updated for clarification: Fuck the WGA Strike

(Edit: I do have a lot of writer friends whom I love dearly, and would not like to see go fuck themselves. The strike, as much as I’m trying to ignore it, is becoming a real pain in my ass.)

The last time I published an anti-strike post on bLA, it was about a week before I invited a large group of people over to my apartment for a social gathering. One of the replies to my invitation noted that with my post I had risked offending my potential guests, many of whom are writers (but not necessarily WGA members). That’s a reasonable accusation, and perhaps my ignorance of the facts and the true motives behind the strike lead to an offensive – and ill-advised – editorial.

In the days since then I’ve refrained from exposing myself to the rhetoric behind the WGA’s battle with the AMPTP with the reasoning that it doesn’t affect me and I truthfully just didn’t care one way or the other. Well it still doesn’t affect me, but now it’s starting to hurt my friends and co-workers and I am pissed.

All over town in every part of the industry companies are starting to lay off their employees – people who work eight hours a day, five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year (give or take). Some of them work fucked up hours for piss-poor wages with the hope that once they’ve paid their dues they’ll get a promotion or a shot at the big time. Maybe write a script or edit a movie, or maybe just get some fucking health care. Suddenly, working at Starbucks is looking pretty good to them.

Now the WGA’s getting benefit concerts for starving writers? Gee, too bad some of us can’t attend because we were let go from our jobs on account of NO FUCKING WORK.

It seems to me a bit presumptuous that the WGA expects the rest of the industry to support their cause when their actions are causing so much collateral damage. Look at it this way – if the WGA is the United States, the AMPTP is Osama Bin Laden and the Film Industry is Afghanistan, there’s a lot of us getting carpet-bombed at a wedding party right now.

And I don’t want to hear some bullshit story about blaming the AMPTP, because “pencils down” wasn’t their idea. It was the writers. The writers wanted more money, and if they didn’t get it, then by God, neither will the strugging actors, set designers, costumers, property masters, grips, gaffers, electricians, DPs, ACs, DITs, ADs, script supervisors, editors, post production supervisors, DI producers, colorists, sound editors, runners, and readers.

Did I leave anyone out? Probably.

So screw the writers and their strike. They felt like they weren’t getting what’s fair. Newsflash – life isn’t fair, but you don’t have to go shitting in everyone else’s cornflakes just because your milk tastes like piss.

52 thoughts on “updated for clarification: Fuck the WGA Strike”

  1. Jesus Christ, Iain. How much is the AMPTP paying you? Because you’ve just regurgitated pretty much every single one of their talking points.

    Blaming this solely on the WGA is not only offensive, it’s ignorant of the facts, and completely wrong.

    The WGA has been ready to negotiate since day one. It’s been the AMPTP that’s consistently walked out of negotiations and refused to bargain in good faith. That’s why the WGA had to file a lawsuit against them with the NLRB, to force the AMPTP to come back to the bargaining table and negotiate, not just issue ultimatums and then storm out of the room when they’re not getting their way.

    Guess what? Nothing was ever achieved for the American worker without labor unions, and one of the main tools labor unions have — the only tool, really — is to go out on strike to force the deep-pocketed employers to negotiate in good faith.

    Yes, a lot of people are hurting right now, and it’s not because the WGA is greedy. The WGA is fighting for its current and future members’ ability to make a living. It is the AMPTP and the media moguls who are refusing to negotiate. You want to talk about greed? Do us all a favor and go look at the earnings of these companies who are refusing to give WGA members pennies more on DVD sales, and then tell us who is greedy.

    Opinions are one thing, but totally disregarding facts and spitting out a bunch of talking points and spin, then telling all of us to go fuck ourselves is just uncalled for.

    I am embarrassed to be associated with blogging.la right now.

  2. Wow. I understand your frustrations, really I do.

    But c’mon.

    All of the residuals between all the guilds are intertwined and related. Below the line folks get theirs paid in their health plans.

    The studios don’t deserve our trust, they never make any money on anything, ever. Accept they do, somehow.

    Everything is migrating to the net, and if clear rules aren’t set it’s going to be a clusterfuck that makes this strike seem quaint.

    So go ahead, blame the writers. Hold the massive corporations as the one to side with — and see how much they care about you as an individual when the time comes.

  3. OK. First of all — this is an obvious attempt to get some attention. That said, you got it. Your argument here is pretty ridiculous. You say:
    Now the WGA’s getting benefit concerts for starving writers? Gee, too bad some of us can’t attend because we were let go from our jobs on account of NO FUCKING WORK.

