Black and White TV Writers

articles
June 14 2000 3:00 AM

Black and White TV Writers

Who do you have to boycott to get a polite rejection around here?

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Unlike LaDarius, whom I obviously made up (though his letters and the responses are real), I actually am trying to break into television as a writer. And after more than a hundred letters, including two previous rounds, nobody had ever called me to say that they couldn't read my specs but wished me good luck anyway. In fact, until this last round, nobody had ever called me—period. I had received one written response from the two previous mail-outs combined. It was my own letter returned to me with the words "I am sorry but I am unable to discuss representation with you at this time" typed on the upper right hand corner of the page. Apparently, I wasn't even worth a clean piece of agency letterhead.

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And the moral? Some may hold that this experiment illustrates reverse racism. Others—and I tend to be in this camp, when I can force myself to think objectively—see it more as Hollywood behaving exactly as it should have been doing even without pressure from the NAACP: trying extra hard to find minority writers. But the real moral is that in Hollywood you need affirmative action just to get rejected politely. 

Bob Spyglass is a pseudonym for an aspiring TV writer in Los Angeles.

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