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

Picket Lines Become Screenwriting 101

Leave it up to striking writers to find not only creative, but productive ways to spend time picketing. John August writes that he was contacted by striker Priya Hamilton-Wilkes with the following message:

A few of us came up with an idea of “Teaching Thursdays,” where writers of various TV and feature genres would join us on Thursdays, making themselves available to discuss story, structure and everything in between to aspiring writers. Medical drama day will be Thursday, January 24th, from 9-12 at Gate 2 at Warner Bros.

They’re kicking things off with medical drama day? Let’s hope the strike lasts long enough for there to be a an action adventure day, or zombie holocaust day… just, please, no family dramedy days!

DGA reaches deal with AMPTP

The highlights:

  • Increases both wages and residual bases for each year of the contract.
  • Establishes DGA jurisdiction over programs produced for distribution on the Internet.
  • Establishes new residuals formula for paid Internet downloads (electronic sell-through) that essentially doubles the rate currently paid by employers.
  • Establishes residual rates for ad-supported streaming and use of clips on the Internet.

Let’s hope this paves the way for a quick resolution to the Writers Guild strike.

More at United Hollywood.

Liveblogging the Golden Globes

The “announcements” are happening right now. Are you watching? Here is a quick recap of every award presentation so far:

Here’s the category…

The Nominees are…

And the winner is…

Wow! That’s a little surprising. I thought so-and-so would win. Hmm. Anyway, here’s the next category…

Thank you, Billy Bush. Please give us more of your analysis. Please debate more of the results as the show goes on. You are truly amazing, and a natural talent in your own right.

End of the Road in Monrovia?

pubboxxfilmHDRtmvp.jpg October Road is out of scripts and yesterday was the last day of taping here in outer Monrovia. Kind of sad to see the last of the written stuff coming to an end. Seeing how Old Town Monrovia was transformed into some mythical town back East was fun.

For the merchants in Old Town the filiming and film crews will be missed. Not so much because they spent a lot in their shops, more so because the studios paid them enough to compensate them for potential lost business during day time shoots, rental fees to use their shops as dressing rooms or sets which helped during the tough summer season. (Let’s face it…no one walks outside when it is 105+ so that little big helped some make it this summer). I’ve heard different bits tossed about that the city made some 250K in various fees, permits and location rentals. That is a nice bit added to our treasury especially in light of potential funding cuts coming out of Sac.

With all this wrapping up Monrovia can be added in as one more community taking a financial loss for the ongoing writers strike. Not to mention people like my friend Shane whose limo business took a loss with the cancelled Golden Globe hires. My cousin Jill, an actor who is watching potential jobs dwindle. And of course who knows how many people taking a hit because they work as film crews doing other stuff.

With luck that may end soon. I caught this bit on mail.com titled Directors Will Begin Talks With Studios ran a bit ago. Short is that the union representing the directors and studios could be meeting as early as tomorrow to discuss their own contracts which could affect the writers guild talks. If the directors make a quick agreement the article opines that it could undercut the strength of the writers.

pic by me, get’s bigger with a quick stroke. Shot bracketed and post processed to create an HDR file then tonemapped and run through virtual photographer. Yup….kinda different but it is what I do.

Indie Studios making scripts available free online

I don’t know if its tied to the WGA strike at all, but this year my friends who are in SAG haven’t been receiving the usual handful of screeners.

On the flip side, this year a couple studios are making available, for free, online, complete screenplays for film’s they’d like to be considered for awards.

Yep – writers work being offered up for free. Not sure how the WGA feels about this, but hopefully some people will recognize the hard work and craft that goes into making a quality screenplay.

Paramount Vantage is offering up “A Mighty Heart,” “Into the Wild,” “The Kite Runner,” “Margot at the Wedding,” and “There Will Be Blood.”

Fox Searchlight has “The Darjeeling Limited,” “Juno,” “The Namesake,” “Once,” “The Savages,” and “Waitress.”


…h/t to /Film

TV Makes a Mockery of Itself

Can you still have an after-party in L.A. if there is no party?

The People’s Choice Awards were “televised” last night. The 10 million fans who voted would probably like some sort of a refund. Maybe a gift card to Urban Outfitters, or a free lube.

I caught the very tail end of the show, hosted by Queen Latifah. No audience, no stars. Just taped acceptance speeches and giant on-stage video screens to keep Queen company. Not only was it a major embarrassment for CBS, but it made me feel incredibly sad for actors like Nikki Blonsky, who got to make her first-ever acceptance speech… on videotape.

