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Old 10-11-2007, 02:19 PM   #1
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Possible Writers Strike

Hollywood writers in contract showdown

By Anthony Breznican and Bill Keveney, USA TODAY

You couldn't script this showdown.

Hollywood writers are facing off against networks and studios in a test of wills that could play havoc with the TV season and disrupt the flow of movies to local theaters.

Tensions are high as the TV and film writers union contract nears its end on Oct. 31. The last writers strike, in 1988, lasted six months.

Audiences would see the effects of a lengthy strike on television first because of tighter production timetables. Even then, they probably wouldn't notice the absence of prime-time favorites before early 2008.

A work stoppage would first hit "programs that are done nightly like The Daily Show and The Tonight Show and Letterman," says Patric Verrone, president of Writers Guild of America, West. "Then the comedies and dramas that have some lead time, but not much, would go into reruns and eventually be all reruns — or a test pattern."

A divisive issue in the talks is digital media — downloads of TV shows and movies — and whether creative workers will get a portion of this evolving moneymaker.

Actors and directors guilds are facing the end of their own contracts this summer, which could result in walkout on top of walkout.

Producers have taken action to blunt a potential strike, including hurrying more films into production and starting filming earlier on midseason TV series.

"Our members have been preparing for months for the possibility of a strike. Screens will not be going to black," says Barbara Brogliatti, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios and networks.

A look at some of the dynamics:

•Television. A strike could result in fewer new episodes this season, and a longer walkout could hamper the selection and production of new shows for 2008-09, since scripts for new pilots are submitted this fall.

If there is a strike, expect new reality shows, which aren't subject to the writers' deal and can be made faster and less expensively. Episodes of other unscripted shows, such as American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, could be expanded. Schedule holes also could be filled by sporting events and game shows.

Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse say there's a wide gap between the studios and networks and the writers regarding what constitutes a reasonable deal.

"I remain hopeful there won't be a strike, but things will have to change demonstrably in the next few weeks," says Cuse, who is on the writers guild negotiating committee.

•Movies. The average moviegoer would see a thinner slate of new movies, and the quality would suffer, says Marc Norman, who won an Oscar for co-writing Shakespeare in Love and also is on the writers guild negotiating committee.

If there is a strike, he says, "there will be, in a year, a spate of hastily thrown together movies. They will suffer from having gone ahead with incomplete scripts that haven't gone through the level of care they normally would.

"They will be less than exciting movies — boring movies."

How likely is a strike?

No one is certain, but the union has felt burned by deals of the past, and it says it is ready to fight harder this time over downloading.

Norman, author of a new book about the turbulent history of Hollywood writers, What Happens Next?, says: "Writers have never gotten anything out of the system by asking for it. They always had to pound their fist on the table and demand it."
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Old 10-11-2007, 06:36 PM   #2
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Writers ought to be getting their fair piece of the action. Given a choice between well-written entertainment with no-name actors or poorly-written movies & shows with big-name actors...I'm taking writing every time. I'm maybe in the minority, as star power is surely a big deal...but we've seen enough movies featuring "all-star" casts fall flat because the movie, well, sucked - and the big stars couldn't save it.
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:25 PM   #3
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If the studios are making extra profits off of new markets like downloading, then it's only fair that the content creators who make these downloads possible get a cut of the action too.

Strikes are unpleasant, sure, but sometimes they are warranted. I just cringe at the thought of more reality shows...ugh (what trash!).
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:56 AM   #4
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If the studios are making extra profits off of new markets like downloading, then it's only fair that the content creators who make these downloads possible get a cut of the action too.
I agree with that and I would guess that writers usually get the shortest end of the stick.

