Strike TV: Coming Soon, to an Internet-Connected Screen Near You

Strike TV is an Internet fundraiser. It's an online "channel" featuring original video shows created by working professionals in the TV and Film Industry. These shows are self-funded and owned by their creators. Funds raised by ad revenue will go toward the Writers Guild Foundation Industry Support Fund, assisting union directors, actors and below the line members who are affected by the strike. Strike TV videos will not be about the strike. This is a chance for writers to do what they do best - be original and tell stories. Visit the Strike TV MySpace page for full details including info on the upcoming boot camp seminars.


embers said...

I really respect your efforts to do what you can for the below the line people, you are doing far more than the AMPTP. I'll be looking forward to seeing Strike TV!

EmilyH said...

This is a wonderful idea. You need to show these corporations that you can take advantage of the internet WITHOUT their support. If you put some good creative work out there, I will turn off my television and watch this at night. :)

Bill said...

Sorry guys, this sounds more like a maverick studio start up than a fundraiser. Asking the various unions to participate with lower rate scales or "volenteer" their time sounds like a non-union show. As it states in the MySpace "we're calling in some favors". I doubt that any contributions to Pension or Health plans will be made either - so what is it REALLY other than another cheap taunt at the AMPTP?

Moderate away if you must.
Cry shill, scab, or whatever makes you feel united behind this mad plan.


BTL Guy said...

While I applaud any initiative by the Writers which will help those who are in financial turmoil because of the walkout, I am concerned by the idea that the Writers (turned producers) who create the shows own them and can make money off of them, while the crew should work for free (especially as this is a primary reason why the Writers are on strike - and the rest of us are out of work - in the first place).

Also, I urge anyone who is collecting unemployment to check first on what your participation in such a production could do to your EDD check. You may not be able to submit a claim for the week that you work on one of these productions.

I'm not suggesting crew should or shouldn't work on one of these productions; but merely saying everyone should know exactly what they are getting into and what costs or profits, if any, might fall to them as a result.

Laeta Kalogridis said...

bill --

Contributions to pension and health will be made. This is an all-union effort, and the appropriate taxes and withholding will also apply.

Although it's a fundraiser, this will be done as per union and local signatory agreements.

Strike TV is just one part of a larger movement to start creating professional-level internet-first content under union jurisdiction. As a fundraiser, it's not going to be a giant payday for anyone involved (and we don't anticipate huge ad revenue either, not when the time scale is so quick.) But more internet-first content will start being made going forward under different strategies. Bigger budgets and different payscales will take more time, but those kinds of productions will inevitably start being set up as well.

And btl guy makes a good point -- although I think it's equally important to point out that there's a wide latitude within Strike TV for people to make different kinds of deals about content ownership in order to get things made. If you want to find out more, talk to the Strike TV guys on their email.

Dan said...

in order to make P/W contributions to IA members, I believe it has to go through on of the signatory payroll services. Strike TV or it's producing entity would have to sign a contract with the IATSE, otherwise, I don't think hours can be credited.

BTL Guy said...

I'd like to see perhaps two tiers of programming for StriveTV: one that is all-volunteer and one that is ultimately for-profit.

The all-volunteer production would state that all income derived would be funneled into the WGA's fund first, and, once the strike is concluded, into the Actor's Fund (an ongoing, all-union support organization).

This would allow (I believe -- I'm not a lawyer!) talent and crew to work on the production without missing an unemployment check.

The for-profit production would be that which is trying to earn money for the Writer-Producer either immediately or down the line.

Crew working for such a production should either get paid up front, or get gross points from the show (knowing that any profits from StrikeTV still go towards the fund).

This doesn't need to be differentiated at StrikeTV itself (though an all-volunteer tag would probably be appreciated). Merely, it's a suggestion for Writer-Producers on how they might want to set things up, especially if they see the project as more of a calling card piece than something with potential to earn serious money down the road.

Scotty said...

bill said Asking the various unions to participate with lower rate scales or "volenteer" their time sounds like a non-union show.

Or, when done under an appropriate union contract, it's called a "low-budget agreement".

The problem is that hollywood unions haven't made much effort to design internet-ready union contracts.

And I'm talking about all unions here - SAG, WGA, DGA... for years all they've come up with are cobbled-together contracts that didn't properly address the strange new beast of internet video.

I say this as someone who's been trying to make internet videos with union contracts for years, and was met with a resounding "we don't really bother with that stuff".

So now that everyone is saying "let's make our own internet videos, yay!" they're running smack into the same problem. Most of the unions don't have workable contracts to cover internet productions.

So it won't be easy to slam together fully union-approved internet projects within the next month. But it's an effort that's long overdue, so at least it's finally happening.

Jerad said...

I'd love to check it out, but I'm boycotting myspace in support of the writers' strike.

The Phone Call Is Coming From Inside The House said...

Can non-union writer/directors contribute material to the fundraiser?

lauraholl said...

well my sugegstion is to do like tv has. have some "free to air" shows and some "premium" shows. i'd say to make them all under the "premium" banner, but i think that goes against the whole concept. think along the lines of Sanctuary. i dont knwo how well it did financially, but it was done entirely in front of a green screen, and was only distributed online.

i would suggest if you do charge, charge less than itunes. im not sure if these "episodes" will be full length, or shorter like sanctuary (about 8 mins), but thats the one thing i didnt like about sanctuary, is that you paid the same amount for an 8 min episode there as you do for a full episode on itunes.

and im only using sanctuary as an example. i know there are many other "subscribe" episodes available online, such as the CAD series, and things started on youtibe, but it's the one with the bigger names.

Harold said...

"Can non-union writer/directors contribute material to the fundraiser?"

First of all, to participate in Strike TV you MUST be an active WGA member. One of the goals of Strike TV is to demonstrate that these kinds of creative ventures can be done on the internet under union jurisdiction.

[parsed from the Strike TV FAQ]

John Aboud said...

In re: Harold's comment, so long as there is someone involved in a project who's an active WGA member, there can also be non-WGA writers involved. If you really want to participate and you aren't in the WGA, you can "buddy up" with someone who is.

Jerry Monaco said...

Perhaps after this strike is over you guys and gals can offer your publicity and media savvy to other unions... Both on and off strike.... Perhaps there can be solidarity exchanges of union help between the WGA and other unions. Perhaps some WGA writers can start a pro-union media company that produces knowledgeable and funny stuff for the internet for others of us who need help. My friends at the TWU could have certainly used your help a couple years ago. And the supermarket strike in Cal. a few years ago could have benefited from your savvy. The WGA is a small union against some of the biggest corporations so you have a tough fight no matter what. But here, with this kind of stuff, you are doing a great job!

Jerry Monaco