11/14/2007

Not the Daily Show, With Some Writers

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this is what they are using to represent how good they are and why they should be paid more then they are in big trouble. Shouldn't you be funny if you are a comedy writer?

Anonymous said...

So you like making videos and posting them on YouTube? Good, I'm glad the 14 of you who write for The Daily Show, and probably pull in what, 3-5 grand a week, are having a fun time. Meanwhile why don't you make a video featuring all the crew members you have put out of work. I'm sure that will be on the same level of humor as this one and will get a ton of hits.

Caitlin said...

Ohh, thank you, thank you, sweet TDS writers. We needed that hit of perfect snark injected straight into our veins. How we miss thee. Many of us will probably bust out a bottle of champagne the day you come back on the air. At least I know I will. Keep up the picketing! The fans are behind you!

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear: the Daily Show writers did not put anybody out of work, last I checked. If a pink slip was sent out, my guess is that it was from the same gigantic corporation that refuses to pay TDS writers for their content.
And that was some funny s**t, trolls aside.

Dorkman said...

Just goes to show you what the writers' contribution really is. Without the writers, Jon Stewart is off the air. Without Jon Stewart, look at that, the high quality of the writing is exactly the same.

I'm not downplaying Jon's contribution, but this certainly plays UP the value of the writers in the style and substance of the show.

And anon 1 and 2: if you're going to be assholes, at least have the balls to do it under your real names.

Anonymous said...

"Dorkman" makes a good point, have the balls to post under your REAL NAMES!

Dorkman said...

Hm. Checking the page, I'm the only one who posted here under an actual profile, which you can click and get not ONLY my real name, BUT my e-mail address. Blog username aside, I'm more than willing to back up my words with my identity.

Anyone else?

Daniel S. said...

I enjoyed the video from the TDS guys. They have great writing and comic timing and I want them back at work soon. Wait a minute, it's the big media that doesn't!

Allie said...

You guys make a good point. Stay strong, WGA! Fight for this, you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

That was brilliant! And for anyone who doesn't understand a writer's contribution to a show, really hits home.

Good luck writers. I feel badly for all the other workers affected by the strike, but blaming the writers for what are a truly rational set of requirements against big media doesn't seem right. Like hating the kid who gets bullied with you, just because they get bullied slightly less.

Anonymous said...

What so you post your name so people can IMDB your "amazing" work and then come back with a new found respect? I CHOSE to remain under the title Anon due to the fact that if the WGA is willing to ask people to turn their own in then what would they do to someone who isn't with them?

Hey Dorkman, nice choice of username by the way, why don't you and your balls continue to drink the Koolaid and kid yourself that you are winning this thing. I'm going to go watch the newly Fox sponsered Family Guy Page on YouTube.

David Grenier said...

I don't want to be the voice of dissent, here, but I think this video shows that good comedy writing and good presentation are not the same thing. I thought it was funny, but the delivery wasn't nearly as good as Stewarts would be.

As far as the continued "what about the crew" nonsense - if you care about IATSE get down to broadway and join their pickets. Otherwise, stop crying crocodile tears.

Sam said...

Awesome, brilliant, the best.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't someone knock off a few of these corporate thiefs. I bet they would get the message then. Plus it would be so ironic since almost every movie has an antagonist and protagonist.

Anonymous said...

Hey David, how do you propose IATSE members and non-members in LA pay for the ticket? See most here are out of work, are you offering to help pay? If so I know many IATSE members who would gladly fly out to help them.

By the way your down playing of the impact this has on IATSE members in film and TV is just showing how uninformed you are. Show many any writer or actor who would not cross the picket line if the grips decided to strike one day, they wouldn't think twice about it.

Anonymous said...

I thought writers were one strike.....So if that's the case shouldn't they stop writing? I mean isn't the WGA boasting "Pencils down, means pencils down"? Explain to me how this video is following that, please.

Anonymous said...

All of you out there thinking IATSE is really in you corner should read this:

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117975994.html?categoryid=2821&cs=1

Captain Obvious said...

It's hard to be a writer and not be creative. Pencils down was directed primarily at the struck companies. This video was clearly written as a guild promotion. I can't imagine anyone other than the opposition having a problem with that.

Captain Obvious said...

Yes, anon, let me go read Variety for all my unbiased industry news needs!



/sarcasm off

Misslizabennet said...

Oh that was fabulous!! Just proves that studio execs are insane beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain why don't you just read it? then come back and comment.

Rhianna said...

anonymous #1 and #2 -- they're on strike, and they are working with the best they've got. It's cheesy, sure, but they're not going to create full-fledged episodes that are poorly broadcasted episodes on YouTube. Lay off a little, because I'd like to see you write what they write.

Sarah Cummins said...

