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Quotes / Executive Meddling

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    Film — Live-Action 

"We were pitching a story. Again, I won’t mention any names.note  But we’re dealing with one of the highest ranking people at this network. We’re explaining how we’re writing an episode where there’s a fire out on the hull and the guys have to get into space suits and go out on the hull of the ship and they go across the hull and put the fire out and one of them… da da da da da… And there’s like five of ’em sitting around a table, they’re all nodding and going “that’s great.” And this one person in question — one of the highest, if not the highest, ranking person person in the room — said, “I just have one question: what’s a hull?”"
Rick Berman on Star Trek: Enterprise, In Conversation

"Watchmen’s opening was amazing. It would have been great if it only hadn't received the Zack Snyder Treatment."
Sawyer Wallace


"I made him a flushed, dishevelled, bedevilled scallawag, with his helmet at the back of his head, and the living fear of death in his eye, and the blood oozing out of a cut over his ankle-bone. He wasn't pretty, but he was all soldier and very much man. […]

I did him just as well as I knew how, making allowance for the slickness of oils. Then the art-manager of that abandoned paper said that his subscribers wouldn’t like it. It was brutal and coarse and violent — man being naturally gentle when he’s fighting for his life.
They wanted something more restful, with a little more colour. I could have said a good deal, but you might as well talk to a sheep as an art-manager.
I took my "Last Shot" back. Behold the result! I put him into a lovely red coat without a speck on it. That is Art. I polished his boots — observe the highlight on the toe. That is Art. I cleaned his rifle — rifles are always clean on service — because that is Art."
Dick, The Light That Failed by Rudyard Kipling.


    Live-Action TV 

Crow: Okay, The Final Sacrifice: The Series
Mike: The name goes.
Crow: What?
Mike: Never liked the name. The name goes. It's banal.
Crow: But if you’re hoping to connect the series with the movie, Mike—
Mike: I need something like, oh, Night Mistress.
Crow: Night Mistress.
Mike: Yeah, or Cloochie and the Lieutenant, something that’s gonna seduce people, really connect with 'em. We’ll work on that.
Mystery Science Theater 3000, engaging in some frightfully accurate roleplay during the credits of The Final Sacrifice

Pearl: Okay, great. Art, uh, I have looked over your script.
Crow: Oh, good, uh... Let me just say that I will not have this script tampered with!
Pearl: And, clearly, there are some major script revisions needed.
Crow: Uh, sure, great, absolutely, fine, fine, whatever. And, uh, uh, um, uh, what kind of budget are we looking at here, uh, Pearl... Dr. Forrester? Heh.
Dr. Forrester: Well, we could only get you about 30 million for the entire movie, so, how that shakes out is roughly, well ten percent for each of us, uh, ten percent for the company, insurance, uh...
Pearl: Administration, holding fee, completion bonds.
Dr. Forrester: So, we should be able to shoot you about eight hundred dollars for the entire movie.
Crow: What? Eight hundred from... from thirty mil... I can't do anything for eight hundred dollars! Come on!
Pearl: Huh.
Dr. Forrester: Hal Needham once said, "Give me a fire-bird and a delapidated building and I'll give you drama!"
Crow: Oh... eight hundred sounds fine... oh, okay! Alright, okay, okay, we're making a movie!
Mike: Hey!
Crow: You guys are gonna be in my movie!
Mike: Alright, yeah.
Pearl: And the studio insists on Kevin Bacon.
Crow: Kevin Bacon? How we supposed to get Kevin Bacon? We can't afford him! How're we gonna get him up here?
Pearl: Well, again guys, this is the big time.

