Saturday, October 31, 2009



I love video games.  I started PC gaming ten years ago.  I was a broke-ass writer and couldn't afford to buy them, so I would download free demos and play them over and over again.  My first title was an obscure 3rd-person alien game called Evolva.  I soon worked my way up to Unreal Tournament and I was hooked.  It was the biggest rush I had experienced since I gave up drugs years before. 

I still game on my PC.  I'm a purist.  My kid has an X-box 360 and a Wii, but they're not the same for me.  Something much more intimate and interactive about a PC.  Keyboard and mouse movement is so second nature to me and having the images inches from my face with surround sound -- it's just fucking awesome.  I go there.  I AM the warrior, I AM the killer, I AM the hero.  Kurt disappears.  It's an escape like no other.  TV, movies, music -- great distractions, but passive.  Gaming is active.  You don't watch the story, you ARE the story.  Those are the games I love.  Strategic action.  Games that make you think -- actively.  I don't like straight up strategy games or straight up shooters.  Too passive and too arcade like -- I become completely aware that I am playing a game and I get bored.  I need good story, good character and good action. Max Payne, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, XIII, Fear, these games are incredible.  Interesting and complex storylines, three-dimensional characters, and kick-ass action.  They demand that you think on your feet-- life and death.  And of course, you kill a lot of shit with big guns.  I do not own guns, nor am I an active gun-enthusiast, but inside a great game, I'm a strapping, gun-toting, blow-your-motherfucking-head-off bad-ass.  I love it.  It allows me to be everything I am not. 

I'm not into RPG’s or MMORPG’s.  It's not a good fit for my personality.  I'm a bit obsessive and the all-inclusive nature of those games scare me.  And I fucking hate wizards and fairies and knights and all that Dungeons and Dragons bullshit (sorry WOW lovers).  Plus online gaming is counter-intuitive for me.  It’s not about reaching out and connecting.  I don’t like “real” people, why would I want “virtual” friends.  Which brings me to the Zen part of the essay -- for me, gaming is not a hobby; it’s a writing meditation tool.  An imagination enema.  A good game will blow out the creative cobwebs and unclog my same-old-shit valves.  It wakes me the fuck up and centers me, delivering me to my bloody, dark, chewy center.  It’s another reason why I game on a PC.  I’ll write till I’m burned out, game for twenty or thirty minutes, get completely adrenalized and refreshed, then jump back into the script.  It’s better than coffee and a blowjob (mainly because the latter usually makes me sleepy and hurts my neck).

I've recently tweeted about how I think most of the really creative young talent is ending up in the gaming world and I'll post a separate blog about how and why I think that is true.  Wanna do a bit of research before I shoot my mouth off about that.  D-girls I can handle, gaming chicks would kick my fucking ass. 

Friday, October 30, 2009


I'm clearly an outspoken guy.  Just my nature.  I have a big personality.  I can either fill up a room or suck the life out of it.  Honestly, it's all ego.  I just assume people need to hear what I have to say.  It's becoming clear to me that other than my family (and they have to listen to me) and a handful of people on Twitter, Blogger and Facebook, most people don't need to hear what I have to say.  In fact my reps and network would kinda wish I'd just shut the fuck up.

One thing I've realized over the years is that I do best when I follow my gut.  So far, it's served me well.  In life and in my work.  I've never made a career choice based on a career choice.  It's always been about the project.  I stayed on The Shield for seven seasons because in my opinion there was no better show on TV.  I created Sons not because there was a demand for an outlaw motorcycle show, but because I loved the world.  I take on movie projects because they excite me not because they advance me.  

But my gut-following often leads me into a thrusting closed-fist.  My lawyer has a saying -- Don't wound anything you can't kill.  Sound advice.  I'm trying to take it to heart.  At the moment, my world is littered with the bloody and the pissed.  My recent blog posts have created a flurry of fan mail (writers) and hate mail (network executives).  I'm used to getting death threats.  I'm averaging three or four a season, usually from schizoid inmates who demand a piece of my paycheck because the Virgin Mother whispered the idea for SOA to them in a dream.  But this is the first time terminal harm was tossed at me from a 130 pound, lipstick-wielding, Chanel-wearing, development executive.  Quite honestly, she was much more frightening than the inmates.  And I must admit, very sexy, in a -- I'll-fuck-your-brains-out-then-bash-your-brains-in kinda way.  She stopped me today as I was getting off my Harley outside a Starbucks in Burbank and asked me if I was Kurt Sutter.  She was too old to be a friend of my daughter's and too young to be anyone I ever dated.  I assumed she was a fan.  I was wrong.  She was a development executive at a network.  She wished me dead.  Literally.  Said I was a dick and she hoped I crashed and died on my Harley.  My first thought was, maybe I did date her.  She's fucking crazy enough.  That was my main dating criteria before I met Katey.  Then she mentioned my blog.  Now I understood.  Apparently some bigger websites picked up excerpts of my previous blog and my "why network dramas suck" diatribe went far and wide.  The following was roughly my conversation with this lovely young woman. 