    Is it bad that the writers are doing something to help take care of their own? There are a hella lot of struggling writers out there who are not making ends meet. So you begrudge people wanting to help those writers out during this time? Is it more right to NOT help them out? I’m confused by this anger when its all about helping others out.

    re: The writers wanted more money, and if they didn’t get it, then by God, neither will the strugging actors, set designers, costumers, property masters, grips, gaffers, electricians, DPs, ACs, DITs, ADs, script supervisors, editors, post production supervisors, DI producers, colorists, sound editors, runners, and readers.

    This is about residuals for the internet which, as a blogger, I figured you would know, is the future. Hell, it’s now. TV is dying. And on the internet, NBC, for instance, can not only make sure that you can’t FF through the commercials, but they can also make sure that when you watch your episode of Gray’s Anatomy, you, ‘Cutter’, don’t get a commercial for tampons, but rather something that they know you enjoy because they can tell what it is you are interested in by what you browse through on the internet. Focused advertising. Which is worth a lot more to advertisers than throwing the ad up on the wall and hoping it will stick like they do on TV. Is it right to not get paid for the work you’ve done as a writer?
    Not only that, if the amptp successfully keeps not paying over the internet, it will make residual payments grow smaller. Which will effect everyones health and pension all the way down the line. Did you know that what would be residual payments for teamsters goes towards their health and pension? And if the AMPTP is successful with the writers, then you know that everyone else’s pension and health that is paid through residuals, will be attacked. And the WGA should just sit back and let it happen?

    re: They felt like they weren’t getting what’s fair. Newsflash – life isn’t fair,

    That’s why, sometimes, we need to stand up and try our best to make things fair. Otherwise everyone’s getting screwed. It’s not fun. It sucks as a matter of fact. But sometimes you have to make a stand.

  4. i’m only venting my frustration at being asked by my supervisors to justify my employment.

    how am i supposed to feel? a friend of mine just sold two scripts for the base WGA rate, which is in the six figures. he wrote the first one in his spare time over a period of years, and the second in a matter of months. again, how am i supposed to feel sorry for someone who makes more in a matter of months than i do after two or three years of working a 9-5 job?

  5. okay, so your friend sold two scripts that took him years to write. Divide the number of years by the pay checks and take out commissions and taxes — woohoo he’s making $60k/year.

    And that doesn’t guarantee he’ll ever sell another script again.

  6. wil, i don’t want you to go fuck yourself. i wish my stance on the issue didn’t offend you because i have a lot of respect for you as a writer, and am proud to share the author list with you. i would, however, like the strike to go fuck itself.

    and i know next to nothing about the AMPTPs stance or rhetoric. i think i mentioned that i’ve been trying to avoid anything related to the WGA strike. but when they start calling meetings at work and using the strike as an excuse to pile more work on one person because they have to lay off three people, these are the feelings i have.

    kent,

    i know the big compaies and corporations will never have my back, and i will never trust them. for all i know, they WANTED the strike to happen, and it really IS their fault. but that would just mean none of us really knows what is going on, and we’re all just tools anyway. i just want to not have to worry about whether or not my job will exist next week.

  7. okay, so your friend sold two scripts that took him years to write. Divide the number of years by the pay checks and take out commissions and taxes — woohoo he’s making $60k/year.

    he wrote the first one in his spare time over about two or three years. i’d be willing to say it took him a year for the first one if you boiled all the time down to a five-day workweek at eight hours aday.

  8. I hear your frustration but I think your anger is totally misdirected. Sorry your friend is talented and sold a couple scripts. It really sucks that he made a ton of money and all but not all of us writers are as fortunate.

    I wrote on a TV show, a scripted television show, that was NOT covered by the union. This show was produced by Fox. In our attempt to unionize the writers, we succeeded. But in the deal Fox struck with the WGA we were NOT given royalties. And those of us who were active in unionizing ended up NOT getting re-hired because of our efforts. They were very clever to avoid federal laws about firing workers attempting to unionize, but their intent was read loud and clear. And right now, as I sit at a crap day job I hate, I could really use those royalties.

    And Wil is right. These studios are run by bottom-line driven pieces of shit who will fuck over every single writer, director, actor and any below-the-line member they can if given the chance. Look back on the studio system and see what the great talented writers, directors and actors were paid before the unions existed. Garbage. At least compared to what these moguls were making off the talent of these men and women.

  9. Nothing was ever achieved for the American worker without labor unions, and one of the main tools labor unions have — the only tool, really — is to go out on strike to force the deep-pocketed employers to negotiate in good faith.

