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A line in the sand


The WGA's chief negotiator, David Young, told those in attendance tonight there was little choice but to draw a line in the sand and strike.

"This is a watershed negotiation for the Writers Guild," he said. "This is not the average negotiation. This has the potential to determine writers' income from the Internet and new media for the next generation and beyond."

Committee chairman John Bowman said members were being backed into a corner by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. He said the alliance never offered its own proposal and has never responded to any of the WGA's proposals. So, Bowman said, essentially "we've been negotiating with ourselves."

"Their entire strategy has been to separate the leadership from the membership," Bowman added. He also fired up the crowd by insisting that "the Internet has to be one of our most important issues. That's our future."

The entire writing staffs of "Dirty Sexy Money" and "'Til Death" are among those in attendance.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

Comments () | Archives (8)

Another body blow to the narrative.

Pay for internet? hmmm sang the songwriter.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has been extremely disingenuous throughout the negotiating process. The assumed they had another weak group of negotiators, as has happened the past 25 years. They are wrong.

Add to that the built up anger over the last DVD/home video deal and they have seriously underestimated our resolve.

They can spend the next quarter explaining to their shareholders why they have lost money.

Do the writers realize that they are putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work so they can make their 6 and 7 figure salaries fatter? Apparently not...

Ava -- Do the Companies realize *they're* putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work? C'mon. The median guild member makes less than 90,000 a year. Most writers, actually, aren't even consistently employed. Shame on you for perpetuating the MYTH that writers are all a bunch of rich people. Like any industry, we have top moneymakers, but they are NOT the average writer.

Additionally, the internet is the future of entertainment. Are you suggesting that we do that work for free? Face it, the Companies are making money hand over fist and they are trying to lay the blame for this at the writers' feet. Don't buy into it.

LKB, thank you for your *they're* note. Obviously you're a talented writer...do I have to pay you for that gem?? And 90K a year...this shows how out of touch you are. The median salary in the country hovers around 40K (I'm sure you'll look up the exact figure and correct me). I work in the industry and know that the majority (not minority) of writers on shows make between 10K-20K per episode of television. Yes, I know staff writers make about 5500 a week and story editors about 8K/week. Wow...tough to make such little money in your first year or two of a job!!! How do you guys even afford to eat????

And as far as the companies are concerned, this isn't like 1988. Media companies are not as dependent on their film or tv slate as they were 20 years ago. They all have other businesses that will do just fine over the long haul. Individuals will not be so lucky. This is what the militant guild leadership has failed to recognize.

And thank you for bringing up the internet, which if this strike continues, will allow all of those development execs to find new, cheaper and in a lot of cases creatively superior voices. They didn't have that option in 1988, they do now and there are people all over the country who would kill to make a paltry 90K a year writing tv or movies.

ava - You are close to correct about what writers make. But what you fail to address is that we make this part time. The majority of writers do not make that money regularly. In twelve years, I've been on about six writing staffs of shows which have gone less than 13 episodes. Most writers do not get on hit shows. So the money we do make we need to stretch it out over time. And most of American does not go through endless stressful periods of being unemployed. This is why we are paid well when we do work - to carry us between jobs. And also consider most writers will be aged out of the business at a much earlier age than most of America will theirs. So that 90 grand, actually averages out to closer to 45 grand over a career, if you want to use the average American model. I say this about my career - "I am living my childhood dream, but I am living the dream of a child." This is not the average adults nine to five world. It is a very stressful, scary business for the majority of us. If you really look at what we're asking for, it is not outrageous. If we don't get paid for internet and new media, we will be paid nothing in the future, because the future of entertainment is new media. We just want what's fair. We just want to feed our families and pay our mortgages like the rest of America.

Well written KB!! :)

Again well said KB!

Do we know how the studios keep up with the streaming of shows? I was told that it was hard to detect the number of streams per episode. Downloads we can track, but streaming? Hopefully some IT student has come up with a way!! :)

I agree 110%...New Media IS the future of entertainment!


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