Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Entrepreneurs join writers strike

Long after other unions like the Teamsters have shown their support for the WGA, the Entrepreneurs Guild of America has finally joined the strike.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Freelance workers write clever picket signs, get what they want in no time

So a few freelancers at MTV got pissed at a benefits cut, wrote some clever picket sign, and got Sumner Redstone to cave in about 5 minutes.

Why did MTV give in to their demands? Obviously after seeing those witty picket signs, Redstone figured we could replace the WGA writers with freelances.

Clever bastard.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bloggers strike too

A nice sign of solidarity:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

WSJ: Everyone's fucked, Who'll save us?

The Wall Street Journal isn't optimistic about this, saying the strike could last well into '08 "Barring the emergence of a new mediator who can rescue the situation".

Ideas for who could do such a historic act? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Photo by OkayCity.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The pen is mightier than the picket: Fulfill Alec Baldwin's wildest fantasy

The sick minds at News Groper who brought us Katie Couric's and Osama bin Laden's views on the writers strike are now allowing anyone to submit a fake blog entry.

Is this an answer to Alec Baldwin's calling for a revolutionary new system by which writers can get their work on the Internet, defaming the rich and powerful? Only time will tell.

If you do write a fake blog post, let us know so we can link to it.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Producers Carol

Writers Ken Levine is just handing the scripts out for free on his blog, most recently an adaptation of The Christmas Carol titled St. Nick Counter. Enjoy.

Alec Baldwin attempts writing a second time

Alec Baldwin, having recently discovered and wrote about revolutionary MP3 technology, now sets his aim on user generated content suggesting:
I want the WGA to set up a website and on that website we can all post stories about every no-talent, idiotic, amoral producer and executive we have ever dealt with.
Our friends at Fishbowl LA chime in:
This would be a really great idea, had it not come from the producer of The Devil and Daniel Webster, one of the biggest train wrecks of all time.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What's a $120 million between friends?

The Financial Times reports that the TV studios are "in line to generate $120,000,000 of revenues in 2007 from free web streaming of their content":
The networks have been reluctant to acknowledge the size of their streaming businesses, partly because online video advertising has become a sticking point in pay negotiations with the writers, who have been on strike for almost a month.

However, advertisers are flocking to web streaming. “Based on what we’re paying for spots across the four networks, we estimate this market to be worth more than $120m,” said Tracey Scheppach, senior vice-president and video innovation director for Starcom, a leading media buying agency.
Disclaimer: The attached image has little to do with this story.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Katie Couric complains about the writers strike

It was only a matter of time until the talent turned on the strikers. Katie Couric just penned an article on the "ungrateful" writers:
First they came for Ellen DeGeneres, and I said nothing. Then they came for the non-writing staff of The Office, and I said nothing. Now, they’ve come for me, and no one is left to stand up for my rights as a journalist.

Because of my lousy writer staff, which hasn’t turned in a good script since I moved to CBS (I mean, honestly, how many times must our show resort to the old “The President says we’ve turned a corner in Iraq” plot twist?), the DNC chose to cancel a televised debate I was to moderate on December 10th.

Profile of the Writers Guild of America president

Crain's has a nice profile of Michael Winship, the president of Writers Guild of America, East. Now we know where he got his chops:
In 2004, the two of them won a Writers Guild Award in the commentary category for “Wall Street Scoundrels,” an episode of Now With Bill Moyers.

Lawyer and WGA: Strikers can't blog (for TV)

Thinking about blogger for your TV show? Think twice, says Jonathan Handel in his blog that looks suspiciously like ours:
So, my analysis is that the strike rules do indeed prohibit blogging for struck-company-owned TV show blogs. It's odd to think that blog entries - unadorned text - constitute "programming." But so it goes in the crazy world where new technology collides with an abstruse, 600-page Guild agreement.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Australian connection

Thanks to an Australian reader for sending in this photo and caption:
Australian Writers’ Guild members Terry Antoniak [L] and David Franken [R] at the Brisbane, Australia, AWG demo on the International Day Of Solidarity, 26 November 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

"The first Internet strike"

The LA Times quoted a WGA writer saying that this is "the first Internet strike." It covers the essential debate: Is writing and creating entertainment to mock the AMPTP breaking strike rules, or does it help the strike?