    What Wil said.

    Your frustration is understandable; your expression of it is irresponsible and surprisingly short-sighted.

    No one strikes because they want to. They strike as a measure of last resort.

    If you don’t think the corporate conglomerates–entertainment-related or not–would be delighted to bust every union up and down the line, you need to read up on labor history.

    I think the WGA has done an amazing job of being on the front line of defense, *esp.* given how difficult it is to tell their story, vs., say, the easily-grokked story of a union whose workers spend their days handling sharp implements or heinous chemicals.

    Unions are imperfect, I’ll grant you, but in the absence of tighter restrictions on and regulation of corporations, I shudder to think of a world without them.

    Because it looks a lot like The Jungle, Matewan or The Corporation.

    Oh, wait–that last *is* the world we’re living in.

  10. Hey, Iain:

    Good point. Wrong tone.

    Yes, the strike is hurting other people. Most strikes do.

    That’s kind of the point from a union’s point of view: Turn an industry’s customers against it in order to create the sort of pressure you need to persuade them to start negotiating in good faith.

    Teamsters piss off the public by forcing them to pay higher prices for trucked goods. Air traffic controllers pissed off the public in the Reagan era by threatening our safety in the skies. Stagehands shut down Broadway, pissing off well-heeled theatergoers.

    In the end, these are all geared towards costing the employers money to push them back to the bargaining table.

    It’s how labor actions work, unfortunately for the public in some cases.

    So far, the AMPTP have been able to avoid bargaining much because they lacked sufficient motivation to do so – or more to the point, because the bottom line they must maintain for stockholders was sufficient motivation not to bargain.

    And so, people all over town are in jeopardy of losing their jobs. And that does, definitely, suck. It trickles down to every strata of L.A.’s economy, puts untold stress on everyone’s sanity, forces people to lose money, homes, and probably sobriety in more than a few cases.

    But none of this would be happening if the AMPTP weren’t, basically, stealing the fruits’ of writers’ labors by refusing to pay a fair share of online royalties.

    We saw it happen with video releases, and as the YouTube culture gains power and currency, we’re seeing it happen online.

    Problem with your argument is:

    a) You’re being needlessly pissy; and

    b) You’re pissing on the wrong target

  11. I think it is extraordinarily brave to voice an unpopular opinion in a space where it’s likely you’ll be shouted down.

    I applaud you utilizing your right to free speech here on bLA.

    And I really hear your frustration. This situation sucks for everyone.

  12. This government had an idea
    And parliament made it law
    It seems like it’s illegal
    To fight for the union any more

    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on
    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on

    We went out to join the picket line
    For together we cannot fail
    We got stopped by police at the county line
    They said, “Go home boys or you’re going to jail”

    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on
    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on

    It’s hard to explain to a crying child
    Why her Daddy can’t go back
    So the family suffer
    But it hurts me more
    To hear a scab say Sod you Jack

    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on
    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on

    I’m bound to follow my conscience
    And do whatever I can
    But it’ll take much more than the union law
    To knock the fight out of a working man

    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on
    Which side are you on, boys
    Which side are you on

  13. I am a WGA Member and I still have a job. Because I work in the Healthcare Industry. 9-5. Every-freakin’-boring-ass-day. Luckily I can get in before work to do some picketing with my Guild because I am honored to be a part of it and am interested in protecting the future of other Guild members. For writers like me (and there are more than you might think) residuals for the projects we have had a chance to work on are very, very important. The internet is the future of the entertainment industry and that is why it is so important that we claim a foothold now. This is not just about ‘the writers’, just as it will not be about ‘the directors’ or ‘the actors’ when they stand up for themselves in 2008. For me, this fight is about protecting the dream of doing something you love for a living. Even if I never work professionally as a writer again, I know I’ve done my part to protect the kids coming after us. Like your friend. His success was great, but there was a chance that he might NOT have sold anything. And all that time he took out of his life might have been for nothing. I’m glad he lives where his creative speculation and risk taking are well rewarded. We’re just trying to protect that.

  14. You will never hear me critcize for putting a point of view out there. Your tone now that I have read it is what is drawing the ire in the responses.

    Having been on both sides of the picket line strikes happen when they can’t come to an agreement, sadly it drags on when one becomes unreasonable and tries to force their hand.

    How this differs for me than traditional labor disputes don’t involve evolving technologies like this one with additional revenue streams the artist (in this case a writer) is not getting the same cut other artists (musicians and actors) get.

    My take. Have at it, if you want intelligent discussion change your tone. IF you like the hate mail and rants then keep it up.

