AMPTP Tactics Don't Fool Anybody

(The post below was written by WGA Board member Nick Kazan)

If the consequences weren’t so tragic, it would be pretty comical to see the Companies mocking our Executive Director David Young for never having made a deal in Hollywood. Of course he has made deals for us, four of them (including the Comedy Central deal and the “Family Guy” game deal), but yeah, he’s never before negotiated a contract with the AMPTP.

Call me crazy, but I think that’s a good thing, because it means he’s never made a lousy deal, never made a sweetheart deal; he’s never been chummy with Nick Counter, and he refuses to bend over and give them what they want and expect. He’s not part of their club. Thank God.

They also suggest that David doesn’t understand the issues and the town. Understand what? This is brain surgery? Our central issue, the Internet, just isn’t that complicated. It doesn’t take a genius or a labor negotiator to see what’s happening or why it’s important. In fact, pretty much the whole country gets it – which is why pretty much the whole country seems to be on our side.

You may have also noticed that in their Friday statement, they don’t call our team negotiators, they call them “organizers.” So? Yeah, we’re organized …like we’ve never been before – and that scares them. But the implication behind their smear tactics (that our leaders are crazy) reflects the opposite of the truth: we’re the ones who’ve tried to be flexible.

Our original proposal on the Internet gave the Conglomerates precisely what they said they wanted: not a fixed residual but a flexible system – so that if there was (as they claimed) little or no revenue, there would pay little or nothing in residuals. Our proposal was simple: 2.5% of revenue.

When they changed their mind and offered a fixed residual formula, we tried to accommodate that model and made a fixed-revenue counter-proposal. Our reward for flexibility? They claimed we were demanding more than they would earn and they walked out.

We’re in a peculiar position. The companies themselves are run by intelligent thoughtful people who are normally our creative partners. The AMPTP, on the other hand, is run by Nick Counter – a bully. He’s used to getting his way, and he thinks his archaic game plan will still work.

The paradox here is that for the companies there is, or ought to be, a financial calculus: the strike is costing them more than a settlement. But Nick Counter doesn’t care about their bottom line. He only cares about “winning” the deal – even if, as has happened in the past, the companies lose in the long run.

One final observation: some writers are still unaware that the Companies must agree unanimously on every one of their proposals. This means that in most circumstances, the hardliners carry the day and effectively blackmail the other companies.

But it also means that the hardliners (who presumably are less affected by the strike) can do very considerable damage to the bottom line of their competitors.

For instance, a wild hypothetical: if the strike should severely depress the stock price of CBS, Time Warner, which does not own a major network and is rumored to be a hawk in these negotiations – could gobble it up.

So the AMPTP is a very peculiar marriage – to say the least.


St. Michael said...

For the common good, I call for a series of “Dark Days” (i.e. turn the lights off at all the studios, stop work in all the offices, stop equipment from being delivered, stop props from being returned).

The only way to break the resolve of the AMPTP is to act as a collective, to deliver a swift deft blow that knocks them to their knees, and then follow up with a blow to the head. The WGA says that they have struck, but without the support of all guilds, unions, non-union labor, vendors, and the viewing public the WGA’s action isn’t even a slap on the AMPTP’s fat overfed chubby face.

Some have asked the DGA to stand down from negotiating until the WGA has completed their talks. I say enough with talk. The AMPTP’s plays by the rules set down by Machiavelli and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. They don’t negotiate. They go into battle to decimate their foe. Even archangels are fierce in battle. You can’t talk a bully out of beating the shit out of you. Sometime the smallest have to band together to defeat the giants in their path. To win a war you must cut then off the enemy off at their knees, crush them, do not allow them to retreat and reform to attack again.

SAG, the DGA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 80, Local 600, etc, have to act as one. Without solidarity the WGA will fail and everyone will suffer through their hopeless fight.

It’s not a coincidence that this strike comes at a time when our country faces great economic strife. People are already losing their homes. Months ago an article in The Wall Street Journal foretold of foreclosures, 4.4 million foreclosures due to the sub prime loan market. Banks are writing off billions of dollars. People are already financially overextended. People are already losing their jobs. The dollar is plunging. America is on the brink of a recession.

Of course, Big Business knows that the best way to leverage themselves against their workforce is to keep them just above starvation levels, to keep them so concerned about feeding their family, keeping a roof over their heads. When the workers have to struggle to survive then they don’t care about anything else.

