The Writer’s Strike: Someone Needs To Strike A Writer

I am sick and tired of hearing about the Writer’s Strike every time I turn on my television set.  I am sick of reading about it in the newspaper.  I am sick of reading about it on ‘writer’s blogs’.  I am sick of it in general.  It is the DUMBEST thing I have ever heard of.  The Writer’s Guild of America has been labeled in the news as a union 12,000 workers strong fighting for their rights.

I say they’re 12,000 people who have forgotten what a day job is.  I won’t demean writing to dismiss it as ‘not a real job’ like anything else creative it certainly takes work.  However, it doesn’t take the amount of work millions of other Americans turn in each day.  As a comedian, I tried to sympathize with the writers.  I tried to put myself in their heads; tried to see myself in their shoes.  Unfortunately, with every article I read, and every position I’ve seen put forth by a member of the WGA I have grown more and more steadfast against their plight.

I don’t care if they only get 4 cents per DVD sold in America, I don’t care if they get 0 cents per DVD sold in America, and apparently neither do they.  Or at least the people engineering the strike and manning the negotiations don’t.  They took their DVD demands off the table faster than a thing that gets taken off the table really fast (Sorry, I’m on strike from writing metaphors, deal with it).

New Media remains their sticking point.  New Media covers everything from ringtones to internet downloads to on-demand-cable.  The Studios (or Producers as they’re  constantly referred to in the news) state that the internet is TOO NEW to tell whether it will be profitable.  The Writers take issue with that.

Personally, I agree with the Producers.  Many people are watching episodes of Heroes online at nbc.com.  This is true.  But the majority of those people have already watched it on Television.  I know people who TiVo Heroes as well as people who DVR it.  They watch it multiple times per week; trying to figure out the little hidden clues and decipher ulterior motives.  Should the writer be paid per viewing of the episode?  Surely not.  What about good old fashioned VHS?  Am I to report how many times I watch a given episode of a show I taped so that the writer can get his extra residuals?

What about the writers who turn in subpar work?  Granted the decision to air a crappy show is not theirs alone, but some Writer’s seem to feel that residuals are part of the “whole” payment; that they are a deferred payment until a later date.  Yet, many residuals never come because the original script turned in by the writer, that the writer was paid to write, sucked.  Someone was paid for the travesty of a television show, “Viva Laughlin”.  That person will never see a residual for that work.  Is he somehow being shortchanged?  Has he not received his entire ‘payment’? Nope.  The Show Sucked.  Very few people wanted to watch it.  No one would keep advertising on it.  Therefore the plug was pulled, the show disappeared, and yet the writer KEEPS his money.

To insist that the writer return a portion of the money paid him for such a lackluster effort would be laughable, would it not?  Of course it would, but it goes to a greater point.  We live in a free market.  Salaries are paid according to what the market will bear.  If you write a screenplay for a film that goes on to earn 100 million dollars domestically, your next script will sell for a much larger fee than your previous one.  So, then why is a writer owed a lifetime stake in that which he creates; in that which he receives financial remuneration for; in that which could not be achieved without the participation and financial banking of many others?

I’m all for giving someone an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work but let’s not hold the entire country hostage here. A dramatic notion, and yet it is a rather realistic one.  Organized labor prevents outsiders from supplying the masses with what they’re denying them.  There are thousands of stand-up comics across the country who are not members of the DGA who could keep the late-night shows afloat.  Leno would have plenty of Obama jokes and Middle America could continue to go to bed with a laugh.

But those comedians will not give Letterman his funny-fodder because they would then in turn be labeled a ‘scab’ and be barred from ever joining the WGA once the strike is over; even though they are not now apart of the WGA because they have not completed the arbitrary criteria necessary to call oneself a writer.

“Marc Cherry, creator of “Desperate Housewives ” and member of the Negotiating Committee for the current contract renewal. You know, the one we’re striking over. Marc was a staff writer on “The Golden Girls” back in the 90’s. Then he couldn’t get arrested. Before hitting back with “Housewives,” he lived on residuals from “Golden Girls” for 15 years.”

Wait a minute, so I’m supposed to feel sorry for a guy who was able to live for 15 years off the money he made writing some episodes of the Golden Girls in the 90s? Are you fucking kidding me? I understand the right to a fair wage. I understand that these people have the talent to write for a living. But where is it written that they have a right only write for a living? If you write for a TV Show and then don’t get another writing gig for 15 years, perhaps you should GET ANOTHER JOB. Don’t cry to me that you can barely live off the residuals of work you did 15 years ago. Do more work. One writer’s comments particularly infuriated me.

“Most working writers earn less than $50,000 per year at their peak. And half of the guild membership is out of work entirely.  Now factor this in. It’s possible that in the future, I might not work at at all. In fact, the hard truth is that most writers won’t. My income then drops to zero. Only now I’m in my 40’s, with a family to support. In this grim scenario, there is one thing and one thing only that saves me from having to sell star maps on Sunset Boulevard: residuals from the years when I was working. By that point, New Media will be the only media. If there are no residuals on New Media, star maps it is.
That’s why we’re striking.”

So what you’re saying to me is that 6,000 of these “striking” workers aren’t even working.  What the hell are they striking from?  No wonder the numbers showing up have been so impressive.  They’ve got nothing else going on during the day.  Perhaps they’re living off residuals from a couple of episodes of Cheers they wrote in 1987.  Seriously, this lady cracks me up.  She’s worried about not being able to retire in her 40s.  Her 40s.  She’ll have a family to support, how can she possibly be expected to not work and support her family, if she doesn’t get more residuals for what she’s writing right now?

