12/10/2007

Fans Reaching Out to Touch the AMPTP Where It Hurts

  • FireDogLake has launched a web site that makes it click-through-easy for a fan to email the studios behind their favorite shows.

    Other sites joining FireDogLake in the campaign are Daily Kos (4,050,000 hits/week), Raw Story (2,833,500), Crooks and Liars (1,850,000), AlterNet (1,500,000), and Democratic Underground (1,500,000). Carried on all those sites, almost 12,000,000 visitors/week will have the opportunity to click and send a complaint to the studio of their favorite show.

  • A fan group called "Television Unplugged" has recently launched an advertiser boycott and guerilla commerical project. What's nice about this idea is that it encourages fans not only to stop doing something (buying products) but to DO something (make a video). We at United Hollywood don't all agree on boycotting practices, but we do agree that no boycott is effective if it's done silently. If you're not going to buy products, make some noise about it!

  • A group on LiveJournal called Consumers Support the WGA has been emailing companies every day of the strike to send the message that viewers and advertisers alike have a stake in seeing a fair settlement. Their goal is to tell advertisers "loud and clear they need to put pressure on the people they pay to sell their things - people refusing to pay others a fair wage. Or we as consumers may decide not to pay them by not buying their goods."

    TV fans are angry about their favorite shows going into reruns or going off the air. Reading the fan sites, it's great to see how connected people are to their shows. They appreciate the importance of writers, and to show their displeasure, they have been emailing the networks and studios who produce their shows. They've heard that the AMPTP is prolonging the strike to hurt the writers and the whole entertainment community, and they aren't having it.

    There have been rumors that major advertisers, hearing the concerns of viewers and livid over the conduct of the networks, have threatened to take all their commercials off the air if the strike isn't settled before Christmas. That's a serious threat, with serious consequences.

  • 42 comments:

    VDOVault said...

    First!

    LOL

    check this out kids!!!
    NBC Rings Up Holiday Refunds To Advertisers

    http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/recent_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003682844

    Go viewers & fans...never let them f*** with you or your shows

    Jake Hollywood said...

    That's right, I forgot, this IS the TV writer's strike and let's forget about all those (like me) feature writers. No wonder I'm alone and have to talk to myself on the picket line...

    DNY LOVES CRIMINAL MINDS said...

    Great article vdovault. Thanks for the link.

    It is important to use good judgement in deciding which companies to call and write. Beer, cigarette & telephone companies are a waste of time. They know nobody is going to stop drinking, smoking or pay fines for breaking cell contracts. It is important to call companies that have strong competition in the market place. Also, calling franchise based companies is also a waste of time. Please be selective of which companies you call. We can make a difference by calling and boycotting but only if we pick and choose the companies carefully.

    Caitlin said...

    Now this is more like it! I'll be doing all of these things just as soon as I get a moment. And if those rumors are true, those advertisers are totally on my Christmas card list.

    Thomas Cunningham said...

    Great idea. I, for my part, have put a note on all the DVDs on my Amazon wishlist saying: "PLEASE DO NOT BUY DVDs until the writer's strike is over & writers get a fair deal!"

    I also e-mailed Amazon telling them that I will not be buying or asking for DVDs this x-mas -which is normally a huge portion of my holiday purchases- in support of the writer's strike. I asked them as one of the largest online retailers to do their part in supporting the writers.

    And while writers miss out on their four cents, the studios, and the retailers, miss out on a lot more than that and a lot faster.

    After the season finale of Dexter next Sunday (CAN'T miss that!), I'll be suspending my cable and telling Time-Warner that I won't pay $80 a month to watch repeats and crappy reality TV and will resume my service when the writers get a fair deal.

    Jake, I think the fight seems focused on TV since the studios will feel the hurt of lost advertising revenue and no new shows almost immediately. No one is forgetting feature writers (I'm one myself). Let's not forget that features will be a big part of the internet issue when more and more people start D/L and streaming content rather than renting and/or buying DVDs.

    Simple Mindz said...

    Good for them! What is wrong with these people? If it was not for the WRITERS they would not even be employed.

    Not-A-Troll said...

    Hmm wonder why United Hollywood doesn't agree totally on boycotting? Perhaps maybe it is that if you boycott DVD's they lose residuals and one knows that is what this whole mess is about.

    So while people are losing their jobs and fighting to pay their bills remember don't take all the steps you can to hurt the AMPTP because that would mean you could hurt the writers in the process, and we wouldn't want that now would we?

    Self righteous hypocrite assholes. Take a deal, make your millions and shut up already so other people can get back to just getting by while you watch a movie in your second home.

    And by the way all you claiming that your writing is how the BTL gets their jobs you are crazy. If you haven't noticed reality TV doesn't need you. Independent films don't need you. Quite frankly features won't be hurt in the slightest till next year (and I'm not counting the 100 million dollar budget ones that are on hold.).

    boadicea said...