I give Queen Latifah credit. In the few minutes that I watched in horror, all I could think about was what a class act she was in trying to pull the whole thing off by herself. A true professional.

C’mon guys, get back to the negotiating table. Los Angeles needs to get back to work.

Strike Notes: UA follows Pants’ suit

Er, sorry about that headline.

So the big news of the week is that United Artists, the studio formed to put the power back in the hands of the creative people, has signed a deal with the WGA, similar to the deal with Worldwide Pants.

I know there are naysayers about the idea of some writers going back to work while others continue to strike, but I think this is really excellent news. The more deals like this happen, the harder it will be for the AMPTP to continue their ridiculous line that the writers are not reasonable and cannot be dealt with.

UA is wasting no time and has already announced a new project.

It’s time for the other studios to play ball. Come on guys, it’s just embarrassing at this point.

The WGA appealed to the City to halt location shoots

Fortunately, they were refused. I’ve supported the strike since day one, but this just stinks of desperation and stupidity.

The guild pleaded its case to the city in a Friday hearing before the Los Angeles Board of Public Works. The WGA sought to have struck companies denied the permits necessary to close city streets for location shoots.

A spokesman for FilmLA, the private organization that helps facilitate industry permit requests, said the board ultimately nixed the guild’s request after consultation with the city attorney.

The Hollywood Reporter article adds that the board issued a non-binding opinion that “production companies obtaining permits provide guild representatives 20 minutes on location during film shoots to state their views on the WGA’s current negotiations impasse.”

The Show WILL Go On!

Even though SAG has pledged that not a single nominated actor will attend, NBC plans to hold the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to their contract to present a broadcast of the Golden Globes.

According to Meg James at The Envelope, one option being considered is to push the broadcast back a few weeks… perhaps in hopes that the WGA contract dispute will be resolved in time.

Fat chance.

My hunch is that NBC is bluffing, as its advertising sponsors will be getting more and more pissed at a mounting number of lost presale opportunities and dropping network ratings. That or they really think audiences will tune in to what will likely amount to a clip show… even though I’ve heard the WGA and SAG may be making it hard to gain permission for clips as well.

This major blow to the studios almost makes up for the WGAs major blunder of signing interim agreements with Letterman and boiling drama with Jay Leno.

The Show Will Not Go On

Here’s one casualty of the strike that few will shed tears over: award shows.

The first victim: The Golden Globes.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the producers behind the Globes, have failed to make an interim deal with the WGA, and according to Variety, this will could result in an untelevised awards ceremony. SAG is encouraging its members not to cross the picket line, meaning few actors will likely attend to present or attend the award ceremony.

Strike Notes: Late Night TV

WWP.jpgLeno, Letterman, and the rest of the late-night shows return to the air tonight. Letterman’s The Late Show and Craig Ferguson’s The Late Late Show are the only shows that will have WGA writing staffs. The others will… honestly, I have no idea what material they will use. The hosts are WGA members, so they cannot write their own monologues. I guess they’ll be improvising, and won’t that be fun?

David Letterman’s company Worldwide Pants negotiated a deal with the WGA and agreed to all the terms the WGA planned to offer the AMPTP the last time they walked out of negotiations. Since late-night doesn’t do much re-run business I’m not sure how big a deal this is financially, but the writers will receive a portion of online revenue and that — as well as the example to the rest of the companies — is huge. CBS is allegedly furious, but since Letterman owns his show they have to allow it (or let some other network have the shows, I guess). Hopefully NBC and the other networks will see falling ratings and will match the competition by making deals for Leno and the rest of the shows. (I’m not being vague on purpose, but I haven’t watched late-night television in a really, really long time and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any shows but Leno and Letterman.)

I hope the rest of the WGA writers get to go back to work soon. In the meantime, I am really happy for Letterman’s guys.

Vote AMPTP Grinch of the Year

Nick Counter has never come in third in his life. Nick Counter is always Number One. And while I am not saying it wouldn’t be good to take him down a notch or two, I am saying it’s downright embarrassing that there are so few votes for Nick Counter and the AMPTP as Grinch of the Year.

2104939938_59202bea0d_o.jpgWriters are out of work.

Writers’ assistants are out of work.

Producers not currently filming are out of work.

Producers’ assistants are out of work.

Key Grips are out of work.

Non-key grips too.

Craft Services? Out of work.

And it’s Christmas. An entire industry (give or take) is out of work at Christmas. The Grinch would be proud. Vote Nick Counter (you have until midnight).

Image by Nina Bargiel.