2/09/2008

Thoughts and Thanks from SAG Board Member Justine Bateman

SAG Board member and regular U.H. contributor Justine Bateman sends this open letter to all WGA members. -JA

To the WGA membership,

As you prepare to examine the proposed deal points and assemble for your meeting tonight, if the decision is made to continue striking, I will see you on the lines Monday. If you decide to recommend the deal to the membership at large for a vote and it is ratified, I stand beside you. Either way, I wanted you to know some things:

I want to thank you.

For sticking your finger in the dike and not allowing greed to smother all content creators.
For striking when you did and not allowing massive stockpiling to take place wherein SAG (along with WGA) would have had no leverage in June.
For picketing.
For holding your shit together within your ranks.
For United Hollywood and all its invaluable information within a virtual media shut-out.
For electing superior leadership and standing behind those choices.
For supporting an unbeatable staff while they were, I'm sure, stressed and exhausted.
For your excellent communication between Strike Captains.
For your incomparable wit and cleverness on the picket lines.
For your thoughtful, well-composed posts on blogs everywhere.
For your funny, moving videos.
For your maturity.
For letting me in.

I count my new friends of the last three months as some of the finest people I know. The people who make up the WGA are Cowboys. And I salute you.

Love and Respect, Justine

45 comments:

Jake Hollywood said...

A WGA bigwig just phoned me with this important message for WGA members: "I need to bring up an important issue. The members have not seen all the deal points. The only deal points we have are the New Media deal points. But there is a key issue we aren't seeing right now. Right now, the only favored nations clause we have with SAG is in New Media. Hmmmmm...

If Nikki Finke is right: "Members may think we're in a good position to benefit from a better SAG deal, to let SAG take the ball from our deal and run with it. But members need to know that if SAG turns around and negotiates a better DVD deal, or a better pension deal, or better rates anyplace else other than New Media, we will not benefit. We only have favored nations with SAG where it concerns New Media and even that isn't even written down. It's just a verbal agreement. They [the AMPTP] tried to screw us on this at the last minute."

Verbal vs Written?

Where have we heard their verbal promises before?

Oh, yeah.

At almost every contract negotiation.

Then, of course, they change their mind.

Something to remember.

stuiec said...

"For sticking you finger in the dyke and not allowing greed to smother all content creators."

Oh, dear. I hope she meant "dike."

Otherwise, I fear I may have fundamentally misunderstood the purpose of this strike....

Jake Hollywood said...

I should have said this first: I've a new found respect for actors. Many of them came out to the line and walked alongside us--and I personally know certain writers who never left the comfort of their living room--supporting the WGA in ways to undefinable to measure.

So, Justine, thank YOU and your brethren, it's our pleasure to be in your company.

Not An said...

stuiec -

your comment alone makes the whole strike worthwhile.

Harold said...

And to think that I thought that if WGA members slept with this crappy contract, Justine Bateman wouldn't respect us in the morning.

Not An said...

jake hollywood - vote against the deal if you like, I haven't made my mind up yet but please God, let us remember that NF profits from a continued strike. I would trust the AMPTP before I would trust her, at least I know what side it is on.

Cyber said...

Just a thought on the 48-hour vote, but how long would it take for the Guild to update their contact information? Can this be done online? Could members who show up at the meetings submit updated information for the Guild to update their databases with?

If everyone is 'reminded' to update their information, 'soon', then I think you have the best chance of reaching everyone.

Andy Hunn said...

It appears that a deal has been struck and will be voted on by the WGA this evening. If approved, the strike will be over and TV can start production again. Most likely, the evening talk shows, The Tonight Show, Late Night, Jimmy Kimmel, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report will start fresh shows on Monday. For scripted series, the delay to fresh shows are still months away. But the landscape for TV has been forever changed.

The Networks will become much more efficient in their spending on shows. Commitments will be made with tighter budgets attached. Should a show make it to pilot form, it will move quickly to series. If a show doesn't perform on network, watch it pop up on cable and vice versa. Don't be surprised to see Psych, Monk, or even Mad Men repurposed on network. A series will complete its 13 episode minimum regardless of its initial rating cause the expectation is that it will be repurposed across cable and the web, to assure it finds a profit. And vertically alligned businesses, like NBC with their hands in each of these distribution points will do especially well. They can effectively spread the risk and increase the return from each of these productions.

