11/30/2007

UPDATED: Press Blackout Lifted -- Companies Offer Rollbacks

UPDATED: We're bringing the post from yesterday to the top of the page -- but we also wanted to let you know what's on the agenda for today.

We'll be updating frequently throughout the day as we get some answers to questions we all have -- where are the congloms getting their numbers? What are they based on? What really happened in the negotiating meeting? Why, after insisting that there was no way to do flat payments on internet use, did the companies suddenly completely shift their paradigm and tell us that actually, no, it was percentages they aren't willing to discuss?

We'll also be able to clarify what the WGA negotiating committee proposal numbers are, and confirm the ugly fact that all this could have been over weeks ago for less than the budget of doing PR for one theatrical release or fall tv show. As in, a lot less.

Stay tuned, folks. It's going to be a busy day.
And if there's one thing I hope we've all learned in the last week -- let's keep a healthy skepticism about everything we hear. The truth remains on our side, we just have to get it out where people can see it.

FROM YESTERDAY:

The companies put out a press release today, thus ending the media blackout to which they and the WGA agreed. So this is what we no know:

That big, amazing proposal that the companies hinted to Nikki Finke was coming? Well, it came.

Turns out their exciting, groundbreaking proposal is... a residual rollback. And not just any rollback, one of the biggest in the history of the Guild. Then, stunningly, the companies have the balls to say their plan gives us more compensation. Well, I'm sorry, but If you take away a dollar and give me a nickel, the nickel ain't a raise. Somewhere, Nick Counter's first-grade math teacher is embarrassed.

So we decided to do some math of our own: We broke out the cost of the WGA's current proposal to the conglomerates into yearly figures. We found that the TOTAL payment yearly -- the total that ALL the companies would make under our proposals -- is $50.54 million. And that, we realized, is about one-third the budget of TRANSFORMERS. We are asking IN TOTAL, for the equivalent of the cost overrun on a summer event movie.

Instead of agreeing that that is a fair and just offer, they've proposed this:

When an hourlong episode of television is streamed on the Internet, writers would get a flat $250 payment for one year of reuse. That's $250 as opposed to, for example, $20,000 per episode when it's reused on network television. They proposed nothing new on downloads, it's still the DVD formula for those (ie. two-thirds of a penny for an iTunes download). For theatrical movies, they're offering exactly $0.00 on streaming. Oh, and they want to be able to define any content they like as "promotional" -- for which they would pay zero dollars. Even if they stream an entire film or tv episode, and even if they sell ads on it, they can call that promotional and pay us nothing.

THE AMPTP claims their deal is worth $130 million over three years. But what they don't mention is how much we'd lose under their proposal. As all media distribution transitions to the Internet before our eyes, their proposal takes away far, far more revenue than it provides.

A bold, new relationship? Sure, an abusive one.

Patric Verrone and Michael Winship sent this letter to membership a few minutes ago:


To My Fellow Members,

After four days of bargaining with the AMPTP, I am writing to let you know that, though we are still at the table, the press blackout has been lifted.

Our inability to communicate with our members has left a vacuum of information that has been filled with rumors, both well intentioned and deceptive.

Among the rumors was the assertion that the AMPTP had a groundbreaking proposal that would make this negotiation a "done deal." In fact, for the first three days of this week, the companies presented in essence their November 4 package with not an iota of movement on any of the issues that matter to writers.

Thursday morning, the first new proposal was finally presented to us. It dealt only with streaming and made-for-Internet jurisdiction, and it amounts to a massive rollback.

From streaming television episodes, the companies proposed a residual structure of a single fixed payment of less than $250 for a year's reuse of an hour-long program (compared to over $20,000 payable for a network rerun). For theatrical product they are offering no residuals whatsoever for streaming.

For made-for-Internet material, they offered minimums that would allow a studio to produce up to a 15 minute episode of network-derived web content for a script fee of $1300. They continued to refuse to grant jurisdiction over original content for the Internet.

In their new proposal, they made absolutely no move on the download formula (which they propose to pay at the DVD rate), and continue to assert that they can deem any reuse "promotional," and pay no residual (even if they replay the entire film or TV episode and even if they make money).

The AMPTP says it will have additional proposals to make but, as of Thursday evening, they have not been presented to us. We are scheduled to meet with them again on Tuesday.

In the meantime, I felt it was essential to update you accurately on where negotiations stood. On Wednesday we presented a comprehensive economic justification for our proposals. Our entire package would cost this industry $151 million over three years. That's a little over a 3% increase in writer earnings each year, while company revenues are projected to grow at a rate of 10%. We are falling behind.

For Sony, this entire deal would cost $1.68 million per year. For Disney $6.25 million. Paramount and CBS would each pay about $4.66 million, Warner about $11.2 million, Fox $6.04 million, and NBC/Universal $7.44 million. MGM would pay $320,000 and the entire universe of remaining companies would assume the remainder of about $8.3 million per year. As we've stated repeatedly, our proposals are more than reasonable and the companies have no excuse for denying it.

The AMPTP's intractability is dispiriting news but it must also be motivating. Any movement on the part of these multinational conglomerates has been the result of the collective action of our membership, with the support of SAG, other unions, supportive politicians, and the general public. We must fight on, returning to the lines on Monday in force to make it clear that we will not back down, that we will not accept a bad deal, and that we are all in this together.

Best,
Patric M. Verrone
President, WGAW

Michael Winship
President, WGAE

195 comments:

Wil Wheaton said...

What a load. This is the same sort of crap they pulled on SAG when our contract was up a few years ago.

I can't speak for the guild, but I sure as hell can speak for myself: I'm 100% behind everyone in the WGA, and completely support you guys. This "generous partnership" offer is a pile of crap and an insult all at once.

Keep fighting, WGA. Keep fighting!

Occasional Showrunner said...

That's it? That's the big offer? Guess it's going to be a long strike then. Hope your shareholders and advertisers are okay with that.

Then again, given that all the studios' stocks are down since the strike started and ad buyers are asking for cash givebacks, I'd bet not.

Make a real offer or say goodbye to promoting your Christmas movies on Leno, etc. February sweeps? Gone. Upfronts? Not looking good, my friends.

ProgGrrl said...

Holy moly. Stunningly idiotic of the AMPTP.

I hope Marc Andreessen and his VC buddies are getting their checkbooks out now.

Captain Obvious said...

This is dismal news, but gotta keep up the fight.

I'm glad my instincts were correct, though. I felt this coming.

Anonymous said...

Patric Verrone should have taken this opportunity to plug his new movie Futurama: Bender's Big Score.

On DVD now!

Jeepers said...

Unacceptable. These games the AMPTP are playing are outrageous. I say ask for more. The WGA needs to ask for even more money, to show that two can play this game of making really stupid proposals. BTW, I'm not a writer so I can make angry witless tirades.

Anonymous said...

This news just means that the studios can hold out a lot longer, so they have no motivation to present a fair deal right now. They are trying to wear down the Writers and hope for cracks in the support for the strike by below-the-liners, etc. Looks like their strategy is working beautifully.

Jake Hollywood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank Uslan Charlie Kartler said...

I guess the talks went to hell again.Too bad.

I feel bad for all the writers who will have to use gym socks for stockings this christmas. But what can you do?

I learned my lesson. Never get too optimistic when it comes to negotiatons.

Jake Hollywood said...

Well, you gotta admit that the AMPTP has balls. Maybe the WGA should cut them off and just shove them into the collective mouths of the AMPTP.

This "groundbreaking proposal" is beyond insulting.

I think now it's time to take the hardest line possible and walk away from these pseudo negotiations. Maybe there should be a concerted effort put forth to suggest to the public (while they're still on the side of the writers) that they boycott those movies in theaters that are produced by struck companies. A decrease in revenue just might get the AMPTP's attention - hell, maybe there could be organized pickets or protest (where handouts explaining what the strike is really about and why we're doing what we're doing) at theaters...

Hit them in their wallets, the time for being nice is over. It's clear the AMPTP isn't interested in negotiating in good faith

writergirl said...

Well, okay then. I say, it's time to bring on the green and red t-shirts for Holiday striking -- and the blue and white ones... Looks like we're on the line for December.

Brande said...

Yeah, I thought *their* description of the offer sounded too good to be true.

Between the WGA and the other unions (and those Speechless vids on YouTube are The Awesome!) and the pissed-off fen who are stepping up and making themselves heard... well I hope the AMPTP wakes up and smells the fit hitting the shan.

Ang Li Cru said...

Well crap. Looks like unemployment over Christmas. Great.

Could someone please explain how the new proposal is a rollback?

I grant you the sums they are offering are very small, but these are supposedly covering areas where you are previously receiving no money.

Are residuals elsewhere getting cut, or is this perhaps the WGA trying to join the propaganda game which was started by the AMPTP?

Klaatu said...

There is no way they would make an offer we could accept this early.

They don't want to settle until right before Christmas.

That way, they'll be able to force majeure their way outof deals. They will be able to make writers work over the holidays by giving them deadlines of January 2nd. They will not have crews and actors return to work until January so they don't have to pay them for holidays they take off anyway. They will still save this TV season. And the development season for next year. And the upfronts. They will save enough by having the town out of work until then, that they will feel like it made up for whatever increases they eventually give us.

This was there first offer. It sucks. First offers usually do. They knew we'd reject it. They wanted us to.

VDOVault said...

Hey guys and gals

It's time to ask where the rest of the $1.3 billion dollars you all have supposedly made last year went...by my calculations all 12,000 of you made at most $387 million (and that's assuming that 6240 members working for the average $62K a year). So where in the heck is the other $913 million?!?!

The only way that press release makes any mathematical sense is if the $1.3 billion was last year's combined salaries of the *MOGULS* (and not the writers), in which case they are even bigger mental midgets than I first thought they were.

If I were you I'd hold them to those numbers and invite their shareholders, the SEC and the IRS to check their calculations.

Go get em guys...we viewers and fans are with you!

redblack said...

Aren't we going six weeks no matter what so that they can shake a few deals? Don't expect any real offer until December 17th.

Klaatu said...

ang li cru, they are rollbacks because Internet downloads/streaming are replacing TV reruns, and will continue to do so.

Why use TV real estate to rerun a show when you can use the Internet.

Shows like "Lost" already NEVER rerun. But they are online the day after they air.

So, TV residuals are diappearing and need to be replaced by Internet residuals at a similar level.

And by the way, the same will be true for IATSE, Teamster, and other crew residuals. They currently make up 55% of your health and pension funding. If a similar rollback ($20,000 down to $250) is apllied to you guys (which it will be), your health and pension plans will eventually lose more than half their revenue and go bankrupt fast.

Anonymous said...

These guys/corporations are bad business men. Way to shoot your production in the foot guys. Now everybody is going to be out of work except for the company suits. This deal is like a dairy trying to increase the amount of milk produced by shooting the cows. How eaxctly did they work this out? Did they think that the writers and the general public don't understand math?

Do they think that SAG is going to be dumb enough to think this is a good deal? Do they not care that they are dooming all of the production crew? And for what? So their shareholders save a few pennies?

I am not buying one damn dvd this Christmas. That is about $200 that will be spent elsewhere, in non mega corporate stores.

BOYCOTT!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bye bye pilot season. Bye bye commercial money - give it back.

Meshakhad said...

Nick Counter needs to be shot. In the face. With a hammer.

Andrew Despres said...

Ok something completely off topic here, but something that has been puzzling me. I have not been able to find a link to email the admins of this site so i am going to post it on here and hope they see it.

I have no affiliation which anything going on with this strike, except having to wait for new "The Office" episodes. Anywho, I do not understand why you are posting your videos on the evil empire that is Youtube?

Youtube is one of the worse offenders in ripping off writers of there desired royalties. The have absolutely no problem hosting all kinds of illegal videos. You can watch anything there. Including shows that you guys wrote!!!

I think you should definitely be using Vimeo.com. They are an awesome site. They were out before Youtube, and have launched HD a few weeks ago. Also, it was made by these young guys, who write and produce their own videos. Here is the main thing, YOU CAN ONLY HOST VIDEOS THAT YOU SHOT!!!! There are no TV shows, or movies on this site.

You guys should be backing a site like this, instead of Youtube. You guys lose more money through Youtube, than DVDs any day.

Anyways, just something I can't figure out. Why you would support a corporation that is stealing from you, while you are fighting for rights to your material.

Respectfully,

Andrew Despres

VC said...

Can someone explain rollbacks to me?

I had a feeling this was going to happen but I didn't think they would be stupid enough to make a non-offer with their PR being so bad.

Writers, I have no right to say this to you because I'm just a consumer but you need to really stick it to them. Make them hurt more than you do.

Fans I think it is time for official boycotts.

This is sad...so sad.

supportive assistant said...

Is there picketing tomorrow or not again until Monday?

Anonymous said...

Ang Li Cru, I am going to be out of work too, but face it, the Studios are trying to bust the unions. No one wants to believe it, but it seems like the truth. That deal is a rollback. Read through it again. You can dress up a pig...but it's still a pig.

