Strike on?


Megatron Star!
Looks like our favorite TV shows and upcoming movies are going to be in trouble....

Hollywood writers going on strike By GARY GENTILE, AP Business Writer
4 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES - Television and movie screen writers said Thursday they would go on strike for the first time in nearly 20 years in a dispute over royalties.

Four writers told The Associated Press that Writers Guild of America President Patric Verrone made the announcement in a closed-door session, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.

"There was a unified feeling in the room. I don't think anyone wants the strike, but people are behind the negotiation committee," said Dave Garrett, screen writer for the movie "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo."

Writers said the guild board would meet Friday to formally call a strike and decide when it would start. They said guild members would be told Friday afternoon.

Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, said in a statement the alliance was not surprised by the action.

"We are ready to meet and are prepared to close this contract this weekend," he said.

Officials had called a meeting of the union's 12,000 members for Thursday night.

Guild members recently authorized their negotiators to call the first strike since 1988, if necessary.

Writers said the line of questioning inside the meeting wasn't whether the group was going to strike, but how it would be carried out. The mood was subdued as writers filed out of the building.

Janis Hirsch, a veteran TV writer, was among the 10 percent who voted against striking.

"It's sad, but I've got to support my union. At this point it makes sense," she said.

Many writers said that beyond royalties, respect was at stake. They said they had never commanded the same clout in the entertainment industry as actors and directors.

"I don't think it's something we can negotiate for," said Paul Guay, who co-wrote the movies "Liar, Liar" and "Heartbreakers." "What we can negotiate for is money. How we assess respect and worth in this town is money."

The first casualty of the strike will likely be late-night talk shows, which are dependent on current events to fuel monologues and other entertainment.

The strike will not immediately affect film or prime-time TV production. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and TV shows have enough scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year.

The key financial issue in the talks involves changing the formula for paying writers a share of DVD revenue, then applying the same equation to money made from material offered over the Internet and other digital platforms.

Studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, are dead set against increasing DVD royalties.

Writers and actors have been fighting for years to reverse what they see as a huge mistake made at the dawn of home video, when no one was sure if selling movies on VHS cassettes would ever make money.

The unions agreed to ignore the first 80 percent of revenue from the tapes and later DVDs, assuming most of the money represented the cost of manufacturing and distribution.

Writers settled for just 1.2 percent of the remaining 20 percent, a figure that amounts to about 3 cents on a DVD that retails for $20.

Writers are now asking for their share to be calculated on 40 percent of revenue and argue the same formula should be used for digital distribution because studios have almost no costs associated with that technology.

Consumers are expected to spend $16.4 billion on DVDs this year, according to Adams Media Research.

By contrast, studios could generate about $158 million from selling movies online and about $194 million from selling TV shows over the Web.

"Every incremental window of distribution has added revenue and profitability to the business model," said Anthony DiClemente, an entertainment analyst for Lehman Brothers Equity Research. "Digital is likely to be a positive thing for the studios."

Studios argue that it is too early to know how much money they can make from offering entertainment on the Internet, cell phones, iPods and other devices.

Producers are uncertain whether consumers prefer a pay-per-view model over an advertising-supported system. They want the economic flexibility to experiment as consumer habits change in reaction to technology.

The negotiations had revolved as much around emotions as economics, said Doug Wood, a partner with the law firm of Reed Smith who has negotiated with actors on behalf of advertising agencies.

"The industry negotiates form logic, and the creative community negotiates from emotion," he said. "Trying to understand those differences on both sides of the table is a big challenge in any of these negotiations."

Looks as if all that great technology we've had the last few years or so is catching up with us.
I talked to someone who worked with Universal and they say this does not look good.


The first thing I thought of when reading that is that the writer of Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo has absolutely no justification for going on strike.


Registered User
Hopefully thekidslepthere can keep us updated, unless the WGA has confiscated his computer to keep him from writing. :action-sm
I'm still here, I just won't be going into Starbucks to work on the script for my new Richard Nixon comedy.

We'll know more tomorrow. I heard yesterday that even though a strike has been authorized, it won't happen for a week. But who knows. I think it might even start by tomorrow afternoon.

Teamsters and SAG are saying they won't cross picket lines, but we'll see. The Casting Directors which are Teamsters are setting up shop in hotel suites so they won't have to cross any lines, sneaky bastards.