At the same time, reality shows are starting to show their age. Survivor's latest adventure recently scored its lowest ratings. Deal or No Deal has gotten so desperate, half the briefcases have to contain $1 million dollars just to keep the viewer's interest. And even American Idol has looked beatable. As fresh content comes back to TV, the ratings for these reality shows will suffer further. The writers strike has gotten them to wear out their welcome.

To me shows like Saturday Night Live will prove even more lucrative to the new model. It generates both short form and long form content for the web (for example all the digital shorts) , it provides a testing ground for actors and writers (Conan O'Brien was a writer on SNL, Tina Fey a writer and performer who was able to create 30 Rock for NBC, the show has been re cut to an hour and syndicated to E!, and it creates commercial parodies, best of's and political specials that are repurposed into prime time specials. It created a DVD of its first 5 years so most likely more will come. Prior to the strike, the guest host was Brian Williams, NBC News anchor who post appearance saw the ratings for NBC News rise. Its been an effective medium to promote other shows as well. And during the strike, various shows and specials filled the prime time air. In short SNL is the golden goose to NBC. It creates original content that can be merchandized and monetized across multiple distribution points. Try doing that with Deal or No Deal!

mheister said...

What Justine said goes for me too.

Hey and Jake - I've always respected writers... :)

Frustrated Bystander said...

There is a "smoke and mirrors" ploy going on here. The bright shiny toy and happy magic mirrors that is consuming attention are the gains in separated rights and jurisdiction in new media. Which is great! However, these magic mirrors are being leveraged against gains in renumeration.

Harold has kept the rallying cry alive over the DVD formula because when this strike was first called and started, the DVD issue was one of the main concerns on the table. Everyone was militant to get increases on the DVD losses that a non-striking membership, over the last twenty years, was hoping would be given over time. That didn't happen. Hence the current strike. Be aware of the shiny little mirrors.

Without a full favored nations clause that allows SAG a chance to get back on the table, one of what I also consider WGA's not-so-great strategic "gives," releasing the DVD formula, I'd be wondering what good is the Oscar and Pilot Season leverage anyways?

I know WGA gave DVD away, but with pattern bargaining, maybe this favored nations clause can come back. What if a "guaranteed ratification" rested on just this one small point to be re-instated? The closure of the streaming window is covered in the favored nations for new media, but any gains or possibility of raises on DVD is not. Would having a favored nations that includes this element for DVD help the hard-liners with some of their pain and disappointment?

On a 48 hour vote, a "no" by the membership on this current deal might give extra leverage for a quick turnaround to get back this one small but significant clause. Would it not be prudent to use this little bit of extra leverage temper to this starter deal with a positive solution of a favored nations clause that will allow SAG to do the rest of the heavy lifting and maybe get back DVD for everyone?

stuiec said...

not an: thanks - you're too kind. WAAAY too kind.

If anyone knows the poster "pseudonymouse" from a couple of other blogs, ask him/her to e-mail me. That person is the only one whose posts during the strike made me laugh until I cried.

rHob said...

So More Economics 101:

Now that you have been on strike or 3-and-a-half months, a show like House, that would normally have a back 9 is now only going to come back for 4 episodes (if you call off the strike this weekend). For first run and one rerun, you just lost $300,000 ($40,000 x 5 lost episodes + $20,000 for 5 lost episodes in rerun). That's just one show and that doesn't include syndication or anything else. That's genius. Way to stick your finger in the dyke and show those guys!

rHob

Stephon Fuller said...

As an actor on the picket lines I want thank you all for being so very appreciative and acknowledging that I didn't have to be out there day after day. I felt different; we are in this together and I HAD to be out there.