So a protracted strike is not in the best interest of anyone. Reality TV will be used to fill the gaps, carpet baggers will become robber land barons, the film industry will see a surge in theaters goers, DVD rentals will increase. This will all lend aid to the AMPTP’s conifers and cause. If the community of artist and workers in the entertainment industry do not pull together as one, they can not expect to accomplish their goals. I say to everyone, stop being so self-centered and self-serving. We all want to work and take care of our families. We all want the good life.

The police call it the blue flu. I say sacrifice one day a week of your pay, which after taxes for the average BTL worker is only a few hundred dollars less a week. But if the strike is a protracted one, who gets hurt most, the BTL worker. Who loses their home, the BTL worker, who doesn’t have massive savings, the BTL worker, that’s who.

As a BTL worker, I say that we all should in unison turn off the lights once a week. Every week until this matter is settled, everyone in the industry should call in sick, take the day off, not go to work, not deliver the services or products. If we turn off the lights once a week and knock the wind out of the AMPTP’s inflated sails, if we all look at the reality of this situation and the long term devastation that this WGA strike will deliver, we should all see the logic in deft, decisive, unified action.

I call for rotating “Dark Days”. I call for the collective to act and be heard. Otherwise, it’s ever man, woman, or child for themselves, then chaos will rule and the AMPTP will prosper.

I don’t call for anyone person to sacrifice alone. I call for unified, organized actions, before the BTL worker, the people who really make the movies and televisions shows are devastated by the pride and principles of the AMPTP and the WGA.

embers said...

I've been writing letters to support the WGA, and I have written to the AMPTP's new PR firm (w/copies sent to Nick Counter and the network and studio heads) saying:

I hope that you are really working for the networks and studios who make up the AMPTP because I do not believe they are being well represented by the gamesmanship style of ‘negotiation’ engaged in by Nick Counter and the AMPTP. The large ads full of half truths, misinformation, and fuzzy math are not fooling anyone. We’ve all seen the documentary about Enron, and no one is impressed by people who are tying to be ‘The Smartest Guys in the Room’ at the expense of all fairness, or concern about the lives of other people.

survivor of the fandom wars said...

st. michael, out of curiosity, how many times are we to be subjected to your post for a series of "Dark Days"?

Jesse said...

Picket location suggestion: The WWE west office in Beverly Hills, CA. The WWE is continuing new broadcasts and all of thier programming are scripted entertainment. All the performers are working without a union to represent them and they work every week of the year, producing new episodes of its "Monday Night Raw", "ECW", and "Friday Night Smackdown". This company has recently come under fire for the performers steriod usage due to the long hours of performing and travel and demand of their company. Tonight they are broadcasting a celebration of their 15th anniversary of the "Monday Night Raw" program on USA from 5pm-8pm pst which should be panned rather than celebrated cause this show has been broadcast for 15 yrs without a union to represent the writers, performers, etc. I suggest we send a group of picketers to the WWE Films offices in Beverly Hills to protest these programs and to show our support to these workers and writers.

Andrew said...

Everything I've read outside of this blog says that the AMPTP's walkout was caused by you guys not budging on sympathy strikes and drafting animation and reality show writers into the guild.

Which is odd, because that stuff doesn't sound like digital media rates at all and yet you're quoted as refusing to budge on those issues.

Andrew said...

Sorry; Patric Verrone is. Missed that this was by a guest writer the first time around.

hollarback said...

A strike is really just laying seige, and I have faith that the WGA will prevail. All of this is just a diversion. Anyone with eyes and a brain can see that.

It really is a shame that the AMPTP felt the need to wreck the holidays for everyone else, but what can you expect of ultra rich studio heads?

thestapleman said...

this strike confuses me

hollarback said...

Andrew, check who owns the other sources that you have been reading. Also check who runs big splashy movie ads in those trades and dailys. To quote All the president's Men..."follow the $.."

Only then will you find the truth.

Me, I think I will listen to the guys with the rinky dink website rather than the huge conglomerates with the $100,000.00 a day PR firm.

Not-A-Troll said...

The writers are done, give it up and give people all their jobs back! I drove by your sad picket group at Sony today. Do you know how many people were out there?? 10!