    This from the gabacho working on being the most hated here.

  15. i would like to go on record by saying almost everyone here has made a valid points, and i will not contest any of the comments, unless they purport to cast aspersions upon my character as anything but a frustrated motion picture worker who spends his days handling sharp implements and (sometimes) heinous chemicals.

    that being said, i’ve said what i wanted to say, but i can’t respond to all of your replies, as much as i would like to. i’m going to just let the readers have their say.

  16. Let’s say you’re married and your mate doesn’t do any of the housework and he makes ten times your wage and doesn’t share any of his earnings. And you’ve tried to talk to him about your concerns to no avail. Finally, you determine you can’t live in such a lopsided partnership and you file for divorce. Is it your fault the kids have to grow up in a “broken home”? Because that’s really the logic here to my thinking. The Writers should just suck it up for the sake of the children.

  17. I think the thing that non-WGA folks would appreciate is if the WGA took responsibility for their actions.

    Do I support them. Hell, yes. I’ve been a union man for 20 years. But if one more writer says “it’s their fault, they made us do it”, I’ll scream. Seriously, you are not 6 years old. You have concerns about the future of your business and felt that you had to walk. Fine. But nobody “made you”.

    As for the “negotiating since day one” thing, I’m gonna say that negotiations didn’t start in January, nor did they start in June when they were supposed to. Day one was the day before the contract ended.

    And I’m looking at the corporations and producers too, none of whom seems to remember how screwed this town was last time we had a strike for 5 1/2 months. Oh, hey writers – Where do you think reality TV came from? The last strike in 1988. And that’s when the WGA LOST 1/3 of union covered TV. Who thinks this is going to be better?

    And, yeah, all the businesses around town handing out discounts to the WGA, what about the rest of the industry that is out of work because of this?

    Again, I don’t think that you’re hearing a lot of rah-rah for the producer’s on this, but BOTH sides better get back to the table or this town (the one where writers and producers live and work) is going to be in a lot of trouble.

  18. I understand the internet residuals, but REALITY TV? Does WGA really want to unionize the crap that is Reality programming? As a SAG member I sure don’t want it to be union. Its called negotiations because you have give and take. They could have taken the reality off the table and had this strike over with already.

  19. he wrote the first one in his spare time over about two or three years. i’d be willing to say it took him a year for the first one if you boiled all the time down to a five-day workweek at eight hours aday.

    As a full time writer, I can tell you from painful (and also joyful) experience that it just isn’t that simple. It is impossible to quantify at an hourly rate what it takes to write anything of great length, whether it is a screenplay, a novel, comic book, or any other creative work.

    It sucks that you are being forced to justify your job, Cutter. Before you blame that on the WGA, do some investigation into the behavior of the AMPTP, and see if you still think the WGA is to blame.

  20. Say what you want, but I really don’t have the slightest idea why this was allowed to be posted. It’s so out of character for this blog to allow such a hate-filled rant.

    I’m with most of the people here: Your frustration is totally understandable, but your anger is misguided, ignorant, and, frankly, kind of annoying in itself.

    The truth is that the only way to make any change is to do just as you’re doing: Be annoying and make a scene. (That’s a bastardization of what I really want to say, but I’m on my way out.)

  21. Bravo for stepping up and venting your spleen. That took guts.

    That said, what a world-class crybaby you are!

    So your friend sold two scripts — congrats to your friend! Have you ever spent months breaking a story, then more months writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting? It’s hard, lonely work, and it takes an average of 10 scripts before you sell your first one. That’s NOT easy money. Not everyone can do it — get over your sour grapes already.

    And let me get this straight: it’s okay for you to stand up for what you know is right, but not for the WGA to do the same? The strikers are not responsible for your livelihood — you are! You. You. You. Do you understand? And if you believe they are, then you have just answered your own question about why this strike matters — the words come first. They’re valuable, and those who can craft them deserve to be paid appropriately.

    Get off your whiny butt and visit a picket line. Get a clue about what this strike is really about. Ask about why residuals matter. Ask why reality should be covered. Ask about the Internet. Ask why SAG, DGA, IA and the Teamsters care about this so much.

    Then come back and apologize.

  22. Just to clarify my own comment (as if anyone really cares, I know). I’m saying that’s the logic of the post. I myself do not think the writers should just suck it up. I think they have really legitimate and reasonable demands.

