I’m normally about as anti-union as they come (and I can go on at length as to my own negative experiences with unions, although in fairness I’ve only worked for one — They tried to steal my pension, went out of their way to reduce my benefits, and attempted to have a few other goodies clawed back. Best of all, I paid union dues to fund these efforts. Thanks guys!)
However, the studios have really gone too far this time, and I’m 100% behind the writer’s guild.
Why? Well, the short version is that the agreement the studios are proposing pays out zero royalties to writers for non-traditional medias. In other words, writers get paid royalties when their work is shown on broadcast TV, cable, satellite, when DVDs are sold, etc, but NOT when
- A project is declared unprofitable (The way Hollywood works, even Titanic was declared Not profitable — Almost nothing is actually profitable due to creative accounting tricks)
- No payments for internet video watching
- No payments for cellphone watching
- No payments for webisodes
- No payments for other media or distribution formats created in the future.
For those not keeping up, read the Writer’s Guild of America’s official position — Now obviously this is a biased viewpoint, but having read a substantial amount of information on both sides of the debate, it seems to be more or less reasonable.
So, even if it means we lose out on some kwality programming this season (or next, since the studios probably have enough scripts on hand to keep up more scripted dramas for a short time, although some of my favourite shows including The Daily Show and The Colbert Report will go off the air more or less immediately), in my opinion, it’s worth it.