I wish there was more push in the DVD arena and I'm not happy with the 17 window, but maybe SAG can make some headway in that area for all of us.

bacci40 said...

can you guys explain one thing to me?

in your hands you hold the largest trump cards...the oscars

we are talking millions of dollars of free advertising for the studios with this show

it should be the wga in control...not the studios

think of an oscar show with no quips....no clips...just presenters and a few musical numbers

tv sets around the world shut off after they watch the red carpet to see who is pregnant, whos boobs are showing and how crazy tom will act this time

you guys only have to hold out for 2 weeks

shoot, ill stand in front of 7/11s and raise money if you kill the oscars

pretty please?

Not An said...

frustrated bystander -

do you have a dog in this hunt?

rubberpoultry said...

As a fan of the industry, and someone who never expected to be involved in any way with this strike, I've learned a lot in the last 3 months. It's become almost an obsession for me, with multiple visits every day to this site and others to find out what's going on.

While I'm sure I'm missing many of the nuances involved in Hollywood relations, I've gotten the impression that that the various unions have not been the best of friends in the past. What I've read also leads me to believe that the WGA isn't always one big happy family either. I could be either way off, or pointing out the obvious, but I just wanted to say that I think the way SAG has come to stand with the WGA is tremendous, and I hope that it will continue when the events of these hard times are just a memory.

Justine, you're words here have been inspiring. I've enjoyed your posts, and insights, and as a faithful listener and contributor to United Hollywood Live, I wanted to say thanks for all of your on air "appearances" too. I have so much respect for you for being such a vocal supporter of writers everywhere, and I wanted to cheer out loud when I saw this post.

I don't know what the future holds for my involvement as a "Hollywood activist" and contributor to UH, but I wanted to say that those of us who have been watching/participating will never forget what we saw here over these months, and I know I hope this good will and unity will continue.

Justine, you put the "united" in United Hollywood!

Rubberpoultry
Fan, video and graphics guy

James Tripp said...

Ditto. Thanks to all WGA members for taking the bullet in this round of negotiations. Your resolve has strengthened SAG's position as we negotiate our new contract.

Captain Obvious said...

Frustrated Bystander and Co. you guys are all on the case.

And Harold, you sarcastic bastard, you're a man after my own heart. You're kinda rough around the ages but dammit, I've come to like you over the course of this strike.

What can I say? United Hollywood fosters friendships.



All I can say is this: If it's not a fair deal then it's not fair to call it a "deal" at all.

Writers, by nature, are expected to be far too good at games of logic to qualify as obedient sheep.

Don't get the wool pulled over your eyes. Look deeper, ask tough questions, and only make informed decisions.

Michael said...

Is that Justine Bateman from "Family Ties"? I love your words!

I guess I'd just like to add that the WGA and its members and SAG's members and the DGA through this whole experience have been especially patient, understanding, welcoming, and warm to a non-member writer like myself and others whom I've met in support of the strike.

I like lines of words even though sometimes they don't always--ah, never mind I need some sleep. Later--

Frustrated Bystander said...

Hi "Not An" -- Yes, the alpha dog is texting me from the WGAw meeting right now. They've just finished moving off the presentation and are doing the Q&A.

I am the beta dog of "Occasional Showrunner."

rHob said...

Dear Justine:

I really love you and your brother, but if you really cared about "HOLLYWOOD", why are you allowing them to shoot "Hybrid" in Winnipeg, Canada and "To Have and to Hold" in Maple Ridge, British Columbia or "Out of Order" in Vancouver, B.C.

You know, the American dollar is cheaper than the Canadian dollar. Why don't you put the same pressure on Arnold and your liberal huge tax California legislature to give tax breaks to keep production in "HOLLYWOOD"? Gee, the tax breaks would be more than made up for in high wage income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes. Lobby for that and I will be behind you all the way.

I guess you don't care about your fellow IATSE.

rHob

Not An said...

stuiec - no trust me, that comment was an instant classic - if you were getting residuals on how many times it has been rerun to my friends you would be rich

frustrated -

as Annie's dog would say: "Arf."
Thanks for your reply.

Mike from Virtual Studios said...

You said it, Justine, The guys are trailblazers!. Watching SAG and WGA members on the lines made me proud to be an actor and writer.

Remember way back in ancient Greece when only actors and writers were important? The solidarity you guys showed those days had returned

You guys were exceptional!!