That's just sad and a sign to me that as a whole writers are beginning to have doubt. Call it what you will, trying to break the union, hardball tactics. The fact still remains as a whole the vibe on the line is more one of confusion as to why this hasn't been settled yet.

Look at your head negotiators track record. Every big time deal he has made has imploded. Guess Jeans being a prime example.

Good job guys! Keep up your good fight and ruin the holidays for the BTL. You rock!!!!!!

Andrew said...

hollarback, I wasn't aware that the blogs of other writers were owned by the media conglomerates. This is new and interesting information!

The Writers' Building said...

Isn't it time to stop attacking NICK COUNTER specifically, and start calling out the companies and their CEOs by name? The CEOs of the AMPTP are the ones allowing Nick Counter to be their champion, the bad guy, and the one who gets demonized. As long as he's the one being shamed, the Les Moonves of the world don't have to worry about their reputation being sullied or their picture flashed on the nightly news. Counter is just the negotiator, but he's not the BIG BULLY. You wanna go for the jugular, start shaming the bosses! Anyone else agree?

Dorkman said...


Every time someone BTL (or claiming to be BTL) posts angrily demanding you fold and just take a deal, I hope you take that as proof that what you're saying is true -- the industry cannot work without you, and you deserve to share in the rewards of what you have created.

I am sorry for the BTL people who are having financial troubles due to the strike, but this is nothing compared to the trouble you'll be in if the AMPTP gets to set a precedent for low or no residuals on digitally delivered content.

I'm sorry that your holidays this year are going to suck, and that some of you will truly be in a crisis by the time this is over. But that's no reason for the writers to fold when they are in the right. It would be no reason for you to fold if (and when) the roles are reversed.

If you really think a bad deal for the WGA doesn't affect you (or the DGA taking a bad deal doesn't affect the WGA and the rest of you), you're delusional, because if anyone takes a bad deal, the AMPTP has the leverage of precedent.

And considering how quick you are to call for others to fold in the face of adversity, I can only imagine you'd take the first crap deal presented to you, just to "get back to work."

It would be better to find a new career than to take a deal that has you working for less than minimum wage, or eliminates your P&H.

The writer's fight is everyone's fight, whether you like it or not. Maybe instead of trying to bring people down by calling out their dwindling numbers (and I'll be waiting on independent confirmation of that), try bolstering their resolve by standing with them.

pat said...

thanks for trying


ChuckT said...

Here's THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM that none of you want to acknowledge (but that the producers are FULLY aware of): Billions of dollars is being made and millions of people are being entertained on the internet today WITHOUT Hollywood writers' creative input. You're biggest problem is not negotiating a better deal for the internet, it's proving that you are going to be of substantial value on the internet DESPITE the fact that you are irrelevant to the internet today (and that your significance in tv is shrinking as scripted tv dies a slow, torturous death).

At this very moment, the internet is a free-for-all. If you're sitting on your butts with your hands out waiting for the producers and studios to define your value on the internet, then you don't DESERVE a piece of the pie or the respect that will come with it. Period.

As far as what will happen next -- Newsflash: Trust me when I say that the DGA and the producers have ALREADY been talking about when they are going to start negotiating. The Producers would NEVER have walked away from the table unless they had SOME reassurance that the DGA would negotiate. The strong language the Producers used in their press release last week serves to (a) cut the WGA off at the knees in a dispiriting manner because they hate you (mission accomplished) and (b) assure the DGA that there is NO CHANCE that they are going to rekindle negotiations any time soon which paves the way for the DGA to step up to the bargaining table without stepping on any toes (mission accomplished).

Towards the end of January (AFTER the studios clean house by dumping stale development deals), the DGA and the Producers are going to sit down and hammer things out. You will continue to suffer well into next year and your egos will feel the sting of defeat when you accept a deal that is no where NEAR the "pie-in-the-sky" deal the WGA has you convinced you will get.

If you think all the AMPTP wants is a fair resolution, you're more lost and naive than Dorothy in Oz. In the face of new media, the producers are fighting for their livelihoods and survival just as much as all of you (or are you so self-absorbed that you hadn’t even stopped to realize that). This is a fight to the death, not a poker game. The viciousness with which they are fighting is in direct proportion to their desperation (much as your own) to maintain their livelihood and need to stake a solid claim on the new media pot of gold. They CANNOT and WILL NOT let you walk away from the eventual settlement of these negotiations with your spirit and organization in tact. If they did, it would be their biggest business mistake in decades.