Huzzah, DS writers! As a fan, and someone who hopes to have a future in writing, I'm behind you 100%.

Your intellectual property is YOURS; I'd like to see the studio heads make their shows work without your words behind them.

And while I'm sad that my favorite shows are going to be down for a while- unless the studio CEOs pull their collective heads out of their collective asses, of course- I'd rather have to depend on my DVD collection for a long time then know that you guys are making quality TV possible, and not getting the respect you deserve for it.

Again, huzzah, and keep strong. All of us sensible people are behind you.

Luke S. said...

I think the writers should end the strike... for ONE DAY. That way it would take the studios another six weeks to be able use the force majeure clause in the contract. And of course writers can do this every five weeks and six days until they get a fair contract.

May the Force be with the writers!

Anonymous said...

Look, you're right. Everybody knows you're right. They have the money. You should get something for streaming web content. Yes, it would be good to get a boost in dvd residuals. You probably should be striking. I believe you when you say they need to respond to your latest requests in order to get back to the table. I must say this though. The writers and studios need each other and I hope somebody starts pointing this fact out fast. I'm sure it feels good to hurl insults at the super rich. How do you think P.A.'s feel all over Hollywood when they do it? This whole strike is seriously like watching teenagers punch each other in the arm before they realize they really want to be making out!! Tone it done and fast. Face it, you need each other in a bad way! Why do writers need studios? The very reason you hate them so much, they're disgustingly wealthy and have the financial means to make a writer's vision come to life. Not only that, they can put a sizable amount of coin in a writer's pocket too, with an upfront check and later with a residual check. Studios need writers because of the obvious. They are the most talented artists in town, true visionaries in many instances, and create the world's greatest entertainment which the studios need to fill their stream over the internet. Again, once everybody realizes the importance of who now is so vehemently viewed as the enemy, all will once again be showering in money!!

I say this not to be a putz, or discredit what I am sure is an honest fight for what is right. Honestly, I support the writers here, but as an outsider and fan, I'm growing tired of the rhetoric and want real movement and dialogue towards an end to this strike.

Captain Obvious said...

Alright I read the Variety article. Looks to me like an attempt to break ranks. That's not going to resolve this, only an acceptable deal will.

Anonymous said...

Two the first extremely rude commenters... The writers are not "trying" to prove anything. They have already proved themselves night after night. They are simply making a point.

Nevertheless, it was still the great sense of humor and amazing wit that attracts MILLIONS of views a night!

I see no reason why the writers should not be paid comparable salaries to that of their talking heads.

Anonymous said...

To Captain:

It only looks like an attempt to break ranks because it is a group standing up to counter what the WGA is doing. I don't think IATSE is looking to break the unions, they just don't like to see one union hurting so many others. They just want to see their members being able to go on living their lives instead of suffering because the WGA wants another 2 cents. If the those 2 cents really aren't that much I want you to tally up all the jobs lost, income lost, layoffs, and businesses hurt by those 2 cents and then tell me that.

Bargin Finder said...

As a TV viewer I stand beside all TV writers. I am so glad to see this video by the Daily Show writers. God, how I miss you and Jon. I along with many other TV viewers support you and your fellow writers. Stay on strike as long as it takes and get what you deserve. I will take the time to rent DVD'S of shows I haven't seen yet and watch those. I will not be watching anything reality related.

As for those who post anonymously and complain about the others who are losing there jobs I feel for those who are out of work also but I really don't think they would be there if not for the great writers who actually write the shows they work for.

I am just a TV viewer. I live in Indiana and have no writing skills nor any stake to this strike but I will put my name behind this post and will continue to support the writers. Without them my favorite shows would not be worth watching.

Melissa Miller
lovebeachtime@gmail.com

Anita said...

Oh, I miss the daily show! So.dang.much! The writing on this bit? Hilarious! The delivery? Eh...not so much! But, big ups anyway!

I hate that the writers are on strike but, support them in their efforts! I just hope you awesome writers out there are throwing some love to the folks on Broadway striking...since I'm not hearing anything about actors standing in line over there!

Let's not bash...let us hope things get resolved quickly! So that EVERYONE can get back to work!

I'm not a WGA member, just a big 'ol fan of Film and Television who manages to kill many hours in front of both.

Bonnie said...

Whatever they're paying you, it's not enough!

Captain Obvious said...

Nah if it was just someone disagreeing I'd be fine with that. It's the fact that it's being parroted by Variety that seems suspect to me.

WGA's contract has expired and, as a result, these actions are understandable. To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. It's obtuse to think the writers aren't concerned about the plight of everyone involved. It's similarly obtuse to expect them to accept and unacceptable deal in order to avoid a work stoppage.

Maureen said...

it's interesting that "anonymous" always has something nasty to say. i wonder if "anonymous" is one of the four percent who support the media barons. anon never considers that it is those guys who have put him/her out of work.