I knew that the studios were heartless, but this takes the cake.They don't care that they are casting everyone out of work at Christmas - they'll just blame the writers. We have to stand with the WGA. This looks like it is going to be a long fight, and SAG and the rest of us are going to get smacked down as well.

The studios don't want Hollywood to be a union town - they want serfs who will take what they give. Greedy bastards.

Anonymous said...

It's time.

We all need to wake up and not let the corporate hacks divide us. IATSE,Teamsters,WGA and SAG are all under fire now, the studios are starting to try and bust ALL the unions. That is clear now.

No residuals means the money funding our unions is going to stop. Which means no unions, whch means no protection or benes for any hollyood workers.

Anonymous said...

I just bought 7 DVD's today and tomorrow I'm going to see "Enchanted" and on Saturday gonna check out "American Gangster". No one is going to be boycotting the Hollywood product.

VDOVault said...

@supportive assistant

There isn't any picketing scheduled in NYC til Monday but there is picketing scheduled in LA

VDOVault said...

One boycott you can join right now is against advertisers at

http://community.livejournal.com/consumers4wga/

We will be adding more actions that viewers and fans (and anyone else) can do at
http://community.livejournal.com/wga_supporters/

VC or Ilike2think said...

VDOVault I think I have seen you on the live chat. I am Ilike2think. Thanks for the information. Is it ok if I post it on fans4writers?

Ang Li Cru said...

There are over 500 channels out there. These channels need content. Do you want us to believe that your shows are not getting rerun anymore and that everything is going to the internet?

There are whole networks devoted to reruns!

If, as you say, shows are not being rerun, then it goes to figure that there is more original content being produced to fill the void. Since we all make more off the first airing than the subsequent airings, this would seem to be a good deal.

Before you jump all over me -- I know I'm over-simplifying it. But, come on, this is not a "rollback."

Call it a crappy offer if you want. But it feels like the pot calling the kettle black when you complain about AMPTP propaganda then do it yourselves.

Huntress said...

I m Speechless!

Anonymous said...

I think it'd be hard for people to deny that this year was one of, if not the greatest year for movies ever. This being the sheer amount of great films that came out this year to the point where little more than 2 weeks could go by without a great film coming out this year. The summer schedule was probably the strongest ever for a year in my opinion.

That being said, I don't think the studios want to end this strike anytime soon simply because of that fact. A massive amount of the great films this year didn't necessarily make a lot in theaters, but they were critically accepted. That in turns pushes forward DVD and new media traffic.

The studios don't want to negotiate immediately, because they don't want to give away a piece of the most potentially lucrative summer in movie history. They'll wait until all the summer movies have made it to DVD and especially until after the Christmas season to protect this gold mine that is about to erupt. Once that money is shoveled in by them, they'll politely sit down with the WGA and say, alright we're ready to share...on everything after this.

VDOVault said...

@vc/Ilike2think

Sure post the links wherever you feel like posting them...anyone is welcome to join either or both communities.

Bonnie said...

It's time to take a page out of labor history. Picketing means NO WORK. Let's stop worrying about alienating our potential bosses and close down the television and movie business. If we could prevent one full day of work at each studio because we wouldn't let people cross a picket line, they MIGHT begin to take us seriously.

Ang Li Cru said...

Bonnie --

That's happening (the shutting down of production) right now. Whole shows have stopped shooting. By the end of next week, nearly all of scripted television will have ground to a halt.

Studio lots are practically ghost towns.

It doesn't matter right now. The studios are not feeling the pain. They will eventually, but only after the rest of (non)working Hollywood has practically gone belly up.

So.. YEY! We're all toast!

Klaatu said...

I hope all showrunners who have gone back to work because they promised to if negotiations resume cease work immediately until the end of the strike.

Each new episode you finish for them puts millions in their pockets and prolongs the strike.

Going back was a nice gesture, but the gesture we got back had two fingers on either side of it.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie-

How do you think you are going to stop someone from crossing? I'm thinking that most of these workers have much more developed upper bodies than your average writer.

BKLA said...

Who needs who? That was the question I was asking the other day. But the positive buzz took my mind off the issue.

But the question has returned. Screenwriters and television writers gave up the enchilada a while back. Book authors and playwrights, poets and songwriters - all own their copyrights. It's time for screenwriters to take em back. There are a lot of brands and other money out there that would love to have content. They would love to license it and the creators can use it in many different ways.

The networks are becoming obsolete. There are now more distribution models than Carter has pills.

Since the barriers to access are coming down and the distribution outlets are no longer limited to those that the studios control - maybe writers, actors and directors need to take back control and own their content.

ChristineR said...

As a show of support for the writers, I pledge that throughout the holiday season...I will not buy any DVD's until ya get that 4 cents! I had planned on buying the new Family Guy season and other various tv shows as presents. No more, but no worries once the strike is over I will again be your happy consumer!

Anonymous said...

That's their "offer"??? Time to play hardball. Every concession we've made thus far is reinstated and now the demands go up: .10 per DVD on Tuesday, .12 on Wednesday, and so on. If they're going to play dirty, we have to get in the game with them.

Anonymous said...

On the whole, I liked writers before this strike. Now, I'll admit it...I like them only slightly more than the corporate scumbuckets. I never knew before this that so many writers had such an arrogant and generally s*%#^y attitude towards the craftspeople who actually make the show. I also did not know that they have never honored another guilds strike and so they are hypocrits. I'll support the writers now because I've always thought that they should get their money and they've really given us no choice if we want this thing to ever end. But I've lost respect for them forever, I'm afraid. Like it or not, those are my feelings.

Justin said...

This actually makes sense. In negotiations, you give the best offer (from your perspective first). So if you're an employer, you offer your employees LESS than you're actually willing to pay, hoping they'll settle for less, when you know you can afford to pay more. If you're an employee, you ask in salary negotiations to be paid for MORE than what you should really get, and in the end you and your boss settle on something acceptable to both sides.

What everyone is overlooking as that the AMPTP is offering to come back with proposals Tuesday, and for the first time, they offered ANY residuals on streaming content. That means they're prepared to pay more, if they have to (but only if).

Basically, I'd say things are on track, and it's still possible we might get a deal next week.

jennifer said...

I hope you don't feel that all writers are shitty towards craftspeople. I have always taken the position that TV shows are a collaborative process and we all create the episode together. Likewise, in this situation, we are "all in this together" against the studios whose true aim in to bust the unions. Creating internal rifts is their goal. Remember that Hollywood is a very tiny town -- there are only the Big Six to work for really and you know that if they bust the unions, they will set their own low wages and we won't be able to go to some other studio and get a better deal. We will be stuck, because they will stick together to screw us -- the workers -- out of what's fair. Stick together, people, and when the sharks come close, kick them in the head.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Wesley!

Anonymous said...

Why does the WGA need 4 days? They had a response in 1-1/2 hours, something is not right. Get back to the table we need this thing settled. This is going to be a long,ugly strike where no one wins.

Captain Obvious said...

Indeed, Jennifer.

It's a collaborative process. Unfortunately the studios' take on that process seems to be "We'll put up the cash, you guys do the work; when it's time for your cut, we'll act like a jerk."

Bathory said...

ang li cru,

"If, as you say, shows are not being rerun, then it goes to figure that there is more original content being produced to fill the void. Since we all make more off the first airing than the subsequent airings, this would seem to be a good deal.

Before you jump all over me -- I know I'm over-simplifying it. But, come on, this is not a "rollback." "

It is, actually. The original content that's replacing our reruns is either reality, or new shows with entirely different staffs and crews. If I'm on Lost, and instead of my episode rerunning the network orders a new show, NOBODY -- me or a writer on that new show -- will get a residual. There may be more shows, but there are fewer episodes and that leads to writers, actors and crew making far less money. And now, without residuals... it's impossible.

I have to say, I'm surprised at the level of discourse on this site. Much fewer nutty people here. The support is well appreciated! And at this point, I too believe that the AMPTP didn't expect the WGA to accept their first proposal. This may go back and forth for a long time yet. I for one can't afford more than a few months of this but really, I'd rather just go get some other job and write novels than let the studios break this union.

We stop striking when there's a fair deal and based on the reaction to this proposal, we're all gonna know it when we see it.

Evan Waters said...

Well, that's a crushing disappointment. So much for hopes of ending this early.

Hang in there.

Joe Gillis said...

Incidentally, there's a special picket line tomorrow (Friday, 11/30) morning at Sony Studios from 10AM-noon, featuring a slew of celebrities from Hollywood's "Golden Age." Come on out and show your support for all the Guilds and let the AMPTP know how you feel about their latest load of crap.

blake robbins said...

Persevere...as artists we've all done it! We do it better than most others. Those of us that remain in this business have persevered, we've overcome tremendous odds. SO.... Fundementally if one believes (and I do) that the members of the AMPTP pocket an inordinate share of money earned from TV and Film,....then it stands to reason that eventually the work stoppage which the strike is creating, eventually hurts them the most. Its a matter of persevering until that turning point when they (the AMPTP) feels a financial impact. The members of the WGA- (and later in 2008, the actors) are merely seeking a resonable share, and the one thing we have going for us is that nobody can persevere like we can. They do not have our stomach for it. We are artists because of that fire in our belly to be one....so do what needs to be done. Persevere and they will yield. They are soft and cant live without the excess they've grown accustom to, we have lived on crumbs before and most again to get a fair share. Persevere and make it payoff---DONT EXCEPT ANYTHING LESS THAN A FAIR DEAL.

WGA KEEP THE FAITH

Skyfleur said...

I'm very sad the new proposals are not fair at all. It figures that they would propose something very low and see how it goes but come on, they already know how it will go. The writers are on strike, what made them think that they would just accept such a proposal.
You can play these hardball games only when you don't really know the resolve of your opponent, when you know it, it's idiotic. And thus, i believe it is very insulting. Not only to the Writers, but to all the other unions which will have to take the same kind of deal.
I have a suggestion. If they want to use content for promotion, change the language for promotional use and add promotion exclude the use of adverts (before the start, during the streaming or just after) to support such promotion. That way, not one single episode streamed on their websites can be called promotional.

Guys, hold on !

Executive Story Editor said...

per Anonymous 9:59 PM...

How do you think you are going to stop someone from crossing? I'm thinking that most of these workers have much more developed upper bodies than your average writer.

They have more-developed beer guts, if that's what you mean.

Ain't no one gettin' by me who I don't want gettin' by me.

Anonymous said...

I got a non-industry job last week. I had a feeling that the studios wanted this strike and the studios would be putting people out of work for it.

I want to be able to hold out longer that the studios.

The strange thing is I will earn more for one day's work at my crappy new job, than I would for an entire year of my writing streamed on the Internet.

That just boggles my mind.

Anonymous said...

This news is very depressing. What they are offering is zip.

Keep on fighting WGA!

Bill said...

As the son of a Teamster and a working feature writer, I can tell you that I have nothing but respect and admiration for the cast and crews of the projects I write. I just don't see the "arrogance" that some anonymous posters complain about. Instead, I see writers who care about their co-workers and who recognize that we are all suffering now, in order to secure our collective futures.

Please don't forget it's Big Media who walked out of the Nov. 4th talks. It's Big Media who refused to meet until the 26th. It's Big Media who made now new offers until the 4th day of what was supposed to be three days of talks. It's Big Media who is responsible for good people being out of work.

The WGA came to the table with reasonable and modest requests. We must not waver now.

Solidarity!!

Captain Obvious said...

Bill, Blake Robbins, very inspirational.

It's all true. We'll know an acceptable deal when we see it.

Even if it's not the AMPTP's farm. If it's fair, we'll know.

Until then: My content is mine, not yours! Nyeah nyeah AMPTP!

Anonymous said...

"They have more-developed beer guts, if that's what you mean."

Never underestimate the weight behind a beer gut. I've been on the receiving end of one and I tell you...you can get pinned under one of those things!

Still...your comment smacks of the arrogant attitude mentioned in an earlier post. You know...the attitude that if you're not a writer then you are just some stupid beer guzzling meat head. Now that's ignorant and that is what is causing a great deal of resentment here. I think a lot of people can handle a financial hardship, even if they think that it could have been handled differently. But when you begin to see a disrepectful attitude towards yourself then things change rapidly. I think that the writers need to do some damage control aimed at repairing their reputation with the people who transform their scripts into shows and films. I don't think that all writers have a shitty attitude toward craftspeople. Some writers are smarter than that. But, I do think that a few bad apples are making them look bad on the whole.

Anonymous said...

Is this 4 or 5 day hiatus (from sometime on Thursday until next Tuesday) needed to consider the offer or is does it include a break. Because I don't think anybody deserves a break here when so many people are out of work. Let's keep moving. Pull some all nighters. Whatever it takes, these groups have a responsibility to keep moving.

Anonymous said...

The writers have never supported an IA strike and yet they say that we are "all together" on this one.

What a load of crap.

The writers say that they are fighting for everybody's residuals, because what they are fighting for goes into MY health and pension fund.(IA member)

What a bigger load of crap.