LAT argues the latter:
But these are writers, aren't they? If they're going to protest, they should use the best weapon they've got: their pens. That instrument would seem to be an awful lot mightier than the picket sign -- which, as a symbol of solidarity in the 21st century, has begun to look positively quaint.

Friday, November 16, 2007

This strike could go on for a while...

So we've added a headline animator that updates every season automatically.

Writers Strike

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Does this violate WGA regulations?

via Nikki

While Daily Show away, CNN will play

While The Daily Show writers are kicking The Colbert Report writers ass by 67% to 33% in this morning's poll (vote now), perhaps all have something to worry about. It seems is pushing some seemingly parody news from the AP. The strike should have everyone worried...

Who gets ad dollars?

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have struggled for many hours to produce an open letter that didn't sound like a cease and desist order without the benefit of writers, but they've finally succeeded.

Ad Age characterized the letter:
[Compared to pre-strike] Dispatches from a war room.

The lengthy ad copy in today's Los Angeles Times and New York Times reads as if composed in a Zen tea garden.
The AMPTP's unsigned letter said:
The AMPTP has offered to pay writers a percentage of the revenues the producer receives from licensing streamed content on the Internet. However, the Writers Guild is asking that writers get a percentage of what the Internet site owners receive in advertising revenues connected with the streaming content, even if producers are getting none of that money themselves.

Simply put, what the Writers Guild is asking for has no precedent. No labor agreement in history has given writers, actors or directors a portion of advertising dollars. There is no way that this change can be deemed reasonable.

We believe common ground can be found once reasonable people take the time to understand the issues. We hope this letter can help move us all closer to that goal.
The WGAw has a point-for-point response, but the AMPTP raises an interesting point: should there be an ad rev share?

Companies like Google, Yahoo, soon YouTube,, MetaCafe and many others offer rev shares of ad dollars to content creators and make lots of money. (Don't let the writers at Silicon Alley Insider scare you off.) Should the AMPTP offer an ad rev share just to keep the geeks in Silicon Valley from eating their lunch, even if not to appease the union?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Poll: Daily Show Strikers vs. Colbert Report Strikers

The writing staffs of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have always had a rivalry. Now they've gone head-to-head with viral web video (watch: The Daily Show and The Colbert Report), united against a common enemy, but still with a bit of one-up-manship. Who's done the best job? Vote to decide.

Sarah Silverman needs her writers back

Like so many other struggling actors, Sarah Silverman could barely write her picket sign, much less add any wit to it. Apparently she offered the dude who wrote the "Hitler Hated Artists Too" sign a hot meal, shelter and $5 to make her a sign, but he refused citing WGA regulations.

Photo by k4kafka

The Daily Show Without Jon Stewart

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Writers can edit video too

Some writers have figured out you can make a strong point without much writing. Good thing or bad thing?

Bloggers tell TV and movie writers not to compete with them, pretty please

Michael Learmonth, who quit his day job at Variety to work at blog startup Silicon Alley Insider, doesn't want competition from WGA striking writers. He offers some fuzzy math to scare 'em off:
Entry-level jobs for unionized TV writers start at $70,000 for a 6-month TV season. What does that translate to in the blog world?

Let's make some assumptions:
• You work by yourself, and you're just writing compelling stuff -- no audio, no video, and no other labor costs (we're going to assume you keep your WGA health insurance for the near future).
• You use a network like Federated Media to sell your banner ads. FM generally takes a 40% cut of each ad sold.
• You have a successful, good-looking site that advertisers want to be on, so they're willing to pay you an average of $6 for each 1,000 page views you generate - this is roughly what Nick Denton's Gawker network can command.
• You sell two ads per page at that $6 cpm.

