Category Archives: Strike! (WGA, DGA, SAG)

Is now the time for a SAG strike?

Okay, look: We all know money’s tight, the economy’s halfway down the drain and layoffs are hitting every sector of society (including 3,000 LAUSD teachers – the subject of a future rant I don’t have space for here).

But we have to wonder – just a little bit – who’s really behind the please-SAG-don’t-strike site

Veteran actor James Cromwell pleads in the video above for both parties in the ongoing contract haggling between the Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP to remember the gaffers, grips, craft-service drones and honey-wagon drivers – and don’t bring on a strike.

So – is this a non-partisan plea for parity, reason and good-faith bargaining?

Or is it a well-muscled push from the non-acting screen trades to dissuade actors from picketing if they’re faced with fuck-you terms from the AMPTP?


Keep Your Job, L.A. The Suck Will Only Get Worse

CurbedLA just posted about a new report that predicts rising unemployment to last through 2010.

From the UCLA Anderson Forecast:

“The news from the economy is bad,” writes Anderson Forecast senior economist David Shulman in his essay “The Balance Sheet Recession.” “The recession we had previously hoped to avoid is now with us in full gale force.”

Nationally, we can expect the loss of 2 million jobs over the next 12 months. In California, “the unemployment rate is expected to rise as high as 8.7 percent next year and remain at that level through 2010.”

So, anyone still think this is a good time for SAG to strike?

LA Santacon 2008 is here!

Santa at The Grove by OpusI’m up at 5am with another of my intermittent early-morning allergy attacks, which has afforded me the extreme pleasure of some spare time in which I can communicate with you, dear reader. I figured while I was waiting for the benadryl, xyzal and vitamin-B-complex (which actually helps the most) cocktail to kick in and make my sinuses stop feeling like they’re about to peel themselves off my skull, I might as well transmit a bit of vital information.

Today will surely be a busy day for many people beginning their holiday preparations. Therefore it is with great joy then that I inform you of today’s Santacon, quite possibly our city’s biggest to date, and a spirited event GUARANTEED to get you in the mood for the holidays to be over already. I know nothing of its location or appointed rounds (as the Red Tide does often span the city) because the event is shrouded in secrecy, but for those who’d like to follow along in spirit, I highly suggest you look to…no, not the skies! to Twitter!…where I have it on good authority that many well-known LA twitfolks will be broadcasting their experiences. You can also check my photostream on flickr, where I will be posting horrendously lousy cameraphone photos all day long.

Ho ho ho!

Pic by The Opus from flickr under a creative commons license.

Oh, and to those elves who’ve been fomenting discontent and grumbling about a strike, GIVE IT UP! You strike  EVERY YEAR!!! And you know what happens EVERY YEAR?! Santa smacks you DOWN, bitches! You know why?! Because you’re FOUR FEET TALL!!! Ohhhhhhh DAAAAM! Boo yah!!!

Writers’ Strike Threw California Into Recession

strike.jpgYes, the pen truly is mighty than the sword.

With the looming possibility of another entertainment-related strike happening this year, and virtually no end in sight to the hair-pulling squabble between SAG and AFTRA, let’s take a moment to absorb today’s news:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The recent Hollywood writers’ strike tipped California into a recession, resulting in a loss of $2.1 billion to the state economy and costing 37,700 jobs…

…the three-month writers’ strike that ended in February cost the entertainment industry alone $500 million. But because Hollywood overlaps with other state industries, the report found the strike had a wider impact overall.

I’m curious… Have you lost your job in the past six months for strike-related reasons? Did the strike force you into a different career path? Did it make you leave the biz altogether? Even if you’re not in entertainment, how were you affected?

Consider this a highly scientific State of the Business poll. Tell us how your life and career have changed because of the Writers’ Strike. Comment.

Photo from Here in Van Nuys’ photostream

Actor’s Strike Imminent?

Hello, friends. It seems the AMPTP has suspended negotiations with SAG. In a press release, SAG President Alan Rosenberg said:

“It is unfortunate and deeply troubling that the AMPTP would suspend our negotiations at this critical juncture. We have modified our proposals over the last three weeks in effort to bargain a fair contract for our members. We are committed to preserving rights that have been in place for decades and not giving the studios the right to use excerpts of our work in new media without our consent and negotiation. Our negotiating team is prepared to work around the clock for as long as it takes to get a fair deal. We want to keep the town working.”

Here’s to hoping all of our buddies and friends in various crews and kraft service won’t have endure another round of temporary joblessness.

George Clooney vs. the WGA

LeatherheadsHere’s a surprise: George Clooney, member of the Writers Guild of America, West, has gone Financial Core.

Actually, he did it last fall. Quietly and with tremendous class, not wanting to make the union look bad during the impending strike. His beef? He’d been denied writing credit on Leatherheads (which opened Friday). He’d taken the languishing script, by Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly, and rewritten (according to him) about 80% of it. He wasn’t looking for sole credit, but wanted to share credit with the screenplay’s creators. In a 2-1 decision, WGA arbitrators said no. Rather than withdraw his membership, Clooney went fi-core.

I am pro-union. I’m the first to say that they are FAR from perfect, but we need unions. This time, though? I am pro-Clooney.

During the strike I had a meal with someone who tried to tell me that it was OK for me to work during the strike because I could “just go fi-core.” He simply did not understand why that was a totally unacceptable idea. And I am really sad that the union put Clooney in the position where it was the better choice for him. (Please note that I am not saying it was the only choice–it wasn’t–or that it’s the choice I’d have made–I don’t know what I’d have done. But it’s what he did and it’s done. No do-overs.)