The writers say that EVERYBODY is united behind their cause.

How can you say that?, when Im working on a show right this minute and today I got a complete re-write of our script....From three WGA members, that was written two days ago.

Everybody (both sides), should just stop throwing out ridiculous propaganda to the public.

It's plain and simple....you want more money and they don't want to give it to you.

Anonymous said...

eegad!
Stand Strong WGA.
That is Ri-Dic-U-Lous!

Chirs Vickers said...

This is one IATSE members who no longer supports the writers. Seems like they are just as intractable as the AMPTP.

Evan Waters said...

Intractable? Have you looked at what they're being offered?

The reason for the unions to stick together is obvious enough to me. If the writers lose this one, it'll be easier for the studios to neuter online residuals for upcoming SAG and DGA talks.

And once they've done that, do you think they'll be ready to give the IATSE a fair deal?

James Layne said...

smart

Ang Li Cru said...

Writers are now equally guilty of the half-truths and propaganda that they accuse the producers of mastering. You're writers -- you wouldn't be good at your jobs if you couldn't convince people of your ideas.

But let's pick at what Bill says in an earlier post:


Please don't forget it's Big Media who walked out of the Nov. 4th talks. It's Big Media who refused to meet until the 26th. It's Big Media who made now new offers until the 4th day of what was supposed to be three days of talks. It's Big Media who is responsible for good people being out of work.

1) Producers walked away from the table only after the WGA went on strike. You provoke, they respond. They're not without blame, but you're not fooling anyone -- you knew they'd leave the table.

2) That they refused to meet is part of response #1 above. You walked out, your showrunners have shirked their producing and editing responsibilities to their shows and their crews; and you expect them to treat you well?

3) It was the producers who have offered a new proposal this week. Did the Writers offer anything beyond their Nov 4 talks? If so, why is that not mentioned in the letter from the guild leadership?

4) The single biggest falsehood of this strike is that it is the producers' fault that Hollywood has shut down. The Writers walked. Production shut down. Period.

I'll remind you that I am for the Writers' negotiating position. I think a fair residual for internet usage needs to be worked out. But your tactics are ill-advised and harmful to the people and the industry that otherwise support you.

I'm not saying the Producers are saints. They're not.

But you lose credibility when you try to Karl Rove the truth. You can't hammer the Producers for leaving the bargaining table the day after your side just left the bargaining table. What a message that sends to those of us whose livelihoods depend on this strike ending soon -- "eh, were gonna take a few days off."

So many posts talk about how the studios "want a strike." It is clear from WGA leadership that it is the WGA who wants a strike, and who wants it to keep going.

This isn't a lockout. It's a strike. You guys walked away first.

Becca said...

Is anyone else having a problem accessing the link at variety for the talks yesterday?
Seems like the Big Media deep and cozy pockets just developed some holes.

Kara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Whatever they get for their re-runs, they should turn it over to the rest of us as a show of goodwill. Since they took our jobs and all.

Kara said...

I also think the only reason they went back to the negotiating table was to present you guys with a deal (they knew you might reject) just so they could put a spin on the PR and make it look they tried but the writers were too greedy.

Just my 2 cents.

Kara said...

I'm just a fan, not an industry insider. I see the term 'rollback' being used but I don't quite understand what that means. Maybe you guys can clarify.

And do T.V. writers really get $20,000 dollars for a rerun being aired on Network television? That's NUTS. Do you really expect the same amount of money for the internet? I'm afraid the perception may soon become "writers are greedy". It sounds like you were given some of what you wanted. If you don't get everything you want does that mean the strike will continue?

I do agree the promotional crap is a deal breaker. They are trying to pull a fast one. That's total BS.

Anonymous said...

So...if you've already determined that you aren't satisfied with the deal...why are you taking 4 days off?

Anonymous said...

somebody please clear this up for me...

The AMPTP makes the writers an offer...but the writers are complaining that it's just a "rollback"

But isn't the offer still 130 MILLION more than you are getting right now?

Did any of you actually think that you would get everything you are asking for? Thats why it's called a negotiation...give and take.
But nobody is going to negotiate with a group that isn't willing to give on anything.

Thats going to be a very hard sell to the people that you "think" are supporting your cause.

Anonymous said...

Kara--

do you have any idea how much ad revenue the first rerun of a show makes?

In the near future, all video content will be delivered via the Internet. Watching on a big screen while sitting on the couch or watching on your phone--it's all the same distribution method. That's why this matters so much.

If Internet delivery costs only $250, and broadcast deliver costs $20,000, which will the studio chose?

Anonymous said...

Is any part of David Young's compensation tied to the outcome of these negotiations? In other words, does he get a bigger bonus or whatever if he achieves a greater payout for the writers?

Anonymous said...

It will take a couple days to prepare an appropriate counter offer. I think some of you have no idea how complicated this is and the math involved in protecting the writers for every contingency. No one wants a repeat of the shafting the WGA got 20 years ago.

Evan Waters said...

According to Deadline Hollywood Daily, the wait is for the other half of the AMPTP's proposal. Though the WGA obviously isn't going to take the offer as is, various items in the full document might be used as the basis for a counteroffer.

Chris Vickers said...

I am sick of the writers position that they are negotiating for all of us. I am of the mind that we will take care of our business when the time comes, a feeling that a lot of my IATSE members also feel. I did support the writers for the first few weeks of this strike, but that goodwill has eroded. While thankfully there are less trolls commenting here, there are more legitimiate posts critical of the WGA's position. I am afraid they have lost ground in the PR wars this week.

Kara said...

@anonymous (thanks for responding)

I'm a web developer. I doubt advertisement revenue from the web is consistent with revenue from Broadcast ads.

Does anyone know?

And no matter how you spin it, people are going to have trouble sympathizing with the fact that you want $20,000 dollars for a web episode. (at least that's perception of one non-industry insider).

And for what it's worth a lot of people don't pay ANYTHING for the movies and shows they watch online. Bitorrents...HELLO;)

Pretty soon there will just be some Russian company like allofmp3.com and they will sell your tv episodes for next to nothing (like they do with music)...and that will start some whole new controversy.

Ang Li Cru said...

Everyone's talking about how "in the future" all media will be delivered via the internet.

How do you know?

The networks have no clue what they're doing in this arena. How many times has CBS, for example, set up a streaming service, only to shut it down, reconfigure, make partnerships, try again, and still not get it right?

No one is making serious money with content creation on the internet right now. No one. Posts that decry "we don't need the studios anymore" are partially right -- you don't need studios for internet productions. But your budget has got to be incredibly low and you'd still be damn lucky to scratch out profits higher than minimum wage.

So stop worrying so much about what MIGHT happen with the internet in the future.

Maybe the WGA should be concentrating on an agreement that covers today's issues, instead of tomorrow's.

Get a flat payment for internet streaming, but don't expect some monster money for it. Get some protection for derivative original internet content, but recognize that it's going to be more of a writer's assistant scale. Or refuse to write the webisode stuff.

But negotiate a contract that deals with present reality instead of what Verrone tells you he sees in his crystal ball.

And the most important part of this is to actually negotiate; not take days off!

Anonymous said...

It's not hard for me to believe that preparing a counter offer is a complicated process. As a former accountant, I know very well how it is possible to mislead people with the numbers. That's why there exist a very strict set of rules for financial reporting. I just wanted to know if that was the reason that we had to forfeit an extra few days of income. A fair question from someone who is sacrificing a great deal while waiting for a resolution.

Kara said...

@ANG

"Maybe the WGA should be concentrating on an agreement that covers today's issues, instead of tomorrow's"

That's just silly. You can't ignore that the internet has become (and will continue to be) a significant means of media distribution. I think a flat rat is bogus. They need to be smart and negotiate a percentage. That's the only way they won't get screwed.

Anonymous said...

"The truth remains on our side, we just have to get it out where people can see it."

Second that!

Four Cent said...

Does anyone out there know how much the studios and networks have made so far from all internet usage, vs what WGA members have made? It's for something I want to post up. Cheers!

Ang Li Cru said...

Kara,

In negotiations such as this, precedent is what leads things forward.

There is no precedent for Writers getting a residual based on ad revenue.

Broadcast reruns are based neither on ratings nor revenue, but merely on when they were aired.

An internet stream is, as so many Writers agree, analogous to a rerun. So the residual should be a flat fee (plenty of room to discuss how big that fee should be) based on a time period of availability.

This residual cycle not only has the precedent of a rerun analogy behind it, but it also has precedent in other forms of internet copyright.

Website usage of stock photography, for example, is licensed on a 3- 6- or 12-month period.

Finally, I'm not suggesting that the internet has not become a huge form of media delivery. I'm merely stating the fact that no one is making serious money creating content for the internet.

YouTube makes money delivering the (usually rights-free) content that users post to its site. But the users themselves are making nothing (or next to nothing).

I'm all for Writers striking out on their own and creating something exciting for internet distribution. The day will soon come when there is a popular hit show that is only available on the internet.

But that show is not here yet. And that show will likely be from an independent producer (maybe a striking writer), not from NBC or Sony or some big studio.

Klaatu said...

Here's the math:

$20k residual for writers per hour equals a total of about $200k in residuals per hour for all unions (WGA, DGA, SAG, IATSE, IBT, etc.).

TV commercials cost AT LEAST $50k each for network reruns (often more, but let's be conservative.)

There are 32 commercials per hour.

Therefore a rerun makes $1.6M in revenue and costs $200k in residuals. Or, residuals (for all unions) are 1/8th of the total revenue.

Now, nbc.com streamed 50 million ad-supported shows in October. (And that number will grow exponentially). But let's assume it doesn't. That's 600 million views per year.

Current ad rates for video on these site is conservatively $30 CPM (or 3 cents per viewer). Figure 4 commercials per show. (This will go up too.) That's 12 cents per stream. Or a total revenue of $72M per year (currently, with huge growth forecasted by the studios to shareholders). I also haven't included the additional income they receive from banner ads -- again, I'm being conservative.

So, if 1/8th goes to residuals, that would be $9M.

The writers' portion of that would be approximately $1M (same for directors, actors $3M, BTL $4M).

Now let's say that the total number of different episodes streamed is 400 in a year (twenty series with 20 episodes each or so).

That means the writer of each episode should get 1/400th of that million dollars. Or $2500 based on CURRENT revenues (remember, it's only going to go up).

The offer is $250 per hour ($125 per half hour, I assume).

So, that's a rollback of 90-95%, as Internet streaming replaces TV reruns -- which has already happened to shows like "Lost".

There's the math. They came in at five to ten cents on the dollar. And much less on future projected dollars.

unitedwesit said...

Um, the name of this website is "unitedhollywood" so perhaps the people who are angry at the writers could go elsewhere to rant.

It's very depressing to have sacrificed so much and then be vilified. I don't want to have to explain why $20,000 for a rerun isn't "nuts" but is a fraction of what advertisers pay to reach millions. And if Kara wants in on some of that "nuttiness" then I suggest she write a spec drama script. Final Draft provides a good template and figure on 62 pages with a teaser and four acts.

Anonymous said...

unitedwesit

I think if you look at Kara's posts overall, you will see that she has been generally supportive of the writers. While 20K may only represent a small portion of the revenue being earned here, it's big money to most of the working people in our country and that's a fact. Many people who were lucky enough to obtain a college degree still don't make much more than 40K in an entire year working 50 hours per week on average. So yeah...that sounds nuts to most folks. That's just the real world. Perhaps you're too detached.

Four Cent said...

Klaatu - excellent, illuminating maths (sorry, I'm British and put that annoying 's' on the end). You sound like you could answer my question: What have the studios and networks made so far, in total, from all internet usage, vs what WGA members have made in total - and over what period of time? I'm assuming (maybe naively) that it's possible to date the start of internet usage by the corporations to a particular point in time...

Anonymous said...

Amen, unitedwesit.

20K may sound like a lot for a rerun. But the question is not how much is paid to a writer, it's how much money a studio is making. If a show turns out to be a big hit everyone should get a piece of the pie. Anyone who calls writers "greedy" for wanting a fair share should remember that the money in question is not on a train bound for widows and orphans that we greedy writers are hijacking. It's profit, from a product that writers had a huge part in creating. If you think the tiny fees offered are a fair shake you need to explain why the studios should get such a big piece of the action.
And yeah, try writing something. Work on it for a long time. Pitch it all over town. Rewrite it on the whim of some guy who gets fired. Rewrite it on the whim of his replacement. Rewrite it nine more times. Pray the thing actually gets aired and that somebody likes it. And then, when it reruns, dot he math and figure out if you're greedy for wanting to be paid.

DeeCee said...

Consider this:

I know what I'll be doing this Christmas, but to my fellow guild members, here's how to get get your 4 cents worth of DVD's out from the studios this year:

1) Zodiac, Director's Cut - Xmas gift for brother.

2) Away from Her - Xmas gift for mom.

3) 3:10 to Yuma - Xmas gift for pops.

4) Knocked Up - Xmas gift for sis.