    Jake, if you can suggest a way for fans to show support for the feature writers specifically, please feel free to suggest it.

    James said...

    Hey, not-a-troll, got the Comments section going over at the AMPTP site yet? How's that working out for you?

    B.G. said...

    not-a-troll said

    "Self righteous hypocrite assholes"

    :)

    Becca said...

    Aw Jake! I've been boycotting feature films since the first day of the strike. I *love* going to the movies. But I won't until you all get a fair deal.

    So you aren't alone, my friend. My seat in the theatre is empty.

    DNY LOVES CRIMINAL MINDS said...

    Jake,

    Boycotting movies is on the strike plan my group uses and so is boycotting dvd sales. Anything that makes a conglom money is a must.

    embers said...

    Jake Hollywood isn't wrong: the feature writers have REALLY been getting the short end of the stick for years. Studios on purposely use multiple writers creating many versions of a script, and thereby get away with crediting no one and paying no any residuals. Joss Whedon himself mention how he got zero dollars of the 300 million or more that 'Toy Story' has made!

    The problem Jake, is that it is hard to focus in on the movies... TV writers stopping actually shuts down shows, causing poor ratings, and falling stock values. But when feature writers don't write it is harder to see the effect of the project that doesn't get started.... Never-the-less we really do respect what you do and REALLY want to see you get the credit, and the money, you deserve!

    lauraholl said...

    hmmm what about some reverse boycotting? tell advertising companies that if THEY boycott the studios, united hollywood will give them free advertising on this site. what fan wont be supportive of a company that boycotts the AMPTP?

    Thomas Cunningham said...

    Embers,

    Joss didn't get paid residuals for Toy Story because writing for animation is not currently covered by the WGA. It has nothing to do with how many writers. That's part of what the WGA is fighting for: writers of animation, game shows and "reality" shows to be covered by the WGA contract.

    Not-A-Troll said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Not-A-Troll said...

    I know you all will cry foul on this but go to www.AMPTP.com. Read point for point why this has all gone terribly wrong for you. What's the WGA's response? The latest posting has been out there for over 5 hours and yet nothing (I check both site regularly).

    Jake Hollywood said...

    Not a Troll:

    You need to read Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Blog and then figure out the the difference between .com and .org

    And in case you didn't know (which obviously you don't), everything, and I mean everything on TV is written or scripted one way or the other, even those so-called reality shows. Independent features (which is what I write and direct) are written, etc. etc. etc. And, yeah, not every indie filmmaker (or writer) is a member of the WGA, so technically they don't "need" the union to work. BUT, and this is an important but, there are many of us indie-types who belong to the IWC, which is part of the WGA and there are even more who want to be part of the WGA, because of how it helps protect and supports writers.

    And that's why I walk the picket line. Every fucking day. And I'm damn proud to join my brothers and sisters in doing so.

    PS: for all those who offered comments in support of us lonely features writers, thanks. I appreciate your words.

    Trey said...

    Not-A-Troll said...
    I know you all will cry foul on this but go to www.AMPTP.com. Read point for point why this has all gone terribly wrong for you.

    You found the points raised on amptp.COM to be convincing?

    Um, okay... :)

    Not-A-Troll said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Not-A-Troll said...

    Not-A-Troll said...
    Ok, ok. I mixed up the .org / .com at the end. Bravo, you caught a simple spelling error and pounced on it in a fit of hope. I meant www.AMPTP.org . I am sorry i sent you to the spoof site some writer has created in their down time. (guess pencils down doesn't equate to the internet).

    So now that you have made your point for my mistype go to http://artfulwriter.com/ for an even better read . Here is one of your own members making all the points myself and other non members have tried to get across to you for weeks now.

    Pull the crap out of your ears and listen to reason.

    December 10, 2007 8:06 PM

    Thomas Cunningham said...

    Inspired by Trey and Eric's AMPTP jokes on todays UH Live show. I wrote a few of my own. Ya mess with writers, AMPTP, and this is what happens! -And AMPTP.COM which is brilliant.

    Anyway, jokes:

    How many members of the AMPTP does it take to change a light bulb?
    They won't change it until they can ascertain the market value of this "new" electric light technology.

    How many members of the AMPTP does it take to change a light bulb?
    None. They make a writer do it for 4 cents and then charge the building 20 bucks.

    How many members of the AMPTP does it take to change a light bulb?
    The AMPTP is leaving and they're not coming back until you take this light bulb issue off the table!

    not a troll said...

    the second not a troll.

    Has this become a fan website? That's great. Keep boycotting those DVDs that will help the writers. No residuals from DVD sales this Christmas season.

    Sorry but you are ill informed people.