That's $12 for each 1,000 page views, less a 40% comission. At that rate, you'd need to generate 9.75 million page views to match your TV salary.
The math works out technically, though he left an "m" out of commission (Michael, you should write for TV, no one minds misspellings in scripts). But his comparison is quite incomplete.

Here's what Michael left out:
  • TV writers, even great ones, often have to go long stretches without a gig as shows and seasons don't go on forever. Blogs don't have seasons.
  • A blogger with 1.63 million pageviews per month as in his example would be worth a sizable amount of money to an acquirer, especially if its on a hot topic. At a miserable 3x revenue (what MediaBistro got), you'd be sitting on a $420,000 asset. You can sell a blog, but you can't sell a TV writing gig.
  • Many bloggers with that audience size have discovered other types of revenue streams such as books, conferences and licensing their brand.
  • If someone's a talented TV writer and has a network of talented creative folks, why wouldn't they leverage their success into video which commands much higher CPMs?
Bottom line is it would take a very successful blog to equal the value of a nice TV writing gig, but no where near as high as Michael's estimate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gawker calls WGA strikers unfunny monkeys

If Gawker writers wanted more money from their CEO Nick Denton, could they write a funny episode of Cheers in protest?

Gawker expects nothing short of hilarity in print writing from TV and screen writers:
Now that they're on strike, it seems like screenwriters are busier and more productive than ever. But left to their own devices, it turns out that they are a distinctly unfunny bunch. Put a bunch of 'em in a room and eventually they'll write Six Feet Under, but in the end they're just monkeys—monkeys writing for the LA Times and New York mag and making their own blogs [link to yours truly] and getting all up on the HuffPo.
Now, we've acknowledged the shortcomings of many writings of striking writers and have called for better. It's getting better.

We'd like to ask the Gawker writers to have faith. The WGA will support you when you protest for a less depressing office (photo top right).

A match made in heaven

So far the writers strikers have been very effective at penning witty "why we strike" op-ed pieces in pretty much every single major news outlet. But intimidate on the picket line? They couldn't even scare off Ellen DeGeneres from crossing the picket line. Most writers can't act or do cinematography, so what makes anyone think they can strike?

On the other hand, the stage hands striking have not written a cute article for The New Yorker or helped Maureen Dowd make her column funny. But they've just shut Broadway down because they know how to run a picket line.

The solution is obvious: Merge the Writers Guild of America and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees to the International Alliance of American Guilds of Theatrical Stage Employees and Writers (IAAGTSEW). Let the writers do the PR for both strikes and let the stage hands do all the picketing.

Thanks to yayaempress for photo. I wouldn't cross that line!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Ninja advises writers on effective striking

Ask a Ninja advises writers that "the 'Writers Guild' does not sound like a very intimidating foe."

paidContent: "See The Wolf"

Online publishing industry blog paidContent sends a chillingly cryptic message to TV/screen writers today. They quote News Corp's MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe benignly saying "I am certainly not an expert in that, but I think it is bad for everyone. It could cripple the economy in Los Angeles." But in the photo they use (see right), his name tag says "C. de WOLFE".

Read that aloud: "C. de WOLFE"

(His last name, DeWolfe, doesn't have a space in it. It must have been added via Photoshop for emphasis.)

Do writers have much to fear from the likes of DeWolfe? Don't say paidContent didn't warn you.

Osama bin Laden gives advice to writers

Just when you thought you'd heard every notable person give their take on the WGA strike, Osama bin Laden decides to lend his unsolicited advice to writers:
The studios that the writers are striking against are comprised almost entirely of Jews (and, in the case of the few non-Jews left in Hollywood, Zionist atheist Jew-lackeys), And the writers are all homosexuals or the sort of tedious women who enjoy cavorting with homosexuals.

Ultimately, I decided that I hate the Jews more than the Gays, so I offer this advice to the striking writers:

Perhaps you should consider each strapping between 10 and 20 pounds of homemade pipe bombs to a vest beneath your clothing. Then, split up between public buses, pizza places, and nightclubs in the Los Angeles area, and arbitrarily blow yourselves up.
Read the rest on Osama's blog (not to be confused with Obama, who also supports the writers, albeit for different reasons).

