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Ladd: Writers 'are being very selfish'


Veteran producer Alan Ladd Jr.:

"Everybody is going to be hurt by [the ongoing strike]. I go to a restaurant [Orso] every Friday with Mel Brooks, and there is nobody there anymore...."

"I wish [the writers] would get back to work. Fortunately, I have a couple of scripts of my own that are already done and ready to go. But I do worry for the below-the-line people being so hurt, particularly at Christmas time. [The WGA] picked a lousy time to go on strike. They should have gone on strike after the first of the year when people have gotten their Christmas presents. It's a pretty selfish time to take it."

"I think the writers are being a little bit foolish. The film business is not the film business anymore. Warner Bros. is in the cable business, Disney is in the theme park business. Sumner [Redstone of Viacom] has CBS and what else I don't know. The majors [studios] don't care if there is a strike or not. The writers are very frustrated with what is going on."

On how long he thinks the strike will last:

"I think a very long time. I just think that they are too far apart and they are arguing at this point over nothing. ... The writers, in my opinion, are being very selfish in terms of hurting a lot of people. ... They don't seem to care about working stiffs. It's going to be a very black Christmas for everybody and they don't give a damn."

More news on the strike

-- Robert Welkos

Comments () | Archives (9)

Alan Ladd...what planet are you on? There is never a good time for a strike. No one wants to strike, but when greedy execs and producers want to keep everything for themselves, the "workers" need to fight! SHAME on you and shame on Nick Counter, etc. for being hard nosed A-holes. You should know that the public is behind the writers...NOT you! Writers deserve respect and their fair share of the profits. They are only asking for what is truly theirs!

Writers have an illusion that you can make $$ off the internet. Unless they're striking in order to boost the stock of the internet, the current reality is there is no money to be made for artists on the internet. The only people making money are the social networks and information facilltators. Internet viewers take artists for granted and will not pay because there are 10 billion other free choices, whether legal or illegal, all at the touch of a button.

The Theme Park business? Perhaps Mr. Ladd has not heard of the most watched program in the history of cable TV, "High School Musical 2". With all due respect Mr. Ladd Jr. is a former studio head, and a man of means who has not struggled financially for most of his life. His plea for the working stiffs feels less ingenuous than his plea for his own projects that have been stalled. I write off his opinion just like when Mike Eisner--a man who's historic salary is more to blame for troubles in Hollywood than any creative person's paycheck-- said the the strike was stupid. This opinion piece is just another media grabs designed to kneecap the Davids in this one-sided battle against Goliaths. Why are people blaming the writers in this? How about giving them credit for all the strikes they didn't go on since 1988?

It's the writers that are being selfish? Not the greedhead producers? Who has the power here? Hollywood's attitude toward writers is still rooted in the days that studio moguls would fire them if they didn't hear typing coming from their offices. Producers need to stop whining and pay the people who "create" their projects. Otherwise, let's just let the ridiculously paid actors and directors improv the movies.

Commenter Jerry, The studios disagree with you as they have made countless public statements to the markets and shareholders about the profits they are currently generating from the internet. If you know this to be false as you say, please notify the SEC.

So, Fleiter, when the DGA and SAG contracts are up for renewal, are you going to say, "Let the ridiculously overpaid writers direct and act out the movies?"

When the writers put up their own money to produce films and television; when the writers refuse upfront script fees and wait to be paid based on whether the film or television series is a hit; when the writers take all the risk THEN I'll agree that they are being unfairly compensated.

"Greedhead producers?!" "Greedy execs and producers want to keep the money only for themselves?!" Really? Go get an education in entertainment economics before you let your fingers show off the depth of your stupidity. Learn about television deficit financing. Learn how many films don't make back their production costs. Learn how money made from DVDs, international distribution and ancillary sales GOES RIGHT BACK INTO PRODUCING MORE FILMS AND SERIES.

Sure, writers (and your moronic, naive, blind followers.) Cry about how poor you are (especially when the average annual individual salary in the US is around $28,000 a year - yeah, you're really disadvantaged, aren't you?). So who's going to pay for your next script? And with what?

And since when in the United States is capitalism a bad thing? When did it become evil to turn a profit? Yes, the studios talk about their profits. The studios NEED to show growth or Wall Street won't value their stock. If Wall Street doesn't value their stock, then investors won't put money in. If no money goes in, THEN NO MOVIES AND TV SERIES WILL BE PRODUCED. Will the writers and all their idiot supporters please take a an economics and/or basic finance course?!

Oh, and let's applaud the writers for not going on strike since 1988. Yes, let's applaud for them for remembering, until now, how devasting that strike was and how it killed off the flourishing, until then, independent film companies such as Vestron, Island and Hemdale (companies that, y'know, paid for scripts). Let's applaud them for remembering that the last strike caused the rise of reality TV, which continues to today (which doesn't employ WGA writers). And let's applaud them for a strike so meaningless, the asinine DVD residual excuse used for this year's strike predates that strike by three years.

When the books are written about the effects of the 2007-08 strike, it will be Verrone and Young who come out as the thickheaded villians, so concerned with their own personal legacy and egos that they hastened an entire industry into twilight. Because that gold rush on the internet? Ain't gonna happen. Just ask the music industry. But audience flight to the internet, video games and other forms of entertainment will happen. Who will buy your scripts then?

Oh, and High School Musical? Much more valuable to Disney for the merchandise it sells, the theme park events it generates, the stage shows it inspires. The revenue from the actual movie pales in comparison to the ancillary sales it generates. So yes, Disney is in far more than the filmed entertainment business. ALL the studios are. So again, I beg, please do even a quick Google search before making a fool of yourself on a message board again.

Mr Ladd would seem to be out of date and very bias in his opinion. The writers have a legitimate and honest interest in the internet and the work they provide for the studios and producers. The internet is not what mr Ladd remembers it to be. He needs to get with the times and understand that the writers ARE the little guy in the grand scheme of things.

Have you seen the garbage on network TV these days - the writing is terrible. You people better get back to work before you become any more irrelevant.

The Other Writer’s Strike

The poets are on strike
they refuse to heed their muse
or to feed their fickle fuse
for beauty’s sake

the poets are on strike for beauty’s sake
they hope their absence
leaves a hunger in its wake
for brilliance and pause

the poets are on strike for brilliance and pause
they demand fair trade
of global proportions
to be paid with ears and hearts

the poets are on strike for ears and hearts -
the price their unions demand -
so stained and bloodied papers land
and lay scattered, left too soon

the poets are on strike and lay scattered,
left too soon for beauty’s sake, for
brilliance and pause, left too soon
to be paid with ears and hearts

-Ashley MacEachern


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