Gotta be worth at least a cent each, I figure.

Stay Strong! Stay United!

Skyfleur said...

Klaatu. I'm sorry but I'm missing something.
The residuals for streaming should be $9M per year, right ?
But you haven't compared tv reruns with the same time measure, right ? you did the maths for residuals per hour ?
Or I am missing something ?
If I did read correctly, i.e. you compared hour residuals to year residuals, then the entire explanation is faulty, no ?

Kara said...
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Kara said...
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Kara said...

Thanks Unitedwesit.
I'll get right on that.
;)

And thanks anonymous. 20K may not be much money to Unitedwesit but that's half of my year's salary. So in my mind that number IS nuts. But look at what teachers make. I guess we just have a really messed up value system in this country.

"And yeah, try writing something. Work on it for a long time. Pitch it all over town. Rewrite it on the whim of some guy who gets fired. Rewrite it on the whim of his replacement. Rewrite it nine more times. Pray the thing actually gets aired and that somebody likes it. And then, when it reruns, dot he math and figure out if you're greedy for wanting to be paid."

Stop being so condescending. I'm a creative-type as well. But I'm tired of this attitude that writing is Rocket Science. I know that creativity isn't something everyone possesses. I know that the writers do AMAZING work and their jobs aren't easy. That's why I've been SUPPORTIVE of this strike. I'm sorry you had to rewrite your script. But if you want to know what hard work is go spend a week digging ditches. Then come cry to me about your $20,000 dollars. Sorry if that sounds harsh but your attitude just sent me over the edge.

curious said...

Stay strong you guys. We support you! (SAG member)

Curious.... in reading this latest update it states with the WGA's proposal writers' revenues would increase just 3% per year while Production revenues increase 10% per. Since this strike is not only about writers now but it is also setting precedent for both the director's and actor's upcoming contracts as well... does that mean both of those unions would also want 3% increases as well? Leaving the productions with a 1% increase per year and the short end of the stick?

I support the writer's strike whole-heartedly, I'm just trying to wrap my head around both sides' positions to be better informed. This little tid-bit sounded a little off to me.

Thanks and go writers!

unitedwesit said...

I'm not "too detached." I'm a grown-up who understands the economic reality that people in entertainment are well-compensated in our society. For example, the MINIMUM salary for a major league baseball player for the 2006 season was $380,000 and the average salary was $2.7 million? That seems "nuts" to me, but I wouldn't go on the MLB Players' website and say that.

Anonymous said...

We have a relative who is disabled. The man that works as his aid performed a few songs for us the other day. This man was more entertaining, had more charisma and more talent than anyone that I've seen in a long time. I'd pick watching him over television anytime. That guy works hard and his job comes with some very unpleasant tasks. I promise you that you would not want to trade jobs with him.

I think you should get your fair share from the producers. But you also need to stop whining and get in touch with to way that most people live. Or they'll just grow to dislike you and they won't be on your side...anymore.

Klaatu said...

skfleur --

I used the current TV rerun business model and compared it to the current Internet business model.

They offered $250 per hourlong episode in exchange for unlimited Internet streaming for one year.

The current TV residual is $20k for network primetime rerun of a one-hour show.

They are diffent in that with TV, everyone watches at once, but online each viewer watches at their own time.

So, I simply calculated a TV rerun residual to revenue ratio (1:8) and applied it to Internet revenues.

Kara said...

"...for example, the MINIMUM salary for a major league baseball player for the 2006 season was $380,000 and the average salary was $2.7 million? That seems "nuts" to me, but I wouldn't go on the MLB Players' website and say that.

Not a fan of this freedom of speech thing, huh?

FYI - Baseball players ARE overpayed.

unitedwesit said...

Kara,

20K is a LOT of money to me. That's why I don't want to lose it. And if the Guild accepted the original and current AMPTP proposals, we would be giving that away.

And, yes, teachers don't make a lot of money. But they can get tenure which writers can't. And they don't have to worry about ageism...or sexism...and if the principal changes, all the teachers don't get fired.

Evan Waters said...

Anonymous 11:20:

What, specifically, constitutes whining here? Can you give us some specific examples?

Anonymous said...

That seems "nuts" to me, but I wouldn't go on the MLB Players' website and say that.

If they were putting you out of work you might. In fact you should!

Let's not forget that just because Kara isn't in the industry doesn't mean that her input isn't important. In fact, as the consumer she is the most important party of all.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Kara, you're focussing on what people make rather than where that money comes from. Ballplayers get a piece of the enormous profit generated from sporting events. It's obscene, but the alternative is that that money goes only to the companies that manage and promote those events.

I didn't mean to be condescending. But writing a script for a hit show takes a whole lot of time. If the show makes a great deal of money, the writers should be compensated for their work with a fair share. If the show is never rerun, then the writers don't get any more money. If it's rerun every ten seconds they should get a lot. I wish teachers were paid more, too - but teachers aren't part of a profit business that's generating tons of money.
If you think it's an issue that successful entertainment writers are overpaid compared to the general population, then you need to explain why you think corporate executives get a free pass on that.

(I'm the same anonyous who wrote to you earlier - for some reason my computer crashes every time I try to use my account.)

Anonymous said...

Evan Waters

This is whining....

"And yeah, try writing something. Work on it for a long time. Pitch it all over town. Rewrite it on the whim of some guy who gets fired. Rewrite it on the whim of his replacement. Rewrite it nine more times. Pray the thing actually gets aired and that somebody likes it. And then, when it reruns, dot he math and figure out if you're greedy for wanting to be paid."

To this I say big effing deal. Alot of us have jobs that are a pain in the ass. YES, you should get paid fairly. But when someone who makes 40K a year for working at least as hard thinks that is alot of money, you outta be able to understand that.

Kara said...

"20K is a LOT of money to me. That's why I don't want to lose it. And if the Guild accepted the original and current AMPTP proposals, we would be giving that away."

I agree you should get a fair deal. You deserve your share of the revenue being made. Period.

All I'm trying to communicate is that most people will read the "$20,000 per episode" part and have some difficulty maintaining their sympathy for you (especially when so many people are losing their jobs). It may not be right. But it's the reality. The WGA just needs to continue doing the same GREAT job they have been doing educating the public (dummies like me). Otherwise, public opinion could turn against the writers.

Anonymous said...

"Otherwise, public opinion could turn against the writers."

A very real possibility! If I were in a PR position for the WGA, I'd want to kick some people in the ass for the way that they have behaved. Some of their own members are their own worst enemies.

Anonymous said...

Nice analysis, klaatu.

curious, the math doesn't work that way. The growth percentages don't add up to 10%. Every growth rate would be different depending on the base it was calculated on.

Math is your friend, people.

Anonymous said...

Public opinion is nice, but not that important to either side.

Anonymous said...

this is all a bunch of crap.

Writers are just a small part of the creative process that makes a hit show (or any show for that matter)...in that they don't actually make it.

There are hundreds of people who make up the entire crew, that all take a very important part in the making of what ends up on the screen.

Should I (as a Prop Master) make more money if the show that Im on is a hit?..I wish, but hell no.

We all make our own deals and we all make a hell of a lot more money than the average person in this country.

You asked for an example of your whining?..there it is.

You guys should be doing some damage control. You never had as much support as you thought from the beginning, but now it's only going to get worse...especially if all the IA members start seeing how you just want "more, more, more"....and we are all still out of work because of you at Christmas time.

Anonymous said...

kara said...
Stop being so condescending. I'm a creative-type as well. But I'm tired of this attitude that writing is Rocket Science. I know that creativity isn't something everyone possesses. I know that the writers do AMAZING work and their jobs aren't easy. That's why I've been SUPPORTIVE of this strike. I'm sorry you had to rewrite your script. But if you want to know what hard work is go spend a week digging ditches. Then come cry to me about your $20,000 dollars. Sorry if that sounds harsh but your attitude just sent me over the edge.

Kara, my dear:
I went to college and got 2 degrees (1 in rocket science) so I wouldn't have to dig ditches. We all make choices in life, surely. Actually rocket science is easier than writing for film & TV because there's more employment certainty in the Aerospace biz, a lot less sexism, racism, nepotism, cronyism, etc. I truly appreciate your support & I'd like to think others do as well, but pls try to understand that looking to the future is part of our attempt to getting a fair share of profits that we generate w/ our ability to write good product.
Pax.

Anonymous said...

This whole situation...this strike over the last few weeks...all the arrogance and superiority and failure to care for the real people who work really hard to make comparatively little money...reminds me of a little piece of writing that I really do admire. I keep hearing it over and over in my head.

From the movie "Still Breathing"...

"Lemme ask you a question, Phil - and you don't have to answer it if you don't want to. D'you think that every last thread of intelligent life has chosen to huddle in either New York or LA? Or do you really believe that-that this soulless sinkhole has anything to do with real life humanity - namely integrity, compassion, dignity? Y'know what, don't answer that, Phil. Just lemme just give you some advice. Next time you're driving through Texas, you better stay clear of all the trailer parks. And if you *are* driving through Texas, why don't you do it fast - real, *real* fast."

It didn't hurt that Brendan Fraser was so hot in that movie.

Kara said...

"Public opinion is nice, but not that important to either side."

You're right. I'm just a nobody. I'm just one of those people that watches your shows and your movies.

Nice.

Klaatu said...

anonymous @11:48,

Not only should you make more money if the show you work on is a hit, but you do.

The bigger the hit, the more the show will rerun, stream, sell on DVD, sell foreign, etc.

The below the line unions get residuals on all of that. In fact it pays for 55% of your pension and health plans.

For every penny in residuals the WGA receives, te DGS gets one cent, SAG gets three cents, and IATSE, IBT, etc. get four and a half cents.

Read my mathematical analysis above. At current revenue levels (which will only increase), the BTL unions should receive $11,250 per year in residuals for each streamed episode of TV.

The WGA wants you to get that. In fact, IATSE has in writing that if the WGA gets residuals for new media, they must as well.

Anonymous said...

kara,

No, you're very important to our business. But how you feel the revenue from our business should be divided up among the people in it is not very relevant. And it certainly isn't going to sway the AMPTP to give writers more. Sorry, but it's true. The strike will not be won by either side in the court of public opinion.

Anonymous said...

Curious 11:17, you're mixing up percentage of total and percentage increases. If the total pie increases by 10%, then all the pieces of the pie need to increase by 10% each as well, or else those pieces are falling behind. So if the writers are asking for 3% (and if the actors and directors and BTL all follow suit) then the producers already have a huge, huge win.

And since the producers are still not even satisfied with that huge win, it should tell you who is being reasonable and who wants to keep all the pie for themselves.

Stoned said...

Norma Rae lie' a motherfucker! AFTRA in the house y'all.

Anonymous said...

man...the residuals thing to the IA...you are so misinformed.

My health and Pension is made up of contributions that I make to it myself and my employer pays $4.39 per hour that I work...thats it.

You keep trying to make everybody believe that the writers are striking for the greater good for all of the people in the industry.
When the reality is that you are only striking for the greater good of the writers....and then later, the Actors.

You would most certainly win back at least some support, if you just stop with the bullshit about how you are really helping the rest of the crew by doing this...and just be honest that you are doing this all for a better deal for yourselves.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong. IA gets 45% of it's health and pension money from payments made based on each hour work and the remaining 55% from payments made for reuse (i.e. residuals).

Sorry, if you don't know how your compensation is structured, but that's the way it works.

Anonymous said...

"But how you feel the revenue from our business should be divided up among the people in it is not very relevant. And it certainly isn't going to sway the AMPTP to give writers more. Sorry, but it's true. The strike will not be won by either side in the court of public opinion."

I know this much...how other guild members (like me) feel certainly can effect things. In fact, if you had been smarter and more considerate in your timing, more of us could have joined you and shut things down fast for a much quicker resolution. As important as you are, they could still go on without you for a while. But they couldn't last a single day without the rest of us. Production would immedietely halt! You could have had our strength behind you, if only you would have considered us.

As for Kara's influence. I actually do think that the public can have an influence. If they decide that you are a bunch of a-holes they can decide to be more tolerant of the loss of scripted programming and direct their attention elsewhere.

IAGAFFER said...

Executive Story Editor said...

They have more-developed beer guts, if that's what you mean.

How dare you. Hollywood craftspeople are honest, hardworking people. Disgusting, uninformed comments like this weaken your cause, this mentality feeds the kind of resentment that writers can’t afford.

Just to clarify... this proposal is only a rollback compared to what you expected. The proposal does not affect the wga or any other unions preexisting residual deals. The wga is calling this a rollback because they anticipate a significant reduction in tv reruns compared to internet reruns.

Just like the IATSE, the WGA does not guarantee employment. So at any giving time there are a number of members of the wga out of work as there are only so many spots for tv and film writers. This is also the case for television and feature crafts persons. Those writers who are employed, either on a series or feature are well paid employees. This is especially the case for those writers who are also credited as producers.