  23. As we all know this whole town is in the sh*ts because of the strike. My post production friends are screwed as of this week. Happy Holidays! What about gift baskets. Yep, people actually put those together, but a huge drop in those orders as well. Basically WGA & AMPTP get back in the f’in rooms. Make an effort, actually stay with the effort of sitting in a room all day. It’s called work for a lot of other people.

  24. Iain a shill for the AMPTP? Uh, no.

    But I do think he’s got an opinion that’s based less on facts than frustration. Life isn’t fair, but to hang this mantra on the WGA solely is shortsighted. The AMPTP also needs to share the brunt of this “life isn’t fair” attitude, but they won’t, and probably because the fairness is tilted in their favor.

    What Iain isn’t doing is suggesting a solution. Should the WGA just concede to the producer’s demands? Should the WGA disband and everyone work as a free agent? The union is there for a reason. The reality is that a contract hasn’t bee signed by either side. The producers could just as easily settle this strike as the WGA, but they won’t. Iain’s POV, it seems, is that since the producers have more clout, more money, and less to lose, the WGA should just give in.

    While I’m not a writer, and work only on the fringes of the industry, a prolonged strike is going to hurt me as well. Its putting friends of mine out of work. At least one already has had to move home, out of state, because he won’t be able to pay rent. But both him, and I, support the strike. Because as horrible as it is, its right.

  25. Say what you want, but I really don’t have the slightest idea why this was allowed to be posted. It’s so out of character for this blog to allow such a hate-filled rant.

    Mark O: The great value of this blog is that its authors get free rein to post their opinions about L.A. current affairs in their own voices – completely unedited.

    While some – myself included – disagree with Iain’s position and his tone, we have to give him props for having the balls to post it, and standing behind his words.

  26. Cry-baby, whiny, “hate-filled… misguided, ignorant…”

    all the people calling me whiny and a cry-baby are being hypocrites. that’s what this whole strike can be boiled down to – putting up a stink.

    also, i don’t really see the “hate” or the “ignorance” in my post. are we saying that people aren’t getting laid off on account of all the scripted television shows going dark? that it wasn’t the WGA’s idea to strike?

    So your friend sold two scripts — congrats to your friend… Not everyone can do it — get over your sour grapes already.

    what sour grapes? i’m actually quite happy for him. i know how hard he worked, and quite frankly he deserved what he was paid.

    What Iain isn’t doing is suggesting a solution.

    with all due respect, there are enough people out there doing that already.

  27. Dear WGA:

    I work in the art department, faithfully for an independent film company that makes made for TV movies. The writers are WGA. My production unit completed it’s last movie and doesn’t have a script completed because of the strike.

    I haven’t worked in a month.

    I don’t have any money for the holidays and gifts, and I may just not be able to pay my rent for December.

    Thank you, and fuck off WGA. I hope nothing but the worst for all of you this holiday this season, so you can feel the pain YOU ALL have caused me.

  28. “I am embarrassed to be associated with blogging.la right now.”

    It should be pointed out that, as always, we don’t enforce editorial control here. Wil, you know this. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion regardless of if you, I, or anyone else agrees with it. Also, those opinions represent the author only, and not anyone else. That’s always been the case, and one of the things I hold very dear about this site.

  29. I don’t know that this post is helpful, though I fully understand your frustration. I’m not directly affected by the strike, but I have friends (non-writers) who worked on shows and are affected. Personally, I’m just tired of their whining. It’s hard for me to work up sympathy for people who’ve complained about other workers striking, for people who can’t be bothered to get active or care about anything until it’s affecting their pocketbook.

    See, my feelings on the strike are kinda of in flux. I don’t get why the writers can’t be paid for their work. It’s BS. But there’s the other side, the whole self-absorption of it all that really bothers me.

    I’d never in a million years cross a picket line and I fully support unions. But, I do know quite a few writers who grumble about any strike; bus, grocers, labor you name it. When the grocers were on strike, you have no idea how many times I heard writers who are picketing now, say something like, “They’re striking for $19 an hour? They bag groceries. They scan stuff. Why do they need that much money?” I know writers who’ve crossed picket lines in a heartbeat to get into a “hip” hotel or restaurant. Now I’m hearing grocers, bus driver, hotel maids saying, “They’re striking over internet shows? They want to get paid more for the crap they make?”

  30. I can’t help but laugh (call it a coping device) at how miserable and angry everyone is (including myself) about this entire situation. Please know that I am genuinely open minded about the issues being discussed and am being completely sincere when I ask for explanations to the points of confusion that I bring up below.