"It's called "Show Business," not "Show Art."
Maggie O'Connell, Northern Exposure

"Nothing can ruin a good idea like a roomful of men."
Denise, Trust Me


'Z' is for zoo
That's where I belong
'Cause my life is like a prison
With the music industry looking on
Johnny Massacre, "Ultrasound"

One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity
Rush, "The Spirit of Radio"

I am the entertainer
And I've come to do my show
You heard my latest record
It's been on the radio
It took me years to write it
They were the best years of my life
It was a beautiful song, but it ran too long
If you're gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit
So they cut it down to 3:05
Billy Joel, "The Entertainer"

They said release "Remote Control"
But we didn't want it on the label
They said, "Fly to Amsterdam"
The people laughed but the press went mad
The Clash, "Complete Control"note 

To those who understand, I extend my hand
To the doubtful, I demand: Take me as I am
Not under your command; I know where I stand
I won't change to fit your plan; take me as I am
Dream Theater, refrain to "As I Am"


"And my managers must learn that their place is in an office. Not the arts."

    Web Animation 

''"You know, what pisses me off is that all the things I'm good at are things that everyone assumes they could do if they tried. Playing the bassoon or fluffing a walrus people respect, 'cause there's a specialist skill goes into those, but writing? "Pah! I learnt that in school! Fucking aced it! They made me start doing it all in joined-up letters just to give everyone else a chance! And that, Mr. Croshaw, is why I felt my background production made me qualified to rewrite all the story copy you did for us to be more like a recent popular film." "Well, you know what I say to that, Mr. Producer? Fifty dollars an hour, please!" Blimey, I wonder how people with integrity get through Life.

Yahtzee: Turns out a big chunk of this "online-multiplayer"-focused game is a single-player campaign. Oh, Nintendo, you poor sod! Someone suggested making an online shooter and was smart enough not to stand on the trapdoor to the piranha tank, so you had to reach a compromise, but you just couldn't fight the old instincts!
Nintendo exec: *cries aloud as his hand refuses to shake the dev's*

    Web Comics 

Pip: You deal with those types more than me; how is someone so dense granted decision making privileges at all?
Art: I think they give you an IQ test. If they see you cheating to pass it: You're management material.


    Web Original 

"Having lived in Los Angeles for nearly three months, I can assure you that panel two’s depiction of a Hollywood producer is 100% accurate."

"If you shoot something in your backyard using a borrowed camera and your buddies, congratulations, you have total creative freedom. But if you want a big, loud movie with whatever actors the general population wants to have sex with at the time (currently Ryan Gosling, Jennifer Lawrence, and Flo from those Progressive Auto Insurance commercials), you're going to need someone else's money. And that someone else? He's got some notes …"

"And despite already knowing this movie was directed by Anthony Hemingway and not George Lucas, I think my subconscious mind knew better and for the longest time, my draft had the director listed as Lucas. This movie looks and sounds so much like a Lucas film that I could seriously not tell the difference. Hemingway must have had Lucas on his back the whole production."

"With For the Love of Money, a decidedly more chipper-sounding Harry announces, after the re-tooled opening credit sequence that he's on assignment in Los Angeles (the once doleful theme has been jazzed up to tell us it's "exciting" now). He rents a swank beachside apartment in Santa Monica where he's immediately befriended by three bikini-clad girls … so it's time for Harry to gradually ditch the bus (his car had a miraculous recovery), and to gradually ease off on the narration, and to gradually start carrying a gun and gradually slugging it out with the perps, with nary a mention of the bullet in his back (in the old episodes, a simple shove from a suspect was enough to put out Harry's lights). Harry casually mentions that his beloved beach bungalow back in Dago has been bulldozed and that Santa Monica is now home plate (uh…a California disability check buys a beachfront cottage in Santa Monica?), and the girls come and go, and increasingly indestructible, increasingly unremarkable Harry's adventures become more thoroughly routine with each passing episode."
Paul Mavis on Harry O.

"Hang on one cotton-picking minute…isn’t season three of TNG when Micheal Piller joined the show? And suddenly its really rather good! In exactly the same way when he left Voyager it turned shite! Maybe, just maybe there is a trend here."

"“Future Guy” is very much an outside force trying to distort the narrative, trying to edit the show from the inside. What exactly “Future Guy” is trying to do is a mystery — it’s always the way with network notes."
Darren Mooney on Star Trek: Enterprise, "Broken Bow"

"There’s a sense that the show is being punished for its success; having done reasonably well as an odd BBC Three show, it now gets 'promoted' to being a blander BBC Two show."

