Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recession talk to be used to screw writers?

While it's common knowledge among economists that you don't know if you're in a recession until afterwards, Jeff Zucker has managed to figure out with 100% certainty that we're in one according to the NY Times (contradicting his boss at GE):
The decision to eliminate most pilots was made as the company looked for ways to cut costs in response to the Hollywood writers’ strike and the slowdown in the economy, Mr. Zucker said. “It’s clear we are in a recession in the United States, and we’re going to have to manage our business accordingly,” he said.
Will the media moguls hype up recession fears to scare writers into capitulation?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Is WGA Director David J. Young the right man for the job?

The New York Times article Writers’ Strike Tests the Mettle of 2 Outsiders gives some interesting not-much-talked-about background on WGA West Executive Director David J. Young that leaves us asking Guess? what happen to the Union of Needle Trades?
Mr. Young, who declined to be interviewed for this article, was best known as a principal player behind a hard-fought attempt in the mid-1990s by the Union of Needle Trades, Industrial and Textile Employees to organize workers who were making clothes for Guess? Inc. That drive failed when Guess? simply moved most of its work out of the country.
WTF? Scary stuff.

There are two ways this could go:
  1. Young's Russian roulette clicking background will get the AMPTP to give the WGA a good deal, maybe better than those wimpy directors (writers are harder to source from the third world than needle workers, right?)
  2. In a "Who has a bigger dick?"-style competition, the media moguls let the strike continue while finding other ways to make money, and all the while Young will be collecting his WGA paycheck and declining interviews
Your thoughts?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Auteur theory in action: Directors try to steal the spotlight

Quoting Wikipedia, the "auteur theory holds that a director's films reflect that director's personal creative vision, as if they were the primary 'auteur' (the French word for 'author')."

By using rumors that the Director's Guild of America is near a deal with the AMPTP, the directors have managed to steal the spotlight from the real authors (a.k.a. writers) again.

To get inside their heads, try to answer Rush Hour 2-director Brett Ratner's question: Tell me again why we need writers?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Read what's not being written

Jonathan Green & Gabe Miller tipped us off to a very cool site they started called What Aren't You Writing? with pitches for pilots that aren't being written due to the strike.

Here are some gems:

"Women's Accounting Club"

Four very different female accountants work together to solve accounting mysteries, and in the process boost their emotional bottom lines.

...not written by Sheryl Zohn
"Jeff Did It"

A crime show about Jeff, Meg, and Lt. Spizer: a rag-tag team of NY detectives who are in charge of solving the city's most gruesome murders. The kicker is, Jeff did it. Jeff always does it. But since he's good looking, funny, and the gang has so much fun together at lunches no one ever figures it out.

...not written by Ali Waller
"Writers' Block"

An entire neighborhood is filled with writers who learn to overcome their writer's block by writing about each other and their struggles to write.

...not written by Sheryl Zohn

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Help from the Couch Potato Guild -- e-mail network heads

Sheryl, a TV fan, writes in with the message below to propose that viewers e-mail network heads with their thoughts on the strike. But she needs a list of e-mails.

Let's help her by guessing their e-mails. For example, e-mails at NBC work like this:

So NBC president Jeff Zucker is probably at:

Any other good guesses? Post them in the comments or e-mail me and I'll compile the list.

We are so tired of this strike and my husband and I went to tonight and saw that you can now download the 4th season of the office for free ( if you have Windows). I can't believe this is still going on. Don't you think if there was a way that the consumers (we) could contact the networks ourselves, we could get some response. After all, aren't we the ones who watch the programs and drive their ratings through the roof. We may not be able to change whether or not people watch re-runs on the networks, but, if we can get enough people to actually CONTACT the networks, which seems to be impossible, we might have a chance at helping you end this strike.

I think that if we start forwarding emails and ask everyone who receives the email to forward it to 10 friends and have each person send it to a VP or Pres. of the network, maybe they'd get annoyed enough to listen.

What do you think, because we all want you to get what is rightfully yours and long overdue.

Please let us know how we can help in this situation, it has gone on far too long. All I need is an email address for each network.


Sheryl Leyott

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Daily Show and Colbert Report return, funny because of the Wrtiters Strike

So the Daily Show and Colbert Report return to answer the big question:

Can you be funny without writers?

The answer (if you don't count the WGA member hosts as writers) is a resounding yes. But, of course, most of the jokes (and all of the best) were about the strike:

Steven Colbert has an even harder job. While Jon Steward essentially acts as himself on the Daily Show, Colbert portrays a fictional (and largely written character) on his show.

On the first night, Colbert was even funnier, using a 5-minute long laugh track to fill a good portion of his show.

I'd post the Colbert video, but it's non-embeddable (WTF?).

Two big questions left on the table:

How sustainable are jokes along those lines?

While Stewart/Colbert were ripping on the studios for not paying writers for iTunes downloads, Comedy Central/Viacom were pimping iTunes downloads at every commercial break and in all the credits. Was this done for irony or out of cluelessness?