    I too am an Art dept person that is out of work because of the strike. Its very difficult for me to feel pity for the writers on this one. I honestly don’t think that anyone is completely or ultimately right here. But here’s the most sense I can make out of this situation:

    I’ve heard several people in this thread talk about writers not getting a fair share for stuff that gets broadcast and watched online. I am generally in favor of fairness, but I’m not sure what the writers beef is here. Someone needs to stop slinging shit and 1)explain to me how the corporations are able to share less with the writers for stuff broadcast on the internet as opposed to TV; 2)please explain to me why the writers have the right to ask for more from internet broadcasts. I know this isn’t the exact same situation, but on this issue this strike strikes me (I swear I didn’t mean to make a pun there) as something akin to the music industry suing online file sharers. Technology is always pushing forward and the strike seems to me partly an effort aimed at resisting change.

    I heard other people in this thread mention that this strike is in the best interests of the rest of us below the line non-WGA people. Someone please give me a good explanation for this.

    Finally, I simply can’t understand why WGA people seem at all surprised at the response they’re getting. Let’s get this straight. The WGA is in a way better position than the rest of us. The WGA has a say on if there’s actually work. Everyone else is out of work because of the WGA’s decision. Non-WGA people, on the other hand, didn’t have a say in this. I don’t recall the WGA asking set dressers if they thought the strike was a good idea. I imagine it can be hard for writers to make it, but they are honestly in no position to ask for pity from anyone. So if anyone has a right to whine, its every non-WGA person that is out of work because of something they have no control over. And if anyone needs to shut up and take responsibility for their actions and stop whining, its the writers. You can strike, that’s fine. That’s your choice. But please, stop playing the pity game.

  31. what sour grapes? i’m actually quite happy for him. i know how hard he worked, and quite frankly he deserved what he was paid.

    No offense, Cutter, but your earlier comments:

    how am i supposed to feel sorry for someone who makes more in a matter of months than i do after two or three years of working a 9-5 job?

    make it sound like you’re making exactly the opposite argument.

  32. I’m totally sick of the writers strike, but I’m not for people getting exploited, even if in the scheme of things they are getting exploited less than the average person.

    That’s not the point. I hate TV. I hate movies. I never watch them. I think scriptwriters and TV writers are completely morons, BUT I still think people should get paid what is fair. If your boss is making 5 trillion dollars you should at least get one million, the fact you make more than everyone else is irrelevant.

    It’s about principles not dollar amounts.

    I hate the vast majority of selfish jerk people in the entertainment industry, but I still believe in their cause.

    Also not so courageous to take a stand that’s pro the people with the most money. That’s not exactly hardcore or anti-establishment or risky, sounds kind of like a festering scabby in my opinion…not trying to accuse anyone of anything, I’m just saying what it reads like.

    Browne

  33. WGA needs to learn something about “solidarity”. They want to get it, but don’t know how to give it. They should have prepared for the strike by establishing some kind of joint strike fund that could be used to help ease the pain of the below-the-line workers. They should have negotiated earlier.

    As it is, they are being pretty selfish. I’m for their strike, and their struggle, but, the fact is, they don’t seem to like to have institutional ties to other unions, and don’t know how to take their advantages (that they’re affluent) and use that to shore up some real widespread support, by offering some long-term, no-interest loans for people.

    Instead of doing the $17 striker lunch at Campanile, they should be eating beans and rice, and making sure there’s enough extra for the people who have run out of work. Instead of secretly writing another script, they should be reading the script for Matewan.

    Back the rhetoric with real action, and you’ll keep getting support, and win. Fail to do that, and you’ll lose.

  34. The writers spend a lot of time on their computers searching for blogs to make their case on. I have found most of them to be either ignorant of the facts or so biased that they are not honest. The writers tough guy posturing in negotiations is counter productive.

    Talk about paranoia. Every time anyone posts ANYTHING that is not in support of WGA they get accused of working for the producers. Let me make this loud and clear. The working crews need to work to pay our bills. WE CAN’T AFFORD YOUR STRIKE.

    The crews are suffering as a result of the writers strike. We don’t invest in the stock market or have 100K in savings. We need to work to pay the bills. We are collateral damage in your strike. Don’t expect sympathy when people start losing their homes.

  35. I have little sympathy for people who work in entertainment even if it is the bottom end workers, the grips, the people who don’t make as much.

    Hollywood isn’t social work. Regardless of the field you are in within the Hollywood system you didn’t just happen upon it. It’s not the kind of job, (even the security and admin jobs) that you can just go to Craigslist and get. It’s an industry that people want to work in. It’s an industry that selfish people want to work in from the actresses right down to the people who clean the floor.

