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Writer's Strike

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So, my boyfriend is a writer, and he cannot legally work right now. It’s kind of frightening really. Anyone familiar with Hollywood knows that writers, although the most important part of the creation process, are usually treated like poop. Especially in features, they are considered disposable, and they will cycle through writers like Paris Hilton cycles through hair extensions on a script. Worst analogy ever, that’s why I’m not in the guild 😀

I really think that this strike is important now, because as we internet folk know, the time for digital downloading/viewing is now, and for them to not establish a cut of that during this negotiation could financially ruin the regular writer down the line when people are ordering TV shows like Pay Per View over the internet, or when the TV is actually their internet browser. For every DVD sold, studios and producers make 97% profit from them. The rest is production costs, and THEN paying the actors/directors/writers their tiny share. It’s time now for creative people to protect their share of profit in the evolving marketplace. Actors may go on strike in June, but if the writers can negotiate a settlement, that could pave the way for actors to not have to.

Anyway, I’m going to go support my friends on the picket line this week, I’ll be sure to take a picture. I am conflicted about releasing Guild episodes during the strike, but really, the sooner the studios realize that people can do things WITHOUT them taking all the profit, maybe they’ll start to be afraid of the artist, and not the other way around. I hope lots of Guild members make web videos and they become hugely popular and make those suits quake in their boots. Anarchists arise! 🙂

  • Courtney

    I so hope that they picket with blank signs.

    I really hope they get a good deal, since pretty much everyone working in film except studios is getting shafted by the studios on the current contract.

  • SwordSaintSoma

    can/does your bf write for comicbooks … ?

    he should..

    hulk is going red by Christmas. [?]

    *elated

  • Yah, I heard that from one of my Comicbook writers, Brian K. Vaughn (Y:The Last Man, Runaways, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8). I think that is bullshit that writer’s only get small tiny points like that, when clearly without storytellers we would have a Hollywood full of shoot’m ups and sex scenes and cigarette commercials.

    More power to them because I always felt that a production starts with the seed. Even an everyday movie goer can spot bad story line and cheesy dialogue. Wow, I didn’t know it was that bad! Wow, wow, wow! This makes me angry!

    RED HULK SMASH!!!!

  • Dustin

    Sounds good Felicia we support you guys big time. On it’s face it looks completely ridiculous for the studios to demand they get so much. This is how the deal works though, you have to hit the streets to demand what’s rightfully yours. For more on how this is an essential part of US History read “A People’s History” by Howard Zinn. You will be tested on this next Tuesday.

    Also if you need some hotdogs while you guys are picketing or other such things I’d be glad to lend a hand. Any other Floggers around SoCal wanna help?

  • Ben

    All sorts of Hollywood A-listers have been showing solidarity with the writers. (They better, if they know what’s good for ‘em)

    Tons of first hand accounts are popping up on blogs everywhere. I saw the Whedonesque site got props for delivering pizza’s to the picketers. The one with anchovies was specifically for the wonderful Jane Espenson (she blogs on it at janeespenson.com)!

    I hope this thing ends soon to everyone’s benefit.

  • Man, I love anchovies! I’ll be picketing tomorrow somewhere, I’ll take a picture of my bad ass liberal self and post it! 🙂

  • Ben

    This site keeps eating my posts!!! (second time in as many weeks)

    In the eaten post, I was wishing you well at the picket line Felicia and I posted a link to Michelle Shocked’s album, Short Sharp Shocked, and it didn’t post “wrong”, it just didn’t post at all!

    So now all you gentle readers are going to have to google “Short Sharp Shocked” because I don’t have the stomach to try another HTML link. (I’ve reached the limits of my technical ability and dont want to experiment on your site.)

    Btw, that Michelle Shocked cover is supposed to be what your experience is NOT like!

    (any good sites or book recommendations for learning a little HTML?)

  • I hope they honestly get a much better slice of the pie. I also hope the same holds true with everyone else in the creative process.