It's in the producer's best interest to break the WGA's back and watch the guild die a slow death. Why now? Because the opportunity has presented itself (thanks to your leaders who called the strike too soon, with too little leverage and unrealistically high expectations of the AMPTP while at the same time underestimating their resolve and disdain for the WGA) and, most importantly, because they cannot let the WGA go into new media with power and authority that will compete with or get in the way of theirs. The rules of old media that held them back or presented brick walls MUST be broken or, at the very least, tested to its limits lest they drag that dead weight and those brick walls into new media (that’s Business Common Sense 101).

Contrary to what many of you think (and what the AMPTP tells you in their PR campaigns), this is nowhere NEAR a partnership (nor do they want it to be, nor will it ever be). The producers/studios do not respect your "talents" on the whole NEARLY as much as YOU do (some of you should really get over yourselves in that department - you’re not exactly writing the great American novel) - therefore, you will NEVER get what you feel you deserve from them.

Furthermore, unlike most of you, they ENJOY this all of this… they live for it… it is how they make millions at the top of the corporate chain… they look forward to the battle and the blood it will draw. The WGA and you writers walked into the lion’s den blindfolded -- you're not going to walk out without getting mauled.

Dan @ The Writers' Building said...

Thanks ChuckT! For confirming that you buy into all of the AMPTP's rhetoric and you've obviously not paid any attention to any of the videos or essays posted on this site which PROVE they're full of b.s.

Dina said...

Keep working that copy-and-paste button, ChuckT.

PootieTwo said...

It's true. I have not been happy about this situation. I had a few question that I wanted to ask. That ought to be an okay thing to do when you lose your job. Ask questions. Despite all my question, I was rooting for the writers. But now I just feel so alienated. I don't want to hate the writers. It sure didn't start out that way. I hate corporations! But I'll be damned if we haven't been repeatedly insulted and accused on this site. You don't dare ask questions here. It's too bad. This is not a very good forum for an open discussion, I'm afraid.

Caliban said...

To Chuck T,

There's some truth to what you say but it does not dampen our resolve - instead it ratchets it up. This is a last effort by the old guard of the AMPTP to show they still have teeth - they're doing what's always worked before but they don't realize that things have changed and they've been left behind. They're kind of like the old mafia guys in Godfather 2 who want Michael to invest his money in Cuban gambling - after he's seen the will of the rebels and decides this is a fight the old guard won't win.

It'll take a smart studio head or a younger more forward looking representative of the AMPTP to realize there's no point throwing good money after bad. They'll make a fair deal because the stakes are as high as the best movie we can write - and the consequence of not doing so is the worst ending they can imagine.

ChuckT said...

Caliban said...

To Chuck T,

There's some truth to what you say but it does not dampen our resolve - instead it ratchets it up. This is a last effort by the old guard of the AMPTP to show they still have teeth - they're doing what's always worked before but they don't realize that things have changed and they've been left behind.

It wasn't said to dampen your resolve. I gain nothing in dampening your resolve. But it makes no sense that the WGA led you writers into this strike with your asses wide open and in the air. The fact of the matter is the new business model won't tolerate your egos OR the producers' inflexibility in defining "talent".

As far as your statement regarding the AMPTP not realizing things have changed and being left behind - well over a year ago the Producers/Studios started moving their assets onto the internet, investing across platforms and in different ventures on the internet so that they can have a presence NOW for WHATEVER the internet will be in the FUTURE. Why haven't you writers or the WGA done the same?

It looks like the writers are the ones who have fallen behind.

survivor of the fandom wars said...

Wow, chuckt, that comment works in just about the entire AMPTP strategy. DUN DUN DUUUUUN! Pretty soon, we're going to be able to start a drinking game based on it.

