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12:04 pm - Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007
The Writers Strike

The Writers Strike

The Writers strike has been on my mind.

A lot.

At first, I worried about its potential immediate-to-near-future impact; work drying up, my savings draining away, what career momentum I have grinding to a halt, etc.

And don't get me wrong - it's not a pretty picture (Particularly if the Writers Strike segues smoothly into a SAG strike, when that contract expires in June. If that happens, it could make 2008 pretty much a total washout).

But that scenario, bad as it is, pales in comparison to what could happen if writers don't get what they're demanding (Mainly, to get paid a percentage of the profits, whatever they may be, when the work they've done is downloaded off Itunes, viewed on a network's website, etc).

Like working actors, most working writers live, in large part, off residuals for their work.

But increasingly, tv shows aren't airing repeats (Now, when a season ends, the networks try out a new show in that same time slot, or air specials and cheap-to-make clip shows or "reality" programs).

Instead of repeats, those shows are available on the network's website - where commercial time is sold - and the writers get nothing.

Producers claim those online shows are "promotional", as if showing a full episode of The Office online, complete with commercials, is merely an advertisement for watching The Office on television.


If you cheat writers out of this money (And you know if they're going to keep cheating writers out of it, they'll do it to actors too), it will simply be impossible to be a "working writer" or a "working actor" in Hollywood; You'll have the "top tier" of writing and acting "stars", then you'll have everyone else, working part-time.

It's also hard to see how, if the Producers win on this issue, the unions will survive, at least not in any meaningful way. Cause if your union can't do this for you, what can it do?

I don't want to think in such "Doomsday" terms, but I'm finding it hard not to.

Well, I could go on, and work myself further into a panic, but I have to go to ArcLight, and get my car out of the parking ramp.


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