  • That’s weird Ben, sometimes linked comments go to moderation, but never get eaten 🙁 I hope you solved the problem!

  • Being that I am a writer (though not a paid one yet) and I learned all about unions and strikes from my mom (she was vice president of her union hall for a time with the phone company union – C.W.A.) I am not thrilled about the strike but definately agree it’s necessary. In a much larger picture though it is not really just about the entertainment industry and studios – this is a reflection of all large corporations and how these fat pig moneymakers shit all over everyone else.
    I live in Georgia and ALWAYS have to deal with that mentality that
    “Oh those people are just being greedy.” which is absolutely insane.
    I guess they think that everyone should be making wal-mart cashier wages and struggle just to make ends meet unless you own your own company. I think watching things such as the documentary “The Corporation” does not help my thinking on this either.
    I myself tend to watch a lot of my shows online as is. Heroes and Lost and Prison Break for example – and with there still being advertising in THAT format as well – it seems like this is not something that will effect the future but really is an issue to effect the here and now.

    I am surprised that they didn’t just have a contract that is more of a blanket – percentage regardless of format – kind of contract.
    Though I really dont know the specifics of what is in the current contract.

  • Carl

    My comment just got eaten by the phantom post purloiner!

    I mentioned anchovies….could that be why it was eaten?

    Anyway, you’ve hit all the right points: Economic fairness, Solidarity and little salty fishes.

    Anchovies of the world had better beware of our union might!!

  • We do need to support the writers, because the US media in particular is owned by the same companies they are going up against, so expect lots of misinformation about it appearing in the mainstream media. Of course the writers are proving their point about new media through their use of the web, with blogs and youtube etc. They can now get their side of the argument out to the public.
    One thing to remember is that the “superstar” writers although they want the deal for themselves yes. They are actually doing this for the average joe members of the guild who don’t really have enough to live comfortably on, and i’m sure if and when SAG joins the battle officially the superstar actors will be doing it for people like our Felicia here who is great actor but is not exactly a millionairess or extremely high profile… yet 🙂
    I wouldn’t worry about your Guild episodes. I may be tempted to put up a flashcard supporting the writers when you come to edit it, but then again you might not want to politicise your endeavour. However I wouldn’t feel dirty about it unless I was getting sponsored by the companies whom the WGA are picketing against.

    Just my thoughts… opinions may differ. 🙂

  • Hi,

    I enjoyed checking out your blog. I’m a recent grad in Silicon Valley, and I’ve just started a company that is mapping the blogosphere to our world. Here is an example of a blogger in Georgia who’s plugged in: http://www.verveearth.com/landing/#type=user&id=772. It can be fun to explore different localities.

    It’s an easy process to get on board, and I can be reached at clayton@verveearth.com for questions or feedback. If you resonate with the vision of painting a global canvas of voices, please give VerveEarth a mention.

    Cheers! -Clayton

  • /salute

  • SwordSaintSoma

    “and i suppose agent brand and i are still lab partners. huzzah” -hank mccoy / beast [astonishing xmen #23. … joss i love you]

  • A message to Hollywood from my friends, Christian and Jason from Beyond Forever Studios:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfgbwO4W8HE

  • fan

    I’m not sure why you’d be conflicted about releasing new episodes during a strike. It’s not like the Guild is at all associated with the major studios or anything. If you striked, you’d only be striking against yourself.

    This might be a bit of a mixed blessing for you people. On the one hand, Hollywood could be grinding to a halt soon. On the other hand, I’d imagine that with all your newly cleared schedules, arranging to shoot the next batch of episodes together could be a lot easier.

  • edgar

    I’ve noticed a class-like system in the entertainment/media world where the “blue collars” do all the work while the “white collars” reap all the money…

    Artists should get a bigger cut, plain and simple. I know that it takes money to make money, and there would be less incentive for the big companies to invest in an idea if their profit margins are reduced because of this, but they have to realize that it takes money to make it too… Spend a little more in your talent pool, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much more you will get out of them.

