07 November 2007

Screw The Writers!!!

That's right, I'm on the side of management in the current work outage (big surprise?).

First of all, residuals are dumb, and probably should be dumped all together. Get paid more up front, the studios assume a lot of risk in funding projects, they should reap the majority of the rewards.

Secondly, the idea of a union or guild for writers is antiquated and doesn't benefit writers to begin with. The guild functions to service the needs of the guild, not rank and file writers. Past work actions have resulted in concessions that benefitted the big earners more than the little guys, and to top it off, because they are unionized it artificially inhibits the entry of many talented people into the industry. If hiring and firing was free of union interference, writers could be judged on their individual talent, and not on the strength of a union contract. All writers should be independent contractors and negotiate the best individual deal they can, screw solidarity, this ain't a shipyard in Poland, this is the Westside, people.

Thirdly, this crap about the internet being this huge future cash cow for studios may be true, but so what? What's preventing writers and talent from getting together and putting up stuff on their own, free of the studios. Seems like that's the model that has propelled Funny or Die, and if they wanted to sell a DVD compilation of their best bits, or offer HD downloads of their better produced clips, the infrastructure is relatively cheap, and the bar for entry very low. If you really feel the studios are screwing you, then circumvent them completely, if you have the chops. Also, if you are making smaller character driven pieces, then a studio (and the various unions that represent "talent") is a hindrance rather than a help. At some point, folks will realize this. When it comes to the internet, there's no such thing as an economy of scale, if anything, scale=inertia which equals an inability to react nimbly, and in the terms of the internet, a lack of nimbleness=death.

Fourthly, I can buy stock in the big evil media corporations, but I can't buy stock directly in JJ Abrams, or Joss Whedon, or any of the writers going on strike. So as a consumer, my vested interest (or at least my potential interest) is more with the studios rather than the talent. This strike could be a huge boon for smart traders. Most likely, it will drag on between 10-20 weeks (the last major writers strike lasted 22 weeks), with the WGA folding like a cheap tent, and SAG and the Directors following suit in short order. The conglomerates are diversified and can survive this much better than individual union members. Nevertheless, their shares will get beaten down artificially, the longer this strike lasts. Companies like Disney and News Corp could see their stocks drop by as much as 10-15% just based on irrational speculation regarding an exaggerated sense of the effect of this strike (fueled by a media sympathetic to the strikers). Buy on the dip, and watch that stock rebound like crazy once the unions cave in to the studios demands. Smart traders will probably be able to get themselves a 20-25% return over a six month period if they time the dip and the bounce correctly. Plus even if they are buying to hold the stock, the artificial dip created by the negative press surrounding this strike will create a great bargain.

Fifthly, freakin' red shirts, stupid slogans, and chants, these assholes are living their hippie-dippy Woodie Guthrie-lite, Eugene V. Debs, populist fantasies all the while sipping on their Starbucks lattes. It's enough to make me puke, and I don't vomit easily.

1 comment:

gt281 said...

Sounds like the right thing to me, screw/fk the writers,
which every way you’d like to say it. TV shows today are the worse they’ve ever been, and movies aren’t much better, except for the wam-bam special effects…I can’t figure out how much actual writing goes into a TV show, what with all the commercials and all, how much time is there in a 30 minute show?......I’ve completely given up on TV, except for NFL football, which is quickly loosing its appeal, due to AD caused delays…and movies,, well, how many movies over the last couple of years have been sequels, remakes, or based on TV shows,…a lot.. I’m waiting for the imaginative genius to remake GONE WITH THE WIND for the big big screen.
Most unions have served their purpose, no one is working in
an unsafe sweat shop anymore, so again I agree with you, get rid of the writers union….I would make one modification to your ideas tho, I’d let the writers have a percentage of the profits,, if any,, of any show/movie they do the writing for…that should give the writers some incentive to be better writers…the better the writing, the better the profits, the more money they get….