The thought of more reality shows is horrible.
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:18 AM   #5
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The Writers' Guild of America has set Monday midnight as the time to begin striking due to an impasse in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture Studios over many things, especially the lack of DVD sale residuals given to writers. Also, at issue are profits to writers over stories aired only over the internet. While the film and TV companies want to reduce what writers get, writers would like more. I think they deserve to get it. They're far more essential than directors or even actors, and they get so little praise (or money) if they're not major executive producers. For every Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Ronald D. Moore, David Chase, Chris Carter, Joss Whedon, and J.J. Abrams (though he's a hack!), there are many writers who work on the staffs. Some reach old age and never get the recognition (or salaries) they deserve for their amazing work. Let's also not forget the writers who only write one or 2 episodes on a given show and roam around various shows unable to make a name for themselves. Some examples off the top of my head and from a bit of research off epguides.com of writers who wrote episodes I loved:

Seinfeld: We all know Larry David, but half the great scripts of Seasons 2, 3 and 4 were by Larry Charles; who remembers him? How about Peter Mehlman? Larry Levin, who wrote the breakthrough episode "The Boyfriend"? Elaine Pope, Tom Leopold, Bruce Kirschbaum, Andy Robin, Carol Leifer, Tom Gammill and Max Pross (They went on to write for The Simpsons), Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer.

Battlestar Galactica: Toni Graphia, Carla Robinson, Jeff Vlaming (who wrote 2 episodes on The X-Files over 10 years ago), Michael Taylor (worked on Star Trek Deep Space Nine), Michael Angeli, Mark Verheiden, Anne Coffell-Saunders, Joel Anderson Thompson (who only wrote the episode "Epiphanies" and not much else in his Hollywood career).

The X-Files: Sara Charno (who only did 2 X-Files episodes and 3 Next Generation eps), Vince Gilligan (who wrote amazing episodes like "Paper Hearts", "Unruhe", "Pusher", "Small Potatoes", "Bad Blood"), Darin Morgan (who also wrote and directed 2 great eps on Millennium), Howard Gordon (who went on to work on "24"), David Greenwalt (who went on to Buffy and Angel). Despite the last few years of The X-Files not being spectacular, some of the most innovative scripts came from David Amann, Steven Maeda (moved onto "24" and "Lost"), Jeff Bell (who's work on X-Files was okay, but was excellent on Angel, including an amazing finale)

Lost, The Shield, Buffy, and Angel: Tim Minear (essential for writing great stuff on Angel, but never made it as a major producer with his own show), Mere Smith (amazing stuff on Angel)
David Fury (wrote some wonderful stuff on Buffy, then Angel, then Lost Season 1), Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft (this duo did great work in Angel's last 2 years before moving onto The Shield), Steven S. Denight (who did phenomenal work on Buffy's 6th season and Angel's 4th and 5th seasons), Jane Espenson (who pitched a fantastic story for Deep Space Nine, went on to do hilarious work on Buffy, and is now working on Battlestar Galactica), Marti Noxon, Douglas Petrie (who went on to do 2 episodes of The 4400), Drew Goddard (who worked on Buffy, then Angel, and then Lost), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (who did phenomenal work in Lost's early seasons), Adam Horowitz (Lost), Edward Kitsis (Lost), Leonard Dick (Lost), the creator of The Shield, Shawn Ryan, used to write awful episodes for Angel.

Chris Carter's Millennium Season 1: Patrick Harbinson, Ted Mann, Jorge Zamacona, Robert Moresco, Chip Johannessen (who also worked on The X-Files and executively produced Season 3), Ken Horton, Charles Holland (only one episode, "Wide Open", but what an episode!), Michael Perry (who wrote Season 2's only great episode, "The Mikado" and produced in Season 3).

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Ira Steven Behr (who executively produced the show in the last 5 years, and actually pulled of humor in Star Trek without being too cheesy, but has never received proper recognition from the sci fi community, let alone a massive paycheck, even now as he struggles to make The 4400 discuss relevant themes), Peter Allan Fields (who wrote some of the most insightful and political episodes in DS9's early days), Robert Hewitt Wolfe (who contributed so much as Ira's co-writer on big episodes, and occasionally works on The 4400), Rene Echevarria (talented at Odo-specific episodes; co-creator of The 4400), Hans Beimler, Nicholas Corea.