Those of us who collect our pay checks for the hours we work have a hard time understanding why the writers we see everyday as wealthy employees would sacrifice our jobs and our families well being to what the majority of our membership sees as a raise. Remember the IATSE leadership does not see our pension and welfare system at risk. Although we would all like to see additional funds deposited into the system its simply not an issue for the vast majority of members.

I would encourage the writers to think critically about their own mob mentality and strongly consider not only the effect they have on our jobs, but also their long term relationship with labor. Remember the power you have, and I would encourage you to respect the everyday efforts that the crafts persons put into your stories, turning them into moving pictures instead of words on the page. People like the executive story editor above serve only to alienate the wga membership from the rest of the labor force.

Anonymous said...

Right On!!! IAgaffer

Anonymous said...

The writers on any given show have never actually been considered part of the "regular crew" that actually make those words come to life.
And yet, now that they have put all of us out of work for the holidays..they want to claim that they are doing it for every person and union involved.

The AMPTP has there own form of negative propaganda.....when will the writers stop theirs?

Skyfleur said...

anon 12:13pm. I've read comments like yours a lot. But every single time, I'm wondering, when would it have been a better time ?

I understand how and why people are getting angry. The strike is putting a lot of jobs in jeopardy.
What I don't get is okay, assume they would have waited. But when would it have been a good time to start the strike ? We know starting after the pilot season didn't do any good to the WGA in 88. So, we can assume that starting in July would be an even worse idea cause not only would summer series done and be broadcasted but all the new projects would have been picked up by then and the AMPTP would have won an entire year of movies / shows without an agreement in place.
I don't think there would be a good time. Any time is bad for everyone.
Any strike has collateral damages. The fact is if what the paper says is true (for example for IATSE getting residuals in the P&H fund), every single Union would benefit from this if the writers win. Do they do it primarily for the other Unions, of course not. They fight for their own livelihood. And I don't think they've misrepresented this. Is it wrong of them to say that indirectly it will benefit others. I personally don't think so.

So, okay this was not a good time because it's the holiday season. But when would it have been a good time ?

Jason Marks said...

Hey IAGaffer,

On behalf of all real WGA members here, I'll apologize for the juvenile tauntings of "Executive Story Editor" if indeed that person is truly a writer.

I just have a hard time believing he or she could be. I've never met any other TV writers who ever had the slightest problem with any member of the crew, or vice versa. And I don't know any writers with the capacity to be that insensitive to the pain we're ALL going through. We all wish there were some way that we could have gone on strike without the networks taking it out on you too.

I'm not suggesting "Executive Story Editor" is an AMPTP plant, just someone trying to stir up some fireworks.

Anonymous said...

Will other guild contracts not be expiring soon? Would that not free the people working under those contracts from their "no strike" provisions? Would they not then be free to strike without the threat of permanent job loss (a threat which the writers do not face)? Doesn't it make sense that if the people actually involved in day to day production walked out together they would shut things down in an instant? Wouldn't this pretty much force the AMPTP into making a better deal quickly? Wouldn't this reduce the amount of time that we were all unemployed? Wouldn't that save homes, educational funds and retirement plans?

Anonymous said...

"On behalf of all real WGA members here, I'll apologize for the juvenile tauntings of "Executive Story Editor" if indeed that person is truly a writer."

Jason, as an IA wife I'll tell you, that means a hell of a lot to me.

We did plan for a rainy day, but we also just sunk a LOT of money into our first home. We don't live above our means. We worked for 12 years to buy this little one bedroom condo. No matter how you scrimp and save, it's hard to go sixth months without a job and not lose your home. It's terrifying. So your sensitivity really goes a long way with me.

Anonymous said...

We feel for all the people that are out of work. We're out of work too.

I wouldn't love being put out of work if another union went on strike. But if they were being screwed like we are, I'd understand it.

And the truth is, they are being screwed like we are, or at least they will be.

Evan Waters said...

I just had a thought- you do have the Union Solidarity Fund working, maybe that should be emphasized or publicized more so that people know the WGA is making an effort to alleviate some of the financial damage of the strike to technicians and so on.

Maybe even increase the price of the pencil boxes so you can have more go to the charity. I'd gladly pay $2 or $5 or whatever per box to help out.

Ang Li Cru said...

skyfleur,

You're right that there's no "good time" to strike. And it is hard to say at what point a strike should actually be called.

The problem so many crew members have is threefold:

1) it feels as though the WGA has been hellbent on going on strike for months. The negotiations have been handled horribly. WGA cancelled its own early negotiation date in January. Experienced entertainment negotiators (such as the IA's Tom Short) advised you LAST YEAR to jump start negotiations. WGA ignored our advice but now want our support.

2) the WGA walked out only 5 days after the contract expired. Why not one week longer? Two weeks? January 1? As I started with, it's hard to pick a date. You could have walked on January 1, and still received complaints about walking early. But 5 days? C'mon...

3) we were all led to believe that the WGA would not strike until Spring, so as to create a "perfect storm" strike when DGA and SAG contracts expired. This would have provided HUGE pressure on the studios as it would have shut down everything immediately. We workerbees would have had an extra 5 months to prepare and save -- and you could have been negotiating the whole time to try and avoid a strike altogether.

This is why we are SUPREMELY FRUSTRATED with the timing of this strike.

Skyfleur said...

SAG and DGA contracts do expire on June 30th, 2008.

So yes, they could go on strike during summer. In what way would that be better ?
Not only productions for renewed shows would not commence and thus no people hired below the lines but new movies/shows would not go forward and thus no jobs filled either. For below the lines people, a summer strike would be the worst possible solution.
For the AMPTP, on the other hand, this would just be the perfect solution.
Not only would they have won an entire season of shows / movies, but they could have forced faster productions and probably start some stockpiling.
Also, all the shows that are scheduled for the summer would have been in the can so they would have no problem whatsoever for their summer schedules.

A summer strike would have no effect on the Congloms, but would have a devastating effect on every one else.
Think about this, summer strike = no production = no jobs for the coming months = shows on air for at least 6 months and no pain for the networks or studios for a much longer period.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought....

Could you imagine if the WGA had handled the strike better and ACTUALLY had the total backing of the IA?
Just imagine how enormous the picket lines would have been.

But now, they are back-tracking and saying "hey guys, we are really doing it to help the IA in the long run"

It's all propaganda bullshit.
Trying to gain support from working members of the crew that really don't care one bit that the writers are just trying to line their pockets a little better.

Anonymous said...

evan waters

I think that's a good idea. It takes some responsibility for the fact that while...yes the companies are evil...the writers did take an action that hurts other people who had no vote in the situation. That's a much better way to build/preserve a good relationship with the others than to have a cavalier attitude and point to the AMPTP everytime.

Anonymous said...

re: Anonymous 1:24 p.m.

"It's all propaganda bullshit.
Trying to gain support from working members of the crew that really don't care one bit that the writers are just trying to line their pockets a little better."


If I were an AMPTP flack trolling these boards trying to stir up anti-WGA sentiment, this is exactly the note I'd hit.

Ang Li Cru said...

Your argument about a Summer strike holds no water, as it is either already true about the current strike, or is based on ideas that were presented by the IA last year, but refuted by your leadership.

Some points to consider

1) A Summer strike is still a possibility, because even if you guys agree to a contract, there's no guarantee that the other 2 guilds will

2) Right now, there's practically no production. How is this different from Summer?

3) TV shows are still going to air for 6 months, as compared to your "shows scheduled for the Summer" that would still air. Oh yeah, the networks LOVE their hugely profitable Summer lineup (oh wait, that's mostly repeats and final episodes of cancelled series).

4) stockpiling of scripts? really? when the IA suggested that could happen (last year), the WGA referred to the idea as a "boogeyman"

I guess the boogeyman cometh.

To reiterate:

November Strike = no production = no jobs for the coming months = shows on air for at least 6 months = and no pain for the networks for a MUCH longer period (Summer was unprofitable to begin with)

Add to that:

November Strike = less income for everyone = less time to prepare for economic hardship = potential for staggered strike (you could settle, only to have SAG or DGA strike) = TERRIBLE MOVE ON WGA'S PART

Finally, the rest of the working world get Christmas bonuses. December is the most expensive month of the year -- presents, heating, property taxes, etc.

Even in a non-strike year, crew members actually only get half pay for December because the whole town shuts down the last two weeks of the year.

Now the whole town is practically shut down for the WHOLE month. Great.

Anonymous said...

"Now the whole town is practically shut down for the WHOLE month. Great."

Yeah, like the WGA should have to worry about the rest of us. I don't want IATSE having to factor in the WGA's feelings when it's our turn at the negotiating table. You want a say in WGA decisions? Write a script and join their guild. Until then, don't pretend you speak for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

"If I were an AMPTP flack trolling these boards trying to stir up anti-WGA sentiment, this is exactly the note I'd hit

November 30, 2007 1:33 PM

Why is it that every time someone brings up a VERY valid point, you always point the finger and say it must be an AMPTP troll?

Trust me...you have PLENTY of anti-WGA sentiment going around with the members of the IA to worry about.

Anonymous said...

If McDonald's hamburger vendor decides not to provide anymore frozen hamburger patties then that is a problem. Sooner or later, a day or week from now, McDonalds is going to have to stop selling hamburgers and stop getting hamburger revenue. But for a little while, they can continue business as usual.

But if those who mind the store (turning those frozen patties into delicious hamburgers)refuse to work, then hamburger sales stop today. Revenue stops today. Corporate is forced into action today.

While there is no doubt that the writers are essential to the process, their absence simply will not be felt as immedietely as the absence of the day to day production team.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, like the WGA should have to worry about the rest of us. I don't want IATSE having to factor in the WGA's feelings when it's our turn at the negotiating table. You want a say in WGA decisions? Write a script and join their guild. Until then, don't pretend you speak for the rest of us."

Well, I for one am not an atom of self interest. So while I do my best to look out for myself, I am guided by a little thing called ethics. I'm in counsel with "Ethics" on everything that I do in every area of my life with no regrets.

Ang Li Cru said...

I am countering statements that smack of propaganda, which are often baseless or at least out of tune with reality.

I obviously have no voice in this strike, and have said in the past that the WGA does not owe us anything.

But they should not claim to be striking on behalf of all of us or that the timing of the strike was the best timing available and not expect a counter-opinion on site that bills itself as a "place to debate and discuss."

The frustration I have expressed is real and represents not only my own opinion, but the general feelings of the vast majority of my co-workers. Maybe the tone of the crew on your show is different.

There are crewmembers who support the strike whole-heartedly. There are also crew members who think the writers are money-grubbing jerks. I don't "pretend" to speak for them or anyone but myself.

Anonymous said...

"But if those who mind the store (turning those frozen patties into delicious hamburgers)refuse to work, then hamburger sales stop today. Revenue stops today. Corporate is forced into action today."

and you don't have the slow trickle off of jobs at the stores who run out first. It's a swift halt to all hamburger sales. Everybody stops...sales stop...corporate acts.

Showrunnerguy said...

There seems to be a lot of talk here about how WGA members don’t respect their IATSE brothers and sisters. As a showrunner with almost twenty years of experience in this business, let me assure you that I and all the other writer/producers I know have tremendous admiration for all the hard work you do. More than that, when I’ve run shows, I’ve done everything in my power to make sure my crews get the personnel, time, and gear they need to do their job right and do it safely. When my employers praise the look and quality of the final product, I always give credit where credit is due, to the crew. To everyone who works their asses off late into the night to take TV and film from script to screen.

Moreover, in every instance, whenever one of the unions or guilds that are so vital to our business has asked for a new or better deal, I’ve always been steadfast in my support. I’ve consistently lobbied my bosses to be generous and positive in their dealings with the various unions, as I feel they’re the heart and soul of our business. I’ve even gone so far as to sign a separate peace with one striking guild to keep a show going, giving them everything they were asking for in order to keep our crew and cast employed. And I know many other showrunners who’ve done the same.

It’s not us who try to cut hours and crew size and shooting days. We’re the ones who argue for more money, more time, and more people to do the job right. Just like we’re the ones who want to settle the strike quickly and fairly and the studios are the ones being obstructionist, unfair, and cheap.

And please understand that the WGA has a “no-strike” clause in our contract the same way IATSE does. That means that legally we can’t honor your picket lines any more than you can honor ours. In some cases, in fact, the AMPTP can argue that writer-producers can’t even honor WGA picket lines. So we cross any picket line reluctantly but we do so because we are legally bound to do so. The same way you (and SAG and AFTRA and everyone else) are being forced to cross ours. We don’t resent you for continuing to work while we strike. We get it. You have to keep your contracts and feed your families just like we do.

But here’s the bottom line: As much as I would love to get everyone back to work as quickly as possible, I can’t sacrifice my family’s financial future and the financial future of my friends, my colleagues, and co-workers, and the financial viability of the entire labor pool of our industry to do so.

Others have stated the financial case clearly, but let me reiterate the most important point: The internet is the future. If labor does not get a slice of the internet pie proportionate to our current share of TV, cable, and syndication revenues, we will all suffer considerably in the future. We are ALL already losing money every day because of the 1988 DVD deal. And that includes IATSE. We can’t afford to repeat that mistake this time around, no matter how long we have to stay out.