Anonymous said...

To Maureen:

I know where the pink slips come from, but would you expect them not to come with the strike? If there are no scripts to shoot why would any studio keep on a crew of 100+ to just sit around and do no work? It would almost be like they would be paying the crew residuals.....

lianamarkley said...

There's nothing as potent as doing a little research. Well done.

Mental Produce said...

Tragic, but absurdly humorous.

Support the writers, without which there would only be the stand up comedy of Bill O'Reilly...can anyone say "creative apocalypse".

redblack said...

Please keep in mind that "residuals" are not bonuses, they are part of the deal. "Leftover payment" owed to writers for work done. We are partners in the creation of this material and share accordingly with how well the material that "We, Writers" created does. Also, the WGA members can be fired for missing work because they will not cross picket lines. Many of the other Unions cannot be punished for refusing to cross a picket line.

Though comparing jobs is as futile as arguing in the comments section of a blog, one should note several differences. Writers do not get "golden time, meal penalties or "twelve hour turn-around." Also, a WGA job sometimes means that you are restricted from creating other work. Just as an actor who gets a Wendy's commercial may not work in any other fast food commercial for a long time.

Worker's never take a strike vote lightly. We didn't take this one lightly and we feel for everyone who is out of work because of it.

Sean said...

I don't think IATSE is looking to break the unions, they just don't like to see one union hurting so many others.

And what of the Local 1 strike? Mind you, the cutbacks and the change of work rules the League was putting forth were bull, but what are they doing if not "hurting" the industry by depriving them of revenues. They have a reason to be out there, for the same reason.

Let us not forget that despite President Short's accusation of Verrone and WGA top brass being irresponsible labor leaders, Short has felt it fine to allow concessions from the studios on a number of issues. Its one of the reasons Haskell Wexler sought to be prexy of IATSE 600, as well the beef most of the rank and file have with "responsible" labor leader Short (who has sought to impose top down control on any local who might seek to vote down a contract or ask for real union democracy). IATSE is not a very democratic union (arguably none of the Hollywood unions are), so its hard to buy Short's rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

JOHN OLIVER!!!!!!!!1

OH I LOVE HIMMMMM <333333333

so good TO SEE HIM again!!!!

Patrick Meighan said...

Anonymous (oh brave "Anonymous"), here is Patric Verrone's response to Tom Short:

WRITERS GUILD WEST PRESIDENT PATRIC M. VERRONE RESPONDS

TO IATSE PRESIDENT THOMAS SHORT

Los Angeles – Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) President Patric M. Verrone today issued the following statement in response to a letter received from International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) President Thomas Short:


Dear Tom,

I am in receipt of your letter of November 13th.

As I’m sure you know, for every four cents writers receive in theatrical residuals, directors receive four cents, actors receive 12 cents, and the members of your union receive 20 cents in contributions to their health fund.

To put it simply, our fight should be your fight. We’ve received support from the Teamsters, the actors, many IATSE members, and unions throughout the world.

As we’ve stated clearly, we are willing to negotiate; we have wanted to negotiate; we are here to negotiate. Despite the fact that the AMPTP conceded progress was being made on November 4th, the last day of negotiations, they walked out and have not returned.

So please help us by doing everything you can to get the AMPTP to come back to the table and settle this strike, which, as you say, is devastating to your members, to our members, and to the entire town.

In solidarity,

Patric M. Verrone

--------

Posted by:
Patrick Meighan
Culver City, CA

Rachel said...

I miss you so, Daily Show writers!

Thanks for the smiles!

Keep on fighting!

Liz said...

First - I am and have been in complete support of the WGA and the writers during this strike. And I am not affiliated with either side or with LA/NY at all.

However, this video is absurd and serves to lower you all to "stupifying" levels:

*This video makes it clear that it's not the writers (alone) who make television and film great. Writers belong behind the camera. And why no actors? No crew? no graphics? It makes it appear as though none of those crew or cast members support you.

*The video clips of Sumner certainly could be fair use, but the clips at the beginning are not. I hope you paid up to use that footage. Think of the poor writers who worked on those films from which you took clips.

*Pencils down means pencils down. You can't strike and then put out your own news-parody parody on the internet.

*And worst of all - not only did you write during a strike, but your written material went on the web and you did it free of charge, all the while promoting a television show that makes money for the people you are striking against.

I hate to say it, but maybe ya'll are asking for it...

(or at least these particular writers are.)

Anonymous said...

Liz,

I fear you are missing the point.
And why no actors? No crew? no graphics? It makes it appear as though none of those crew or cast members support you.