The 4400: Ira Steven Behr, Craig Sweeny, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Frederick Rappaport, Lisa Melamed, Bruce Miller.

I'm probably in the minority on this, but if the networks get starved for programming it's been suggested NBC may turn to channels it owns like Sci Fi and USA to air episodes of The 4400 and Battlestar Galactica to fill its airwaves. I'm hoping it does because this will prove that these great shows (4400 is much better from Season 3 on) can gain ratings and therefore be extended. NBC or Sci Fi may ask Ron Moore to extend BSG at least a few more episodes, so we get to explore characters further and who could do without more Balatar? Also, Ira Steven Behr will continue writing politically-insightful stuff about Muslims and the War on Terror and the growing economic divide between haves and have-nots, as he has in Seasons 3 and 4 of The 4400, and get to do more of it.

Both BSG and The 4400 provide essential commentary that may change the culture toward greater understanding of "the other".

There's the chance of more reality TV, but I'll take that risk to have my favorite shows extended.

In essence, "Strike! Strike! Strike!"
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muldfeld
The Writers' Guild of America has set Monday midnight as the time to begin striking due to an impasse in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture Studios over many things, especially the lack of DVD sale residuals given to writers. Also, at issue are profits to writers over stories aired only over the internet. While the film and TV companies want to reduce what writers get, writers would like more. I think they deserve to get it. They're far more essential than directors or even actors, and they get so little praise (or money) if they're not major executive producers. For every Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Ronald D. Moore, David Chase, Chris Carter, Joss Whedon, and J.J. Abrams (though he's a hack!), there are many writers who work on the staffs. Some reach old age and never get the recognition (or salaries) they deserve for their amazing work. Let's also not forget the writers who only write one or 2 episodes on a given show and roam around various shows unable to make a name for themselves. Some examples off the top of my head and from a bit of research off epguides.com of writers who wrote episodes I loved:

Seinfeld: We all know Larry David, but half the great scripts of Seasons 2, 3 and 4 were by Larry Charles; who remembers him? How about Peter Mehlman? Larry Levin, who wrote the breakthrough episode "The Boyfriend"? Elaine Pope, Tom Leopold, Bruce Kirschbaum, Andy Robin, Carol Leifer, Tom Gammill and Max Pross (They went on to write for The Simpsons), Alec Berg and Jeff Schaffer.

Battlestar Galactica: Toni Graphia, Carla Robinson, Jeff Vlaming (who wrote 2 episodes on The X-Files over 10 years ago), Michael Taylor (worked on Star Trek Deep Space Nine), Michael Angeli, Mark Verheiden, Anne Coffell-Saunders, Joel Anderson Thompson (who only wrote the episode "Epiphanies" and not much else in his Hollywood career).

The X-Files: Sara Charno (who only did 2 X-Files episodes and 3 Next Generation eps), Vince Gilligan (who wrote amazing episodes like "Paper Hearts", "Unruhe", "Pusher", "Small Potatoes", "Bad Blood"), Darin Morgan (who also wrote and directed 2 great eps on Millennium), Howard Gordon (who went on to work on "24"), David Greenwalt (who went on to Buffy and Angel). Despite the last few years of The X-Files not being spectacular, some of the most innovative scripts came from David Amann, Steven Maeda (moved onto "24" and "Lost"), Jeff Bell (who's work on X-Files was okay, but was excellent on Angel, including an amazing finale)

Lost, The Shield, Buffy, and Angel: Tim Minear (essential for writing great stuff on Angel, but never made it as a major producer with his own show), Mere Smith (amazing stuff on Angel)
David Fury (wrote some wonderful stuff on Buffy, then Angel, then Lost Season 1), Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft (this duo did great work in Angel's last 2 years before moving onto The Shield), Steven S. Denight (who did phenomenal work on Buffy's 6th season and Angel's 4th and 5th seasons), Jane Espenson (who pitched a fantastic story for Deep Space Nine, went on to do hilarious work on Buffy, and is now working on Battlestar Galactica), Marti Noxon, Douglas Petrie (who went on to do 2 episodes of The 4400), Drew Goddard (who worked on Buffy, then Angel, and then Lost), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (who did phenomenal work in Lost's early seasons), Adam Horowitz (Lost), Edward Kitsis (Lost), Leonard Dick (Lost), the creator of The Shield, Shawn Ryan, used to write awful episodes for Angel.