Tables turned: MediaBistro interviews humble author of this blog

Mayrav Saar of MediaBistro's FishbowlLA has published an interview with your favorite guide to all things strike. She called this blog a "sparse, funny read that has yet to turn black and ugly." Please be patient.

WGA Demands: An end to the lying... j/k

It seems the WGA Strike is a goldmine for print publications as TV and screenwriters take to writing residual-free articles to express their frustration at not getting residuals. Former Simpsons and Looney Tunes writer Larry Doyle made several demands in The New Yorker:
OUR DEMANDS: An end to the lying. Just kidding. We recognize that, without lying, Management would be unable to exhale and would thus perish.

A renunciation of droit du seigneur. As it stands, studio executives, from chairman down to associate producer, have the right to deflower us on our wedding night, or any other night or time of day of their choosing. We believe that this change can be written into our contracts without affecting a similar agreement they have with the Screen Actors Guild.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Filling in for Ellen DeGeneres at the picket line

Writers were not able to figure out how to make Ellen join them on the picket line. But who needs SAGers anyhow? Curt Toumanian explains how he trained a squirrel to protest for the WGA:
Well it wasn't easy. First I had to print and make all these little signs and glue them (to the little sticks, not the squirrels). Anyhow, that wasn't so hard, it was getting these squirrels to agree to do this for non-union pay and no residuals. Now that was the hard part!

Writers vs. below the line employees

The LA Times set off a debate by publishing an e-mail from recently laid-off "The Office" key grip, Dale Alexander. Clarification: The photo to the right is not of Dale nor of anyone in his crew. Apologies for any confusion.

Here are some highlights from Dale's e-mail:
Our show was shut down and we were all laid off this week. I've been watching the news since the WGA strike was announced and I have yet to see any coverage dedicated to the effect that this strike will have on the below the line employees.

I respect the WGA's position. They probably do deserve a larger percentage of profit participation, but a lengthy strike will affect more than just the writers and studios. On my show we had 14 writers... All 102 of us are now out of work.

During the 1988 WGA strike many of my friends lost their homes, cars and even spouses.

Everyone should be paid their fair share, but does it have to be at the expense of the other 90% of the crewmembers. Nobody ever recoups from a strike, lost wages are just that, lost.
A commenter going by "Fireboy" responds:

What do grips do, anyway? Can't anybody do that? What's the big deal?

I'm certain that those words spoken in Mr. Alexander's presence would draw a fierce reaction. And yet, that's the attitude he is asking writers to take from the multinational corporations that are behind this trouble. He should check this weeks comments by Bob Iger, Sumner Redstone and Peter Chernin. They insist that they are all in a terrific position to weather this strike, because, really - what writers do isn't that important to our business. This attitude will make its way to Mr. Alexander sooner rather than later. This is about union busting Mr. Alexander and for all the damage you are worried about now, it will be nothing compared to what you will suffer when these men come to you and ask that your health benefits be rolled back. It's interesting that Mr. Alexander, who depends on the talents of writers and actors to provide him with employment would be asking them to lay down and just be quiet. We are on the front line fighting for you, Mr. Alexander, whether you want to deal with that or not.

Commenter "Editdroid" responds:
As an Editor on an hour long drama who is about to be laid off, I take great exception to the tenor of Fireboy's posting. None of us below-the-liners are begrudging the writer's their due. We are however a bit peeved about the writer's attitudes towards those of us who stand to lose the most while gaining nothing in return. I've heard the writers like Fireboy say that they are on the front line fighting for us, but the truth of the matter is only writers,actors and directors benefit from residuals, the main contention of the strike. It's very easy for Fireboy to say that the studios are going to come after our benefits next, but the truth of the matter is that after this strike is settled what the studios are going to do is to try to take money away from those below the line to pay for the costs of the strike and for whatever gains the writers get. What I've not heard from any of the writers or showrunners is a simple " We're sorry you crew members are going to have to suffer during this strike, it's something that 's really important for us, and we'll have your backs when this is settled." So Fireboy it may make your feel good to say the writer's are fightiing for all of us but really it's just a cop out to assuage your guilt over the true hardships you are causing the many crewmembers who work hard to make your words come to life.