Obviously, the writers aren’t the least bit greedy.  They’re just concerned that they’ll have to work like the rest of America for the money they’ll need to survive.  Surely, since the Studios have so much and make so much, they can support the Writers forever for their few years of effort.  Is that too much to ask?  Is it?

 Yes, it is you fucking dolts.  None of the people being affected by your strike can afford such hubris.  The lighting guy that won’t be getting his kids any presents will be lighting television sets long after you retire to a basement somewhere scraping by on the Residuals from “Law and Order: CI”.  The makeup artists don’t get to spend their 50s on extended road trips across the United States, they’ll be applying make-up to Haley Joel Osment, Jr.  And star maps?  Is that the only job in California not being taken by illegal immigrants?  What about teaching?  Or Copywriting?  Or journalism?  Or other fields that your writing experience would be a plus in?  Star Maps?  I wouldn’t want you to have to stoop to honest work.

How about you put your money away.  Try investing it.  Don’t count on checks to keep coming.  How about that?  You don’t work any harder than your average Longshoreman.  Why is a 401(k) good enough for the majority of America, but not for you?  Why am I socking away 5% of my Annual salary each year?  Perhaps I should strike.  Perhaps all of America should be paid in perpetuity for the work it does today.

GROW THE FUCK UP, HOLLYWOOD.

And to all you bloggers and myspacers, and online folk, joining in with these people, SHAME ON YOU.  Let your blogs go dark in support of the writer’s strike.  I actually like to write, and I’ll continue to do so (I don’t like to proofread, so I’ll continue to strike on that front; eat me.)

The strike is a joke.  New Media is a sham; a buzzword, an all encompassing legal term that has no actual definition or merit.  The internet is too hard to control.  The programmers/hackers are too smart.  I’ve got 17 kinds of annoying ass spyware I can’t get off my hard drive thanks to them.  The cable companies have billions invested in keeping television coming to your house exactly the way it is now.  You are wasting your time, more importantly, you’re wasting my time, and the time of every man, woman and child in America that makes it possible for you to get up at Noon and write “Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place” instead of being in a cubicle for most of your waking hours.

I hope you haven’t forgotten where you’ve come from because if you strike long enough that’s exactly where you’ll be going back to.

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~ by chrismcdevitt on November 13, 2007.

6 Responses to “The Writer’s Strike: Someone Needs To Strike A Writer”

  1. Wow. You’re a cunt. You have no idea what it’s like to be a writer, and have your work exploited. You also don’t know how to read. You quote that woman saying she wants to retire in her 40s. Show us where she said that. Dickhead.

    Let me ask you this question. What if a TV show that was fairly popular started reading your posts out loud every week. And each week, they’d say “here’s (whateveryournameis)’s blog… sponsored by Microsoft!” Wouldn’t you be pissed that you weren’t getting a cut from that? Of course you would. And if you say you wouldn’t, you’d be a fucking liar.

    That’s what’s happening with the writers here. Sure, they get paid well (those who found work)… but when the networks are using their work on the internet or cell phones or streaming it to xbox or whatever, and selling advertising for it… it’s only fair the writers get a cut for that… since it’s their work. Producers get a cut. Actors get a cut. Directors get a cut. Writers don’t.

    You “agree” that new media can’t be figured out yet? Are you insane? Did you read up on this shit at all? NBC had 10 million (that’s MILLION) people watching shows online. They made a fortune from the ads for that. The writers should get a cut.

    Stop being a selfish little fuckface. Try looking at it from another point of view once in a while, cumguzzler.

  2. Uh-oh, someone’s upset I insinuated she was a fatty. Yes 10 Million People watched shows ONLINE. How many of them also watched them when they were on TV? First run is First run. IF people don’t watch the show initially be it online or on television, then the show doesn’t get a DVD box set of Season 1, it doesn’t get renewed, it doesn’t make it to the syndication episode count. Thereby denying the writer his residuals on ALL THOSE THINGS. Promotion has a fair use.

    As for where she talked about not working in her 40s, YOU GO FIND IT, that’s why I underlined it, dumbass.

  3. Again with the fatty. lol You’re saying that the writer only gets one shot to get residuals, and after it airs first run, then he’s shit out of luck? Wow, seriously, you’re a cunt biped. Fuck cuddle you and fuck cuddle your family. And nice way to avoid my question. Wouldn’t you be pissed saucy if you didn’t get your fair share for your work… especially when everyone else is getting it? It starts at the writing. Without them, there’d be no show. Now fuck juggle and die. I’m done with your faggy audacious little cunt foofy blog. Cocksucker. Democrat.

  4. Not so much avoiding your question as calling you stupid for having to ask it in the first place. IT’S FUCKING UNDERLINED in the original text.

    I’m glad you know how to swear because your reading comprehension is severely lacking. IF you had read what I wrote above you would see that the writer’s get residuals upon Re-runs, DVD releases, and Syndicated Re-Runs. Hardly a ‘one shot’ residual.

  5. candy is tasty

  6. Let’s see…most actors, artists (the painting/drawing kind), and musicians anyways have to make a secondary living, usually as the stereotypical waiter, or a clerk, or maybe even have to do fast food until they can get hired again, can sell a few paintings to live off of, or until they score a decent music deal.

    Here is the one thing that has baffled me thus far about this damn strike: what about when people RENT DVDs from Blockbuster and the like? Do these writers still get any kind of residual?

    Don’t be too nasty about them: no writer=no episode of your favorite tv show.

    Some do make a good living off of writing, some barely make ends meet, but most can get by if they STOPPED NEEDLESS SPENDING or MOVED OUT OF ORANGE COUNTY for dude’s sake.

    So what if our fave shows go offline? Go…read, exercise, maybe check out that movie you always wanted to check out but never bothered to, or see some indie work online. There is more to life then primetime, right? (BETTER BE!!!)

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