'"Left to his own devices, he can be a pretty decent announcer. Unfortunately, that headset he gets fed his lines through is one of Vince McMahon’s devices."''

    Web Video 

"Why is he so important? Since when is bein' a billionaire that owns the company making the movie mean you got some kinda say in it?"

Jay: It's nothing but an endless series of compromises. And that's with complete control! We just don't have any money!
Max: Imagine the compromises are somebody taking away the monster, and bringing it back, and now it has AIDS.
Half in the Bag, "A Conversation With Max Landis"

Now, in fairness, this storyline was an editorial mandate. In fact, most of these turns to evil were editorial mandates, further proving that editors aren't writers, so they should stop pretending they are!
Linkara, Top 15 Worst Heroes Becoming Villains, referring to the evil Cassandra Cain storyline

    Western Animation 

All we ever want is indecision
All we really like is what we know
Gotta balance style with adherence
Making sure we make a good appearance
Even if you simply have to fudge it
Make sure that it stays within our budget
— The Stressed Reprise of "Stitching it Together (Art of the Dress)", My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

Guano: But... but you said you'd never tamper with my creative vision.
Ozu: [Calmly] I didn't tamper... [Angrily] I lit it on fire — and danced on the ashes!

Chocolate grain
If you have diabetes, stay away
Chocolate grain
It's something that our lawyers made us say
— "Chocolate Grain", Robot Chicken

Milhouse: Mr. Moore, will you sign my DVD copy of Watchmen Babies? Which of your babies is your favorite?
Alan Moore: You see what the bloody corporations do?! They take your ideas and suck them! Suck them like leeches until they've got every last drop of the marrow from your bones!

    Real Life 

"The animated features today and most TV cartoons are written by comittees of people who try to figure out what entertains an audience. They should instead be written by entertaining people who already know because they entertain people everywhere they go in real life. That's why we have so much insincere non-entertainment crap like "Character-arcs", bad puns, ripoffs of famous movies in the guise of "parody", contrived pathos, characters who try to find themselves, bland protagonists, one-shaded villains, broadway style tuneless songs that "move the plot forward", in every damn feature. Anyone in the world can learn how to "write" this kind of stuff. It's not "story" or writing. It's just stuff."

"I'm sick to death of being fucked about by men in suits sitting on their fat arses in the City!"
John Lennon, expressing his frustration over The Beatles not legally owning their own songs (long story …)

"There is no idea so good it can't be ruined by a few well-placed idiots."

"I would like to relay an editorial comment that I received near the end of my time writing the Dark Knight New 52 series. In one scene, I had written that Batman is sitting on a rooftop during an intense conversation, close to a person who has been injured. The editorial comment: 'We're not sure you are "getting" the character because it's common knowledge that Batman never sits down.'"
Paul Jenkins

"If I was one of the core Spider-Man writers, I'd probably be pissed as hell if I was being flooded with long-winded memos from my editor in chief, my fellow writers, some overeager assistant editor kid, a continuity cop, and "outside" writers, all detailing what I should be writing in my book."
Editor/Writer Glenn Greenberg on The Clone Saga

"With making a film, it's like trying to create a tune in the shower, while you have a hundred people singing around you."

"This, by the way, is why screenwriting pays so well. They don't pay me to write. I'd write for free. They pay me NOT to punch people in the neck."

"What you have to remember is that in the movies there are two types of people: 1) the directors, artists, actors and so on who have to do things and are often quite human and 2) the other lifeforms. Unfortunately you have to deal with the other lifeforms first. It is impossible to exaggerate their baleful stupidity."
Terry Pratchett, after a Mort movie deal falls apart when execs ask him to "lose the Death angle"

"I said, 'You have a fantastic script. I think you’re insane, George.' You can say things like that to George, and he doesn’t even blink. He’s one of the most stubborn men I know."
Frank Darabont on the making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Janet Fielding: If you're doing science-fiction you're supposed to be talking about the things that are gonna shape us and shape our future; you know, what does technology mean for the interaction between humans beings what happens to social structures, and all those kinds of things. And yet, there you are, really, doing the most conservative interpretation of television and storytelling at the time. It's an irony.
Peter Davison: I was thinking of applying for the job at the BBC the next time it came up just so I can go in and tell 'em what I really think.
Fielding: I think that you'll find that other people who have done that haven't necessarily done well.
Davison: "You make rubbish!"
Doctor Who, "Snakedance" audio commentary