    Thomas Cunningham said...

    Okay so... informal poll: Who's the bigger troll? not a troll or not-a-troll?

    not a troll said...

    Informal poll: who belongs to the writer's guild and who doesn't?

    Captain Obvious said...

    We should take the whole damned system off the air if this isn't resolved by Christmas.


    P.S. I'll be your buddy, Jake Hollywood!

    Thomas Cunningham said...

    For the record, not a troll sans dashes, I am a writer but I am not in the guild. And I don't believe that WGA or any union is made up of faultless saints beyond reproach.

    However, it's pretty overwhelmingly clear to me that the AMPTP is, by a huge margin, the cause of the strike and the fact that it continues.

    Sure, some of the WGAs demands are not reasonable to expect to happen but so are the AMPTPs. The difference is the WGA is NEGOTIATING. To quote AMPTP.COM... since it makes the point perfectly and hilariously:

    "Instead of negotiating, the WGA organizateurs have made demands, then expected us to counter with our demands, and for them to adjust their demands, and for us to do likewise, until we reach a mutually acceptable resolution in some sort of "give-and-take" process. Needless to say, we consider this to be a roadblock to progress (of both boldface and italic proportions)."

    Demanding the WGA take six things off the table without offering any compromise on their side is not negotiating.

    Yes, a lot of people are out of work because of the strike but when the AMPTP walks away from negotiating, how is it not pretty much entirely their fault?

    BTL Guy said...

    At the risk of sounding repetitive, I gotta respond to Thomas Cunningham...

    It is the WGA's fault that there is a strike going on right now. The Writers overwhelmingly voted for it and it happened and it's still happening.

    Look, AMPTP suck and have not been negotiating in good faith. Yes, they have the power to sit and talk and try to wrap this up with a bow. The fact that they walked from the table sucks big time.

    But the WGA walked off the job. This is not a walkout, it is a strike.

    I just don't get why so many posts here try to point at the studios and say that this debacle is all their fault.

    They may have given you the drought conditions, but you started the fire. And now it's burning out of control.

    I'm not talking about whether the Writers should or shouldn't have walked when they did; I'm pointing out that they chose to do it, and overwhelmingly so.

    Maybe we oughtta stop with the pot calling the kettle black, and figure out instead how to get us out of this mess.

    ---------

    By the way...

    How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?
    None. That's a Local 728 job.

    Captain Obvious said...

    "But the WGA walked off the job. This is not a walkout, it is a strike."

    I think you meant to say: "This is not a lockout, it is a strike."

    -

    "They may have given you the drought conditions, but you started the fire. And now it's burning out of control."

    Problem is, they grounded the firefighting helicopters and told the firefighters there wasn't a fire in the first place and then printed full-page ads denouncing the writers for it and paraded the victims in front of their cameras.

    Slgalt said...

    Actually the first thing that happened in the weeks before the strike was the studios had a "lockout" - they put a freeze on hiring any writers or buying any scripts BEFORE the contract expired!

    The studios (meaning corporate lawyers) lit the first match.

    And the AMPTP walked out of the Sunday meeting before the strike too. Double match!

    The corporate lawyers/AMPTP started it.

    So SFX: Raspberry :P

    BTL Guy said...

    Cap'n,

    Thanks for correcting the typo...

    And I agree with your finishing of my analogy. The studios make for crappy firefighters.

    My point, though, is that it's disingenuous for the kids playing with matches to point the finger at the firefighters (even cowardly fake ones!) when the hillside burns.

    D Dragon said...

    Hitting the advertisors is the way to go! Fans, attack.

    For instance, Target is a company that gives 5% of their income to charitable endeavors in Arts, the Environment, and "Community". This is a very admirable thing. Yet, with every dollar they spend on Network TV, they fuel the beast that is causing many an unhappy Christmas for many a hard worker. Indirectly, they are contributing to the disgusting tactics of the AMPTP. This support is hypocritical of Target, and should be pointed out to them, to the press, and to the fans of every scripted show on every Network that Target advertises on.

    It will only take one company to pull their ad dollars to rattle the cages of the Networks. If we cannot heap shame upon the Studios/Networks, then let those who support them feel the shame for what they are doing to the writers, and by default, every other poor bastard in LA that makes a living creating these shows.

    lauraholl said...

    @btl guy

    yes but is it better when you're dying to light a fire in a drought triekn area to draw attention to yourself in the hopes of saving your children, and perhaps just maybe yourselves? or better to just sit there and die of thirst?

    I'm Australia. we know about droughts. i know which i'd do

    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.

    Allison said...

    Last night as I was reading my well-worn Collected Plays of Aristophanes, it came to me: how to end the strike in just a few days!