Frustrated Bystander said...

Two step process on the table. 1st vote is to decide on whether to continue picketing. The second vote is to decide on whether membership is going ratify current contract.

1st vote -- is this contract good enough to stop striking?
2nd vote -- do we take this contract?

DVD is not favored nations. It's possible SAG can get DVD, leadership believes that they can get DVD through pattern bargaining if SAG is successful in restoring the DVD chip to the bargaining table. Favored nations guarantees if SAG gets it, WGA gets it. Pattern bargaining means if SAG gets it, we can make an argument to get it too, but it's not a guarantee like favored nations.

Jake Hollywood said...

So, no less than the esteemed John August posted this question about "the deal" on his own page, www.johnaugust.com

(I left the meeting early, you don't have to hit me with a brick for me to understand which direction things were going to go)

Anyway, this is what Mr August had say:

So is this deal, today, good enough to accept?

Yes.

It’s a yes for me. And I suspect it’s a yes for most writers. Some would shout yes emphatically, with a victory dance around a giant picket bonfire. Others would mutter yes with a forlorn shrug of their shoulders, deeply dissatisfied yet not able to rationalize a no vote. I’m somewhere in-between. I don’t think it’s great — hell, it’s not even “good” — but it’s honestly better than I thought we’d get.


My only reply is this: Is better than I thought we'd get acceptable?

NO. Especially if you think (as I do and as apparently Mr August does as well) that "the deal" isn't good. Why should anybody ever settle for less than what the deserve?

Yeah, it's a mystery to me too.

Is it any wonder that the powers that be hold us in such low regard? We don't even respect ourselves enough to reject something that isn't "good." How can we expect to get a "good deal" if we sell ourselves short all the time.

As one of my strike captains wrote to me, ...they'll always be the unhappy ones, let's make sure they don't do anything stupid.

Well, I'm about to be stupid.

I'm voting "NO," just on principle.

Alan Sereboff said...

Love you J!

Murrieta said...

Justine, my dad and my grandad and his father and grandad were all cowboys. I can ride, but I never considered myself a cowboy until tonight. Thank you for your words and your deeds. Being a cowboy means you don't say much, you just do....so good night.

Dennis Wilson said...

Justine,

Back atcha.

Much love and respect from the WGA.

Luzid said...

@ Jake:

Good for you. The Guild was promised a MFN clause and it was retracted.

That made it a lie.

If this deal passes, I promise you in three years you will see how very many writers have lost everything when they could have gained more, especially with SAG's strike coming up to boost the leverage being tossed away.

I may not be WGA yet, but I know labor and strikes, and if these massive rollbacks are allowed, the same AMPTP that's lied and screwed writers for decades will laugh all the way to the bank - with the money WRITERS enabled them to steal.

I'd sure love to be wrong. Given the AMPTP's history, I don't think that will be the case.

Cyber said...

Guys, I was just wondering something...

If the offer doesn't get ratified, then it wasn't worth taking.

Personally, I think the 17-day window should be tightened to 2 days. While there is a point about viewing older shows, how many people have the time to do that, and how much viewing a month? Sure, you can wait for a show to go full-run before you watch it, but if said show doesn't get enough initial views to justify the price they're charging for commercials, then how long will that show last? Initial views are what brings the money in to keep the show going. Therefore, the 'point' is only a valid one for shows that have already been made, not the new shows that will be made in the future to fill the market.

Which is where the counter-point comes in. If I miss an episode, then I'd want to catch the rerun before the next episode airs. If I miss two episodes, I would want to catch up on both of them -in order- before the next one airs. Helps eliminate confusion in the overall story (continuity and all), and prevents spoilers. That being said, yes, within 3 days is fair. Within 3 days, people would have wanted to catch the new episode. Which means that for writers to get a piece of the pie, they need at least 1 day of prime viewing. So the 'window' should be tightened to 2 days. At the most. Anything more is a non-starter.