Story at Variety, via Writer’s Blog, via writersstrike.

‘Earl’ creator steals jobs from high school drop-outs

Via Defamer: Greg Garcia, millionaire creator of My Name Is Earl, took a job at a fast food restaurant for a month during the writers’ strike. He did not need the money, obviously, but was looking to “reconnect” and for possible show material.

I find this… weird, funny, and weird. Also funny.

What I want to know is: did he put in his 12-20 hours per week on the picket lines?

There are so many possible takes on this. Here’s mine: situation comedy about a millionaire television showrunner who takes a job at a fast food restaurant when times get tough. What’s your take?

What to do now that the strike is over?

2173824328_3c80f2f0d5.jpgBored now that the writers have stopped picketing? There’s no time like the present to prepare for the zombie apocalypse! Nina Bargiel, aka The Slackmistress, is in training and documenting it at Post-Apocalyptic Workout, where she blogs, vlogs, and posts super-hot photos of herself in her running clothes (like the “before” at right).

The basic gist is that Nina realized that as an unemployed television writer who throws great cocktail parties and solves mysteries, she is prime zombie fodder. So just in case, she is out to make herself into a productive member of society who can perform CPR, grow and prepare food, and outrun you in the event the the zombies give chase.

I will not be playing along because my strategy for the zombie invasion is to barricade myself (and family) in our compound and fight them off from my couch. But not everyone has a compound* so I figured some of you might want to join the preparations for the good fight.

*I do not have a compound. But I totally want one!

Harlan Ellison on the WGA Settlement

Photo: Anne Fishbein

It’s hard to knock Harlan Ellison‘s credibility as a writer. Besides being an incredibly prolific producer of prose and non-fiction, he’s also an accomplished TV writer. Hell, dude wrote what’s widely considered to be the best Star Trek episode of all time. So, when daddy talks, people listen:



Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I fuckin’ LOVE the Guild.

And I voted NO on accepting this deal.

My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their heads; but this I say without equivocation…


I think you get where he’s going with this. More after the jump…
Continue reading Harlan Ellison on the WGA Settlement

Back to work, everyone!

Even though the strike is over, TV production crews (and viewers, of course) are still wondering if their series will return to production any time soon, go hiatus until next season, or disappear completely. E! Online has a developing breakdown of the status of some of the more popular shows, among them:

  • 24: Even though only 12 hours/episodes have been finished so far, producer David Fury says, “I don’t think we’ll see it until 2009.”
  • Battlestar Galactica: Production status is also unclear, but the fourth and final season will likely be divided into two mini-seasons.
  • Big Love: E! hears production will resume in March for airing in the summer.
  • Desperate Housewives: Producer Marc Cherry is eager to cram in seven more episodes by the end of the season, and that it would only take two weeks to get back into production.
  • Grey’s Anatomy: Word is that production will resume for new episodes to air in April and May.
  • Heroes: E! reports it won’t return until late summer for an early third season.
  • Lost: Damon Lindelof says: “A game plan should begin to manifest by the end of the week. (We) have every intention of making sure you guys get more episodes this season beyond the eight already completed…””
  • My Name Is Earl: Production is planned to resume in two weeks for an anticipated nine new episodes.
  • The Office: E! hears ten new episodes will be completed this season.

Have any of our readers who work in the biz been called back into work yet?

Tentative deal reached

The WGA has announced that a tentative deal has been reached with the AMPTP. A summary of the deal is available in PDF form from United Hollywood. I’m reading it now — good news is that original new media content is covered with separated rights (meaning that if you write a series for the internet for NBC, they have to pay you for it, and they want to pick it up for Bravo as a series, they have to buy separate rights from you); possibly bad news is that the residuals for downloads, etc., look a bit low to me and include a 17-day free window for TV downloads. (I haven’t read the whole thing and I am not a lawyer or a member of the WGA, so my interpretation is as armchair as you get. I am, in fact, sitting in an armchair.) As I understand it, the WGA meets today and will vote this week to ratify (or not) the new agreement.

(Edit: Tammara and I posted at the same time! Sorry, Tammara. Glad to see that you are optimistic about the deal!)

Strike Notes: Genre Events on Wednesday (tomorrow!)

Sorry to post this so late, but hopefully it will reach some of you with enough time to plan. Tomorrow, Wednesday the 6th, there are two big genre happenings.

9:00 a.m. to noon at Warner Brothers gate 2 is Spooky Wednesday. This event continues the new tradition (usually Thursdays) of writers offering advice to aspiring writers and fans. Writers from Supernatural and Sarah Connor Chronicles will be there, among others.

12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. is Sci-Fi Channel Day right down the street at NBC. The event is put together by Jaime Paglia of Eureka. People from Battlestar Gallactica and Painkiller Jane will also be there, and presumably others as well.

Via Jane Espenson and United Hollywood.

Strike Notes: Taco Bell offer STILL better than AMPTP’s

tacobell.gifI can hardly believe that this isn’t a joke. Taco Bell is offering WGA writers the chance to come up with witty slogans for the packets of Border Sauce. Yes, really. Previous witty slogans include such gems as “If you throw this, would it be a flying saucer?” Believe it or not, someone has actually compiled past slogans here. (OMG, and this one has pictures! I love the interwebs.)

For the chance to win up to $260 in fast food, I’m sure every striking writer in town will be away from the picket lines today, agonizing over the perfect slogan.

Hey, it’s better than what the Companies have offered so far.

Hat tip to Research Buzz and to Travis for finding this story.