Dan @ The Writers' Building said...

a friend just sent me this story about a survey that confirms that the most popular content online comes from network TV. Yes, it's only one survey, but everyone knows that "Heroes" and U2 get downloaded more from iTunes than your nephew's garage band and that video of you jumping the trash cans on your scooter. And who's benefiting from that? Major corporations. Sure, there's always the possibility that a guy can walk in off the street and create the next "Ask a Ninja" website or the next "Blair Witch" feature, but how often does it really happen and how hard do you think the corporations are working to make sure it does NOT happen anymore in the future? (e.g., News Corp. buying MySpace, etc.) Writers are only asking for a small piece of the pie, not the entire pie, and as explained to you many times, if they don't put their ass out there in the wind NOW, then 20 years will go by and they'll be in the exact same situation as they are now with DVDs. It's called "no pain, no gain," corporate shillster, you should try it sometime. Excerpts...
**NEW YORK -- A majority of adult Internet users watch video online during a typical week, with TV programming ranking as the most popular content, according to a survey set to be released Monday.

The survey, conducted by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Web personalization firm Choicestream, found that 55% of those surveyed watch online video each week, with 65% of that group reporting that they regularly watch traditional TV programming. Overall, 39% of respondents said they watch TV on an alternate device, with the computer by far the most popular nontraditional method.

Twenty% of consumers said they would watch more online TV during the next six months, with 55% of that group saying that would come at the expense of traditional TV viewing.

As expected, online video viewing is higher among younger respondents, with 66% of those between ages 18-24 saying they watch online video and about 70% of respondents ages 18-34 saying they watch TV on the Web.

A majority of online TV viewers watch an hour or more per week as well. Thirty-four% of consumers said they watch one to three hours per week and 33% said they watch at least four hours.

User-generated content was a distant second to TV in terms of what respondents watch online, with fewer than 40% saying that they regularly watch that type of material. Consumers ages 18-24 watch the most, with about 45% responding that they regularly watch online user-generated content.**

vanessa said...

not-a-troll ~ did you happen to drive by fox on friday? between 400-500 people there. true, not all were writers, but pointing to one day and saying that it represents the average turnout is just silly. some where between 10 and 400 would be a bit more fair of an esitimate, no? and if we are going to do straight averages, instead of medians to represent things (hey, isn't the AMPTP fond of that tactic?) than i would say 205 people per picket line isn't bad at all.

hollarback said...

Not a Troll - Keep on keeping on, you crack me up. I love how you can tell how the picketlines feel while driving past a studio with several gates which are all being picketed. Yes, the writers are SO beaten down.

Chuckt - Everyone knows that professionally produced content is what people go to the internet for. Ask any 15 year old. The best and most popular youtube stuff is clips of scripted shows. Your argument holds no water;Europe already streams most of its written content and they also compensate their talent for internet use and reuse. So it can be done...it already has been.

Scripted content is alive and well dumkoff. Check out TV in Germany, it's scripted, it's online and it's here...right now. The US studios and networks are lagging.

Gavin Polone said...

To ChuckT and not-a-troll and pootietwo and any other BTL naysayers and shit slingers: The WGA is genuinely sorry for your plight, but they are not going to let themselves get screwed for another 20 years just because you guys are out of work. They're depriving their employers of what the employers need in order to get what they themselves need. It's the only leverage they've got. Sorry to say, you're not even in the equation.

Let me say that again: You're not relevant to the negotiation -- which among other things means you can all stop posting now. Everyone knows how much you're hurting, but the writers aren't going to go back to work until they get a just contract.

Remember too that the WGA didn't lay you off, your studio employers did. And they can bring you back any time they want.

Meanwhile, you accepted the possibility of work stoppages such as this one when you took a job in this field. Hopefully you took the necessary responsibility for that eventuality when you did.

B.G. said...

Geez, what a a-hole!


PootieTwo said...

I didn't sling anything at you, genius. You're crazy.

ChuckT said...

Gavin Palone, (if it's really you and.. I highly doubt it) it seems like you would be far busier commenting to people on this board who really need the pep talk. I don't work for the studio or the writers or some producer or a studio head. It really boggles the mind that you industry people seem to think you're the only ones entitled to an informed opinion. It's also fairly sad. Wow... just... wow. They don't call it La-La Land for nothin'. There's a whole world out there folks full people who DON'T work in your field who also have opinions (gasp) that will even differ (sometimes strongly) from yours (double-gasp!).


Dan @ The Writers' Building,

The WGA is demanding jurisdiction over the internet (including original content created for the web). I'd call that a HUGE piece of the pie.

