take on the execs all you like, but Mad Men is a big hit, and a show that's got lots of attention for AMC, which must have helped SOA too. So play nice with the other children, but shit on the adults all you like, you dig?

Anonymous said...

Kurt-

How about AMC going through their entire development process, putting the creators and writers of 6 shows through their notorious "bake-off" and then not picking up a single show? On top of that, they spun it in the press that the shows "were deemed not ready for production", placing the onus on the writers/creative teams. (Which only makes their own development execs look piss-poor at their own jobs. BTW I was one of those writers.)

chris berry said...

Hey Kurt, Love SOA the cast and show,and yourself are great. I praise you for speaking your mind no matter what people think. That is what freedom of speach is there for. If ignorant snd stupid people can benefit from it then you should most definetely be able to use it the way it was meant to be used. It is to bad you where taken advantage of and had to close down the twitter account but the good thing is i get to read more of your thoughts on the blog and they get to be alot more then 140 characters. I had a question that i'm not sure if you have ever addressed if so sorry for not catching the anwser. I was just wondering if in season 4 or and of the appisodes if you were going to tie up the issue of luann's death and if anything will be done about it. I was also wondering if abel's real mother would ever be returning or if her extended absence was ever going to be addressed. Once again Big Fan love you your cast and the show. Keep being briliant, hope the show goes on for alot more then 7 seasons.

nines9 said...

there's nothing in here about shaved bunnies. Did I miss it?

Nyxocity said...

I wasn't going to leave a comment until I read through your "About Comments". Isn't that Brent Lang's phone number up there *points* (it's not his direct line, I know because I called it, but it is the number for The Wrap). If it's a joke, it's funny, but if it isn't, it's even funnier after reading your comment posting rules.

While I'm here, I'll say like many others have that I'm a huge fan of the show and a huge supporter of your outspoken, passionate, no bullshit ways. I think your spirit very much shines through in the show itself, and always has. I loved the passionate, no bullshit vibe of the show even before I knew who you were, so the rest goes without saying.

I understand why you can't be on Twitter anymore, though it makes me incredibly sad. Blogging IS a much more "complete" medium. Not that things can't be twisted from it, but it's a lot harder to twist complete, informative paragraphs than it is to twist a couple 140 character long tweets. But I miss your tweets. It's nice to be able to get a slightly more interactive glimpse into the heads of people we admire and enjoy. And to be talked "at" by them. :) I suppose I'll just have to content myself with your blog from now on.

Take care, and don't let the cunts get you down.

Nyxocity said...

I wasn't going to leave a comment until I read through your "About Comments". Isn't that Brent Lang's phone number up there *points* (it's not his direct line, I know because I called it, but it is the number for The Wrap). If it's a joke, it's funny, but if it isn't, it's even funnier after reading your comment posting rules.

While I'm here, I'll say like many others have that I'm a huge fan of the show and a huge supporter of your outspoken, passionate, no bullshit ways. I think your spirit very much shines through in the show itself, and always has. I loved the passionate, no bullshit vibe of the show even before I knew who you were, so the rest goes without saying.

I understand why you can't be on Twitter anymore, though it makes me incredibly sad. Blogging IS a much more "complete" medium. Not that things can't be twisted from it, but it's a lot harder to twist complete, informative paragraphs than it is to twist a couple 140 character long tweets. But I miss your tweets. It's nice to be able to get a slightly more interactive glimpse into the heads of people we admire and enjoy. And to be talked "at" by them. :) I suppose I'll just have to content myself with your blog from now on.

Take care, and don't let the cunts get you down.

monkey said...

hi Kurt
being from england the land of pretty shit TV programs i and a few other download american series like SOA, Shield, The Wire, Game of Thrones, breaking Bad and so much more. what i find though is once you get into a series you can find that it can be cancelled just a fast as its started and most of the time the programs are not that bad. for instance Chicargo Code was one of the latests to get the chop. It must be painful to work in an industry whee a show can be dumped so quickly and without any fight it these politics and dealings that prevent the view from being entertain and majority of the time its greed.
love the show, love the blog say it how it is and keep it up.

Dave Cooney said...

In a time when success so often breeds a shameful amount of apathy and people who seem so unwilling to want to "rock the boat", it's refreshing and inspiring to read you talking out, with a genuine and honest voice, about how important it is to not let Business overshadow Creativity.

All this recent drama surrounding AMC is genuinely heartbreaking... as the network seemed to be setting itself up as a creative force to rival that of even HBO as a channel commited to providing unique, high quality programming. That had a genuine depth and embraced complex and layered story telling. Them allowing Mad Men to become such a parasitic force and then bull headedly raping the shit out of such awesome series as Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, (don't even get me started on the cancelling of Rubicon!) shows such an overwhelming short sightedness on their behalf that it defies explanation.

I applaud every word you type that speaks out against such big business bullshit.. your respect for genuine creative process is what gives your shows such character and such a genuine sense of rebellion against convention.

Can't wait for Season 4 of Sons!

Jenny Girl said...

Keeping busting balls and telling it like it is and we'll keep reading it. Someone has to be the voice of reality it might as well be you.

As for Twitter, no it is not news and reports should not come from information posted there. My local "news" station likes to read, on air, what Mary from around the corner said about this, and Joe Blow from down the street said this. Like I give a shit. Report news damn it! Oh wait, they don't that either, not really. enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Kurt, I do work at AMC Networks, and I couldn't agree more. I joined twitter to follow you and in the process found some other artists that I enjoyed checking in on, but without you, Twitter doesn't hold the same luster it once did for me. I don't begrudge you leaving, just wanted to let you know that you made twitter for me. September 6th can't come soon enough! Keep up the amazing and engaging work...your fans love it!