To put it more plainly: The 'Point' deals mainly with older shows, without factoring in commercial revenue to justify the continuation of said shows. The 'CounterPoint' deals with the 'here-and-now', always in a present tense. The thing that keeps shows alive so that there *are* shows for people to watch the reruns of in the future. While the Point brings in money, it doesn't bring in nearly as much as the CounterPoint says we'd be losing.

That being said, the big thing right now, the leverage for the moment, is the rest of tv season, the pilot season, the Oscars, and the 2009 movies. If that is given up, then no leverage for another 4 months until the SAG strikes.

But can the WGA *afford* to strike that long? Do they have the monetary means to hold out without going into massive debt and/or bankruptcy? Some people have already posted about wracking up debt.

So why not *create* more leverage? Tell the AMPTP that you don't like the deal, but you're willing to go back to work to save the tv season and pilot season. But once you've done that, if they haven't given a better deal, you strike again.

You know that if you keep striking now, all leverage for the the next 4 months is lost. However, if you finish the tv season and at least make pilot episodes, then you would have *created* leverage again.

What good are pilot episodes when there's no season for them? What good are pilot episodes then there are no actors to play the roles? With the rest of the tv season, at least you get *some* money in over the course of Spring, right? And with pilot episodes, the AMPTP would *need* you back in time for pilot season. As well as the SAG. For the movies, they take time to produce (the big ones, anyway), so they're not much of an issue if the actors are striking in June. Not enough time to finish them.

So, what do you say? Maybe give a limit of... how long would it take to finish tv season and make pilots? 2 months? Maybe less... ? Or don't give a time limit. Make the AMPTP sweat.

Think about it, and maybe someone suggest it to WGA leadership. If there's no opportunity, you *create* one. Just like in the scripts.

dennis said...

this is something i posted at DHD.

Call me crazy but could Nikki possibly be working WITH the AMPTP? imagine this most cynical scenario: she gains our trust by bad mouthing the AMPTP. once she has that, she manipulates us coloring things in favor of the AMPTP. think about it: she's the one who got our hopes up with the breaking news that the AMPTP was coming back to the table in december. then think about who all her "insider" sources are not only for coverage of the strike but every one of her posts. people in the meetings employed by the AMPTP. now she's editorializing her posts with a AMPTP slant. if you read her posts carefully, they're very much in favor of the AMPTP position which is ultimately to end the strike by having writers accept an unacceptable deal. all this talk about "lovefests" in the WGAE meeting and 25% of writers leaving in the WGAW meeting before deal points were even discussed is a very different picture from those who were there.

Nikki, like all media outlets, is pushing the same agenda the AMPTP is. they're trying to convince us the strike is already over when its up to the WGA MEMBERSHIP to call the end, NOT ANYBODY ELSE. Remember, everyone has an agenda. And remember what you've struck for. Is this deal even close to it? Thank God there's a vote. I know some of you disagree but are unsure of speaking up. You can do that at the vote this week. Vote your conscience. You'll have to live with it for 20 years.

dennis said...

seriously, if you guys care about making any signifcant gains at all, ask, no - DEMAND for more. do not let the AMPTP push you into making an uninformed position with a 24 hr turnaround. Give SAG leverage by staying on strike with them. pattern bargaining will not work here. it will weaken SAG's position since the town can generally run without actors v. what the WGA has done which has stopped production. NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE THE STAND.

btw, this is something i posted at DHD:

this is something i posted at DHD.

Call me crazy but could Nikki possibly be working WITH the AMPTP? imagine this most cynical scenario: she gains our trust by bad mouthing the AMPTP. once she has that, she manipulates us coloring things in favor of the AMPTP. think about it: she's the one who got our hopes up with the breaking news that the AMPTP was coming back to the table in december. then think about who all her "insider" sources are not only for coverage of the strike but every one of her posts. people in the meetings employed by the AMPTP. now she's editorializing her posts with a AMPTP slant. if you read her posts carefully, they're very much in favor of the AMPTP position which is ultimately to end the strike by having writers accept an unacceptable deal. all this talk about "lovefests" in the WGAE meeting and 25% of writers leaving in the WGAW meeting before deal points were even discussed is a very different picture from those who were there.