This fight is about the internet pot of gold in the very near future. Everyone (including the writers and producers) knows and readily admits that the money being made off of downloaded scripted content today is a drop in the bucket compared to the potential revenue to be made on the internet. Your statistics are lovely but nobody (not even Europeans) have figured out how to turn those numbers into money anywhere NEAR comparable to what Hollywood is used to (or, rather, how to milk the full revenue potential from the internet). Downloaded scripted shows is very small piece of the internet pie (though, obviously, one the writers deserve). But ORIGINAL content created for the web is another ball game all together.

Dan @ The Writers' Building said...

I don't understand where you're getting this claim of the WGA wanting "jurisdiction" over all creative content on the web. Perhaps you're talking about the issue of "promotional use." Well, if the studios would provide a reasonable, specific and CLEAR definition of promotional then both parties would be in a much better position to negotiate on the issue. I agree that writers don't necessarily have to be paid a residual for every banner ad placed online that contains video footage, but that's something that needs to be discussed and defined...if only the AMPTP would allow that to happen.

JimBob said...
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JimBob said...
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JimBob said...

"They CANNOT and WILL NOT let you walk away from the eventual settlement of these negotiations with your spirit and organization in tact. If they did, it would be their biggest business mistake in decades."

Why is that? Remember Henry Ford, the visionary car maker who realized that it served his interest for his employees to make enough money to afford to buy the product they made? Why does it have to be a zero-sum game? We're talking about twisted personalities who think that if they don't get to keep ALL the marbles, then they have somehow lost. It's a sickness.

"It's in the producer's best interest to break the WGA's back and watch the guild die a slow death."

Why? We're not trying to take away their Gulfstreams or their homes in Aspen. The guild provides security for and continuity of an important source of input to their income stream. What does breaking us get them, exactly? Be specific.

pat said...

Why dont the writers work without a contract, shit I bet only 20% of their people are active staff on jobs at the moment...


RIP WGA said...

It's good to see that there are more people voicing their opinions and that their posts are not being removed.

It's pretty obvious that even those who don't agree with the strike can see that the issue is with the new media and the formula for new media residuals.

Then why is the WGA holding so tightly to the issues of Reality (which won't hold up in court anyway), Animation (which is covered mostly by IATSE), and the no strike clause? (the third party valuation item should be included in the actual new media residual contract language).

The whole idea of negotiations is to be at the table (not at the rally) so can anyone convince me why these items should be and are deal breakers for the WGA? Why are these issues what's keeping everyone away from the table?

Is it because of pride, or feeling like WGA gave in to their demands? Who cares? I haven't seen much debate on this site about how you need to fight to maintain the right to strike with other unions. It's all been about residuals. Why are the other items still on the table?

For the record - there's so much he said she said back and forth - here's an idea: The WGA seems to be prolific with You Tube and wants to be on the internet cutting edge. How about putting the negotiations on the net? CSPAN style.

Let's see just how both sides' leadership is behaving. Let's see who arrives late and just who is at the table and for how long. Hold these people responsible to WGA and everyone affected. WGA can keep the private meeting rooms private (or put them on the members only part of the site) but the negotiating table should be made available to all of us. It's just that important.

That's my vent for today.

ChuckT said...

Dan @ The Writers' Building ,

It's my understanding that the WGA is demanding jurisdiction over original content created for the internet. I don't think anyone is going to disagree that the producers and writers need to reach a better consensus on "promotional use". But to demand jurisdiction over original content is really to everyone's detriment. The internet is an open-market free for all. Negotiating the internet as if it were merely an extension of tv and film is disastrous. The studios are going to make money off of downloaded scripted content in ways that the Writers are not even considering. At some point, the WGA is going to realize that but, by then, it will be too late (IF they keep going down this road).
In order to really get a piece of any action, you have to AT LEAST figure out a huge piece of the revenue puzzle and throw it on the table as a solution to the way content can be even more effectively monetized and as the basis for negotiations (no one - not even the producers - has done that yet - but the writers stand to lose a lot more by not trying). It will do the WGA well to take these next few months (while you're on strike) to try to figure out that crucial element - it's the only way you would be able to come out on top and get the respect from the producers at the bargaining table. Otherwise, you're just demanding a piece of an increasingly frustrating and difficult-to-solve problem and that's a main part of the reason the studios are being inflexible and resent even having the discussion/negotiations. They feel the Directors will be more business-centric in helping them figure it out (and they’re probably right).