So I’m deeply and truly sorry for those of you that are suffering financially. I was about to start a new job when the strike hit, so I personally left a large amount of money on the table. Since I haven’t worked in some time, my family and I are already living off our savings. We’re going to have to tighten our belts this Christmas season and for the foreseeable future. And I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. I HAVE savings to live off of. But I also know that whatever money we lose now is far less than we stand to lose in the future if we don’t make a stand. Now. Together.

Ang Li Cru said...

Showrunnerguy --

Excellent comment, sir.

What I think is sometimes lost in the debate is that we below-the-line crew overwhelmingly support the Writers in what they are trying to achieve.

In my case, I just disagree with the tactics and timing of the strike. It is my honest opinion that the contract talks have been bungled by both sides of the negotiation, and this hurts everyone (Writers, of course, included as well).

I sincerely hope that you get a fair deal, I just worry that the price of deal is going to outweigh the benefit for a very long time -- that the "breakeven" is going to be years and years from now; and that the high cost could have been avoided.

Anonymous said...

showrunnerguy

I'm an IATSE wife and I like you. I agree with you about the companies and their greed. I always have. But, I do hate the way that those of us who had no vote...no say...are disproportionately affected by this action.

Now somebody brilliant needs to come up with a way to help the craftspeople outside of the WGA get emergency assistance so that they don't lose their homes and ruin their credit. This could haunt people for 10 years after the end of this strike. I hear that there is a strike fund for the WGA. I know that many successful writers have at least some residuals coming. What can we do for the rest of the folks? "It's not our problem" is not an adequate answer. Darfur isn't our problem either...but many of us really care and take some responsibility to improve things.

showrunnerguy said...

Anon 2:12pm wrote:

Now somebody brilliant needs to come up with a way to help the craftspeople outside of the WGA get emergency assistance so that they don't lose their homes and ruin their credit. This could haunt people for 10 years after the end of this strike. I hear that there is a strike fund for the WGA. I know that many successful writers have at least some residuals coming. What can we do for the rest of the folks?

The Pencils2MediaMoguls program profits are going to help non-writers hit by the strike:

http://unitedhollywood.blogspot.com/2007/11/pencils2mediamoguls.html

What happens to the money from the pencils?

Anything we have left over from our costs will go into the Union Solidarity Fund, which was created to help non-WGA members affected by the strike.


I know several showrunners who are paying their assistants, all of whom were fired the first week of the strike by the studios.

The benefit perfomances in NY by 30Rock and SNL were for the benefit of their crew and assistants.

We're trying. Which is more than you can say for the people actually responsible for putting you out of work. Five letters. Starts with A. Ends with P.

I would also hope IATSE would break into its strike fund to help everyone if necessary. Afterall, that's what it's for.

I know you may argue that it's not your strike, why should you have to dip into your strike fund. But make no mistake, what the studios are trying to do is union breaking, plain and simple. We're just the first ones on the chopping block.

Captain Obvious said...

Time for some of you people to man up and stop being such little babies.

Time for some of you people to quit telling us all about how much the writers' support is drying up. Your support for the writers might be drying up, but sorry, you're not representative of everyone else; as much as you might like to think you are.

Time for some of you people to realize that when a writer contractually signs over copyright ownership over their written work they gain certain rights. One of those rights is to be paid when that work is reused outside the first run window.

Time for some of you people to realize that the corporations are not your friends. They're not anyone's friends. Railing against the writers in this is equivalent to saying "I'd rather see the shareholders get shiny new pennies and the executives to each get a few million more dollars than they do already than see those greedy writers get anything."

Time for some of you people to recognize that the Internet is soon to be everything to content delivery. It's not speculation, it's fact. Ang wants to mock the writers for preparing for the future. Hey McFly: The contract created in these negotiations will be in effect for years. It has to be written with the future in mind.

Anonymous said...

Now, Captain...
We were beginning to have a more friendly, productive family discussion here before you showed up. Don't still the pot. The anger is starting to wane a little and people are starting to think about what we can do as a whole to look out for everybody while we accomplish our collective goals.
Don't blow it!!!

Anonymous said...

uh...I meant "stir the pot". Do keep it still...please.

Anonymous said...

Captain Obvious is dead on. Testify! I soooo have your back.

The Angelic One said...

"Captain Obvious is dead on. Testify! I soooo have your back."

C'mon now! Nobody likes a trouble maker. Except another troublemaker.

Anybody have anything productive to say?

Ang Li Cru said...

C.O. -

Some of you should realize that this site invites debate and discussion.

Some of you should stop bashing those with legitimate concerns, questions and even complaints just because they differ from your own.

Otherwise, I'm not mocking you, bro.

Rather, I'm making a point. Your negotiation is trying to predict revenue from economic models that have not yet been created.

Of course the negotiation is about the future, as it should be. I'm suggesting the WGA is so gunshy about what happened 20 years ago in regard to VHS, that you're creating unreasonable demands now.

I believe you should get residuals on the internet. I believe you need jurisdiction over new media.

The internet is going to be huge for distribution. I agreed with that notion before, and I'm restating it again. There's no argument here.

But no one really knows how to monetize it yet. At least not in a manner that brings in anything close to the revenue from broadcast or cable.

By all means, the WGA should stake its claim now. I'd just prefer to see negotiations not fall apart over pie-in-the-sky expectations for revenue.

Finally, if this deal is really as bad as everyone claims, can you tell me honestly that you could not have negotiated to this point without yet striking?

You couldn't have received this offer while staying on the job and earning another 4 paychecks?

And you STILL would have the threat of a strike hanging over the heads of the producers.

This is what drives so many of us crewmembers crazy. Not everyone of us. But a lot.

Sorry if our frustration adds to your own.

Evan Waters said...

Like I said, that the USF is there and is being funded in part by the Pencils program could be promoted more- it'll help get more money into its coffers if nothing else.

Think I'll post on this tonight, encouraging people to participate.

Anonymous said...

"Like I said, that the USF is there and is being funded in part by the Pencils program could be promoted more- it'll help get more money into its coffers if nothing else."

Evan...how can I find out more about the USF. Like who manages it and how I can be assured that the funds really will be equally available to all of the impacted parties and not just the writers? I really do not want to raise money for a fund that only benefits the writers and reduces their incentive to get the rest of us back to work ASAP>

Caitlin said...

Okay, WGA, there are more ways I can say I support you than I can count, so I'm not going to bother with them. I think you're right and that the AMPTP is wrong, simple as that. But come on.

Yes, this is a bad deal, and yes, the AMPTP is unfairly tooting their horns about it. But you take one look at it, after they took a step, however small and pathetic, and run into hiding? Counter. Offer. Why in the world are you waiting until Tuesday to go back? So the people who are supposed to be talking this out can instead write a letter bitching about how the propsal is a disappointing rollback? I'm not saying the bitching is wrong, but it's bitching all the same. And since the offer is so unfair, step up and tell them what you want. What you need. Since this is such an important matter that you had to go on strike and put the lives of thousands and the shows loved by millions on the lines, it should be an important enough matter to do whatever you can to get a deal as quickly as possible without sacrificing your terms.

What's worse is the attitude reflected towards people I've seen in comments like this. People who are optimistic and hopeful about good news get smacked down as being naive and told to dig their heels in for a strike that's going to last months. Below-the-line employees, already in near-poverty situations, find it hard to support people able to stand outside buildings chanting and still get by at least somewhat comforably, but when they come to express their desperation, they are called out as not being supportive, as playing into AMPTP's hands, or even as being plants of the studios themselves. And I'm not saying writers are overpaid. You can go months between paychecks, I get that. But you're still tons better off than the people who you left jobless and who have no choice in this matter. You say they support you, but will they still when they're on the streets themselves (and I don't mean to picket)?

That goes for the public too. Remember something: the War on Terror was met with approval when it first started, too. I'm not saying the strike is the same as the war, not by any means. The strike is an important and worthy cause, while the war fell apart because our Preseident is an idiot. But the situations aren't all that different. Support for the war crashed and burned because people couldn't see anything happening. And now, with jobs and the television season on the line? Nothing is happening here. You deserve the support, yes, but you're also taking it for granted. It's not going to last forever, I can tell you that now.

True, the studios are holding out because they can. True, they're assholes. True, this is their fault. I've heard it all before and I'm hearing it all again. But the facts are just what you're saying they are: they should step up, but they won't. So you have to. Yes, in some ways its demeaning. Yes, it's what they want. But is it the same as giving up? No. You can step up and still get a good deal. You just have to be willing to sink your teeth in and not get go until they stop being ignorant.

Harp at me until the sun goes down, but this is about more than pride or even residuals. It's about the lives of thosands and the happiness of millions. I'm not saying you shouldn't be fighting. I'm not saying this isn't a noble cause. I'm not even saying this shouldn't go on as long as it has to. If it takes months, it takes months. But you seem to have decided that it's just going to take months, and that's where I put my foot down.

Bad decisions were made on both sides of this strike. There, I said it. And I'm not taking it back. Of course, the studios have made far more and the writers are generally doing what they can well, but the point still stands. I've seen all the videos, I know why this is happening, and I know why it had to come to this. But remember that a strike serves to get something done.

It's time to play hardball. I don't know, maybe this can be taken to court. But regardless, something has to happen, and even though the WGA has every right to be upset about the latest offers, complaining about nothing. It's easy to tell people they need to keep supporting you, but you need to give them a reason to. Once more, writers, I am on your side. I love you, I admire you, I dream of being like you one day. But there's going to be a point where the costs of this strike will be greater than any deal you could hope to get, and that just Should. Not. Happen. It sucks that you have to be the bigger man, but you do. Go in Tuesday and put what you deserve on the table. Don't stop fighting until you get it. But don't stop talking, either. We all stand together. But damn it, eventually our legs are going to get tired.

Evan Waters said...

As far as I can tell the USF money goes only to non-striking union members, so the WGA people don't see it.

Anonymous said...

Evan

That's good news. Who is the custodian of said account?

How can I learn more...can you direct me to a website?

knocked up picketer said...

ANG LI CRU -

I am truly sorry if you are out of a job.

But you are throwing around just as many baseless assumptions that you accuse WGA.

I was not hell bent on striking. It was the position of the AMPTP that got my vote. It's that simple. They offer a decent deal I'm not picketing.

And I think it's never a good time. But, I do think the stockpiling of features and pilots would have put us in a much weaker/ longer strike.

But, ultimately, the issue is about writers having the right to fight for a fair contract. I'm sorry that us doing this is so offensive to you.

You're say you're supportive, but you're nit picking to death. And frankly you are making a ton of assumptions about something going on in a room where you are not.

KARA -

Thanks for the support. I love the fans. It's just frustrating to have certain numbers thrown around with no context, and frankly no business looks like ours and it takes a long time to explain. And any number you see, always rememer aprox 50% goes to taxes, attourney, agent, manager commission (dba cost), ad in LA cost of living, and you and I prob do about the same.

Point is. At the end of the day, writers whose work generats a TON OF PROFIT, deserve to share in the success.

It's nearly impossible to explain how hard we work and how much work we do for free, so when we make money we're paid back for all that risk we took.

If you disagree with that I'm sorry.

I'M A FAN BEFORE I'M WRITER. And, as I fan, I don't watch movies and shows for the studio behind it, but for the creatives. I get so much from rare and good entertainment, I want those people to get every cent they can.

But I'm all for muscicians and athletes making a lot too - they have rare talents that entertain us.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry that us doing this is so offensive to you."

ALC never said that sticking up for yourself was offensive.

Anonymous said...

"It's nearly impossible to explain how hard we work and how much work we do for free, so when we make money we're paid back for all that risk we took."

It's nearly impossible to explain how hard anybody works. I don't that hard work is the exclusive domain of hollywood writers.

Skyfleur said...

note to ang li : i'm not a writer, nor am i in the industry. So, please don't respond to me as if I were. I'm a nobody who utterly, completely and totally support the WGA position and I would do the same for any other union asking for residuals including you as a member of IATSE. And until I see a reasonable offer from the AMPTP I am NOT going to change this position.

As for my argument not holding water, okay fair enough. I still am waiting for an answer for when it would have been better to start a strike. From what I've read from you the answer is never since any time would cause a hardship on your own job and I understand the position.

SAG and WGA have both funds for below the lines employees with no protection. As I understand, The WGA fund is only for non union members who fall under the strike, they realize what hardship this strike is causing to people working in the industry, and they act on it. So yes, it's difficult, yes it's not the best time for a strike but there is some help set up. It might not be a lot, but it's there.

knocked up picketer said...

ANG LI CRU -

What you don't understand is that there is 20-plus years of bad history with the AMPTP screwing over writers on DVD b/c the producer's logic was "video cassettes are too new, we don't know how to account for it, so take this shitty deal and we'll revisit it later."

