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October 4, 2015

What are the motives of the AMPTP?

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 20th 2008 11:02AM
WGAAuthor and television writer Peter David offered his own take on the DGA deal with the AMPTP (see his January 18th post) and what it means tor the WGA. Fundamentally, Mr. David believes the the hesitancy of the AMPTP to give Internet residuals was a smokescreen to prevent the WGA from unionizing reality and animation shows.

The proof of this lies with the rapidity of the DGA agreement with regards to similar terms. Now there is pressure on the WGA to ratify the agreement as-is. I suppose if the WGA agreement is done soon,
It is a conspiracy theory worthy of a writer and has some merit. Such a misdirection would certainly be of benefit to the producers in terms of limiting the power of the writers until the next contract negotiation.

So, what do you think? Does the concept have some merit or is it just a conspiracy theory?

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MarcDom7 - That you can compare Reality shows to Documentaries makes me wonder just how many documentaries you could possibly have watched. There is no comparison, and if writers actually contributed as much to reality as you claim, they wouldn't be the train-wrecks they are, for the most part. But regardless, redefining the term "writer" in Hollywood should be done at a time when thousands of writers aren't out of work. This should have been done before a walk-out was staged, in informal talks like the DGA. The WGA should focus on what they went on strike for: more money for their writers, more residuals from DVD sales, and monies from online and alternate viewing of their work.

January 20 2008 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kristen's comment

KayDee your rationalist reasoning is nice and all, but if you actually looked at the credits of various writing shows you would see how dependent they actually are on writers. The reason they are train wrecks is of course because Reality TV writers are treated horribly, and thus there is no incentive to work for reality. Reality shows therefore often are left with inferior writers who can't work anywhere else. WGA membership would provide better working conditions, and therefore more incentive to work for them and then better writers.

January 21 2008 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

I'm not entirely convinced that it is all about reality and animation. From what little I know about animation writers - mostly courtesy of Mark Evanier's blog "News from Me" I am convinced that animation writers would welcome the chance to actually belong to a union that gives a damn about their issues rather than being in the hip pocket of AMPTP as IATSE seems to be. And its not just about residuals (which animation writers not represented by the WGA don't get). Mark has a couple of horrific stories about dealing with a business agent from the local representing cartoonists (which in most cases represents animation writers) at a NLRB hearing, who spent most of the time schmoozing with the representatives of the production company rather than dealing with the "whiny" writers who just wanted what their contract said they deserved.

January 20 2008 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's just convoluted thinking.

The AMPTP has a simple position: It's willing to give residuals on new media, but it refuses to consider giving in on the unionizing of animations and reality shows. The WGA refuses to take unionizing off the table, so there's no deal. The DGA only wants residuals, so there's a deal.

No need to project sneaky motives onto anyone.

January 20 2008 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marcus Gorman

Kaydee, there is actually a great deal of writing that goes on with reality programming, both during the shooting and after. That's like saying documentaries don't have writers.

January 20 2008 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

I really think that the story editors and story consultants (whatever they're positions are called) should be under the purview of the WGA. They are guiding all the various players to the conclusion they are looking for, and editing the massive amount of footage to have the final product reflect a certain amount of dramatic tension. It is writing and creative.

January 20 2008 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With scripted jobs waning thanks to the reality glut, I don't blame the WGA for wanting to fold it and animation into their fold. However, neither to I blame the AMPTP for not wanting this to happen. Personally, I think the WGA is stretching the definition of "writing" by insisting reality fall under their purview. Organizing and loosing outlining a reality show isn't writing, and if they consider it is, they should really watch some!

January 20 2008 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do the reality and animation shows even want to become part of the WGA? or does the WGA just want more power for future strikes they are planning?

January 20 2008 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Oreo's comment
Hollywood Ron

With all unions everywhere, it's about increasing two things: numbers and clout. The needs of the individual union member are a distant issue.

January 20 2008 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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