I think it's been a lot of posturing on both sides, just make the download residuals and dvd residuals the same. And find some way to make internet shorts cheap within the WGA rules.

Hopefully this goes the way of the Auto Strike last month and lasts only a couple days, no one really wants to have it, it's really going to effect lots of people out here. Yesterday I was talking to a guy who is in charge of security for all the big premiers and he's going to loose business because if this goes on the studios are going to cancel their premiers this winter. So we just have to hope for the best.


Personal Friend of Chris Jericho
What Hollywood writers are coming up with good movies anyway?


Breaking Down The 8th Wall
It should be called "The R.A.B.A.G.A." (Remake and Book Adapters Guild of America)
It should be called "The R.A.B.A.G.A." (Remake and Book Adapters Guild of America)
Don't blame the writers for that, blame the Studios and Producers who think it's cheaper to recycle instead of having develop something new or creative.
CBS show "Big Bang Theory" shut down production today due to the strike.
But it could be just the first of many.

I also just got off the phone from a friend, every writer on Heroes has packed up their desks. They do have a bunch of episodes filmed, but who knows how long this might go on.


fornicating madly
thekid, What kind of shows are going to be the most effected by this? Even if it just lasts a week or two.


He loves you, and he needs money.

from 2001

Ouch! Remembering
the 1988 writers' strike

Nasty set-to from which TV never recovered

By Gabriel Spitzer

In just these recent days in Hollywood, as network executives went before the nation's TV critics to explain their midseason schedule changes, there has been an undertow of discussion about the impending labor negotiations between the studios and the writers and actors who turn out the shows we watch.
There is a growing sense among some that a strike is inevitable come spring.
They would do well to remember 1988. That was the year of the last major strike by the Writers Guild of America.
To say those memories are unpleasant would be an understatement.
For 22 weeks, from March 7 through Aug. 7, the writers did not write and television ground to a halt.
Thirteen years later, the networks are still paying for those five months of darkened TV sets.
Already facing audience erosion, network executives watched as Americans turned off their TV sets in disgust. And when they turned them back on again months later, there were a lot fewer viewers.
Nearly 10 percent of Americans declined to tune back in.
Observers rightly worry that a strike today could cause far more damage. And that damage would occur in far less time.
Unlike many strikes, the 1988 strike just seemed to happen, taking both sides by surprise.
According to George Kirgo, president of the WGA during the ’88 strike, few actually expected the work stoppage until nearly the last minute.
"Before the strike, there was no expectation of a strike. I certainly didn’t expect it, and our negotiating committee didn’t expect it. Finally a week before the strike, we thought then that it might actually happen," he says.
The last time the WGA had walked out was in 1985, a disastrous affair from the union’s perspective. The strike lasted only two weeks, and the WGA was forced to capitulate on most of its demands.
Kirgo believes that the studios expected the same thing in 1988.
"I think it was a miscalculation of what the union had become. After 1985 the union was badly battered and bruised. But in the three years since, we had organized internally for this possibility. We were situated where we wouldn’t take any crap. The companies thought that we were still in the weakened position," he says.
The next five months would be hard times indeed for all involved. Rifts appeared in the ranks of both sides, while negotiators and a federal mediator struggled to work out an agreement.
By the end of the strike, network television had to push its fall season all the way back to the winter holidays. Network TV lost 9 percent of its audience, from which it never really recovered. Bidding wars ensued over scripts, causing a ramp-up in prices that some say persists even now.
Not only were the writers out of work for nearly half a year, but layoffs rippled outward to production workers, caterers, shipping services and a host of other industries that depended on film and television for their business.
Overall, the Los Angeles economy lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the strike.
The 1988 strike produced no clear-cut winner. The resulting contract was a picture of compromise.
"It’s very hard for a union like the WGA to ever say that a strike was truly successful. You can argue that the writers won on the issue they struck for, but they were out of work for a long time," says Dr. Ronald Seeber, a professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and co-editor of a volume about labor relations in the entertainment industry.
Today the networks appear in certain respects to be in a much more sensitive position than they were in 1988.
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation projects a loss as high as $2 billion a month in salaries and other costs. By comparison, the recent commercial actors’ strike cost $230 million over six months.
The big networks have spent most of this decade watching their audience slip away toward cable, a process begun largely as a result of the 1988 strike.
Now that cable offerings have multiplied many times over and the internet is so widely available, six months of reruns in 2001 would almost certainly push many more people to explore other viewing options.
"The delay of the season was a much bigger deal in 1988 than it is today. Now the season fluctuates so much. And with cable it’s not even clear that people would notice if the networks’ programs were delayed a few weeks," says Seeber.
In other words, a delayed season might be less jarring to viewers than it was in 1988, but it could also dramatically speed up the erosion of viewership for the networks.
Seeber notes that many of the issues of the 1988 strike closely resemble what is breaking the deal in 2001. Then, as now, most of the points deal with refiguring residuals, the formulas by which writers get paid for programs and films shown in repeats, syndication and foreign distribution, to name a few.
"The actors and writers have been trying to track the income that comes in after the initial showing. That is the fundamental story in Hollywood for the last 20 years. Every strike between 1960 and 1990 was over residuals in some form or another," says Seeber.
As new technologies and distribution channels emerge, this is a battle that will likely be fought again and again in coming years.
But in spite of reigning pessimism, the WGA’s Kirgo believes that the industry learned a lesson from 1988, namely that a prolonged strike could do irreparable damage to both sides.
"I think everybody is going to come to their senses. I honestly believe that they will not let another strike happen."
thekid, What kind of shows are going to be the most effected by this? Even if it just lasts a week or two.
If it lasts a week or two the only shows that will be effected will be the late shows/daily show, shows that are made daily and rely on current events. I guess Leno can run old bits, then just do interviews, might make it interesting.