    If you want me to care about your holidays and your house be in a profession that helps other people. They exist: teaching, social work, a housewife or do some minimum wage job that you happen to get after applying to 20 other places.

    You don’t work in Hollywood as a last resort. Regardless of your position it’s a privilege.

    A privilege that you get paid more than anyone else to do the same darn thing. You get more benefits typing in Hollywood than you do typing for some temp agency. You get more benefits doing lighting for Hollywood than you would be the AV guy at a nonprofit. Not just in benefits, like money, but in connections.

    I feel little sympathy for the peripheral damage of the writing strike. You knew the industry you were going into. The people in that industry make no secret to the fact that they very much appreciate money and don’t like people and don’t like art, that’s a well known fact.

    Be in an industry that creates something other than crap and then maybe I’ll care, but as of now I don’t care.

    Half of the collateral damage wants to be writers and are just angry that they haven’t gotten their chance yet. I understand your anger, because you’re selfish people. You guys can’t even work together. It’s a sad industry. You can’t even hold it together for a few weeks. The grocery strike the people were tight and they had alot more to lose. They all supported each other the drivers right down to the stock boys.

    All of the money in the entertainment industry and still, only five weeks and people in your industry can’t even shut up in public.

    I hope you remember this struggle and support other unions in their fights. That’s why I’m supporting you guys, hoping you guys will see the light and start being decent to other union people. I have faith that it can happen and what a great resource the WGA could be if it supported (in an ACTIVE way) other unions.

    Anyways I see one thing. I see people getting exploited and in the larger scheme of things I support unions. I can’t care about every little person and in America. I sure don’t care about people and their ruined holidays and their missing house payments. You have a house to lose which puts you above lots of other people, sell it, downsize and get an apartment in Van Nuys. That’s real life, that’s what happens. Get over it.

    I know several people that lost their jobs this holiday season and their option are to move into a SRO or a shelter and these are people who are trying and have been trying for ten years, so no I’m not sorry for people who have stuff to lose. When there are people out there losing all of the time who don’t have crapola.

    As for as the holidays, the Christmas season is just consumerism in over drive which contributes to the destruction of the earth. Be green for real and don’t get any gifts, that will do more than having an electric car and handing out eco-gifts.

    I support the writers because of what they represent and during strikes people on the side get hurt. That’s what happens.

    You have to strike when it is inconvenient or what is the freaking point. It’s got to hurt, it’s got to mess some things up in a major way or there is no point to it.

    Browne

  36. The truth is that the below-the-line people are getting hurt in this strike. They are being laid off at Christmastime, because shows and films cannot be made.

    They are in a lose/lose situation here. They never have gotten residuals, nor will they ever. Any negotiation by the WGA with AMPTP will only help the WGA, not any one else.

    To characterize the WGA as the underdog here is silly. Singlehandedly, they have brought all production to a halt and the effect is rippling through the Hollywood economy.

    When it’s over, the WGA will be in a better position, but ever other below-the-line trade will have been fucked over financially with no upside. They will NEVER recoup the money lost on shows that should be in production now.

    You can debate the percentage of blame whether it’s 60/40 or 40/60, but neither AMPTP or the WGA are angels here. So stop the kneejerk defense of the WGA when someone calls a spade a spade.

    This is the battle of the wealthy, greedy WGA vs. the wealthy, greedy AMPTP, with many people on the sidelines getting hurt.

  37. I know several people that lost their jobs this holiday season and their option are to move into a SRO or a shelter and these are people who are trying and have been trying for ten years, so no I’m not sorry for people who have stuff to lose. When there are people out there losing all of the time who don’t have crapola.

    I’m living in a studio with two other guys. I’m gonna get kicked out of here soon and I don’t know where I’ll be living in a month + no health care. Good enough? Besides, no one is asking for your pity. You’re not a writer and have no effect on us. Take your insignificant ramblings elsewhere.

  38. Rebecca wrote:
    As a full time writer, I can tell you from painful (and also joyful) experience that it just isn’t that simple. It is impossible to quantify at an hourly rate what it takes to write anything of great length, whether it is a screenplay, a novel, comic book, or any other creative work.

    That holier-than-thou bullshit is what annoys me about writers. As a full time visual effects artist, I want a piece of your pie everytime one of my effects is shown on screen with one of your lines.

    I can certainly guarantee you that more schooling and know-how is required to put that visual on screen than it was for you to put those words to script.

    Your comment that it’s difficult to quantify value is what pissed me off about the WGA. An artist doesn’t get a residual when his/her painting resells at auction for 1000 times than the price it was originally sold. That’s what you are equating your work to.