Dan @ The Writers' Building said...

it's naive to think that the corporations haven't done estimates on how much they stand to gain on internet delivery. And it's also naive to think that the AMPTP would ACCEPT any report the WGA had commissioned and presented to them. They haven't accepted any of the WGA's numbers yet, why start now? That's a basic tactic of negotiation, not to agree on firm numbers; the minute they do, they prove that they are, in fact, making a profit on digital delivery. Which we KNOW because there's much evidence out there of sales figures and reports to Wall Street. Again, your whole "NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT THIS CRAZY WILD WEST KNOWN AS THE INTERNETS AND THE STUDIOS ARE JUST WAITING FOR THE WGA TO GIVE THEM A COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH REPORT" holds no water and is naive.

ChuckT said...

Dan @ The Writers' Building,

Who said anything about submitting a report? And no shit the companies have done the numbers crunching (duh-duh-duh). But what they HAVEN'T done is figured out the revenue model that EVERYBODY (advertisers, producers and artists) believes is going to make the internet the BIG PAYDAY (you know, the very thing you all are striking for - certainly, you're not striking for the few dimes you'll be getting from downloaded scripted content).

You missed the point entirely but that doesn't surprise me because so has the WGA as a whole. Who needs to you submit numbers? The numbers have ALREADY been done. This isn't about you refuting the numbers the producers have come up with, it's about taking what they have and using it to solve a very REAL problem regarding new media (my god, you can't tell me that you're so cut off from business that you don't understand the fact that everyone is trying to grasp the monetization of the technology which is moving quicker than our minds can grasp the situation).

I guarantee you that when the Directors sit down with the Producers, they will TOGETHER figure out a piece of this puzzle that the writers (in that romantic, head-in-the-clouds way that they do) have completely missed. Just try, for the sake of your own cause, to be a business person (and, yes, a ruthless business person). Put yourself in the shoes of the producers and try to figure out what is keeping them from getting their goal. They'll be MUCH more likely to help you reach yours. THAT is actually the number one basic tactic of negotiation.

Carrie said...

Chuck T wrote:
"It's my understanding that the WGA is demanding jurisdiction over original content created for the internet. I don't think anyone is going to disagree that the producers and writers need to reach a better consensus on "promotional use". But to demand jurisdiction over original content is really to everyone's detriment"

Your point about figuring out a new and better way to slice up the pie of original content on the internet, only reinforces why WGA needs to establish jurisdiction over the arena now. Whatever system is devised to pay writers doesn't mean a thing if WGA doesn't establish itself as the representative of those writers. AMPTP isn't going to give up jurisdiction to WGA after a system is created. Their argument about original content isn't about how writers are paid, rather their argument is WGA shouldn't be the union repping writers of original content at all. Also, writers of original content created for the internet for the media congloms will only have a more difficult time establishing collective bargaining from this point on. WGA is hardly being shortsighted in taking on this fight now in protecting not only its current membership in this arena, but the writers of the future.

Caliban said...


Thanks for playing.


hollarback said...

Chuckt, your arguments all seem to hinge on the formula of how money is made in the entertainment biz never changing. But it will. It is. Look how the means of delivery has changed in just a year. Fact is, the writers will continue to strike, and eventually they will win just compensation and a fair contract.

I am not a writer, I am a consumer, one of those people you claimed "did not care" about the writers strike. Guess what? I care. And I am not watching any reality replacement crap in the New Year, nor am I buying any DVDs this Christmas. The AMPTP is a supplier and financier; they do not create the product that I wish to watch. They might as well be the milk man showing up at my door; they aren’t the cow. Frankly, I am appalled at the way that they treat those who work for and with them. It is very obvious that they fired all of the crew people in order to stir up discord; that is the first move management makes in any labor strike. Me, well I choose to vote with my SSS. As in BOYCOTT. That means products advertised on the networks too. The AMPTP are clearly bullies, and no high priced PR firm can white wash that away. No one likes a bully.

hollarback said...

PS - For some reason dollar signs post as capital "s". But I mean money, dollars , cold hard cash.

JimBob said...

I'm curious. If they run Internet programming through cable into our homes, is that Internet (new, hopefully good deal) or is it cable (old, bad deal)?