Not to me. It made it appear that a couple of guys wanted to do a strike parody and did so. They didn't want it to be a huge elaborate production, because as you yourself said in your post, they are "pencils down." You do know that you are asking it to me more elaborate and then later you criticize them for saying they are "pencils down."

Also, they are walking around in the middle of Times Square??!?!? Were they supposed to do a full on production while people picket around them. Furthermore, what crew were you expecting? Unless they wanted to go rent some cameras and spend money what were you expecting them to do?

I find what they did fine. So because they are not supposed to be writing, what next? No slogans on their strike signs. No op-eds to the press? I think given the current situation with Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, the LA Times and the New York Times and how biased the media has been so far and considering how the strike is getting minimal coverage on the news, pieces like these are needed to show their side. Are you saying they shouldn't say anything? And if they do, then what? It should be dry and tasteless and boring so NO ONE listens to it or watches it because "Pencils Down."

*Pencils down means pencils down. You can't strike and then put out your own news-parody parody on the internet.

So should they just throw out some huge manifesto, not properly organized because they said "pencils down?" "pencils down" is against the struck companies. They are not doing any writing for them. They can not work for them. Last I checked, You Tube was not a struck company. (in an effort to present their side of the strike which has been woefully misrepresented so far?

but your written material went on the web and you did it free of charge

Uhm, the web is the only place they can place this sort of thing. What do you suggest? They pay millions of dollars in advertising money to get the ad on the air and line the pockets of the television companies they are striking against? Or better yet, they say nothing and let the Companies use their television stations to only present their side of the story and bury the writers side? Also, who pray tell would be paying them for this ad, Liz? Who should they be asking for money so that it's not free of charge? You Tube? The Daily Show?

Seriously.

The mind boggles.

Richard C. said...

Love your video. Please do some more. Thank you all for the Daily Show. I couldn't live without it. However I do support you guys 100% & do not mind it off the air for months or longer.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how horrible the first comment is. Paraphrased, it's "Make me laugh, funny boy!!!"

jm said...

I have been literally waiting for this exact thing from this show's writers.

Now figure out how to monetize your now indie work, and you'll be speaking the AMPTPs language: Not just taking money away from them by not working; someone else making money they could have. Essentially, don't just refrain, become the competition.

Hubbers said...

Go the writers keep up the good fight against the GREEDY studios

Lawrence said...

That was Amazing! You guys did that with a camera, a computer, some free time and couple of friends. It was better than half the shows on CBS, NBC, ABC, and most of Saturday night live.

I support you folks and your plight to get what's yours. I will miss these videos though. Maybe you don't need the studios and just do it all yourself, then you can be the master of your own destiny..and residuals

David Grenier said...

Liz,

This is about as ridiculous as saying that when Teamsters or Transport Workers are on strike they have to stop driving.

Face it, this is nothing but a straw man argument.

PandaGun said...

On the flip side of the coin, as this video shows, there is nothing stoping the writers from producing their own show and distributing themselves, taking all the risk (minimal production costs) and thus all the profit. I don't share in the profits of my organization, though the software I write (there is no "software writer's guild"!) will help my company make money for years to come. I get a salary, and maybe a bonus, but like most careers, if I want maximum profit for my creations I don't expect it to come from a salaried position. As much as I agree that the media companies are greedy, I think this feeling of "entitlement" from people who work in entertainment is rediculous. Don't like the way your treated? Make your own productions (again: itunes, youtube, direct dvd sales, etc) or change careers, like everyone else. You're in a unique position as distribution models change to take charge of the direction of your careers. If you believe that you are worth more than your getting paid, prove it. I'd love to see some alternatives being offered, and will be one of your paying customers.

Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith said...

Thanks for the on-strike TDS dose. Please set up a channel on Youtube and make regular video releases. As TDS has amply proven, regular snarky videos is the best way to get people's attention.

Joe Schembrie said...

Maybe you guys should start your own network. Redstone has the money and the infrastructure, you have the jokes. We'll see who laughs.

Anonymous said...

I totally side with the writers -- in fact, I'm a professional writer myself, just not in TV (to many douchenozzles in that field).

But the video just wasn't that funny. It makes a salient point, that Sumner Redstone is a two-faced cunt. But facts is facts. And funny is funny. The video? Not funny.

Dabney Braggart said...

The writers are exercising personal responsibility and standing up for what they consider their property rights, good Republican virtues (except to that sort of Republican who only cares about the rights of non-natural "persons", viz the 14th Amendment until c. 1940).

"Personal responsibility?"---yes, indeed: they are using their power (as they estimate it) to attain goals they think are legitimately theirs. They aren't waiting for a government or a condescending saviour to make their lives better; they're showing initiative and engaging in risk-taking for their own damn sakes. Since I feel in basic sympathy for them, I easily assume that they've factored in the suffering of the crew and proceeded anyway because they feel they can't be door-mats for the sake of the crew/hostages...but even if they've been purely selfish then they've only begun to approach the moral levels of the corporate (from above).