    I realized that all we have to do is ask our brave sisters at SAG to refuse to have sexual relations with any studio or network executive until the writers get a fair deal. This would include audition-flirting, pity-head, and, of course, sexual intercourse for roles and/or marriage. I understand this would be a huge sacrifice for the actresses, in terms of their emotional well-being and careers, but their idealism is boundless. Consider the admiration their altruism would inspire among right-thinking Americans!

    The longer I thought about it, the more excited I became. How could my plan fail? Then I remembered Disney. Ah, yes. We must ask our brave brothers at SAG to chip in, too.

    Allison Burnett
    WGA member

    Caitlin said...

    btl guy: I agree with your analogy, but I think it needs to be "the writers chose to walk out", nothing more. Both parties are the "kids with matches" in this case. Now they both need to be firefighters, except the AMPTP wants to take its ball and go home. And they took the fire hose with them, leaving the WGA with a bunch of squirt guns. My point is I share your frustration of the idea the AMPTP forced the writers to walk out. They made conditions horrible, yes, but the writers made the decision on their own. However, it's not just the playground anymore. Rome is burning. And the AMPTP is letting it happen. We need to force them to bring their firefighters back in any way we can. And in the meantime, the fans will join with their own squirt funs in hopes of inspiring advertisers to bring the forest fire-fighting helicopters who can end this without any help from the AMPTP and toss the studios into their own flames.

    Okay, that analogy got out of control. My point in commenting again was originally going to be to second lauraholl's idea. I say we boycott products of these advertisers for now, *but* tell them that when they do pull their advertising, we'll promote them and their efforts to everyone we know and will try to use them above their competitors. All or nothing, their pick.

    And not a troll (the second) does raise at least one point: the reason United Hollywood might not totally support a boycott is because the writers will make some money off those DVDs. Even a tiny amount that should be much higher is better than nothing. So I dunno. Maybe we can figure out strategies for boycotts. They're awesome, but you want to make sure they don't backfire, too.

    Watcher said...

    Not a troll thinks that boycotting DVDs will hurt the writers. Is that a joke? At the current DVD residual rate, it frankly doesn't make a whole lot of difference. I've been working in this business for ten years, and it was only lately that I actually met any writers who'd gotten money from DVD sales. In that case, it was for something hugely, hugely successful... and it still wasn't much money.

    Hmmm. I wonder if this has anything to do with the strike...

    1000 Cranes for Heroes said...

    don't forget about "1000 Cranes for Heroes!"
    www.myspace.com/1000cranesforheroes

    factcheck said...

    Any writer that tells you they haven't recieved residuals on DVD is eiter lying or getting ripped off by his/her accountant. Resdiuals were part of the contract from twenty years ago and they get paid every three months. If you don't know is you have never worked as a writer. As for the current plan paying out nothing that must mean that 65,000 dollars for every million dvd's is nothing. The bigger the hit the more the writers make. Doesn't sound like "nothing" to me. That sounds like most people's yearly salary. Most ordinary people understand this and that is why the writers are going to get the brunt of the hatred when crew people start losing their jobs. Merry Christmas. By the way I'm a member who voted no and the reason I don't post my name is because of the warm feelings my fellow writers give towards people who dare to disagree with their tactics for getting a raise.

    factcheck said...

    Any writer who says they aren't getting DVD residuals is either lying or getting ripped off by his accountant. Writers have received residualds on video and dvd for twenty years. As for the people who say that four cents doesn't amount to anything, just do the math. One million dvd's equals roughly 64,000 dollars for the writer. You might want more but that is not peanuts so quit acting lik it is.

    Watcher said...

    Then, gosh, I wonder where all that DVD money goes. This year I finally met some people who'd gotten residuals from DVDs -- a thousand bucks. Not enough to live on for two weeks, if you have a home and family, but it was the first I'd heard of it. But then, they're TV writers. Maybe the feature writers are making out like bandits. Or maybe your "million copies" is incredibly rare for any particular movie or show. Or maybe there's something funny in Studio Accounting Country. (I'd be shocked, shocked if that were so.)

    I talked with a writer about this a couple of weeks ago, and said, "What difference does it make monetarily if the public boycotts DVDs? Who makes any money off DVDs?" She nodded, because that's the way it is in the real world.

    The reason writers have mixed feelings about boycotting DVDs is because it's work they love and invested in, and they don't want fans to forget their shows during the strike. I don't think that will happen, though -- I think the fans are invested, too.

    But, hey, maybe you're right. Maybe my experiences never happened, and all the writers care about is getting money right now. They care about that much more than they care about making an impression on the AMPTP. That's why they chose not to strike, and halt all their income.

    Oh, wait...

    Captain Obvious said...

    Factcheck:


    You should check your facts. This isn't about a raise. It's about compensation in new forms of distribution. It's only a raise if "raise" is defined as "more than zero" and that's a fact.