Nikki, like all media outlets, is pushing the same agenda the AMPTP is. they're trying to convince us the strike is already over when its up to the WGA MEMBERSHIP to call the end, NOT ANYBODY ELSE. Remember, everyone has an agenda. And remember what you've struck for. Is this deal even close to it? Thank God there's a vote. I know some of you disagree but are unsure of speaking up. You can do that at the vote this week. Vote your conscience. You'll have to live with it for 20 years.

dennis said...

hate to keep posting but the more i think about it the more angry i get.

the amptp lied when we took off dvd resids in order to talk about new media. now they lied again at the 11th hour no less with the removal of the most favored nations clause. so if SAG negotiates a better deal for themselves, the WGA can't partake in it.

it shows that the amptp has a pattern of deceptive ivy-league lawyer bargaining here. and what pissed me most? EVERYTIME WE GIVE IN. we gave in to reality and animation, we gave in to DVDs, we gave in to MFN. for god's sake, if we ratify this ugly fucker, we'll have given away 3 months plus 20 years of the same crap all because we lacked any backbone.

and yes, the amptp definitely has more backbone than us. theyve played us like a fiddle. imagine this: this is the scenario they had imagined. what hasn't really gone their way? they manipulated us into waiting for a dga template and now there's the artificial deadline of the Oscars that THEY imposed. terms of the deal that THEY set. the people who stand to gain the most from the Oscars are the AMPTP. what fig does the WGA care? as for pilot season, it can be saved. just look at all the creative accounting they use to cook their books and don't tell me that they won't be able to find a way to save pilot season. but you know what they haven't planned for? A WGA AND SAG strike. that will force the AMPTP to negotiate a fair deal. it's not about bringing them to their knees. All writers and actors want is a fair deal.

so again, do not ratify. 17 days is too long. 4 cents is too little. 20 years has been long enough. we can't stand another 20.

Harold said...

"Cyber said...Tell the AMPTP that you don't like the deal, but you're willing to go back to work to save the tv season and pilot season. But once you've done that, if they haven't given a better deal, you strike again."

Spoken as someone without a hint of a clue. This strike was it. There won't be another in 3 1/2 years or 30.

Most members want to approve the deal. The strike is over. I think Verrone is smart to put it to a vote to show that the vote won't be close at all. It's going to be at least 75% support for ending the strike. The results won't be a secret. The leadership will not be shy about sharing the result percentages.

There was plenty of time for people to voice their opinion about the DVD proposal being withdrawn. None of you bitching about it now were bitching when I was.

Because you're f*cking stupid.

For the most part, I prefer that those of you that fall into this category of "late bitchers" just shut the hell up.

Vote against the deal on principle or whatever reason you want to. Make your non-relevance complete.

You didn't speak up when you had the chance, so now just continue to be complacent and quiet and do as you're told. Why change now?

I'm not going to bother to mention what happens if the deal isn't approved, because that has ZERO possibility of occurring.

Just remember what:

* Your YouTube videos
* The pencil collecting (second on the B.S. pointless scale behind...)
* "Interim agreements" (that - for the continued clueless - were just strike waivers made pretty)
* Your trust of the NegCom and leadership; and
* Public (yet overwhelmingly passive) support

gained for you in the final contract.

NOT ONE F*CKING THING.

Good night and goodbye, United Hollywood. You've reached your expiration date for relevance as well.

Now, UH is just a place for those who cannot accept reality. I grudgingly embrace it.

BTLs, I apologize for the pointless strike. This one had to count for something, but it didn't. It wasn't worth your sacrifice or those of the members. The spin will be that it made the DGA deal possible. Yeah, right.

Never again. Hopefully, I will be dead when a clueless membership pulls this sh!t again.

City Big Guy said...

Thank you, Justine. Thank you for your thoughtful view of this strike and of everything surrounding it. In a dark time you've brought a lot of light.

Maybe we've lost this thing and we should shut up and put up and be glad with the little we got. But above, Dennis says, "The AMPTP definitely has more backbone than us. They've played us like a fiddle. Imagine this: this is the scenario they had imagined. What hasn't really gone their way?"