Of course, if the crew unions strike and the writers don't support them, don't honour their picket lines, urge the shows to use scab crew, well then those who act in that way are arseholes plain and simple...and so exactly at the corporate level.

Anonymous said...

Its time for WGA tv. No more studios!
I'll watch your tv shows on the internet with low budget props for however long it takes until you build a successful business model to leave the studios behind. Now is the time to "just do it" all yourself!

Captain Obvious said...

Interesting idea. If it wasn't for the years of transition time before internet takes over TV, it might just be doable...

Tim said...

So, let me get this straight: As an act of protest against media moguls who don't pay Hollywood writers a sufficient percentage on Internet revenues, the Daily Show writers have posted an Internet video of the strike on YouTube, a for-profit corporation which will make money off their video in precisely the same manner Viacom would have while paying these guys absolutely nothing for their work.

I'm laughing at the superior intellect.

NobodySpecial said...

Let's see here... corporations vs. unions = a battle of power hungry unaccountable institutions, both pretending to represent individuals while steadily undermining them.

If only they could both lose.

I would support the writers 100% if they would only drop their union weapon and act like responsible individuals, instead of forcing those who don't/can't afford to agree with them to be out of a job.

You folks want to exercise your power, then QUIT your slave job. Until then, you lie in the bed you made. It is up to you to negotiate a workable contract for yourself (including payments for online distribution), not some gangster with a lawyer. Is there some reason you cannot do this? Don't you have any value that your company recognizes and wants to retain? If so, I don't see any problem. If not, how is this anyone's fault but your own?

Picket lines are not American, but communist tools used to leverage innocent people as a force against others. Do you really believe your cause to be so important that it is ok to operate like a gang, preying on the innocent for your own personal gain?

You writers should be ashamed of using such disgusting tactics. Sure it gives you a feeling of solidarity, but at what cost?

Have you no decency?

littlehorn said...

"Let's see here... corporations vs. unions = a battle of power hungry unaccountable institutions, both pretending to represent individuals while steadily undermining them."

Huh hello !?
CEOs = Wealthy Old White Guys
Unions = Workers
Unions organize strikes to put pressure on the Rich White Guys so the Rich White Guys give them more money. Or in this case, give them a small percentage of income over internet content.
How does that undermine the workers ?
Because some of them were laid off ?
Hey you idiot, the rich white guy has the reins, he can decide to broker a fair deal with the writers, or he can decide not to.
The Viacom CEO is responsible for the laying off of people, for the near danger of the industry, he made the writers go on strike.

So stop making it look like you care about the workers, you don't. You care about the poor CEOs who don't want to give even a little slice of the internet cake.

As for AMPTP, it's sucking the CEOs cocks real good. Then, they talk about the strikers undermining the industry, what a joke !
The ones who undermine the industry are those who broker unfair deals with writers, refuse to change them and then get surprised that the latter go on strike for their rights. You want to stop the destruction, broker a fair deal. It's not that difficult, and it's only a small percentage on what you already earn.

This country is already anti-human rights, it's anti-democracy, and now it's obvious it's anti-workers.

Huston Huddleston said...

Surely someone can do a satire that's actually funny and witty and well written...

Anonymous said...

More money, Les Moonves!

Luke Wm said...

Attacking writers for writing an explanation of why they won't work until their compensation improves is demented. Blame placed on writers for the suspension of business in Hollywood is misplaced blame; why not affix it to the employers who deny the writers a fair cut of profits? Criticizing writers for not being great presenters in front of a camera is beside the point. And to suggest that writers are all effete, elite, and wealthy is insidious: I worked as a PA in Hollywood for 3 years (7 years ago) and I can tell you it is a very blue-collar industry, up to and including most of the writers -- who live in ordinary apartments and modest houses and in the majority of cases work long hours but have very short careers. They should get their residuals. If Viacom makes money and continues to make money from something written, so should its writer. That's straight-up America: you get paid what your work is worth, and if you don't think you get paid what it's worth, you can take a risk to try to get paid more. End of story.

Liz said...

Thank you, Tim. Finally someone else who can think deeper about the absurdity of this video post.

This video should be called "When Irony Goes Bad" - I think the Daily Show writers have finally found themselves on the other side of the Mobius strip.

Anonymous said...

Tim and Liz... there's nothing ironic about it. Youtube pays them nothing to get their message out, and Viacom pays them nothing for entertaining us.

Anonymous said...

First off, let me say that I empathize with the support staff that are now out of work due to the strike, it's not right that they have no income now.

But it's not a valid argument to say "the writers should go back to work because other people are suffering," that's an non sequiter fallacy right there. It IS a valid reason why the strike should end, but not necessarily why the writers should give up their strike. The issue is whether or not writers should be paid royalties for their past work.