Guess what. It never got revisited and they made billions while the other creatives got crumbs of crumbs.

So now the WGA is not falling for it again. If they were honest about the uncertaintity of future business, they would open up their books and create a fair and honest residual rate where we profit when they profit.

But they don't dare. They simply try to blur the issue like they did in 88. And, I'm sorry, but this generation of the guild is not falling for it. The future is now. You don't negotiate it after the fact.

Or, maybe that's how you vote in your union, but I want my reps fighting harder for me.

Again, sorry if me standing up for myself is so offensive to you. I would never tell you to take a shitty deal to help me in the short run.

And, if we can get the no-strike clause out of our contract, I'll be there. Any day, any time with any other union.

p.s. I ain't rich, and this hurts me too.

Anonymous said...

"The WGA fund is only for non union members who fall under the strike"

Uh...well that's great but most of us who work in the industry are in one union or the other. We just aren't in the WGA.

You have been givin the answer to why it would have been better to wait. Go back an review some of the old posts.

Bathory said...

Kara,

"And thanks anonymous. 20K may not be much money to Unitedwesit but that's half of my year's salary. So in my mind that number IS nuts. But look at what teachers make. I guess we just have a really messed up value system in this country."

Let's nip this bad boy in the bud. I come from a family of public school teachers. I've been a working writer for ten years. I can't pay my rent. They have houses and go on vacations. Teachers are doing juuuust fine.

But you're being disingenuous, because you know damned well why the two industries aren't comparable -- teachers are paid BY US, THE PUBLIC. The entertainment business is a private industry. Two completely different animals. So let's stop whining for the poor teachers, mmkay? You simply cannot compare the two.

knocked up picketer said...

Yes, most people work really hard. But most don't do work for free (which is just expected of writers, from research to drafts).

I'm not saying we're slaves, but people are easy to dismiss writing as easy simply b/c it's ineffeble. There is a perception that it's easy.

It's not a oneupmanship, but at the end of the day, writers earn every penny they get. I worked tons of other jobs before making a living at writing and none of they were as difficult (and they paid overtime and didn't ask me to do free work).

When someone has a talent that a lot of people want access to, they should be paid accordingly. Supply and demand.

At the very least, they should not be chastised when they have the collective balls to fight for their worth. That's seems unAmerican to me.

I lost a production job during the last SAG stirke and I was firmly on their side.

Ang Li Cru said...

My position seems to get misinterpreted, so I will state it again.

I support the Writers, but not the Strike.

I think there is a time to strike, but I also think that 5 days after the contract expired was not the appropriate time.

I think that had the Writers not gone on Strike, we would be at least as far down the negotiation road as we now are. I can't say this definitively anymore than anyone else can claim the opposite. A path was chosen and we are all now suffering the consequences.

I acknowledge that the WGA has no contractual obligation to me, but I believe there is a moral obligation to hurt as few people as possible. I also strongly believe that no one in the WGA, including the top brass with whom I have so much of a problem, is intentionally out to hurt anyone.

Nonetheless, decisions that I consider rash and ill-advised were made that do cause undo harm.

I think the internet is extremely important both now and in the future. I do not believe, however, that anyone really knows where the money stream is going to come from in regards to the net.

I am not saying take a crap deal at any cost. I am not saying mortgage the future to pay for the present.

I am saying that mistakes were made on both sides of the bargaining table.

I am saying that both sides need to stop explaining away these past mistakes and focus on the future.

I am saying both sides need to stop talk of how long they can last and say how quickly they can get things done.

____________

And Caitlin -- wow! well said.

Anonymous said...

"So let's stop whining for the poor teachers, mmkay? You simply cannot compare the two."

Oh c'mon. Just because someone thinks that a $20,000 residual check is big money, doesn't mean that they are whining for the teachers. That's a ridiculous comment.

Skyfleur said...

anon 4:09 : I read the posts. If you are referring to it would have been better to wait until SAG or DGA contract expires, my answer is no it would not have been, not when their contract would have expired on june 30th. Nor would it have been good for the WGA to start the strike in March like they did in 88.

Realistically, doing a strike during a slow period has hardly ever yielded any result. It works for every union, every industry, the same logic is behind it : hit when it hurts the most. How would a strike in Summer hurt the Studios ?
The summer schedule will be in the can (of course network TV is filled with repeats but voluntarily or unvoluntarily one forgets Summer schedule is made of Cable TV and they're making millions during summer as well), summer movies would also be in the can and I would bet they would have forced productions to do more episodes just in case. They've already asked a lot of productions in the past two/three years to return early to work in the summer to start broadcast early and do more episodes.

So, no I did not get an answer as to when it would be better, I got an answer saying we could have been with you, but correct me if i'm wrong but until the IATSE contract expires, IATSE members can't go on strike, same goes for each union. So the only way for this to really happen would be for SAG, DGA, Teamsters, IATSE, AFTRA etc to wait for their contract to expire and walk out. How unrealistic would that be ?

Oh and by the way when I said "non union member" I meant people not a member of the WGA. I didn't think someone could misinterpret that.

location brat #399 said...

#1. I'm not happy to be unemployed (as of 2 weeks ago).
#2. The writer's on my show are fantastic. I work on the show, then watch it when it airs, and still have my suspension of disbelief.
#3. In the land of industry snakes, the producers, writer's and upm on my show are the best. (I have worked with some real rat ass butt f***ks).
#4. My job starts with what the writer imagines. The writer........ no one else.
#5. If the big corp. studios can screw the writers over... then in my opinion all our unions will follow.
#6. I'm tired of the whine by IA..... you have Tom Short as your useless leader...SO USELESS ,THAT THE TEAMSTERS HAD TO STEP IN AND KEEP HIM FROM SELLING YOU OUT..DO YOU NOT REMEMBER???? Please grow a back bone...

showrunnerguy said...

So ALC, what it boils down to, for you, seems to be that you feel the writers' cause is just but that strike was ill-timed.

You're certainly entitled to that opinion. Still, as someone who has been in the business for almost two decades and who watched the '88 strike from the sidelines, I can tell you that, if what we want is leverage, the timing was about as good as it could be.

A late spring/early summer strike (as in '88) is next to worthless. TV is in hiatus. Summer movies have all been shot. Many Late Night shows are in reruns. The AMPTP can easily weather a summer strike because they won't seen the consequences for several months. That's why the '88 strike dragged on and on and on. The studios weren't feeling it.

Compare that to now. TV shows are always almost out of scripts in November. It's the most important time of year for movie promotions on Late Night shows. Many tentpole movies are shooting.

Add to that that the studios were expecting a summer strike and were trying to stockpile like mad, our only choice for an effective strike was an immediate one. The longer we waited, the weaker our position was going to get.

Now, no one in the WGA wanted a strike. This all could have been avoided if the AMPTP had negotiated in good faith before the contract expired. But they dragged their heals and presented one rollback after another. In my estimation, they thought we wouldn't walk until June and so they pushed us as hard as they could, expecting us to continue working under an expired contract while we stockpiled even more material for them to help them weather the summer strike they were planning on.

Now, most informed folks behind the scenes I've talked to give another reason for the AMPTP's continuing to lowball and rollback. They want the strike to continue til December 15th so they can Force Majeure away many overall deals that they see as unprofitable. Not just writers' deals. Actors. Book options. Producers. Directors. The works. Their attitude seems to be, "We've come this far, might as well go the extra two weeks and use it to our advantage."

The truth of it is, the AMPTP can end this strike any time they want by offering a fair deal. The WGA can only end this strike right now by taking the crappy deal that's on the table, a deal that will have serious negative financial implications for the entire Hollywood labor pool for years to come. And we're just not going to do that.

My suspicion is this: Come December 15, the Studios will cut all the "deadwood" they want to get rid of, then finally start negotiating for real. We'll have a deal sometime in early January. Just a guess, but that's my crystal ball.

So the entire work-stoppage will be about ten to twelve weeks long. And at the end we'll have a deal we can live with.

Compare that to a summer strike which probably would have lasted at least twenty weeks, and you'll understand why the WGA walked when we did.

showrunnerguy said...

Wow. Just re-read my own post and man there are a lot of typos. Damn you AMPTP for making us walk before I could start my job and hire an assistant!

Evan Waters said...

All I know about the USF is from here and the Pencils program. What happened was today I was thinking "maybe they should set up a fund for the technicians and such since they're either out of work or going to be out of work very soon", and I decided to check whether that was happening, and I looked at the FAQ for the Pencils stuff. So more could be done to establish this as a thing- it'd be a good publicity move, to make it clear that the WGA is doing something to help so that the AMPTP can't keep putting up the "you want people to go hungry so you can get a raise" argument.

Ang Li Cru said...

Showrunnerguy,

You make excellent points and I appreciate the time, detail, and effort in explaining your position.

Yes, my biggest concern is the timing of the Strike. Your explanation of the problems with a Summer strike are the best I've read, though I still respectfully disagree about the difference in severity between striking then as opposed to now.

First, a "perfect storm strike" would have immediately halted all production. I am personally on a show that's still shooting for a few more days.

And there are dozens of features currently shooting and many more starting up in January.

So striking now allowed the Producers to keep up business as usual for many more months on some sources of income, as opposed to a strike with SAG and DGA which would have shut off everything all at once.

Also, I fear that the Writers' current strike could well drag out until Spring or Summer anyway, as the AMPTP know that any concession they make to the Writers now is merely a starting point when they sit down with SAG and DGA.

In a perfect labor world, SAG, DGA and WGA contract would all expire simultaneously, but they don't.

Finally, I think that had the Writers not yet gone on Strike, we'd be at least on the same negotiating points that are currently on the table.

Imagine the Writers were still on the job, with the threat of a strike looming: The WGA could be entering December negotiations carrying the threat of a January 1 strike if the AMPTP didn't respond favorably to the guild counteroffer. The threat of a Strike is more leverage in a labor negotiation that the Strike itself.

Where we would be now had the Writers not picketed is speculation, of course. We'll never know.

If you're right and the strike is over in January AND if neither SAG nor DGA end up striking this Summer, then you will likely have been correct in terms of the ultimate impact and timing of a strike. My fear, though, is that this strike is going to be much longer than you speculate, and I don't think this is an unfounded concern.

knocked up picketer said...

showrunnerguy, amen.

my feeling is Ang Li Dude would never be happy with a strike. So, while I'm happy he supports writers in theory. Theory is not going to get writers a fair deal.

In the last 60+ years, any gains writers have ever had, were earned through striking. Wish it weren't so, but them's the facts.

BTL Guy said...

This is the blogger formerly known as Ang Li Cru. I've changed my nom de blog for personal reasons.

I'm not sure how or if my previous posts will update, so I wanted to clearly state this change, and that it was not done to change my positions or mislead anyone.

-BTL Guy
formerly Ang Li Cru

Curious said...

Hey Anonymous,

Thanks for the response to my question about the 3% growth rate for writer's, (directors, SAG), etc. not adding up to the 10% Productions are increasing per year.

I think my point was, if that's the case... then maybe we shouldn't use that as a reason we need more money. Its a little too much like production saying the average writer makes 200k per year. Sounds great and all.... but we should have more substance.

Math IS our friend. ;)

Anonymous said...

curious, you are very welcome and you are absolutely right. Numbers and dollars and percentages make absolutely no sense and should be given no credence out of context.

It is all spin at this point until someone lays it out in a spreadsheet and documents the assumptions.

I don't know about you, but I'll probably never see those numbers since I'm not a member of any of the affected parties.

So I will continue to be very skeptical of any number either side throws out although my heart and support is definitely with the writers.

grapeshot said...

Speaking as someone who's part of the masses, I support the WGA strike. While I don't understand the economics of this industry, and the numbers thrown about in this discussion make my head spin, I do know that big corporations are never the friend of any worker. It's clear that the economics of this industry is very different than and more complex than that of most other industries so if writers think this offer stinks, then it probably does stink.

And for all those people posting here who think that writing is somehow easy, well, clearly they've never seriously attempted to write any kind of a fictional story. It's vastly more difficult than writing about something that already exists -- which, after all, can be researched and then described. It doesn't have to be imagined from scratch. But try pulling an interesting and exciting story out of your ass -- now THAT'S hard. (I know because I tried it once. Thank goodness that I never quit my day job in cubicle-land.)

You writers, you have my admiration and my support.

Captain Obvious said...

Now, Captain... [snip!]


Sorry, I was just commenting on the thread in its entirety up to that point.

Blogger Formerly Known As Ang: we talked about this a week or two ago. What's done is done. What you're saying is the equivalent of crying over spilled milk. You've already made it very clear that you think the strike should never have happened, but it did.

You can't go back in time and change it now... McFly... ;)

Anonymous said...

Just a friendly word of advise:

When you demean, belittle, use sarcasm towards and ridicule your supposed "fellow crew members" that have an opinion that differs from the writers...you are treading on very dangerous ground. Not only today (during the strike), but well into the future.
You must not forget, that after this strike is over and done with, we all have to work together again.
While the writers definitely have the talent to put words onto paper.
It is the crew that has the talent to make it come to life.