Photo by amishjim

Simpsons parody of strike

Simpsons writer Kev Levine (who we recently interviewed) has written a script about how Burns would handle the strike. The only questions that remains is if FOX will produce this, post it on the Internet, and have the last laugh.

SMITHERS: You rang for me, sir?

BURNS: Smithers! What is that infernal racket outside?

SMITHERS: There’s a big rally. The writers are striking.

BURNS: Writers?! I have writers?

SMITHERS: Yes, sir. Remember you bought that network and studio so you’d get invited to David Geffen’s Passover Seder?

BURNS: I thought there’d be girls!

SMITHERS: I’m working on that Playboy Mansion invite but so far they’ll only let you go during the day.

BURNS: Drat! And now I’m stuck entertaining the worthless masses?

SMITHERS: If it’s any consolation, sir, no one is watching since you made Ann Coulter your nightly news anchor.

Read the rest at Ken's blog.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wikipedia writers' strike

Of course Wikipedia already has extensive coverage of the WGA Strike (it's a writers strike, after all). What are the Wikipedians, the largest collection of unpaid writers ever, saying about the strike on the wiki discussion page?

Wikipedia Writer's Strike
Because we should be payed too. 18:13

Ten cents, please. :-P --Father Goose

With quality writing like that, I think we should settle quickly for whatever we can get. (-: DirectRevelation

Tar and feather the producers
Am I just being overly neutral here, or does the article seem to be a tad less than neutral here? We are hearing the point of view - in depth - fromthe writers, but not that from the producers. I am not suggesting that their arguments aren't valid, but this is supposed to be a neutral encyclopedia. perhaps a stab at neutrality might be something we should be working a bit harder at. - Arcayne

I think that is somewhat unrealistic if the strike draws on. 12,000 disgruntled writers have just effectively become unemployed. Unless movie executives suddenly find a lot of spare time, it's sort of unavoidable. Especially if you remember that the writers are, well, writers. Wait until the strike is long over, and the people lose interest. Then the real work can begin.--

heh. Maybe it's because the neutral view is that the producers are wrong. Once the strike is "long over", as the above user says, we'll be able to see that all the more clearer. --

Who are most hardcore strikers: West Coast or East Coast writers?

Even the solidarity generated by a strike can't quell all East Coast, West Coast anxieties in the entertainment business. While pre-strike one might have bickered over who writes better quality material, we now must ask who's the better striker. An anonymous NYU student has had it with West Coast weather wining:
The high today was supposedly in the mid-forties, but the temperature sign on the top of the CNN building ticked back and forth between 38 and 42 degrees for most of the day.

Which means, if I see one more post from an LA-based striker complaining about being chilly, and then posting pictures of themselves strolling around under palm trees while wearing t-shirts and shorts? I will be forced to throw a hissy-fit, or maybe bring a space-heater to tomorrow's picket.

"It's all about the Internet. Maybe you've heard of it."

Head Daily Show writer Steve Bodow argues the writers strike is not absurd:
Is it absurd to see writers picketing? Perhaps. We realize things could be worse. We could be lawyers, and this could be Pakistan, and then we'd have to get dressed up in those black suits and throw rocks. But picketing writers are less absurd than writers not getting a cent for their work.

We create something people value. It is our livelihood. We take it seriously. It's being threatened. And we're going to fight until we get what we need.

Normally I'd end with a joke, but sorry - I'm on strike.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Writers encouraging prank calls? Phone numbers of network and studio heads posted on YouTube

And you thought they hated YouTube before. How long before the DMCA take down notice?

