Thursday, October 25, 2007

Writers with a ‘Sense of Foreboding’

Tell me about it. Tell any writer about it. If this is what you do for a living:

  1. You are to be pitied.
  2. You know damn well a sense of foreboding is hanging over your head every moment of the day.
    1. Will I have another good idea?
    2. Will I get paid?
    3. Will I eat?
    4. Will I get read?
    5. Will I get produced?
    6. Will my words get edited into a strange approximation of what I actually wrote?
    7. Will the critics rip me up?

Unfortunately, this sense of foreboding is about the WGA/AMPTP negotiations. A couple months ago my money was on 'no strike'. Now, I don't know. I think we're in for some lousy times. Heck, we're already there because most people are assuming that there will, in fact, be a strike; and the town has been in that mode for some time now.

The smart money in this town is betting on a strike-- Damn it! Because it doesn't matter if you're in the union or not, this is shutting down the town for the most part. It messes with the mindset of everyone, large or small.

Basically, I'm anti-union. Yes, the idea of a union is a good one but it's been so abused and I have seen unions screw things up so much, that I have a knee jerk response to them. Maybe it's because I am also a producer. In the case of the WGA, I am also not overly impressed by their abilities; not as a bargaining entity, and certainly not as an ethical business. That goes for all the guilds by the way, not just the WGA.

That disclaimer made: I hate to say it, but this strike, if that's what happens… has to happen. While the AMPTP did take their initial 'rollback' -- "oh, and *uck you" off the table (that was the one where they wanted to end residuals as they now exist), they are standing fast with the main issue, which is residuals for internet downloads etc. Yes there are other things thrown in for confusion, but that's the one this is all about.

And writers need to not bend on it. Everyone talks about how this is the future. Well scribes, I have news for you -- It's already here. My last movie made almost as much money with VOD as with DVD. It's a big secret that is being kept quiet by the Producers at this point. I know—I'm privy to all the business side of my movies. DVD's and other physical media are going the way of the DODO bird. Writers, jump on download residuals now or lose.

So this is why, with a heavy heart and very mixed feelings -- even though I hate unions and even though this is really screwing my projects up, I believe -- The Writers Guild has to stay firm.

Now, with that said, I'll get angry again. Why, why, why, can't these stupid guilds band together? You want to fight the man? Get together! Today, in the same story that mentioned the "sense of forboding", SAG (actors guild for those who don't know) said they wouldn't walk out with the Writers. Yes, they have their own negotiations coming up as do the directors – but why does everyone have to protect their precious hide so much?

Band together, you bastards, and do it right. Remember – United we stand?

To read the full LA TIMES story, click here.


Also, if you're a writer and you're not already aware of this Craig Mazin's blog, shame on you… and get over there now.


No comments:

Post a Comment