"Obviously, a different show was sold to different markets, which is why'd get different notes form the Germans and the French, and they'd be totally different shows from what (the executive producer) and I thought we were doing. And so you'd try to make adjustments. And you really can't be everything to everybody. There needs to be one clear vision of what it is, to make it work."
David Abramowitz on the (horrific) shooting of Highlander: The Raven

Gene Roddenberry: [Throws back script] We’re not doing it.
Ira Behr: Why?
Gene: Captain Picard is John Wayne. And John Wayne is not afraid of growing old or becoming an admiral. He isn’t afraid of anything.
Ira: Hold on a second, Gene: I happen to be quite a fan of John Wayne, and I can show you tons of his best movies where he’s afraid, where he has doubts, where he’s conflicted—
Gene: No, no. That’s not the John Wayne I’m talking about. I’m talking about John Wayne. That’s who Picard is. There is no problem! If they made him an admiral, he’d just go, “Fine! I’m an admiral! And that’s just the way it is and I’m not gonna worry about it. And I’ll just do it! Everything’s good!” This story will never get done.
Ira: Okay…
Gene: But I really like this pleasure planet idea! Here’s what I wanna see… We’re going to get him laid. And this is what I want. We’re going to get him laid and we’re going to really show this pleasure planet.
—Ira Behr on leaving Star Trek: The Next Generation, Resistance Is Futile: Assimilating Star Trek

"'Creative Reasons' has been an Executive Bullshit excuse for DECADES. It IS financial. AJ is a dreamboat. And yes, I am hurt, too."
Paget Brewster in a tweet after finding out that her and AJ Cook's parts were being eliminated

"A gaggle of new producers micromanaged every aspect of the show, certain they knew what worked on the network better than the original cast and creative team."
What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, on how FX's Breakfast Time was meddled with when it moved to FOX and became FOX After Breakfast

"Ed was all about showing off the ENTIRE Realms, so DMs would early on really feel what it was like to have steamy jungles AND howling glaciers, pirates in the tropics and grim northern warriors, etc etc ad infinitum.

Ed would have given us a Mirt doing nasty mercantile swindling in the streets and back alleys novel, a Dabron Sashenstar exploring hitherto unchartered wilderness novel, a novel from the point of view of elder dragons trying to fight off human incursions into their domains novel, a dwarves fighting internally to either promote or resist change that's being forced upon them by humans, a "what life is like down in Undermountain" novel, a "traitor amongst The Simbul's apprentices" novel, a "growing up as an enslaved, beautiful, ambitious female in Thay" novel, and so on and on.

Yes, ALL of those were outlined in Ed's plans. Ed never intended the Realms to be a place of signature characters and concentrating on the Knights or anyone else. He wanted it more like Terry Pratchett's Discworld, where recurring characters can show up in any book, but each book tells a story all its own.

Sigh. So much lost …"
The Hooded One, Lady Herald of Realmslore.

"I would like to hear more of the consummate melodic master, but I feel that big business and his record company have had a corrupting influence on his material. The rock and pop thing certainly draws a wider audience. It happens more and more these days, that unqualified people with executive positions try to tell musicians what is good and what is bad music."

"That's because they kicked me off the production to make all the changes they wanted."
Andrew Dickman on Action Dad

"The producer, Konnie Kwak, and the company, ToonZone (Animation Development Inc) that produced the show, made and changed the show without my knowledge, aired it overseas (it never aired in the US) never told me about it and never paid me the money I was contractually owed for each episode that had my name on it. I found out five years later what they did, and everyone involved has either changed their number or will not contact me. There, I rather move on and leave it alone please"
Andrew Dickman is upset with ToonZone Studios for ruined Action Dad without his consent.


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