Things are a little bit clearer in an extreme case. Consider this example: if coal miners strike because their company doesn't provide adequate safety measures or pay, but yet homes go cold for the winter... do you blame the miners or the company?

My suggestion is that you direct your ire towards the companies that aren't being reasonable with the writers and that have a hypocrital standpoint on this issue.

Asking to be paid for your market's worth isn't greed, trying to cheat your workers out of it is.

Lambert said...

nice vid, writers. that actually made me laugh. it was also somewhat of an eye-opener to me... since I'm a Dutch fellow (yes, living in that tiny country), I'm not really affected by this (yet?), and only heard of it through people I know from this online game I play. and what I initially read, pretty much came from the CEO's side. so yeah, biased.

after seeing this, you have my (cross-atlantean) support :)

Benjamin B said...

Unfortunately I have nothing original to add, and even if I did no one would read it. BUT! I feel compelled to say I think the writers not being compensated for every use of their work is unfair, and that their stance on the matter is logical and legal. Though I am no comedy writer, I would hope that if a publisher decided to put my books up for digital purchase, that I would still receive royalties, and not get shafted. Go WGA!

BILL GARDINER said...

Guilds, Associations, and Unions were originally formed in medieval times to protect the talented from oppressive treatment by the Aristocracy. Todays Aristocracy is no different than that of 700 years ago,only now they're called CEO's. Corporations are the new spawning ground for todays royalty, and Unions are the only hope of enforcing the Magna Carta on these new Kings. One thing I emplore the WGA members to do is make damned sure EACH and EVERY word is reviewed and THOROUGHLY disected BEFORE! you sign any agreements with management. Failure to do so may allow unwanted precedents to be set that may be difficult to impossible to rectify in the future. I hope everything works out well for you folks, and that these negotiations can be concluded soon. I'm really Jonesin' for some new Daily Shows!!

David said...

So... if I understand you correctly, you don't want to hear comments from "Anonymous" people who don't have accounts. I.e. people who do not regularly visit and would thus be most likely to agree with you.

You very much remind me of my college days, where the painfully-bad drama department kept downspiralling in quality because they ALL AGREED that they were wonderful.

I weep for the unions as a whole, because they are the genuine last bastion of the little guy against the wealthy. And you're abusing their good names. You guys? You're not a union, you're a clique.

Stop copying each others' bad ideas, and maybe people will support you because you write content worth watching.

Johnny Smoke said...

My apologies for being a little late to this party…

PandaGun and NobodySpecial you are the only two that have even come close to the heart of this argument. Having been a technical writer in the financial services industry for more than 20 years I’ve often wondered how, and why for that matter, writers and actors and whoever else is in the lower levels of the entertainment food chain feel they have a right to perpetual income on the work they create for their employers. I know of no other sector of industry that pays its employees in this manner. I have written thousands of documents including memos, manuals, manuscripts, business plans, sales plans, communication plans, brochures, videos and whitepapers just to name a few. Many of these documents have been used to create processes, explain procedures, sell products and serve as reference documents. Many are still in use today. Should I continue to receive residual income on these documents because my creative efforts are still in use? If I follow the logic of the entertainment industry I should. According to their standards, I should get paid indefinitely. Some may argue that I’m not an entertainer and while that’s true I don’t believe my work is any less important although it’s certainly not as funny, except for the video scripts that have Led Zeppelin lyrics sprinkled around them. There’s nothing like watching an executive vice president say “the song remains the same”. You write or create for a specific audience whether it’s for the employees of Merrill Lynch or people that watch The Tonight Show.

Some might say the writer’s argument is less about eternal paychecks and more about their content being used in DVDs and the internet. Likewise, I say the method and frequency of delivery doesn’t make a difference. When I write copy for the launch of a new product whether it’s in brochures, our website or on a promotional CD or DVD I get paid the same. I also get paid the same whether my employer makes a dollar off the product or $100 million dollars. The fact an employer decides to pour millions (and billions) of their current and future revenues into a specific medium to get its message out is the employer’s right to do so. No one says they have to share it with the employees although the good employers usually do. My personal take is that employees see the amount of money being spent on these newer delivery systems and they’re saying “hey, where’s slice of that pie?” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of Sumner Redstone, but if I were him, I’d tell the writers to go start their own company or create their own programs so they can get the pay they think they deserve. Someone in this thread argued that writers live in modest apartments, work long hours and have short career spans. Does this mean we need to support writers and actors because of the careers they choose? My response is to tell the writers to get in the “Screwed by Corporate America” line right behind the rest of us. Fortunately, unlike most of us, the writers have a union which helps them negotiate this crazy concept of getting paid for one effort – over and over. This is easily as messed up as when record companies wanted some form of payment for the sale of used CDs back in the 90s. How many times should someone get paid for something?

