TV and film writers looking for a fair deal
Writing is one of the oddest professions. A lot of people just don't get what we do, why we do it, how we do it, or what we get paid. I've encountered countless numbers of people who think that I'm rich because I'm a writer and "that lady J.K. Rowling is a writer and she's rich!" or they think I shouldn't get paid that much because "writing is easy and fun" or some other sort of logic.
Brookes Barnes doesn't get it either. He has an op-ed piece in the New York Times this week about the latest negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP. TV and film writers want a piece of the DVD sales pie. Barnes seems to think that they're asking for too much because...well, I'll let Barnes explain it himself, in his opening paragraph:
Jasper Johns isn't paid based on the number of years his flag paintings remain popular attractions at museums. Rem Koolhaas doesn't cash a check every time an architecture fan takes a trip to Seattle to see his space-age public library. So why should the writers, directors and actors responsible for box-office bombs like "Gigli" be able to pocket some cash every time somebody buys the DVD?
Is that one of the stupidest bits of twisted logic you've ever read? And the craziness doesn't stop there, but it would take a very long post to dissect the editorial point by point. Luckily, Craig Mazin does an excellent job of it at the Artful Writer site. Among the points he makes is that there's a difference between looking and purchasing, why residuals aren't compensation for labor, and why Barnes is just wrong when he says that most writers on major films make a million dollars (and that's not the only fact that Barnes gets wrong - it's as if he did no research at all).
It's well worth reading. And read the comments after the piece. Some good points brought up there too.
[via Lee Goldberg]