KS: What was wrong with the blog?
DG: You're an asshole.  Job is hard enough without arrogant pricks like you shouting bullshit from your fucking mountain top.  Shows a hit.  Big fucking deal.  You'll be crawling back to us when it's not.
KS: You didn't answer my question.
DG: Everyone I work with is smart, well-educated and very story-savvy.  We know how to do our jobs.  Shit you said was general and ridiculous.  You've never even developed at a network.  How the fuck would you know?
KS: Where's the proof?
DG: What?
KS: Your proof that you're smart, well-educated, story --
DG: Fuck you.
KS: I'm serious.  I want to believe you.  You're probably right.  Name something on your schedule that you're proud of.  That's original.  Smart.  Great stories. 
(She names two shows)
KS: First of all, I agree with you,  (show 1) is original and interesting.  So why are you pulling it off the air?
DG: It's not canceled.
KS: Of course it is.  It's been yanked from the schedule and replaced with reruns.
KS: And (show 2)... c'mon, you were just honest enough to wish me dead and you're gonna stand there and tell me you're proud of that piece of shit.
(More silence.  Then --)
DG: We've got shows in development that I'm very proud of.  Original.  Smart.
KS: That's great.  Then get 'em made.  I fucking dare you --
(She glares)
KS: I dare you to prove me a dick.  Get those shows you love made.  Fight for them.  Don't let anyone turn them into dreck.
DG: (Dripping sarcasm) Yeah, okay.  I'll do my best.
KS: I have no doubt.
KS: Can I buy you a coffee?
DG: Fuck you.
(She walks away)
KS: Did we ever date?
(She almost smiles) 

My point for bringing up this conversation is the very reason why I blog.  I think it's necessary for people to stir the fucking pot.  Too many talented people in this town are content collecting a big fucking paycheck, hooking their fucking collar to the leash and getting in the fucking tow-line.  People care less and less about originality.  I see it happening all the time.  Writers and directors whom I respect, taking big juicy overall deals, getting turned into machines churning out shit they wouldn't have even watched five years prior.  I get it, we all want the brass fucking ring, but at what cost?  So what if I ruffle a few feathers, if I get one person thinking, questioning the system, then maybe I've said something worthwhile.

Or maybe I should just shut the fuck up.

Either way, I just hope I stay alive long enough to witness the change or lack there of.

Monday, October 26, 2009


In light of the somewhat historic Sons of Anarchy ratings last week, the press seems to be on a Jay-bashing run.  Using the event to call attention to the "NBC mistake" and turning Jay into the I-told-you-so piñata.  Being it was my show that set the fire, I thought I'd take the opportunity to clear up something -- I really like Jay Leno.  I think he's a talented comedian who's earned his place as a preeminent force in late night entertainment.  

When I sat in on the FX showrunners panel at TCA a few months ago, it ended up being a platform for Shawn Ryan to hammer home some residual strike angst.  Most of that was pointed at NBC and Jay.  And trust me, we all chimed in; most of us writers have residual strike angst.  But none of us, including Shawn, really got a chance to expand upon the general comments and unfortunately our quotes were picked up by the trades; we sounded petty and angry.  

But my beef -- and I think this is true for a good chunk of the creative community -- was never with Jay.  Leno's an artist looking for a good gig like the rest of us.  The truth is, NBC should have NEVER bumped him out of the 11:30 spot.  No one bumped out Carson.  Why Jay?  His ratings were solid, he had a loyal following and he was constantly doing what he could to keep his show fresh -- dude is one of the hardest working cats in town.  And it's obvious Conan's "younger" humor works way better in the later hour.  The bigger concern is the potential dangerous trend that NBC is setting by putting Jay in the 10 pm spot.  As Peter Tolan said, "...NBC is raising the white flag", essentially giving up on scripted dramas.  And why is that?  For all the reason I've mentioned in the previous blog -- to succeed in dramas you need employees who are intelligent, patient and creatively nurturing.  Instead of fixing their system, NBC is creating a new one.  An easier one.  A cheaper one.  One that doesn't demand talent.  One that can be run by suit-monkeys and accountants.  That's the core fear we are all experiencing.  We realize that public consumption is changing.  We are the ones who created Jon and Kate, TMZ and the gangsta paparazzi.  We are the ones veraciously consuming rag-mags and reality TV.  Losing five hours of episodic television is the result of that trend.  And we all know it ain't going away.  It's growing.

At the end of the day, NBC's new system may work and the once last-place buffoons could become the simpleton champions of prime-time.  And then we'll all be pitching gameshow ideas to Lord Zucker and the suit-monkeys of the dark empire.  But until then, let's back off Jay and beat the right piñata.  I won't say who that is, but I guarantee you, when he splits open, there will be gold bullion and Universal stock options pouring out of his ass.