Kelly said...

Johnny Smoke says it well. I write for a living in a non-union government job. The documents that I and my fellow employees produce will keep this country running on red tape for years to come. I make (roughly) 88k a year doing the job, no residuals, no bonuses, no cut of any internet publication of my work, and most times no attribution for my work.

The Writers Guild of America is trying to get a piece of the pie for their members, but they could give a crap about giving someone from the "outside" a chance in their industry. Like most union systems, you have to be brought in under their patronage system, or you don't get a job. Sure that guarantees them a collective barganing status, sure they can attempt to force a bigger piece of the pie from the "fat cats".

What it doesn't do is engender much sympathy for their cause from every member of the viewing public that would love to be able to claim they are making a wage equivalent to Writers Guild of America rates.

They have jobs that are based on their tallents, presumably with some incentive for joining the field in the first place. Then they see that another way to make money from their product is developing, and we're supposed to believe that they are the equivalent of Chinese wage slave laborer's fighting the good fight for the little guy. Give me a break. If your cause is just, advertise what kind of money your writers make, let the public decide based on the amount whether you are making a slave wage, or whether your efforts are under recognized. I think you may be surprised how little your counterparts in industry and government make compared to you.

For those who complain about the inherent risk of working in the entertainment industry entitles the writers to a continuing renumeration, try working as a subcontracting writer in government contracting and see how risky jobs are in comparison. I don't begrudge your right to strike, I do begrudge any assumption that everyone should be sympathetic to your cause under the guise of "sticking it to the man".

Thank you for your consideration.

zmortis@gmail.com

SteelWolf said...

When are the "powers that be" going to stop wishing the internet would "just go away" and learn to embrace its distribution power?

deuddersun said...

To the tech writers who complained about WGA:

Form your own union. Improve your quality of life.

Years ago I tried to encourage a friend of mine to form an IT union. He laughed at me and told me that he and his fellow IT specialists' were "white collar" and didn't need a union because no-one could manage without him and his $125/hr cohorts. (That figure is real, it is what he was earning at the time - during the IT boom of the '90's).

A few short years later he was asking me if I could get him a job as a grip. His job and many others in the IT field had been outsourced to India. As a final insult, his company gave him this final offer: train your replacement and we'll pay you while you do it and give you some severance, or.... leave...NOW!

Those of us who join Unions and guilds have done so to combat the "trade associations" formed by corporations in order to fix wages, deny benefits and generally take advantage of their employees. Let's face it, the 40 hour workweek, overtime, health benefits, maternity leave, etc., didn't come about because one morning a beneficent CEO woke up and said, "Ya know, I think I'll do something nice for my workers today! Sure, it may cost me a few bucks, but what the hell, I'm due to retire with a $43,000,000 Golden Parachute, why not help out the little guys?"

Every benefit we all enjoy in the workplace today has come about through the efforts of Organized Labor, and not one has come freely from the CEO's and their Corporations. All have involved a price which has been paid by those of us involved in the struggle.

In America today, with the Bush Administration in bed with Big Business, it is more important than ever to stand by any Union that is fighting to better their quality of life. Remember we either "hang together or we will surely hang alone.

And Tommy Short, you can go fuck yourself. You know how much we "love" you in New York City.

d.

I.A.T.S.E.
Local #52
New York City

Kelly said...

In response to deuddersun's comment that tech writers should form their own union and improve their quality of life. There is one thing you missed. None of the Tech writers posting here complained about their own quality of life. I am just shaking my head that people who are making more money than the average comfortable income, are complaining about not getting enough money. I know I make enough money to live comfortably. So I find it hard to sympathize with people making more money than me saying they are not getting their “fair share”. When will someone like that ever feel they have enough? If the WGA members think that life is about people getting their "fair share", head on down to the local shelter for the poor and give someone a "fair share" of your salary. To misquote deuddersun “Why not help out the real little guy?” Oh that’s right, he didn’t join a Union so he’s not entitled to a “fair share”.

Thank you for your consideration.

Zmortis@gmail.com

deuddersun said...

Okay Kelly, let me tell you about life in this biz without representation by a Union or Guild.

Prior to being in a Union I worked, (gasp) non-union. I did a music video for $100/day. Little did I know that a "day" meant 24 hours. The first "day" I worked 19 1/2 hours. The second "day" I worked 22 hours, the third, 25 hours.

I also aspired to be a writer at one time and together with a partner wrote a parody of the Dirty Harry movies featuring a squarejawed hero with an oversized magnum. One of the majors optioned it for $1500 and then held it until they got their own TV show on the air. You may remember "Sledgehammer".