    Felicia, don’t release the next episode if you don’t want to, instead make a PSA with the cast and post that…

    I love Courtney’s comment on blank picket signs… That would be great… to have some of those out there.

  • arsenic

    the Actors who support the Writers is only a testament
    how greed and and elitism is a disease in America,
    not only in Washington, but in Hollywood as well.

    and if there are any SAG members, or members of
    any other Guilds or Unions who disagree with the
    Writers Strike and demands, one can assume they
    dare not speak out for fear of losing their jobs
    and being blacklisted …

    what would one call succumbing to the mediocrity
    of a disease and support like this? …
    Orwellean, McCarthyism, Fascism, Authoritarian,
    Ideologism, Collectivism, Holism, Organicism?

    and btw … are the Actors supporting the Writers
    only because their contracts are coming up
    pretty soon for negotiations?

    and what about the janitors? … shouldnt they get their cut too?

    and how about the guy who holds the boom mike?
    doesnt he deserve his cut too?

    and dont forget the sound editors, set designer,
    costumers, the film editors, the grips, the lab,
    the cameraman, the film loader, and the script girl …

    why not give them all their cuts too …
    after all, they got paid for the work they did
    just like the writers got paid for the work they did

    yea i sure feel sorry for a writer who got paid for
    writing a script, and then cries that they need
    residuals forever in perpetuity, to carry them
    through between assignments when they are not working

    cant they get a second job like at Burger King like a
    lot of people have to do, to carry them through the
    slow times?

    actors often get secondary jobs …
    why cant the writers?

    not to mention all of the people who lost their
    income and jobs, putting them into financial crisis
    due to the outrageous demands and greed
    by the Writers Guild …

    and i dont mind adding that …
    most people believe it was bad enuf
    that the current administration and the federal government
    have lessened and restricted freedoms in America
    based on the hysteria of a climate and situation
    they themselves created, and are responsible for …

    the Writers Strike only perpetuates and adds more to
    the lessoning of freedoms in America, thru censorship,
    and by restricting the freedom of the free exchange
    and sharing of information and ideas in perpetuity,
    unless of course, the Writers get paid for it …

    and they also demand they get a cut from the Internet?

    the amount of pennies they will gain,
    is not worth the price of the loss of those freedoms

    the Writers and Writers Guild only demonstrate,
    how they are another example of how greed, inflation,
    false entitlement and blackmail, further denies freedom
    of access and availability to any and all information
    by all people, including those who are not as rich as others.

    its really very simple … if they do not own a piece
    of the show to begin with, they are not entitled to a cut of anything.

  • Arsenic,
    Would you please consider two things:

    a) “False entitlement” is the wrong term. You may want to replace it with “literary property”, because between writing a book and writing a script, there ultimately isn’t much of a difference.
    Following your argumentation, the only ones who should get money after their initial payment for the act of producing the movie/show/… would be the manufacturers pressing the DVDs. That would be the ultimate conclusion, and if this isn’t your opinion, then your entire speech looks rather hypocritical.

    b) You may want to look up the definition of greed. If the writers were demanding an increase to, say, 20% of the profit made on their work, I may be inclined to consider you have a point there, seeing as how many people work on the realisation of a movie etc. However, while the increase is BY a hundred percent, it still only aims at roughly 5% of the total profit. Now, if you check what music artists and writers get, you may realise that this so-called “greed” is simply the demand to be treated like everybody else working in the creative field.

    You cannot argue with the values of the USA by violating those very values at the same time. I see “freedom” mentioned a lot. Here’s another one for you, maybe you’d like to write it down for future reference. It’s called equality.

  • Thanks for the reply to that Matt 🙂

  • And thank *you* for helping at making the whole thing transparent! It helped me understand what this is about better than all news items I stumbled over during the past weeks. 🙂

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