Pretty much every show has at least tried to cover their asses enough to have episodes done through the November sweeps, and then since December is filled with mostly reruns, it won't be that noticed for a while. But I'm not sure if this has happened, I know Heroes has, a show like Bionic Woman, I'm not so sure.

If the teamsters don't cross the picket lines it will effect new episodes being made and could effect when they make it on the air.

Everyone you talk to out here has a different idea how long this might last, I've heard everything from it will be over on Sunday, to a week, to past the Academy Awards in March.


I'm Gonna Be The Bestest Pilot In The Whole Galaxy
Thanks for the updates TKSH

HockeyHelmet know one who speaks at funerals
99.9% of the movies out there I don't see it making a difference.
99.9% of the movies out there I don't see it making a difference.
Dude, it's not just movie writers, it's all kinds of TV, everything from the Tonight Show to 30 Rock to Sponge Bob to even pro wrestling employees WGA members.

What ever kind of movies or tv you like, this has the chance to fuck it up the longer it goes on.
I remember the '88 strike, TV was fucking unwatchable. I remember being a big Letterman fan at the time and his show went from being really funny to just a trainwreck. I hope this stike doesn't last long. At least we have the internet this time though.

I wish I were a producer. I'd tell all the A list actors and their agents to eat a dick and then I'd take the millions I saved and hire the best writers in the industry. I'd be a kingpin in no time I tell ya.


I'm Gonna Be The Bestest Pilot In The Whole Galaxy
It should be called "The R.A.B.A.G.A." (Remake and Book Adapters Guild of America)
To be fair, book adaptations have been around as long as movies have been around. Very few movies are strictly original and I'm willing to bet most of your favorite movies were books first, or at least inspired by books.

The remakes...I don't really have an excuse for.

99.9% of the movies out there I don't see it making a difference.
I don't know where to start on this.


He loves you, and he needs money.
i know its a joke but dont reality shows have writers too? or are they in a different union
yeh they do but i dont know how important they are to the shows. like dancing with the stars, all there really is to write are the host's script i would think. they can wing that.

although the judges write their own reviews for the dancers. are they in the actors union or writers union?
yeh they do but i dont know how important they are to the shows. like dancing with the stars, all there really is to write are the host's script i would think. they can wing that.

although the judges write their own reviews for the dancers. are they in the actors union or writers union?
It's actually way more confusing, the judges are probably in AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

There is usually a writer for the host on these shows, even if that writer walked off of Dancing With The Stars, the producer would just write the lines. What would be interesting is if there are a bunch of writers on Dancing (I really have no clue I don't watch it) and they strike on Monday and the teamsters don't cross the picket line, this show won't be able to air.

As for shows like "Real World" or "Survivor" there are writers on these reality shows, but that's part of the problem with some of this WGA stuff. Reality shows will higher WGA members but not always as writers, they'll call them something like story editor or consulting producer or any other number of titles that have nothing to do as writers, even though their skills with story structuring and piecing things together are used for reality tv.