Strikepocalypse: Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Video On Net

I’ve been reading up relentlessly on the Strike these last few weeks.

Nikki Finke, The Artful Writer, United Hollywood and Variety have the best coverage.

If and when the writers go on strike and paralyze this town, it will be over four cents.

Four Cents. Four CENTS! That’s how much a the writer of a Hollywood Movie gets on the sale of a DVD. And that’s how much the producers want to pay the writers for online purchased copies (i.e., iTunes).

The writers want an increase in this rate. Who can blame them when DVDs cost 20ish bucks and they are making only four fricken cents.

More after the jump.

I understand the plight of the writers, but I think they are also losing sight of the bigger picture, that we as creative people can now control our own destiny by being our own distribution channel.

If every guild writer turned their attention to making their own shows on the interweb, they’d find out about they joys of making whole dollars from DVDs, advertising and merchandise.

The current studio system is based on work for hire — which is fine since it gives predictable income in exchange for ownership of your work. But you end up losing out if you create a hit. Talk to Mike Judge about Beavis and Butthead.

I’m sorta at an interesting intersection of this whole battle. I’m not in any guild or union, and I’ve successfully crafted a show that lives in it’s own channel that I create with a small team (my writing/producing partner and a freelance editor) that is not only popular on the net, but is also financially successful.

I did this by applying principles of Indie Film financing and creating a show that was easy and fun to produce with only two people.

Sure, my site AskANinja.com, doesn’t pull in the sweet dough of Pirates of the Caribbean, but I’ll probably make as much cash over its lifetime as the writers and director on that film did.

And I’ll still own the intellectual property.

There is tons of money to be made from video shows on the web. You can get a piece of that action, own your ideas, and live a happy life without having a boss.

Food for thought.

6 Replies to “Strikepocalypse: Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Video On Net”

  1. Now there’s an idea, while out of work these guys write up their own script and produce it on the web. Add in a few actors who are dying to build a resume who may do a bit or two for free. Ditto a camera guy from film school if you need better than your own HD camcorder. Bet one could get the first episode out for the cost of a weeks strike pay.

    Interesting idea.

  2. You have a point, but what of those of us who just want to write the stuff? Or who would love to make our own shows but can’t possibly afford to do it, even at Channel 101 production quality?

  3. I think Kent’s idea should frighten the crap out of the industry because talent will start looking towards unconventional avenues to apply their skills and make more money.

    Annika: The trick is to write stuff you can afford. Some of the best Channel 101, or Group 101 Films projects I’ve seen have cost absolutely zero.

  4. David, I agree that this is a wonderful, revolutionary (in the truest sense of the word) idea and the industry should be crapping its pants.

    But as a writer of features, including Sci-Fi/Action, Westerns, and (the least pricy) horror, it would mean a drastic compromise. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider it as a side project, but time can be just as hard to come by as money.

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