Website of the Day

Cynopsis has just named Writers Strike a Website of the Day. While we revel in this consumer generated media glory, please read through our posts and send in your stories.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Exclusive interview with Ken Levine

Ken Levine is an Emmy-winning writer, director and producer who has worked on M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, Wings, Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker, Dharma & Greg, and has co-created his own series including Almost Perfect. You can also find him blogging the strike at By Ken Levine.

He's agreed to an interview with Writers Strike:

WS: What are your feelings on how the media has covered the strike?

KL: Considering the people the writers are striking against control the media I don't feel we're getting a fair shake. We're often portrayed as a union of millionaires and it just isn't so.

WS: What's the best strike chant you've heard?

KL: "We're the writers. The mighty mighty writers." Somehow that hasn't instilled the fear into the producers that we would have liked.

WS: A couple days of striking is fun. When does it start to hurt?

KL: The picketing? Mile eight. Seriously, I worry that being asked to do too much picketing is going to burn the membership out. We need to be judicious after the first week in just how often and for what length of time we plan these demonstrations.

WS: Which show stoppage has you the most upset?

KL: The shows that haven't stopped have me the most upset.

WS: Actors have shown overwhelming support for writers. Were you expecting that?

KL: Not to this extent. But let's wait. Let's see how many of the actors are still joining us on the line in a month when the novelty wears off and the camera crews have moved on to some bus plunge.

Tim Carvell: It does take exceptionally large balls to do that

In an interview with NewTeeVee, The Daily Show's Tim Carvell speculated on the balls of the producers:
NewTeeVee: The producers negotiated for a discount on home video residuals because it was an unproven technology. Do you feel there’s a certain hubris that they’d go to that well again after so many years?

Carvell: It does take exceptionally large balls to do that — like the size that I’d imagine they’d have to be pushed around in a wheelbarrow — to try and make that exact same argument given that we’ve spent the last 20-odd years trying to sort of undo the damage that deal did.

Battlestar Galactica strikes again

The makes of Battlestar Galactica are merciless in their pursuit of the studio/networks menace. In our last episode, Jane Espenson, (Co-Executive Producer of BSG) led a crack team into action. Now, the man himself, BSG co-creator and producer Ron Moore is in on the action. Moore's one of the most Internet-savvy producers in Hollywood, being one of the first to podcast and webisode (is that a verb?).

He said to IGN regarding his negotiations to allow webisodes:
We got in this long, protracted thing and eventually they agreed to pay everybody involved. But then, as we got deeper into it, they said "But we're not going to put any credits on it. You're not going to be credited for this work. And we can use it later, in any fashion that we want." At which point I said "Well, then we're done and I'm not going to deliver the webisodes to you." And they came and they took them out of the editing room anyway -- which they have every right to do. They own the material -- But it was that experience that really showed me that that's what this is all about. If there's not an agreement with the studios about the internet, that specifically says "This is covered material, you have to pay us a formula - whatever that formula turns out to be - for use of the material and how it's all done," the studios will simply rape and pillage.

Can Congress fill in for writers?

Marvin Kitman reminds us that while the WGA strike keeps Jon Setwart and Steven Colbert off the air, we need to look no further than the US Congress good material:
I know this may sound like a wild idea. But Will Rogers used to do it every night on the Broadway stage. All he had to do, he explained, was read in the papers what they did in Congress that day and he'd have the audience in stitches. Of course, he also did lariat tricks.

President of the Film Actors Guild finally speaks out

Anyone who's seen Team America remembers that Alec Baldwin is the president of the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.), a more aggressive guild than the SAG. He's now penned a post for HuffPo titled It's the Studio's Fault.

He describes the technological changes facing the film and TV industry:
Cable TV and then satellite, VHS and then DVD and then DVR, and now MP3.

(Emphasis added by Writers Strike.)

When was the last time you choose to watch a movie or TV show using MP3 (a file format developed over a decade ago that doesn't support video, which incidentally predated the DVR)?

The Film Actors Guild needs to have an election.