Chris Carter's Millennium Season 1: Patrick Harbinson, Ted Mann, Jorge Zamacona, Robert Moresco, Chip Johannessen (who also worked on The X-Files and executively produced Season 3), Ken Horton, Charles Holland (only one episode, "Wide Open", but what an episode!), Michael Perry (who wrote Season 2's only great episode, "The Mikado" and produced in Season 3).

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Ira Steven Behr (who executively produced the show in the last 5 years, and actually pulled of humor in Star Trek without being too cheesy, but has never received proper recognition from the sci fi community, let alone a massive paycheck, even now as he struggles to make The 4400 discuss relevant themes), Peter Allan Fields (who wrote some of the most insightful and political episodes in DS9's early days), Robert Hewitt Wolfe (who contributed so much as Ira's co-writer on big episodes, and occasionally works on The 4400), Rene Echevarria (talented at Odo-specific episodes; co-creator of The 4400), Hans Beimler, Nicholas Corea.

The 4400: Ira Steven Behr, Craig Sweeny, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Frederick Rappaport, Lisa Melamed, Bruce Miller.

I'm probably in the minority on this, but if the networks get starved for programming it's been suggested NBC may turn to channels it owns like Sci Fi and USA to air episodes of The 4400 and Battlestar Galactica to fill its airwaves. I'm hoping it does because this will prove that these great shows (4400 is much better from Season 3 on) can gain ratings and therefore be extended. NBC or Sci Fi may ask Ron Moore to extend BSG at least a few more episodes, so we get to explore characters further and who could do without more Balatar? Also, Ira Steven Behr will continue writing politically-insightful stuff about Muslims and the War on Terror and the growing economic divide between haves and have-nots, as he has in Seasons 3 and 4 of The 4400, and get to do more of it.

Both BSG and The 4400 provide essential commentary that may change the culture toward greater understanding of "the other".

There's the chance of more reality TV, but I'll take that risk to have my favorite shows extended.

In essence, "Strike! Strike! Strike!"

Hollywood is in trouble. There could be some good to come of this strike though -

independent writers will start coming to light. Not to be one of 'those' guys, but there is some good to the strike.
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:24 PM   #7
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They're just going to hire a shit load of scab writers during this strike.

Maybe someone should hire me. Lord knows I could come up with better scripts than the shit they use for filming 24.
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Old 11-03-2007, 12:54 PM   #8
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This is terrible.

If only the WGA could learn from Battlestar Galactica, everything would be okay.
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Old 11-03-2007, 01:05 PM   #9
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I have nothing to say about the strike, but I have to say the article MrsSpringsteen posted contains the single worst news lead I've ever read.

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Old 11-03-2007, 02:20 PM   #10
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Originally posted by LemonMacPhisto
This is terrible.

If only the WGA could learn from Battlestar Galactica, everything would be okay.











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Old 11-03-2007, 02:57 PM   #11
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So Hollywood movies would get worse? Is that possible?
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:49 PM   #12
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Here's an article spelling out how some shows could/will be affected by the strike .... which is happening. At least one well-known writer was picketing outside 30 Rockefeller today - Tina Fey!

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-s...la-home-center
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:10 PM   #13
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This is bad.

The studio heads are greedy bastards.

Here's hoping this doesn't last too long.
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:16 PM   #14
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Those fuckers want EIGHT CENTS for every DVD sale! I'm so siding with the studios here. EIGHT FUCKING CENT.....for EVERY DVD. They're just writers for God's sake, not superstars. Who the hell do they think they are?
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Old 11-05-2007, 05:16 PM   #15
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Part of me hopes this goes on for a long time just because Maybe it'll encourage people to get off their asses and do something besides watch tv.
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