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October 7, 2015

The writers are on strike; what does that mean to you?

by Jen Creer, posted Nov 5th 2007 10:45AM
WGA strikeAs you might have heard, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike at 12:01 AM PST this morning.

Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily had live blogged last minute negotiation attempts between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). However, when members of the WGA on the East coast walked out, talks on the west coast were over. Reportedly, the AMPTP had tried to convince the WGA to delay the strike to talks could continue.

According to ABC News, WGA Spokesperson Sherry Goldman reports that negotiations are ongoing; however, the strike has moved forward in the meantime. Apparently, during Sunday negotiations, the Writer's Guild removed DVD residuals from the negotiations, which would have doubled writers' residuals. However, the AMPTP's refusal to budge on Internet residuals made the negotiations something of a joke.

Neither side is officially name-calling at this point. However, the WGA side seems to feel that they took a huge talking point off the table (currently, writers don't receive very much profit from DVD sales and rentals at all, let alone the fact that they make nothing from Internet downloads) with little to no movement from the producers.

The first shows to be impacted by the strike will be the late-night comedies. I hope you have stockpile of David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, The Daily Show, and Stephen Colbert on your TiVo, because as of tonight, they will be in re-runs.

The next to be hit will be the soap operas, which film about two or three weeks ahead of time. Your favorite primetime shows likely won't be affected until January sometime. The writers of Brothers and Sisters wrote a heartfelt blog post to their readers last night before they put pencils down, saying the episode they had feverishly worked to finish would likely air then.

I have seen some talk, and forgive me for not linking, but I have read about this widely over the weekend, that the networks will likely try to draw out the time they have with their remaining scripts, so we may see shows start to intersperse re-runs with the new episodes. It is also likely what we will see an increase in the airing of reality TV shows, unless the strike is resolved fairly soon.

The last WGA strike occurred in 1988, and lasted for 22 weeks. Shows like Cheers took major hits during the strike, with viewers tuning out and approximately 10% of reviewers never returning. The financial cost to the industry was $500 million. I can only imagine what that number looks like twenty years later.

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We know how the writers feel. And many actors are jumping in to support to the writers (probably because their contract is up next year). But what does the average American think of the strike? Do you support the writers?


November 10 2007 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i see what will happen with this strike if it last long enough people will stop watching those or all sitcoms and when they decided to get back to writing those sitcoms there will be no money for them to write, i pay for sat just to watch sitcoms and i have alot, if they do this and it last awhile i will not go back to them to get back into them just to get let down again....its bad enought when a good show comes on for one or 2 seasons and just it gets droped. i cant say i understand what they are going through nor do i care....we are the consumer of those shows and if you dont make new ones for us to watch and we dont watch reruns or any others for that matter then the ratings go down and there is no money for writers. its just fighting a losing battle. just look at how we are getting scwered with the price of gas, it will get to the point where we cant afford to go to work to make money and then be at home alot with nothing new to watch but the same old crap.......but hey thats life!!!!

November 08 2007 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You have to stand up and fight the fight. I am a songwriter and was a former member of Taxi.com. They hooked me up to a company called Wild Whirled Music. My last Royalty check was for $4.11. The first check was 12.20. I sued the CEO of Taxi.com for my money Back, as they offer a "Money Back Guarantee", I had all my paperwork prepped by an attorney. When I showed up in court the CEO Michael Laskow had a witness that he flew in from Arizona, you guessed it my publisher Jeff Freundlich from Wild Whirled who testified for Mr Laskow. This has severly tarnished my relationship with Wild Whirled who signed up several songs which he refuses to give me back. Instead of working my songs he worked me over in a courtroom and yes I lost the case!! So much for ethics, now I'm broke and can't get my songs back. Taxi charge $300 a year and $5 each and every time you submit a song, I spent close to Five Grand and thats the THANKS I get!! If you google complaints against taxi.com, you will read another experience from another former member, who is also an attorney!! I even had a sworn Notarized affidavit proving Fraud, he gets to keep making money while he treats his members like s===

November 07 2007 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh boy....according to Nikki Finke on the Deadline Hollywood Daily blog, the producers lured the WGA back to the table last weekend with a "backchannel" deal last week in which the WGA would give up a raise in DVD residuals but would get a chunk of the "new media" residuals. Apparently, the WGA was "punked" by the producers- they had no intention of giving them what they had promised.

November 06 2007 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My opinion on the original conflict is a little odd. One one hand, I can't see a reason why the writers weren't given the residuals in the first place, but at the same time, I wonder: was the money really worth it? You writers can't just grin and bear it and keep working?

The writer's strike makes me sad, because, other than the fact that I can't stand conflict of any kind, I want to be a TV writer when I grow up. (I'm 17 now.) I really don't want to have to go through this someday. And my shows are important to me; I don't want their quality to go down because of this. Unless this is resolved fast, a lot of shows' schedules and plots are going to be messed up. Years from now, people will go back and watch shows from this season and wonder why it seems so off. I don't want the 07-08 season to go down in history as a crappy season! That's the main reason I'm unhappy with the writer's strike: I don't want anything bad to happen to my shows.

Of course, I'm one of those people that think that problems can be solved with apologies and hugs and homemade cookies, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask.

Can't we all just get along? :)

November 06 2007 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just learned that the WGA, in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a strike, dropped their request for a raise on DVD residuals-exchanging that raise for residuals on programs streamed over the internet. The AMPTP rejected that proposal.

This is sounding like it the WGA's focus from the word go was on the internet and not the DVDs. Which makes sense-they're not getting a dime from the studios' and networks' running programs through the net. A lot of people with cramped schedules are now watching their shows online. It's a real cute way for the producers to make money and not have to pay the writers (or actors). It should be illegal.

November 06 2007 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Again, if you go up to your boss and say you want a 100% raise you aren’t going to get it."

There is the problem - you are trying to compare an increase in residuals with a salary increase for someone in a "regular" job, and the two simply do not compare. It's more comparable to my going up to my boss and saying "You know, I've created a lot of products that have made this company a lot of money. Instead of the .2% profit sharing (i.e. $.04 per approx. $20.00 DVD) that I'm currently making, I'd like my profit share to be .4%." Now, my boss might still not give it to me, but it certainly isn't the outlandish case that you are citing comparing it to asking for a 100% raise in salary.

November 06 2007 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No, no, Mandy, you don't understand. Economics only apply to the people who have all the money. Capitalism isn't about people negotiating and bargaining for goods and services. Its about you paying what they want you to pay and being paid what they want to pay you. Its called market forces. As in, the market forces you to accept whatever it wants and pretends that you don't have any recourse.

All the movies ever made wouldn't mean much if the actors didn't have anything to say, anywhere to be, or anything to do. We have writers to thank for all of that. Writers clearly offer a valuable commodity. As do actors, directors, and yes, the teamsters, too. Just like corporations consolidate to give them a better bargaining position in the marketplace, unions are an example of workers doing likewise. No matter how many people thinking capitalism is a one way street, this is clearly fair and entirely in keeping with a capitalist economy. Its disappointing that so many so-called capitalists recoil in fear when those whose labor fuels our economy decide to employ the same capitalist tactics as their employers.

November 05 2007 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that the writer's going on strike could finally get people to realize that there is more to do than to sit around and watch TV.

November 05 2007 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"To be blunt, you think too highly of the skills of writers and you need to learn something about economics. Value is determined by what the market is willing to pay. No studio is going to pay a writer hundreds of thousands of dollars up front so no writer is giving up that amount in a deferred payment."

How does the future sales of a product you will help create that will be sold for years to come fall outside the realm of economics?

Every time I negotiate a contract it's all about the potential sales and whether or not I will be paid royalties. And if there will be no royalties, my fee can be several times higher than what I would work for with royalties.

November 05 2007 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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