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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Strike Info

Just wanted to throw out a few links to help you all keep updated.

Of course, you should all be following Craig's frequent updates. But in case you missed it, he also linked today to a new blog that is by a group of other writers who are involved more directly, and I recommend a look at United Hollywood.

Via Scribe LA, I bring you Variety's page with updated news. And the WGA's news page.

Another good blog for strike news is Deadline Hollywood, by Nikki Finke, a columnist for LA Weekly.

Since I know most of you, like me, are not Guild Members, you may be thinking, "why should I care?" I think the answer to this is manifold. Firstly, even if you aren't yet a member of the WGA, you hopefully will be someday, and what these contract negotiations accomplish or fail to will affect the conditions under which you will hopefully be paid in the future. Secondly, the attitudes of both the AMPTP and of the public in general during this negotiation are both an echo of, and a signal to the future of how screenwriters are treated and viewed overall. We often complain that screenwriters don't get the respect they deserve and have earned as the initial creators of most of the product that comes out of Hollywood. Well, that lack of respect affects us all, and when you all hopefully become working screenwriters in the industry, you will benefit from any respect that is earned by your predecessors.

Why else? If you work in the industry in any way, or even if you work in Los Angeles in general, a prolonged strike could have serious effects on the extended community, beyond just writers. I was not in Hollywood during the last strike, but from what I've been told, it was not pretty. I know that a decent amount of my reading work may dry up (though many producers are simply saying they will be looking more at books and manuscripts in the interim). If you are in the process of making any progress in your career, and may be moving towards the step of looking for an agent or manager, could a strike put things on delay in those areas? I don't know, but potentially. Plus, the length and intensity of any potential strike will also have an effect (though somewhat unpredictable, I think) on the tone of the spec market following the strike's end.

Knowledge, they say, is power. And even if you are not a WGA member currently, you need to stay educated and aware of what is happening if you have any hopes at all of ever being a working writer in Hollywood. Hey, that's just my opinion, but I think it is worth considering at the very least.

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Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Thanks for the post, funjoel. Sounds like the (potential) strike afects TV shows still filling the slate the most. VERY glad the WGA is fighting for writer's rights. I know I'd never cross their picket line. Hope this ends soon with a new lucrative agreement in the writers favor. Even if I'm never an accomplished (paid) writer, I'm all for writers already in the industry getting their fare share. Sometimes if you're not willing to walk off the job, people don't take your demands seriously and you get taken advantage of. There are times you have to stick up for yourself AND your fellow brethren at large.

Have visited the WGA website and begun to educate myself as to what the issues are. Once again thanks for the post, Funjoel.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

3:10 AM  
Blogger Glenn said...

my wife's in casting and if the strike lasts longer than a couple weeks, she's been told she'll lose her job. so it will definitely have more far-reaching effects than many folks realize.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Glenn -- there is no question it could have far-reaching effects. And that sucks. It is likely that any strike will have a negative impact on my work in the immediate term as well.

HOWEVER, two things are worth noting. The first is that, this is not to be blamed on the WGA entirely, and in fact I would say the fault lies largely with the AMPTP. They have already had a deal that is so overwhelmingly in their favor and have been inflexible, whereas the WGA's position has given some room. I don't need to rehash the details, as those other sites do it much more effectively, but I do honestly believe that the fault lies more with the producer than the writers.

Secondly (and this will be less of a comfort to the "other" workers who will be affected, such as your wife), the pain that any potential strike will cause will be offset, hopefully, by the gains that the WAG earns for its members. Any strike in any industry typically has an effect outside of that union's membership alone, and it sucks. But at the same time, writers have been treated poorly and unfairly for a long time, and this may be the only way to earn something close to what they deserve.

Like I said, that doesn't make it any easier. But I believe it to be the reality.

3:15 AM  

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