Wall Street Journal kinda gets it

Kara Swisher writes that while the studios have not been able to figure out to make money on online content, figuring out how to pay writers has eluded them even more:

As John Aboud, who is a strike captain for WGA, noted in a comment to my post last week on the strike, that even with all the money Hollywood has made, most writers are not well paid (although those at the tippy-top are copiously compensated).

“Median earnings of all members of the Writers Guild is only $5,000,” he wrote. “How can that be? About 48% of members do not earn any money from writing in a given year. Of those writers who do make some money, one quarter earn less than $37,700 a year.”


Still, he is entirely correct when he also added: “The distribution of entertainment over the Internet is not the future, it’s NOW. If the producers succeed in gutting our right to compensation for digital reuse and delivery, that is income that’s gone forever.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Eisner, insanity, and profit

Michael Eisner calls the writers strike "insanity" because the networks and studios aren't making money online -- "They made deals with Steve Jobs, who takes them to the cleaners"

If anyone knows about taking it up the backside from Jobs, it's Michael Eisner. Remember, he pretty much got canned from Disney for not being able to work with Jobso when he owned Pixar. But in all seriousness, how many videos do you watch on iTunes vs. through your web browser?

At the end of the day, Eisner's argument hinges on the industry's inability to make money on their online video. Or more specifically, on his inability to make money on online video. Vuguru, Eisner's own company, launched a serial mystery called Prom Queen that "didn't make money."

Has anyone ever watch Prom Queen? He certainly didn't sink his bottom line on writers. Here's the first episode, sporting one line of dialog ("oh god"):

Everyone seems to accept the fact that you can't make big bucks selling ad space on the internet.

Bull shit.

Put that coffee down.

Ad sales people have become pussies. Gone are the days when they were willing to go door to door collecting checks -- from little old ladies if need be! Has the door been slammed in your face 100 times? See what happens on the 101st time, or go home to your mother. Now ad sales folks are just responding to RFPs, dressing slutty, and trying to sell the advertisers what they've always wanted (TV ads), begging them to buy a couple online ads at the end of the sale.

If there's one thing advertisers don't know, it's what they want. That's what ad sales folks are for: to sell them what they really need. What do they need? Ads on the web, damnit (in case you hadn't heard that's where the young folks are spending a bunch of their time lately).

Perhaps the networks should strike against Madison Ave: No more upfront ad buys until you move at least 25% of your ad spend online.

If the WGA strike forces the networks grow some balls and sell ads online for a decent rate, it'll be good for the writers, the networks, and even the advertisers.

Is The Office strike real?

A lot of people think this YouTube video of the writers from The Office striking is real documentary. Of course, it's just great fiction writing and acting. In fact, the mark of a great script is when you don't think there is a script.

Best line: "I encouraged the company to send their lawyers in to write our episodes..."

Sumner Redstone’s made of gold

The first decent chant comes to us from Charlie's Angels writer John August:

I don’t know but I been told,
Sumner Redstone’s made of gold.
Makes his money off our sweat,
Won’t pay us for internet.

I don’t know but some folk say,
Paramount is late to pay.
Why we marching at this gate?
We got screwed in ‘88.

Show some respect

It's too bad MRISAD (via Defamer) doesn't understand that striking means not doing any work.

Your help needed on the virtual picket line

Yesterday I kid that some of the slogans on the picket were so bad (e.g. "People need to remember that writers write this stuff") that it must have been written by the Screen Actors Guild.

It turns out SAG member Jamie Lee Curtis has actually thrown down the gauntlet:
That's the best these writers can come up with?

We can't let this stand. Please keep sending your stories, slogans, and ideas to writerspicket [at] gmail [dot] com.

Many hugs and kisses to print writers at Mediabistro, who just labeled Writers Strike as "Our New Favorite Blog".

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Writers Guild of America needs tighter writing

Clarence Darrow once said:
With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men.
Lots of great nuggets in this video from the WGA West. One of the opening quotes from WGAer Andy Gellis is:
People need to remember that writers write this stuff.
Folks, this strike doesn't mean you can't write some good material for your own anti-networks YouTube videos. It sounds like that line was written by a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Ron Mwangaguhunga: Join our quest

Ron Mwangaguhunga of FishbowNY is a man driven by two forces. His dark side is trying to out me and envies TV writers. However, I know his soul has not been completely consumed.

