Friday, November 30, 2007


That's what it's all about, folks. Solidarity.

Stand firm and unite against the oppressive regimes who won't give us our well-deserved slice of the pie.

It doesn't matter if we don't really know what the pie is worth.

It also doesn't matter if, in the course of our protests, nobody else in the industry gets to work, either. And that includes folks who work on TV programs who are a lot less well-paid than the writers are, doesn't it?

How long are the janitors, assistants, latte-gofers, cameramen, set-builders, grips and gaffers (I must admit I don't even know what the last two do) going to have to remain out-of-work so that the WGA can secure an extra 10% or so in compensation?

It makes you wonder: How many people standing there on the picket lines are actually in support of the writers? If I'm a cameraman, for example -- whose work apparently would not entitle me to compensation in perpetuity -- and the writers go on strike, I can exert no force to resume my job except by standing next to the writers, right? Oh, sure, me and my camera-colleagues could protest the work stoppage, effectively starting a three-way strike; but what good would that really do?

Let's look one step further. Say I'm a writer, and I've got 6 or 7 mouths to feed. I need my job. Sure, I'd like to get paid for internet broadcasts too; but it pales in comparison to the importance of feeding the starving chicks back at the nest. As it is now, I can't cross the picket lines to write decidedly un-funny jokes for Jay Leno; because if I do, I'll be ostracized completely. So therefore, even though the money from internet broadcasts isn't all that important to me, I'm forced to join the lines instead of what's really important to me (i.e., survival).

I know. The studios are greedy. Much more greedy than the writers. I get it. We all do. It's impossible to argue otherwise.

But it seems to me that it'd be easier to negotiate from a position of power if the WGA simply said, "Give us the extra money or we'll go back to turning out stuff like Hope and Faith."



I am a prophet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Writers' Strike May Go Too Far -- Say It Ain't So!

I've just learned something that has shaken me to my very core. This type of world-shattering news comes along only once in a lifetime, and I now believe I will never be the same again.

The writers' strike may have an adverse effect on...

Wait for it...

Awards shows? GASP!

I've started wearing a black armband now, just in case this actually happens. I'm trying to find a suitable-colored lapel ribbon, but all the good ones are already taken. Maybe I'll just use white, and have somebody print the Bic logo on it for me.

To think that, this year, I may have to go without surfing past Hollywood's annual parades of nobody-really-cares! It's horrible. I haven't eaten in over 12 hours. Wait... I had a peppermint candy a couple of minutes ago, but it's only 11:00a.m. and I don't eat breakfast. But I promise, right here and now, that I absolutely refuse to have an extra taco with my lunch. Solidarity is important to me, you know.

If there's no awards shows this year, how will we regular people ever find out about the goodie bags? Or who's drunk on stage? Or which rushed-to-production anti-Iraq-war movie is going to get the thumbs-up from the Hollywood paragons of hypocritic virtue? Oh the humanity!

On a related note, we here at CreTIN are working furiously (by which I mean doing virtually nothing) to see that this strike ends quickly. To show support for our fellow Knights-of-the-Word-Processor, we have been refusing to write anything. Anything at all.

As a matter of fact, I didn't even write this post.

I ain't no scab.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pencil-Pushers, Unite!

I'd like to say a little something about the current television & film writers' strike.

Upon hearing the writers would be striking to protest their lack-of-compensation for shows offered on the internet, my initial reaction was, "Of course they should be paid for that. They did the work, they should be fairly compensated."

I was going to leave it at that. Really. I promise...

But the media wouldn't leave it alone, so I actually thought about it some more.

And I started to switch sides a bit. Now, it's no secret that I'm generally anti-union. I get a little hot-under-the-collar every time I pay $500 for an airplane ticket, knowing that I'd be paying markedly less if the airline didn't have to pay a bunch of guys $25/hour to lose my bags.

Even so, I have family who are in the entertainment industry, and they've done film and television work before. They are intensely pro-union (especially, of course, SAG & WGA). I look at the time and effort they put into their jobs, and I'm astounded that someone could so devote themselves to a craft that, Cruise/Hanks etc. aside, is not terribly well-paid. And that's just the actors. So, when it comes to a situation like this, I firmly stamp down on my anti-union bent, and try to look at it in an unbiased manner.

And where my head keeps meeting the wall is: These folks are creating a product. Sure, it's not really tangible, and it's pretty much nothing until someone else runs with it, but it is a product. Scripts can be bought and sold just as any other tangible thing.

So should, for example, manufacturers of movie seats get a portion of ticket sales? They spent their time, effort, and money creating those foldy beauties, so that we might enjoy a movie now and again, right? Those movie seats are arguably as integral to the movie business as the movies themselves, right? I mean, c'mon, nobody's going to pay box-office price if they've got to stand up while they watch Brokeback Mountain, are they?

Of course they wouldn't. But why should we scoff at a movie-seat-manufacturers-union? This argument is about the right to do work, and keep getting paid for it loooooooong after that work is done.

Nobody else gets to do that. If I set up a corporation for someone -- drafting articles, bylaws, and all the other documents as well as providing education to the person in control -- should I get to demand a portion of all proceeds from that corporation, in perpetuity?...


On third thought, I've re-switched sides. I'm all for the writers again. I'm going to form a Creative Thought Incorporation Network (CreTIN, for short), to unite all attorneys who set up businesses so that we may stand in solidarity with our ink-stained brothers and sisters. We'll demand equal rights for all keyboard-jockeys, no matter where they roam!

Pencil-Pushers, Unite!