In essence....we make your fantasies into reality....and believe me, it's not an easy job.

Please remember that the next time a Grip or a Prop Master wonders why the hell he is out of work because of your strike...and has the courage to stand up and say that he doesn't agree with it.

This is not a dig or an insult..just a commentary from an unemployed Prop Master.

Kara said...

"Let's nip this bad boy in the bud. I come from a family of public school teachers. I've been a working writer for ten years. I can't pay my rent. They have houses and go on vacations. Teachers are doing juuuust fine."

@bathory

If you can't make rent then maybe you should consider another line of work.

Just a thought.

But if you are really determined to have a career in writing, I hear there are these people who write books and stuff. They don't even have to live in Hollywood or join guilds or run around town pitching scripts. You should investigate. That might be right up your alley.
;)

Anonymous said...

"A late spring/early summer strike (as in '88) is next to worthless. TV is in hiatus. Summer movies have all been shot. "

Here's the thing. The loss of the writers is only felt when they run out of scripts. It takes time. The SAG and DGA contracts expire in June. The loss of actors and directors would have an immediate effect. No matter how many scripts you have you aren't shooting anything without actors or directors. I wouldn't matter if IATSE wasn't free of their contract yet. All work would stop AT THAT MOMENT. No dragging it out for months.

The writers have the power of an eventual impact. But the others have the power of an immediete impact. Faster shutdown...faster resolution....fewer lost work days.

The networks and studios are trying to produce product year round. My husband pretty much works all year. Last Spring he shot a pilot for FOX...straight into an 8 week movie...straight to his NBC series which began shooting at the beginning of July. If the SAG and DGA contracts had expired last June and they had walked off, there would have been no K-Ville and no Friday Night Lights this year. Well, the same would be true for the upcoming year.

The WGA decided that they had enough power to go it alone, despite the fact that it would have a much more harmful impact to their co-workers. That is why so many craftspeople are upset. They really truly believe in your cause and they truly want to support the WGA...but they feel injured that the WGA chose to proceed alone no matter what it costs the BTL.

Anonymous said...

You're right btl guy

"If you're right and the strike is over in January AND if neither SAG nor DGA end up striking this Summer, then you will likely have been correct in terms of the ultimate impact and timing of a strike."

I think it's safe to assume that they will strike! Judging by the level of support that the actors and directors...showrunners etc. are already showing, I think it is safe to say that they are on the same page. The only thing that prevents most of these people from walking off now is their own personal liability.

There would have been no risk in waiting for SAG and the WGA. They most certainly would have struck with the writers as would the other guilds if their contracts were up. We all have the same goal...we just differ on the strategy.

Skyfleur said...

anon 7:56am. You're right, having the DGA and SAG walk out during summer would have an immediate on the next fall schedule and pretty much on the movies coming out like 6 months later.

However, a strike starting in July would mean an entire year of profit for the studios. Also, they could have ordered more episodes to be written and shot, and it's not a fantasy, they would have done it. And considering everything would be in the can for the Summer, the studios and networks would not feel anything for at least two months. Which means that obviously, the strike would have already lasted at least 10 weeks before they started to feel anything and maybe negotiate in earnest.

So yes, the effect would be immediate as in no work done for the next season if you do not assume they would have stockpiled in some ways and have gained another 6 months without a fair deal.

The strike in 88 started in late march. 22 Weeks it went on, everyone was on its knees, the next season was affected but the current season wasn't much, the studios and the networks didn't start feeling the pain until september. Is that better ?
If March is no good, July is definitely not a option.
Could the WGA had waited until January so people below the lines and others didn't feel the pain during the holidays, maybe. But it's done and any way you looked at it, this was the best time to hurt the most and the fastest. Unfortunately, other people are suffering besides the companies. But frankly, this wouldn't have had happened if the AMPTP even tried to negotiate, they didn't even make an effort. Until three weeks before the start of the strike, the AMPTP wanted to remove all residuals from DVD sales, how could anyone consider that the WGA wanted a strike while they were pretty much forced into it by the AMPTP position is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Captain Obvious, it suprises me that you are pro-union at all. You come off more like a neo-con. You don't care about anybody else. To you, what's fair is what benefits you, regardless of what it costs anybody else. So fine, proceed with your action, nobody expects you to go back now. But that fact that you are too put out to hear about the impact on the others speaks volumes about your value system...and ain't none of it good! Maybe you could go to work for corporate or maybe work for Rush Limbaugh. You're nasty enough.

Anonymous said...

"they could have ordered more episodes to be written and shot"

Okay, well we were already going to shoot this current season until March...just like last season. They would have only had 8 weeks between the end of this season in March and a WGA/SAG strike in June to shoot what....a whole other season of our show. It usually takes from the beginning of July until March to shoot a season of our show. They couldn't have produced what they usually produce in that little time. They would have felt the pressure to make a serious offer.

Maybe you are saying that they would have shot something else entirely. Do they have unlimited capacity...excess crew...a surplus of directors...unlimited equipment?

"the studios and networks would not feel anything for at least two months. Which means that obviously, the strike would have already lasted at least 10 weeks before they started to feel anything and maybe negotiate in earnest."

As it stands now, we are looking at 8 months between November and June before you have the power of SAG and DGA behind you and then X number of months for them to negotiate deals with those two guilds.

Captain Obvious said...

Anonymous @ 8:43 AM:


Sorry to ruffle feathers, but you've got me wrong.

I'm not a Neo-Con, I'm a Libertarian. I'm not a guild member (yet), but I *am* a writer.

I'm not apathetic toward the concerns of the crews. What irritates me is when they condemn writers for caring only about themselves (somewhat like you're doing with me now) and then turn around and put forth the opinion that everyone should care only about BTL. I'd prefer a much more balanced and measured approach to all sides involved. I'm also irritated by constant railing against the fact that a strike is in full effect (the crying over spilled milk issue) or pressures to accept an unacceptable deal just to get this over with sooner rather than later. Again, it comes off as affected BTLs worried only about themselves. Seems contradictory when that's their primary argument against and accusation about the writers.

We need that railing to be redirected toward the Alliance. It will help resolve the strike sooner rather than later if we have a more unified front. Complaining about the writers only serves to prolong the strike. This brings about a self-fulfilling prophecy of gloom and doom for the most desperate and ill-prepared of the affected BTLs.

Anonymous said...

Captain Obvious.

You said "We need that railing to be redirected toward the Alliance."

I say....We have already said that we think they are fuckers and should offer the writers a fair deal. What do want us to do?

You said "Complaining about the writers only serves to prolong the strike."

I say...What a load of dung this is! We have zero to do with the length of this strike. In fact, our argument is that it could have been timed in a way that would result in a good agreement faster and with less of a negative impact on ALL of the workers.

You said "This brings about a self-fulfilling prophecy of gloom and doom for the most desperate and ill-prepared of the affected BTLs."

I say...This is essentially the type of language that upsets the BTL and causes the WGA to lose support. You're turning allies into enemies. Ill prepared? What do you know about how well prepared people are for this strike? Just because a person has savings, it doesn't mean that when the actions of others forces them to deplete it that they don't need assurance that every single other course of action was pursued first.

Captain Obvious said...

My commentary is based entirely on the discussions that have been going on from the day the strike began to the current date. It's a disservice to the substance of what I was saying to attempt to isolate any one thing I said. These are generalizations based on what's actually happening in the court of public opinion both now and in recent weeks.

...and the bare assertion that what I said was disparaging of the crew is only factual from your perspective. Check out my comments in more recent blog items to see some of my talk about what may come of this strike.

Anonymous said...

"These are generalizations based on what's actually happening in the court of public opinion both now and in recent weeks."

Okay, but you've mentioned recently that you think people should move on.

"You've already made it very clear that you think the strike should never have happened, but it did.

You can't go back in time and change it now... McFly... ;)"

So now you have to move beyond that old stuff and start having a more positive attitude towards the BTL so that we can unify. But as recently as December 1, 2007 12:10 PM, you suggested the the BTL people were prolonging the strike and that they were "ill prepared". I'm just saying stop that. It's no way to build fellowship.

Captain Obvious said...

I didn't say they were ill-prepared. I said not supporting the strike may prolong it and bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom and gloom for BTL, especially those that are desperate or ill-prepared for this strike.

Again, this comment is based on things that have been said recently by worried crew members. There is some fear of this strike dragging on, but the studios have no reason to resolve the serious issues with this contract if they believe the unified front presented by the creative side starts to fracture.

Anonymous said...

"the studios have no reason to resolve the serious issues with this contract if they believe the unified front presented by the creative side starts to fracture."

I totally agree with you. That's what I want too.

I think that it would be great if the WGA members who have not lost their minds and do respect the situation that we are in would encourage the instigators of trouble to behave better. There is all this suspicion that trolls are posting as BTL's, but I really suspect that there are also trolls that are posting insensitive comments towards the BTL. Comments designed to cause hatred towards the WGA when there is already some resentment there.

Captain Obvious said...

I agree. I'm sure it's happening. They're trying to poison our pond.

Anonymous said...

C.O.

I hope that more people read our little exchange here and realize what is happening. BTL has nothing left to lose here. Our only choice now is to hop on the bandwagon. We can hold on to the resentment about how it all went down and rehash how we feel it could have been different...but it's not going to change anything now. If we want to survive, we're going to have to join the fight. I just hope more writers will help us do so...by changing attitudes towards us.

Captain Obvious said...

I agree. I hope someone sees many of the old exchanges on this blog. I can assure my attitude was never sour, my friend; and I'm sure many others have fantastic relationships between writers, crew, producers, actors, etc.


In fact I'm of the mind to see us strike off on our own a bit and get some independent film in the works. I'm sure there's enough affluent people among our various factions to pool together a production budget and focus on a few projects.


I'm feeling your pain. I finished a feature script just before the strike that relies on some timely material. If anything, it was something that needed to be rushed into production. Now it's in limbo. ...and I'm definitely in the worst possible way in life right now; as far down at the bottom of the barrel as anyone could possibly claim they're facing short of maybe living in their car and blogging from their laptop wireless.

Anonymous said...

"I'm definitely in the worst possible way in life right now; as far down at the bottom of the barrel as anyone could possibly claim they're facing short of maybe living in their car and blogging from their laptop wireless."

I know...it's just a hard pill to swallow for those of us who aren't guaranteed a check at the end...you know. It's asking alot of people to quickly and completely set aside their emotions. Like I said. It is what it is now. We have to do what we can to speed things up so that we can get back to work. Before they reposses the car and we have to pawn the laptop!

As for fantastic relationships. There is a huge and yet undiscovered pool of writing talent among the crew. Many people are currently wearing more than one hat. Some craftspeople do what they do simply because they love it. Others are working for that regular paycheck while they work on their masterpiece. We personally have many friends who work in entertainment. Rich and poor. Famous and not so famous. Writers and craftsmen.

By the way...we are communicating also on the Joss thread. I'm it's me, me too, and a couple of others.

Captain Obvious said...

I wrote out of passion, not out of hunger, though the hunger exists.


If the AMPTP won't play fair, I'll just let my friends read the scripts and enjoy the content. Nyeah nyeah no content for you, Alliance!

Noelle said...

Strikes suck. ANd it is a shame that the industry greed is so out of control that people just trying to pay thier bills and get their kids fed have to go this route.

But...all is not lost. There are some things we can do to distract from the strike, and I have been spending some time looking for some god causes that, while I don't have any cash left to give to, I do have some time now! So I decided to take walk down the street and go help someone who does not even have a TV, and barely gets a meal a day.

TV is pretty important. And pays my bills, and is nice to watch. Also pretty nice would be less hungry or dying children. Less homeless people in my own city.

And with all the time on our hands between picket shifts, maybe we can do a little good here and there while you wait out the catastrophic greed that this ENTIRE industry is built on.

I have suggestions, since I have been pretty much tapping away at emails and comments while I wait for a call that tells me I am heading back to the table. So please, if you have some time, take a peek

Go here: http://www.thegivingspirit.org/
or here: http://www.1736familycrisiscenter.org/index.html

...if you want to do some good work in LA.

Or, to do something with celebrities involved and a chance to meet cool people in Kenya, go here:


http://stmch.org/Index.htm

www.kenyanhope.org

(interesting hollywood note: the Irish fiddle player from the band in "Titanic" (Used to play at O'Briens in Santa Monica) just gave up her music career to go there and help run that place this May for a whole year... now that is some serious giving!!)

Or to help stem human traficking and the prostitution of kids in Cambodia, go here: www.cambodiahope.org

Which is run by some video game gurus and a writer now based in Seattle (*cough* cough* .. wonder who that is*) who got tired of the "game" and greed on a global level and did something about it.

Or write some letters for local policy change campaigns. Writing for good. Nice idea.

Or, just go say hello and bring some refreshments to the people on the picket line who wont have rent money next week...

This is going to be a long one, but there is no reason people cannot do some serious good stuff with the time.

Stay sane, keep the faith, thanks for your tenacity.