He's right. In a few sentences he summarizes what we've called, often foolishly, negotiations. Our team did everything possible to get a fair deal but they couldn't have the resolve, the stomach, the unanimity, and the unbridled callousness of the people across the table. A room full of negotiators representing thousands of writers facing a few brutal lawyers representing a handful of CEOs. And then the CEOs themselves. Our people had an impossible job.

But we can help them. We're at the wire. Their arguments for voting "yes" are good. Arguments for "no" are incontrovertible. Before we vote, why haven't we heard from SAG? Let's hear how far they're willing to go. Some people will say we're entering a deathtrap. The AMPTP will give up movies and television. They'll close their entertainment divisions until the actors and writers buckle?

Really? If you had a printing press, and it printed money, would you shut it down?

The best argument for staying out has been laid out on this blog over and over: if they're willing to go to the brink again and again, if they're willing to threaten and bully, then what do they know that we don't? How much is the movement to New Media worth if they are willing to part with none of it?

If we give up now, every guild faces an uncertain future and probably an early death. So if we're not going to fight, let's admit why: because we don't have the stomach for it, the financial resources for it, the allies for it. If we're going to fold, let's do it with some dignity and honesty.

Or let's say no. Let them come back at us with some real participation in the marketplace we help create every day. There's still time.

Thom (italian fan) said...

I'm here just to say a few words (and to say sorry for my english!) .I
'm an italian fan of your works and I have to thank Internet,dvds and all you if I can enjoy tv series,movies ecc ecc . So i'm totally agree with your ideas,your strike and i hope that this dead could satisfie most of the writers that partecipate at that.if not, we'll wait until is done.
So I have to say "thank you" me too.
See you soon, guys
Ciao

m.o.i.@ warrior ant press said...

Yo Dennis, Nikki, like all media outlets, is pushing to get you to read/watch their stuff. It seems to be working.

Contention is largely what sells media these days and if everyone will take a deep breath before they unleash the screeds, they'll look back and see that much of the content on UH over the course of this strike has revolved around being contentious - mostly toward AMPTP, but a far amount of it directed at each other.

Check your site counter. It seems to have worked.

tomyounce said...

As the brother of a Write and Co-executive producer for a top 5 show on television, it has been painful to sit back and watch the strike unfold for Sis's sake, and all of yours. You all have bills to pay and families to take care of.

It has been nothing short of inspiring to see how all of you, writer's, director's, actors, etc. all banded together and stood strong against the absolute greed of the studios. Your resolve is to be commended.

No matter the outcome, which we are praying is for your benefit, you all can hold your heads high, as you weren't bullied into a bad deal. You all stood your ground, as one united family against a Major force that isn't used to losing.

You are all deserving of what is truly entitled to you. If the shoe were on the other foot, I promise you, the studio's would not rest until YOU paid THEM for internet and all new tech. proceeds.

God bless you all and we are pulling for you from here in Jackson, MO.

Jeremy said...

Dennis, is it worth staying out for 4 more months to get that window knocked down to 14 days? I have yet to hear an answer to my question, though perhaps I've not looked properly:

What significant gains can be made by staying out for four more months?

Dave said...

Well here come the conspiracy theorists, as expected.

Look guys, I know some of you are disappointed, but its time to be real here. The strike is OVER. It will be voted down over the next 48 hours (a nice and shrewd gesture by Verrone, if only largely symbolic) by the overwhelming majority of WGA members. Its clear from all the reporting and the direct quotes from attendees that the majority was very eager to accept this deal and get back to work, there hasn't been one conflicting report about this (forums notwithstanding).

So, you fought the good fight. Some think you won, some think you lost, most are in the middle thinking its good enough for now. Was it worth all the pain? I think that's largely an individual question, as certainly some were hurt more than others.

Lets all just be glad though that work can start again.

Rodney Peterson said...

