Potholes in the Creative Process

TV Ads Cause Difficulties for Writers
Writer-producer Matthew Weiner and David E. Kelly discuss the insane amount of commercials on TV today, and how it disrupts their ability to produce a show.

Curious, I decided to survey the amount of ads jammed into many of the programs that I watch. After checking several cable stations, I was shocked at what I uncovered.  

I Love Lucy aired several times in the afternoon yesterday. One episode started with an amazing chunk of opening dialogue missing from the starting scene. I know because I’ve seen it many times. I knew the gap was to allow for ad placement:

Lucy: 1:43-1:46 p.m. = 9 ads
The sitcom resumed but within 4 minutes, cut away to more ads!
1:50-1:53 = 8 ads…

On another channel, I counted 6 ads during one 4-minute break of the airing of another classic sitcom; one ad was 2 minutes long.

Sunday Movie
 Then I tracked ads on a major network airing a popular three-star 2.5 hour feature at night: The count was jaw-dropping.

The movie began at 8 p.m., and after the opening scenes commercial breaks were frequent. 8:18 to 8:25 p.m. = 14 ads
8:38 p.m.- 8:43 p.m. =14 ads
8:53 p.m. – 8:58 p.m. = 11 ads
9:07 p.m. – 9:14p.m.= 14 ads
9:25p.m. – 9:30 p.m. = 13 ads
9:41p.m. – 9:46p.m. = 13 ads
9:59 p.m. -10:04p.m. = 12 ads…

                                                 Get the picture?

Lesson: Industry wide changes can transform and disrupt the way you use your skills. In the example above, not only are TV writers suffering, but viewers are paying for the changes…literally!