John McNamara sent this letter to leadership, and submitted it to us to reprint. McNamara is a TV writer/producer whose credits include The Adventures of Brisco County, Profit, Lois & Clark, Vengeance Unlimited, The Fugitive, Eyes and Jericho.
He is currently writing haiku.
I bring this up so you'll understand that starting on November 5th, I began losing a substantial amount of money. (To put in perspective: I started my career as a playwright, and what I made in my first year of writing theatre, I lost each day as a suspended showrunner.)
As of the 14th, I’ve now lost everything due me under my term deal.
Given that this financial blow is due to the strike and the fact that it's been well over a decade and a half since I made any real money via the MBA, I should be writing to you gentlemen begging you to take the DGA deal.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I'm writing to urge you -- don't settle for anything less than the best deal possible.
Because this isn't about me or my losses. This isn't about any one writer. This is about thousands of us, up and down fortune's ladder, some who are better off than I am right now, many much worse off, but each of us linked by this:
We all know the difference between a good deal and a bad deal.
"Good" is any provision where our share grows alongside all possible delivery forms.
"Bad" is anything else.
The DGA deal as it stands today is bad. It may be a bad deal with a few good points but it is not the reverse.
Don't be swayed to think otherwise. You know what's right here. Everyone does, no matter what they say out of anger, desperation, greed or exhaustion.
My Dad was a trial lawyer. He spent most of his life trying to sway people. A job that was always easier when he represented a client whose plea or defense was legally sound. Because then he didn’t have to use as many words. My father always said, “The more words you use to explain something, the less true it is.”
What you’re trying to do can be boiled down to two short, declarative sentences:
If they make nothing, we make nothing. But the more they make, the more we make.
Any argument against those sentences would have to be elaborate in the extreme. Possibly confusing. And certainly disingenuous.
Do what's right. Don't back down, don't concede, don't give in to fear, pressure, or worst of all, the common wisdom.
I set out to have a long career that would weather many ups and downs. So far, that's what I've had and there's no denying I'm in one of life's little troughs at the moment. But I'm not alone. And I haven't lost my bearings. This is a fight for the future.
Someday, when that future becomes the present and I look back on all of this, I want to say I was a small part of a big fight that mattered. I stood with people who knew that. We rose together and took action.
I'm proud to do what I do for a living; more proud of that than any check that's ever crossed my desk. Checks, and jobs, come and go. But I'm a writer -- with you -- forever.
- John McNamara