At least it appears as if this strike may now be ending. The only thing I'm not happy about is not getting the favored nations clause but it seems to me with enough pressure that can be reinstated.
True collectors make up a large percentage of the fans who this industry can not live without. I know because I used to be the type of person who religiously set aside money I could have and should have spent on other things purchasing things like collector's edition DVD's. So that favored nations clause is important because those types of people want something physical to hold in their hands for many reasons. Therefore, downloads don't qualify.
For weeks I have been walking the picket lines with you, usually at Fox, but also at NBC, Warner Bros. and Disney because I truly believe in my unique film and book project and have been out fighting with you. Because as so often has been pointed out, this fight is not just about the current talent pool. It's also about myself and countless others who will follow as WGA members in the future. I've met some very cool people and have made contacts with people I hope will become friends and we will all work together on projects that will entertain people and have value in other ways, such as mine. Every day is a struggle but I suppose that's part of being a writer and in my case it wasn't even a chosen career path-it was fate that did the trick. I'll be out with you Monday and Tuesday from the looks of things and then things will start gearing up again on Wednesday. And for most of you, you will once again begin to do the things that motivate you and I will begin a new chapter in the strangest and most difficult part of my life.
See you on the picket lines-at least for a short while longer.

Rodney Peterson

www.cuttingconfessionsfilm.blogspot.com

Michael said...

Speaking of New Media, Ray Kurzweil says that we will all transform out of our biological selves into superhuman "world wide mesh" entities in about 20 years. If there is a strike then, I wonder what the contractual disputes will be?

Not An said...

dennis - NF is a blogger trying to up her page view; as I and others have pointed out several times, if she were a friend of the WGA she wouldn't be indirectly accepting AMPTP revenue through her indirect links to their product. She also broke the news blackout any number of times which is her right as a "reporter" but a friend of the WGA would have been more interested in the good of the union than getting page views. She is mostly a clueless hack writer (reading her criticism of other writers is a great way to get a few laughs with your morning coffee). Many of her breathless exclusives were rehashes of articles readily accessible on the web.

I don't think she is in league with the AMPTP (although she certainly has a lot of inside sources there who have their own agendas) any more than she is the patron saint of the WGA. She is in it for NF as you can tell by all the times she had giddy posts about seeing her name in the papers or hearing it on TV. I think at times both the AMPTP and the WGA used her for their own purposes as she is known for being totally spinnable, something - I think - she herself has addressed as being true and funny but you might want to check me on that as I don't use up brain cells remembering NF quotes.

Finally, while I do read NF and watch Jon S and sometimes Colbert, several posters have written that those are the only places they trust for their news; that is sad, naive, unintelligent and playing into the hands of the opponent. People need to read every scrap of info they can find, watch interviews, go to the original source material, consider all the agendas and decide for themselves - that's what America, democracy and unions are all about (cue "Star Spangled Banner" and insert flag jpeg).

Be safe all, I will miss the smart posts, the funny posts, the stupid posts (some of which may have been mine).

dennis said...

this deal is what the moguls had in mind all along, even before the DGA deal. they sat down, figured what is the MINIMUM they can give and get away with and they've done it. the "sweetening" for the WGA deal isn't much - 2 percent of a CAPPED distributors gross. otherwise its the SAME deal. and do the math: you'll find IT IS a massive rollback from TV and IT IS the same crummy deal as the home video deal was in 88.

as a previous poster said, all of the NegCom's efforts have been in vain. the picketing, the youtube videos, the interim agreements - because we haven't gained anything they haven't pre-determined that they would give.

the only way the congloms will listen and play fair is if we vote no on ratification. of course the leadership have a stake in wanting to close the deal since they negotiated it. and everyone's worried how it will look to the public if the deal is rejected. BUT if a spokesperson just goes before the press and ennumerates why the MEMBERS voted no and on each point, the public will realize just what a type of deal we have and side with the WGA and TURN ON the moguls. the congloms are making record profits and we can't even get a penny for our efforts.

voting no is the only true way to force a real negotiation where we can make a template that is not the 88 template for new media. it is the only way not to repeat the mistake of 88.

scribeguy said...

Justine,

Thanks for being such a spark plug out on the line at Universal. And thanks for your kind words, and the words of every SAG member out there with us at every studio.

Best of luck to all of you in your upcoming negotiations. I hope we've made it easier for you to get what you need.

Kevin Droney
Gate 3 Captain
(aka: Italian Straw Hat Guy).