This is How Writers Should Fight, Pt 2

By Shamus
on Nov 17, 2007
Filed under:
Movies

Another good video by those wiley writers.

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12There are a dozen comments.

From the Archives:

  1. Davesnot says:

    worthy of a chuckle.. also a good example of why editors are so important… do editors get a residuale??

  2. Cineris says:

    I’m finding these pretty clever, and have gone from general apathy to support for the writers. I hope they hold out until the studios are willing to give them a better deal.

  3. LeRoy says:

    I was curious, do you think that if the strike lasts until mid winter and no new shows are made until the fall, there’s a chance for the video game industry to step up to the plate in an attempt to entertain the masses?

    And how come people writing plots for games aren’t in the Screen writers guild? They write stuff that shows up on a screen. It’s silly really.

  4. Ben says:

    Wow, surprising dearth of comments.

  5. Hermes says:

    I’m completely on the side of the writers. I really don’t see the other side.

  6. James Blair says:

    The way I see it, the writers want a bigger piece of the pie. So who gets the smaller piece, and why? And when the SAG comes up later for their piece of the pie, are they going to ask for a bigger piece too? If so, who gets the smaller piece THEN? If the answer to both questions is “the producers”, well, why would I want to be a producer?

    Movies need a producer too… not just a writer and a bunch of actors!

    That being said, I’m not taking the producer’s side here. Maybe they DO deserve a smaller piece of the pie. However, thinking that the pie is infinitely large is not terribly rational. I think people need to consider the idea that assuming risk of loss means their gain should be greater when they DO succeed. Otherwise, why do it at all?

  7. Christian Groff says:

    It’s funny how the guy was streaming an episode of “Heroes”, considering that it’s my new favorite show.

    But I do see the blogger’s point a bit – streaming videos is basically stealing money from the budget used to produce the movie or TV show, since you only pay 10 bucks for something that cost 2 mil to make. Sadly, the blogger didn’t mention that it’s how many people will buy the video that counts. It adds up, people.

    Thanks to this stupid strike, Heroes’ second volume is half as big as its first. I hope that they put a disclaimer: “This is not really a second season, just a half season interlude. We wanted this to be the second season, but everyone hated it.” *le sigh*

    Everyone will support the strike in order to force the producers to give it to the demand, pay a bigger salary to them from their own pockets, and get them back to work so that all the great shows get back on track. If this strike continues beyond Christmas, we could be seeing many shows getting canned, including Heroes, and the local networks will lose money big-time.

  8. As a mild sociopath, I don’t care about the Writers Guild folks that much.

    So: if someone who isn’t a WGA member steps up and throws something in…. I want that guy to win.

    On the other hand, I want King Kring to start making Heroes again and if I ever become a TV writer (not a career goal…. but I’m only 26) I’d like to get paid for DVD residuals and internet residuals, considering the annoying ads during streaming episodes.

  9. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    Christian Groff, I think you may have missed the point a smidgen. The video was created by writers from the Colbert Report/Daily Show stable. In the bit about how much they lose each time someone downloads content from the internet, teh writer was using irony to point out the producer’s argument that downloads cost them millions. Our “producer” refers to people paying $9.99 for content from iTunes for a show/movie which cost hundreds of millions to make. The obvious flaw is that the cost to make the content was paid once, and the $9.99 is recouped each time someone downloads it. Multiply THAT over the hundreds/thousands/millions of downloads and suddenly the cost of making the content is not so much of an issue. As an aside, I freely admit that I rarely (if ever) pay for any of the content I get online, so I am not helping either camp.

    On the matter of networks losing money “big-time” if shows are cancelled, consider the following argument: MANY other shows have been cancelled, yet the airwaves are still full AND the networks are still making a great deal of money. I am certainly not an expert in the field of network TV finances, but I would hazard that the networks still make most of their money from advertising dollars. As long as people are watching whatever the networks put out they will sell advertising space. If more people are watching NBC at a particular time than are watching ABC then NBC can charge more for those advertising slots.

    All that said, I predict that the strike will end and things will go back to much the way they were before. There may be a lack of Heroes, or there may not. I doubt that the quality of show which comes out of this will change. On average, it will be crap to spoon-feed the masses – “dishwashing” shows, someone referred to in the last blog. The only possibility that may change that is that the void leaves an opening for someone to take market share away from the networks and the WGA by creating content without either and getting it on the air, or pushing it through the internet tubes.

    Thanks for the bandwidth as usual, Shamus.

    Richard

  10. LancewithaBee says:

    If the studios are so sure that there in no money in internet sales, why not let the writers have it all?

    yes, I know they are lying. it may be true that there is some cost to the studios, but I can’t believe that the cost to income ration is higher than other venues.

    Dan

  11. Oleyo says:

    Heh, A non-endangered birthday tiger :) That put it nicely I thought. I almost laughed out loud and had to throw you under the bus Shamus! (I didn’t) *wink

  12. Alan De Smet says:

    James Blair: “The way I see it, the writers want a bigger piece of the pie.”

    This isn’t a debate about how much pie they get. This is a debate about getting any pie at all.

    The producers are claiming that all video on the internet is promotional, and so they don’t have to pay writers any residuals at all. This includes content sold via iTunes, or ad supported content.

    This also isn’t about the writers asking for something they never had before. Writers have gotten residuals when shows enter re-runs for decades. It’s about 2.5%. However, when home video started to take off the producers insisted that the new medium was likely to fail and they needed help. The Writer’s Guild foolishly agreed to a “temporary” reduction of residual rates on home video to help support the new medium. They instead get about 0.5%. The theory was that the rate would be restored to the same level as re-runs in a later contract. You can’t claim that home video sales are still a new idea that need support, yet the producers reneged on their commitment. If the writers wanted what was previously agreed upon, they’d need to strike. For many years they’ve been putting off the strike since it’s so harmful to writers. The producers, seeing that they could get away with this sort of tricky, decided to push it further, and are now making the claim that there should be no residuals for online video. They figured the Writer’s Guild would fold. They figured wrong, and now they have a strike on their hands. And since the guild is striking already, the guild added the old grievance about DVDs to the mix.

    That’s the absolute core of the disagreement. The producers are demanding that the DVD and internet residual rates be 0.5% and nothing, respectively. They refuse to negotiate until those two items are taken off the table. The Writer’s Guild of America wants rates closer to the rerun standard of 2.5%.

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