Ron, don't be envious of TV folks. Join our quest to liberate media. Stop blogging and picket Mediabistro. If your blog posts makes it to DVD, Laurel Touby and her new overlords at Jupitermedia Corporation will not pay you a cent.

Battlestar Galactica writers strategically positioned for strike

Follow the exciting adventures of Jane Espenson, the Commander Co-Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica as she attacks the Cylons studios:

I am freshly returned from the picket line. They have put our "team" of Battlestar writers at a secondary, but strategically important Universal side gate, primarily an entrance to the theme park but also used by productions. Even there, hidden and isolated, I was delighted to be joined by a number of fans and gentle blog readers who found me and then carried signs and endured my foot-sore company for the duration! Thank you! And, as for the rest of you, I would love to meet more of you during future mornings.

All this has happened before. All this will happen again. Just watch BSG Episode Number 54 to see how the strike ends.

What will wrestlers do without writers?

Via Hoffmania

Not a pretty union (but a funny one)

Veteran TV writer (and baseball announcer) Ken Levine shares his notes on the strike:
Face it, we’re not a pretty union. We'll never be mistaken for SAG.

At one point I was walking with Jim Brooks and Allan Burns (two of my absolute IDOLS) and a reporter approached Jim (pictured left). Once she confirmed he was involved with THE SIMPSONS she asked this multi Oscar and Emmy winner “are you also a writer?”

Meanwhile, another SIMPSONS scribe, Mike Scully was marching… on crutches. There's got to be some WGA award he can win for that, right?

There was a union guy with a megaphone trying to rally the troops. We’re not used to that. He tried to lead us all in a rousing chant of “We are the writers, the mighty mighty writers!” and the only reaction he got was snickering. Note to anyone with a megaphone: We’re just not a real rah rah bunch.

It was fun to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen in awhile (i.e. the last strike).

You also see a lot of people on the line you haven’t seen in awhile and can’t remember who they are or how you know them. Overheard a LOT: “Hey, man/babe/dude/guy, how are ya? You’re looking great.”

Also overheard every six seconds: “What WERE you working on?”

Unfortunately, you also see every writer who ever fucked you over in your career, got the job you coveted, beat you in an arbitration, stole your girl, or beaned you in an industry softball game. And you pass by them again...and again...and again...and again...

Tina Fey on and in the strike

Good thing for Comedy Central that their bloggers aren't in the WGA. They could always just make money on the web by covering the strike.

Picketer struck by car!

John Ridley writes in HuffPo:
Over at Sunset Gower studios things were decidedly more tragic with one picketer being struck by a car. Apparently the individual is okay, but not a good way to start the writers' strike.

Is Curb Your Enthusiasm fucked too? (And are writers still necessary?)

Just ask Ted Danson.

Is Curb entirely ad libbed?

It seems to me the show is almost entirely ad-libbed. Well, turns out it is, kind of. He says the writers (and Larry) develop an outline for a scene-- ("I have to ask you out to dinner but this is the problem...") and then they ad lib the scene. Then they ad lib it again. And then again. And then they take the best parts of the ad libbing and actually start doing the scene the way they want it.

So by the final take, Danson says he's "back to being an actor." Meaning, he's back to working off a script, albeit a script they formed on the spot in previous takes. He says it's some of the most fun he's ever had... just don't tell Larry.

Caption contest: What does it say on the other side of this sign?

Cheers gregorcorp

Where's Kurt Vonnegut when you need him?

From The Happy Robot

Strike drives web video folks to create

Watch out if these fuckers are right, zefrank's made his first video in years because of it (or because of Musharraf, you decide):

Propoganda writers strike too

Heros of the Writers Strike

Strike! calls the writers strike "ill-timed". Fuck them. Let's see what can come out of this.