    If you think the shit you write is that good, then go sell it. If it is, you’ll make money. If it’s not, then you won’t. If you’re not good enough to represent yourself and your own talent, then you don’t belong in the industry anyway.

    Ponder: I take half of your earned residuals because the effects I made on screen gave your words visual emotion.

    Sean wrote:
    I’d never in a million years cross a picket line and I fully support unions.

    I would, and I don’t. And I’d bitch-slap the first person that I was near. Unions can eat a dick.

    Unions were useful early in the history of our country when a significant portion of our society was being trumped by corporations. Then, it was about people that did not have options. They lived nowhere, did not have money to move or pay for groceries or support their family and were being force to work jobs (read as, no other jobs available) that had the potential to, and did, cause physical damaage.

    That’s not the case here, and has never been the case since.

    Another poster said writers were affluent. Well, take that affluent ass and go find another job if you don’t like the “State of the Union.”

  39. whoops… Rebecca didn’t write that first bit I quoted… WIL did.

    Sorry Rebecca! The postmark order is reversed from what I’m used to.

  40. Oh Jon, get over your holier-than-thou VFX self. VFX enhances writing the same way music and acting and sound and set decorating and costuming and etc etc etc do. And VFX artists (yes, there is great talent and artistry in VFX, I know this from direct experience) are always, ALWAYS, vendors. VFX companies and artists are hired to do work on films and TV. Your work, while it may be stunning, never comes first. The written word does. Writers are why you have a job in the VFX world at all.

  41. julia, in this day and age, the VFX artists can be just as important as the writers. don’t think that this industry turns solely on the written word.

    film and television are visual mediums, and without all of their separate elements coming together – the costuming and set decorating and sound and acting and music – all of your stories are merely words upon a page.

  42. Writer are more important than visual whatever the heck that is people. Special effects just add a little something extra. I can watch a good script acted out in my living room, good special effects…hey without a script who cares.

    A good story just needs a person and paper. Books have been around a very long time and the basis of most movies are stories that began as books.

    Tech people really need to wake up and realize that the internet and technology isn’t anything without content. You get rid of the writers and entertainment will be dead.

    Unless people are losing IQ points. Two year olds are pretty impressed with flashing lights, maybe tech people should go into infant entertainment.

    Browne

  43. wow, and people call ME ignorant.

    some of you did not seem to read my whole response, which doesn’t solely reference VFX artists.

    ponder this: how important is the writer to a movie when there’s no cinematographer? the answer is “not very”. what is a script without a director or producer? it’s words on paper.

    the writer is NOT the most important element of a film or television show. like every other participant, they are an integral element that helps make up the whole.

    also, some of you seemed to miss the big news story this week about paramount taking outtakes from jackass two and recutting them as jackass 2.5. say what you like about yourselves writers – the producers get paid to make the studios money, and they’re going to continue to do their jobs any which way they can, with or (in this case) without your scripts.

  44. Cutter, dude, I can’t believe you’d disagree that the most important part of any great movie is the screenplay. That seems to me to be an essential truth that I’ve known since I was five.

    There are crap films with great photography and great acting, but there is never a great movie without a great script.

    That you’re bringing up Jackass to support your argument is incredibly strange.

    The reality is the producers could easily make movies and television without guild writers. If you feel so passionately against the WGA’s side of the issue, you should encourage them to move on with non-Guild writers.

  45. “the writer is NOT the most important element of a film or television show,” cutter

    Wow, that’s just shocking. I think that is the most stupid thing I’ve heard today and I’m not even at the bar yet.

    Your dad has got to be a producer or something, because I’m just not understanding your reasoning. If writing isn’t that important, why don’t you stop sharing your “this is not fair, the union is mean” via the english language and start posting flashing lights or maybe you could direct someone else to flash the lights.

    Sorry you are wrong, very wrong.

    I hate TV and even I know the writers are the foundation for all of entertainment, even crappy entertainment.

    You can train any marginally intelligent person to do tech stuff. The right daddy can get you a directing gig, but you can’t train or nepo into writing good stuff, even crappy stuff. That takes a talent.

    A talent that school and trying very hard can’t make happen, which is kind of not so much the case with all of the other parts of Hollywood.

    The soul of entertainment is in the pen, well the soul that is left.

    Browne

  46. the hubris of some of these comments baffles me.

    the true language of film is NOT rooted in the written word. the language of film is visual, and any screenwriter or editor or cinematographer worth his or her salt would agree.

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