So you see, I'll take the Union way any day. And by the way, any benefits you non-union folks enjoy were earned by Union folks who were willing to fight and sacrifice for everyone!

d.
I.A.T.S.E.
Local #52
New York City

ps: Are you, by chance, a Republicon"?

Kelly said...

In reply to deuddersun, if you want here are my credentials, I’m from a blue collar democratic background. My father retired from the International Brotherhood of Operating Engineers local 150. I used to work a $3.35 an hour temp job as a shovel jocky at my town’s water department while the American Federation of Municipal Employees made $15.00 to do the same work. I did this so I could pay my way through college. This was back in the 1980's so adjust accordingly for inflation. I didn’t have a problem with the AFME making $15.00 an hour, the work was hard, and it was a competitive wage for their industry. I’ve also said in other posts I don’t have a problem with WGA striking to leverage a better negotiating strategy.

I have a problem with the WGA members pretending they are poor. I have a problem with WGA members pretending they are striking a blow against injustice for the little guy. When put up against most of the blue collar unions, they are a bunch of well off people striking against a set of very rich people. The WGA pretending they are doing this for the little guy is bogus. The WGA does not represent the little guy. They are an insular egocentric bunch of people who want to congratulate themselves on their liberal values, while pretending their personal fiscal issues are on the same scale as the truly needy people in our society.

To answer your question: Am I a Republican? No. Am I a Democrat? No. Am I a Conservative? No. Am I a Liberal? No. I firmly count myself among the disenfranchised moderate centrists in this country who see the ridiculous extremes on both poles of that political spectrum. Both American political parties seem to be more interested in extracting campaign contributions from special interests like Big Business, and Big Unions. Where does that leave the rest of us? My stipulation: among the unrepresented, and among those unsympathetic with comparitively rich people fighting with richer people for more money.

Thank you for your consideration.

Zmortis@gmail.com

Kelly said...

A post script for Deudderson - I have co-workers who are conservative, and co-workers who are liberal who I have shown my posts and the replies. Both sides have noted that I've made valid points in relation to the WGA strike. So I think your attempt to politicise my opinion is not going to work.

zmortis@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hey, good luck to you lot. I think we can live with out some new TV for a while-- you need to be fairly compensated for your work, that's what I think.

Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

All i want to know from you writers is how much do you guys make a year.

Sure the companies dick you over, but honestly how are you better right now?

Robert "Anaerin" Johnston said...

Can I make an observation here?

Many people have responded with "I'm a tech writer, I write a document and it's used constantly, should I get paid constantly for it?". No, of course you shouldn't. You were paid to write the document, and that's the end of it.

However, what if the company you wrote that document for started selling it at a profit to other companies for them to use. What would your stance be then? Would you feel entitled to a percentage of that extra profit the company made by re-selling your work in a way that you didn't contract/stipulate?

Or what if you wrote a (fictional) book, and some company grabbed hold of a copy of that book in their local library and made a film of it, making huge amounts of money without compensating you at all. Would that be acceptable?

Same situation here. The WGA writers wrote their pieces for TV, and got paid a percentage of the profit made via TV broadcast. But the studios/distributors then take that TV show and redistribute it over the internet and on DVD, without giving any consideration to the original writers' rights.

It's a real shame the WGA writers can't stipulate in their contracts that the scripts are to be used for Broadcast Television only, and the rights to any further use are reserved. Then the studios would have to re-negotiate to obtain thee rights to re-release over the internet, or on DVD. But the studios have them in a contractual headlock at the moment, so that's not really possible.

It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

Alright, so now we've come down to the real question... What is the worth? Whole shit loads? Or not even a dingleberry shit? Question of the day! And will remain so until its resolved... Man, I hope you guys can work a deal out soon. I'm a cultist follower of Heroes, please don't let it run out!
As to the Daily Show reference somewhere below mine, Stewart has the delivery and the face for it, but the writing is superb. I really need to watch that more often. Much more interesting than the news from CNN and such...
But wait! I can't! Not until things are worked out... *sob*

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to add, I second the motion! Right on Caitlin! I'll join you in celebration!

Gabriel said...

I can't believe you people are blaming the writers for sticking up for themselves. It's not their fault that the crew members are out of work. That kind of thinking is like telling a woman not to leave her abusive husband because her kids won't have a father.

Seriously.

Neil said...

Who will the outcome of this strike affect the least? Day to day workers like those on TDL and late night, whose work will be in reruns, but may never be in a pay-for-download or dvd format. These workers can have the greatest financial impact on the industry. But when the Letterman,Leno, Daily show and SNL writers refuse to comment on the current elections that should influence their writing for the next year, the best we can hope for is what we now have- the white house and a significant number of seats in congress that are anti-union, anti-labor, against worker's rights, and pro-business.