Today 3,000 writers flooded the Los Angeles Convention Center to vote on whether to strike or not. The vote came down 90% in favor. The strike could be announced as early as Friday. However talks are ongoing, and any strike could vaporize as soon as it begins... depending on how obstinate all the parties feel like being.
The main issue here is that writers want a nice cut of the studios' DVD profits. They have smartly figured out that while theatrical performance is a crap shoot, many films attain profitability on DVD--even ones that tanked in theaters. This DVD revenue has been keeping the lights on at the studios for years. So now writers want the huge media conglomerates to fork it over. Will the studios do so? Stay tuned.
What does the strike mean to you? Well, unless you're in the guild, or have a spec about to go out through a big agency, not much. But what it does mean is that if the strike goes on a while, all those writers will be writing specs. That's very bad news indeed for everyone trying to break in, because it means that the market will be flooded with material from the big boys, crowding out the little guys for a while.
For everyone's sake, let's hope a deal is struck quickly!
This from the WGA web site as of 11-01-07:
Contact: Gregg Mitchell (323) 782-4574
Sherry Goldman (718) 224-4133
News Release: November 2, 2007
WGA Negotiating Committee Recommends Call for Strike
Membership Meeting Draws 3,000
LOS ANGELES -- Before a standing-room-only audience of 3,000 Writers Guild members in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall in downtown L.A. Thursday night, the Writers Guild of America Negotiating Committee, on behalf of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), announced its unanimous recommendation to call a strike against the film studios and television networks that make up the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg joined the Negotiating Committee onstage to voice his union’s support of writers.
During the largest membership meeting in WGAW history, the Negotiating Committee reported that the AMPTP had called a halt to talks by demanding that the Guild accept the extension of the current DVD formula to new media. The committee also informed the audience that in three months of negotiations, the AMPTP has not responded in any serious manner to its initial proposals.
Members spent three hours in frank discussion of the report and recommendation. From microphones on the floor, WGA members expressed their anger at the Companies’ refusal to bargain seriously, reiterating their overwhelming support for the Negotiating Committee, Guild leadership, and for the bargaining agenda of the WGA.
The WGAW Board and the WGAE Council will meet Friday to consider the recommendation of the Negotiating Committee and to decide the next steps.
For more information about the Writers Guild of America, West, please visit www.wga.org. For more information about the Writers Guild of America, East, please visit: www.wgaeast.org.
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) represent writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news. The unions conduct numerous programs, seminars, and events throughout the world on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers.