Judge AMPTP's Ultimatum For Yourselves

I've been given a copy of the presentation made to the WGA negotiating team today by Carol Lombardini, AMPTP's exec vice president for business and legal affairs. (Be sure to see my 3RD UPDATE of TALKS DAY #8 for detail and background):

AMPTP STATEMENT DURING WGA NEGOTIATIONS
Held on December 7, 2007
The second group of proposals listed under the topic “Rejections” represents those proposals that are an absolute roadblock to any further progress in these negotiations. We have had some frank discussion with you about some of these proposals over the past three days. Unfortunately, these discussions have only reinforced our conviction as to how far apart the parties remain. These proposals are completely unacceptable in their present form, or in any altered form. They include:

W-12 a), your Fair Market Value proposal. We remain steadfast in our conviction that fair market value should be determined by the marketplace itself, not by a third party. The notion of appointing an arbitrator or developing a legal system to ascertain monetary values in our business is utterly unacceptable.

Your Reality Program proposals, W-13 a) and b), are a clever disguise to what amounts to a top-down union organizing campaign. And those proposals, by applying the terms and conditions of the MBA to reality programs, render those companies already signatory to your Agreement unable to compete in the development and production of this type of programming.

Your presentation on December 5th of an added piece to the Reality Program proposal only widened the gap between us. Your proposal sought to bind the networks, who do not even sit at this bargaining table, to a contractual provision which prohibits them from doing business with those who do not offer the same pension and health provisions as set forth in the MBA. Surely you knew that even if any of us had the authority to make such a commitment, the idea of forcing the networks not to do business with a certain category of producers would be wholly unacceptable to us.

Your Animation proposal, W-14, is likewise unacceptable. As you know, there is another union which has long had jurisdiction over the work you are now seeking to cover by your proposal. We believe that it should be up to the writers in this field, using the procedures carefully established by Congress in the 1940s – in the same legislative act that validates the very existence of Writers Guild of America, East and West – to express their desire as to whether they wish to be represented by the WGA or that other union. It is not for us as Companies to usurp the secret ballot democratic election process established by the National Labor Relations Act by agreeing to another top-down union organization proposal.

Your Industry Standards proposal, W-15 a) – the simple statement here is that we will not allow a provision in a labor agreement to dictate those with whom we can do business. Your Sympathy Strike proposal, W-22, asks us to allow you to strike because of the existence of a labor dispute with another group. We cannot entertain that principle. The bargain we strike must include an ironclad pledge of labor peace for the term we agree upon. No exceptions will be entertained.

Lastly, we cannot agree to any new residual formula based upon the concept of “Distributor’s Gross.” That is, any residual formula that requires payment to be made based upon the receipts of an entity other than the signatory Company is unacceptable to us. Our agreement to share revenues with you must be limited to those revenues actually received by the signatory Company.

Your determination to continue to pursue these initiatives prevents us from making any movement in any other area. Therefore, unless you advise us immediately that these proposals are withdrawn, we see no purpose in continuing these talks.

141 Comments »

  1. an obvious ultimatum. the last line says it all. drop these or we’re not coming back.

    how is that negotiating?

    however, i think the wga should drop their proposals for reality, animation and no-strike, and start haggling over the rest.

    Comment by jimmy — December 7, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

  2. Yep. Smells like an ultimatum to me.

    Comment by (Not) Working Writer — December 7, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  3. So let me get this straight…

    The AMPTP asserts that because “discussions have only reinforced our conviction as to how far apart the parties remain,” then the WGA must withdraw their proposals so progress can be made.

    That would be progress for THEM. For the WGA, not so much.

    Comment by a writer — December 7, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

  4. Absolutely unsurprising.
    The AMPTP has no intention of settling this as long as it means they have to give up anything. They will only strike a deal that fucks the writers.
    The AMPTP is intent on breaking the Hollywood unions.
    And they’ve got their little force majeure party coming up Monday.
    The only thing that is hard to understand is why it’s taken them this long to say they won’t actually negotiate the issues. The WGA has made it clear from the outset that we must make headway on these key points. Did they think we were bluffing? Gah.

    Comment by LB — December 7, 2007 @ 9:43 pm

  5. I thought these negotiations weren’t going well. And then today, the AMPTP makes a huge concession we’ve been trying to get for years!

    The AMPTP said:

    “Your Animation proposal, W-14, is likewise unacceptable. As you know, there is another union which has long had jurisdiction over the work you are now seeking to cover by your proposal. We believe that it should be up to the writers in this field, using the procedures carefully established by Congress in the 1940s – in the same legislative act that validates the very existence of Writers Guild of America, East and West – to express their desire as to whether they wish to be represented by the WGA or that other union. ”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the AMPTP has just said they “believe it should be up to the writers in this field (animation)… to express their desire as to whether they wish to be represented by the WGA or that other union.”

    You mean the other union that offers no residuals? Even if your movies make hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office? (I speak from experience.)

    The one you are forced to join when you write any animation at all? (Unless you’re working on one of the prime-time animated series that are actually covered by the WGA and do pay residuals and health, etc, because the writers all signed WGA cards and voted to strike in 1998. Again, I speak from experience.)

    The one you are forced to join when you get an animation gig, even if you are already member of the WGA.

    Like most all IATSE animation writers, I was forced, under threat of de-jobification, to join” that other union.” If the producers now are gractiously going to give me a choice, well… (dramatic pause)…

    I chose to the WGA.

    Come on, Animation Writers… who else is with me?

    Let’s get this vote tallied, asap.

    Comment by Futuredave — December 7, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

  6. I wish the language in this AMPTP response were not so divisive and demeaning. How can you foster an environment of discussion by using that kind of language? Certainly we’re not dealing with diplomats here, are we. And the AMPTP sure likes to both publicly and behind closed doors create fear — the last couple of days of rhetoric have no other purpose than to instill fear (a negotiating tactic).

    In any case, what the WGA would be wise to do is to simply continue the haggling so that the ball is always back in AMPTP’s court. Have the WGA show up tomorrow with a counter offer, whether or not the AMPTP shows up — this keeps the WGA on the offensive and does not play into the fear mongering of the AMPTP. The AMPTP is full of bullies, and bullies always create an atmosphere of threats and fear to get their way.

    Finally, I’m not an expert in what should or should not be taken off the table at this point. However, I’ll add my two cents that the first point I see that could be part of a haggling would be for the WGA to accept a no-strike clause for the W-22 mentioned. SAG has a no-strike clause, and it isn’t killing anybody.

    Comment by Tweety — December 7, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

  7. It seems to me that things are now far worse than when they began. And it seems to be mostly the writers’ fault.

    This is not to say that the writers’ don’t deserve more residuals, and payment for streaming and EST’s. They probably should get more than the companies are giving. These seemed to be the initial issues, and the writers seemed to be in the right.

    But now, the WGA wants a massive expansion of their union into the rest of the TV industry (no surprise, just as it is no surprise the companies are completely opposed to it). Perhaps this is just a negotiating tactic, so that when the WGA “gives in” on reality TV, then the companies will give in on New Media. But even if the WGA does give in, it would only be going back to where it was before it widened the gap.

    On the other hand, if these “ultimatum’ed” proposals are things the WGA is going to fight for, the prospects of the strike being resolved any time soon now look to be far worse than they did just 3 day ago.

    Comment by Jack24 — December 7, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  8. The animation and reality stuff are corporate lies. Attempts to join the WGA and unionize in those fields result in mass firings (illegal under federal law, but yes, that happens). The corporation is trying to paint the WGA’s reality and animation proposals as taking away the rights of those writers.

    In reality, those writers are prisoners who by some queer exceptions are basically excluded from the basic protections the WGA offers.

    Everything else in there is entirely negotiable. I could certainly understand the AMPTP saying “We won’t do any deal with these in it,” but to completely stop all negotiations now is disingenuous at best and monstrously irresponsible at worst. Nothing about continuing to negotiate forces them to accept those aspects of the proposal.

    Those are not a roadblock to a deal, those are an excuse for the AMPTP to stall. Does anyone really believe that if the AMPTP offered real movement on the internet issues that the WGA would keep the strike going over stuff like this? Frankly I doubt it. But the WGA would likewise be crazy to flatly give up on all these proposals (especially reality and animation) in exchange for nothing except a promise to continue negotiating. A real negotiation might say “We’ll give you X on internet downloads if you remove Y.”

    This is hostage taking, pure and simple, and is obviously just a PR blitz. Shame on the AMPTP. Congress and the labor relations board should get involved. They’re not negotiating in good faith and in my opinion have already broken several federal laws when it comes to dealing with strikes and unions.

    Comment by Simon — December 7, 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  9. Doesn’t seem so unreasonable and evil when you actually can see what they’re demanding. C’mon, WGA, drop the nonsense proposals you know aren’t happening, get yourself a decent deal on new media (before the DGA does it for you) and get this thing over with.

    This is the part where you writer conspiracy types call me a paid AMPTP shill.

    Comment by hmmmm — December 7, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

  10. Your Reality Program proposals, W-13 a) and b), are a clever disguise to what amounts to a top-down union organizing campaign. And those proposals, by applying the terms and conditions of the MBA to reality programs, render those companies already signatory to your Agreement unable to compete in the development and production of this type of programming.

    So call an election. Let the “Reality Writers” vote. Is that too Trivial a solution? I suspect the WGA would sponsor such an election.

    That would take this off the table.

    Comment by Dave — December 7, 2007 @ 9:55 pm

  11. A convenient excuse to walk, that’s all this is.

    They are simply not ready to make a fair deal YET. By March 08, the Networks will have lost 300 Million in Ad Revenue according to Wall Street Analysts and their share prices will have been downgraded. 300 Million is twice the amount we asked for over three years. You tell me who is being myopic here. These guys are playing for the long haul, as are we. There is no other way to describe this short term self destructive behavior.

    Keep in mind the AMPTP today rejected out of hand, our proposal on streaming.

    From WGA

    “The AMPTP came back to us with a proposal that included a total rejection of our proposal on Internet streaming of December 3rd.”

    They left us hanging all week, then pulled this bullshit with a premeditated PR Assault. This was indeed an ultimatum. One they knew would be rejected so they could then use it as cover to stall, “divide and conquer” whatever is in their little playbook.

    They are clearly using classic union busting tactics, one we are now tediously aware of.

    Thing is, it won’t work this time. WGA Writers know what is at stake, their resolve is far stronger than some (Gavin) estimate, we are going to win.

    Remember for every week that passes, the damage begins to weigh heavier on the AMPTP. Soon, by the end of March, their losses won’t look all that great to their sharholders and they will have to come clean and explain just what they are trying to accomplish.That weill be a fun new video to post on youtube.

    This is all part of their first phase bullshit offer, by March we will see a more reasonable looking offer but it will still not be a fair deal. It won’t be until May or June that they might strike a fairly decent offer, by then the Companies/Networks will have lost over 500 Million in ad revenue and will be staring at losing in the billions…

    So I say, let’s just hang gang, time will soon be on our side. Remember this is about our future and there is plenty of money to go around for everyone, and that includes the pittance we are asking for.

    One other thing. Don’t want to be uncool to our SAG Brothers and Sisters here, but a lot of this could have been avoided, or mitigated, if our Contract expirations coincided… know what I mean? Melissa, ain’t blaming you here doll, just saying, “Have we learned anything?”

    Comment by PJ - Writer — December 7, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

  12. Maybe now the WGA should have reality and animation writers come forward and talk about what happens to them when they start thinking of unionizing…

    Comment by Evan Waters — December 7, 2007 @ 10:10 pm

  13. Revenues from new media and union jurisdiction are separate issues. There’s no reason the revenue issue can’t be settled before the jurisdiction proposal is accepted, modified or rejected. Instead, the WGA reps are being asked to give something up before they are even allowed to discuss something different. Bryan Lourde has been great, but after the DVD mess, when an issue was taken out of consideration in exchange for a promise to negotiate other matters, (which led to no progress), why would any sane person “trust” the AMPTP? Why, exactly, can’t the AMPTP discuss revenue and refuse to discuss jurisdiction until revenue is settled? If the revenue deal were satisfactory to everyone, the negotiations on other matters might be smoother, and both groups might be willing to give a little more than they would now. This indeed looks like an ultimatum designed to justify a breakdown in talks.

    Comment by Another Hyphenate — December 7, 2007 @ 10:14 pm

  14. Once again, to those blaming the writers saying “Just take these off the table, they’re not important!”:

    You’re not getting it. Even if the writers made the most inappropriate proposal in history, demanding that every writer be made a studio exec, there’s nothing that says the studio has to stop negotiating (and the AMPTP basically did the equivalent of this when they proposed getting rid of residuals entirely). This is a completely artificial halt to the negotiations. It’s entirely unreasonable to expect the WGA to remove all those proposals in exchange for nothing. It’s a negotiation. The AMPTP has to give something to get something.

    And that doesn’t mean they have to give in on any of those six proposals they so hate. The strike is all about new media, so let’s say they said “Okay, we’ll give you 0.66 instead of 0.36 for internet downloads, but only if you remove this and this” then that would be a legitimate negotiating tactic. This is just saying “Either you give up right now or we’re leaving for three months.” This is absolutely a pre-meditated move by the AMPTP predicted by everyone for a week now. They want to make the writers sweat, so they came in with a ridiculous ultimatum and once again didn’t sweeten the deal with anything. The writers will probably not get any of those six proposals, but to give them up now in exchange for nothing, in exchange for essentially a vile threat from the studios, is not a negotiation. It’s a hostage situation.

    Comment by Anonymous — December 7, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

  15. While this is fucked up, the AMPTP is fucked up, and I’d be all for dragging their lying asses into a court right now, (Screw a judge, let the general public have at them), I do think the WGA cursed itself by adding reality, animation, etc. to the table. I can understand, but those weren’t your original goals, and when you added them, you either gave the AMPTP the chance they were looking for to walk out or took the tiny break in their pig-headedness and closed it right back up again. Note: I am NOT blaming the writers for what happened. The AMPTP walked out, and they’re the assholes, pure and simple. But I think both sides did play some part in the actions leading up to it. It’s pretty obvious we’re playing with heartless bastards. I just think a wrong move may have been made.

    So what now? Force. I want to watch the remaining new epidoes of the few shows I watch, but after that, I will watch nothing. I just sent off a box of pencils. Write. Get politicians involved. Bombard the studios indiividually, starting with those who have the most to lose. Get their false promises and proof of their misrepresentation to every media outlet that’s willing to listen. Strike at their homes, walk up to them and directly ask the questions you know they can’t answer. I wonder what Michael Moore is doing right now…

    One thing. I do think the reality/animation things should be taken off. I’m not trying to degrade these people at all, I’m just saying it’s not the actual goal that was given in the first place, and if the WGA wants to show how serious it is about wanting to stay in these talks, they should go back to what they had originally. Sit there with that proposal that was reasonable from the start and show that it is and always has been the other side that won’t talk.

    Comment by Caitlin — December 7, 2007 @ 10:18 pm

  16. this settles it for me. they’re evil. They’re greedy evil bastards who have no intention of settling with us. Period. They know we won’t hang on to reality (not that THAT’S fair…). They don’t care.

    And the AMPTP should not even be legally able to collective bargain. This is one of the worst examples of anti-trust possible.

    These greedy, unethical bastards want to take away residuals as we know them in exchange for 250 bucks. They want to destroy our union and the unions of our colleages. Shameful. But in the end, without writers, they have nothing to sell. Remember the strike that won us residuals, AMPTP? It lasted A YEAR.

    This is bigger than that.

    Comment by pissed off writer — December 7, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

  17. They want a war?

    They’ve got one.

    We have to start island hopping, the way that the Allies defeated Japan in WWII.

    We pick the meanest, most spiteful studio/network and give them one final ultimatum: settle with us separately or forever be blackballed by the WGA. No writer or showrunner will ever be allowed to work there again. Not until the studio begs for our forgiveness. Then we work on the next and the next.

    At the same time,make an outstanding offer to one of the other studios, something that they CANNOT turn down and face their shareholders. This will sew internal strife in the ranks of the AMPTP as the moguls will have to explain to shareholders why they are threatening the future of an expensive corporate asset.

    AND push for congressional hearings AND siege one of the studios at a time with much larger, continuous and TOTAL picketing, hoping to block off the very life of the facility AND put up pickets around Disneyland and if necessary, take the fight to executives homes.

    There are many nasty things we can do. Don’t tell me that will anger the AMTP. These people have absolutely no respect for us anyway, so we have nothing to lose.

    The time for polite discourse is over.

    Oh, and there should be, like Jim Webb was doing over the Thanksgiving break in Washington, a WGA member sitting at that negotiating table day and night. Time for Mr. Wordsmith to go to Washington.

    Christ, am I pissed at these swine.

    Comment by anotherWGAmember — December 7, 2007 @ 10:29 pm

  18. Time to start the WGA Christmas DVD Boycott and it goes for as long as the studios don’t negotiate!

    Comment by ReelBusy — December 7, 2007 @ 10:32 pm

  19. Your presentation on December 5th of an added piece to the Reality Program proposal only widened the gap between us. Your proposal sought to bind the networks, who do not even sit at this bargaining table, to a contractual provision which prohibits them from doing business with those who do not offer the same pension and health provisions as set forth in the MBA. Surely you knew that even if any of us had the authority to make such a commitment, the idea of forcing the networks not to do business with a certain category of producers would be wholly unacceptable to us.

    Wait. What?

    Your proposal sought to bind the networks, who do not even sit at this bargaining table…
    Is there an aspect of this quote I’m not getting?
    Aren’t CBS, NBC, et al being represented by the AMPTP?
    If not, then who the hell is Les Moonves (besides an adulterer & a failed actor) or Jeff Zucker (who’s just a failure) in all of this?

    There are so many holes in these arguments I think it’s time to investigate other holes in the networks/studios dealings. I’ve contacted my congressman and requested an investigation into what can the AMPTP really afford to pay us, not the contradictory numbers we receive and the shareholders are given. These criminals must be stopped before all corporations decide to force majeure America into Mexico. Time to call the cops.

    Comment by e — December 7, 2007 @ 10:35 pm

  20. Just popping back in to say anotherWGAmember’s idea is way better than any of mine. Let’s do that and let’s do it now.

    Comment by Caitlin — December 7, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  21. Jack24,

    If I tell you for three years that I am going to do something and then I actually do it, are you really upset? Or are you just looking for an excuse to get mad and walk away.

    Reality was always going to be brought up. Not to do so would be a slap in the face to all those who we have been attempting to organize for so long. They are human beings, they have been promised a fight and our leaders are carrying out their promise. Will it happen? Doubtful. Is it enough for a seasoned businessman to throw a child like tantrum over and leave? Nope.

    During the first week of talks the AMPTP went through back channels and said, “take DVDS off the table and we will move on internet streaming.” We did and they told us to go screw ourselves on streaming.

    That is what is called setting up a pattern of distrust. The AMPTP made this bed by acting like bullies. They now have to undo the damage, make a concession and we can get back to negotiating. That is what it is called by the way, it is not called, “Give up everything you want.”

    The AMPTP has handled this negotiation like amateurs, no matter how they try to paint it.

    Comment by DA in LA — December 7, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  22. Wow… I’m literally speechless. I….Holy Cow…I’m so angry…from a “business” presentation. The WGA and everyone else has been so reasonable, and the AMPTP…. ARGH!

    And I’m only a TV viewer. I can’t imagine what the writers or other workers in Hollywood are feeling.

    I can’t even be coherent at the moment…I..just..nmmmrrr..

    Comment by LL — December 7, 2007 @ 10:44 pm

  23. Congress. Hearings. Now.
    Enron-like Studio Accounting practices. Draconian Collusion between conglomerates to set labor price. Vertical Integration = Monopolies. Can you imagine FORD, GM, and CHRYSLER being allowed to band together and collectively dictate terms to the UAW?

    IT NEEDS TO END NOW.

    Congress. Hearings. Now. Start calling Pelosi. There is a reason these guys don’t want any provision in this new contract that forces them to open their books. That reason is called PRISON.

    Comment by WRITER McSTRIKEY — December 7, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  24. Caitlin - just so you know, the expanded jurisdiction proposals were always part of the negotiation. They’d been tabled until some progress was made on residuals/new media. When the AMPTP said they were working on their media proposal for several days, the jurisdiction stuff came to the table instead of everybody just sitting around wasting time. So this didn’t come out of nowhere. The wording of the AMPTP “offer” Nikki posts here shows that union busting is the real goal. Though I gotta say, how can they refuse to make this a “union town” and then suggest that animation and reality writers be able to choose whether or not they join the union? Where’s the disagreement there? Isn’t that all we’re asking for?

    Comment by Another Hyphenate — December 7, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

  25. Caitlin — Reality and animation were not tacked on later. They have always been part of WGA proposals. Always.

    hmmmm — I won’t call you a paid AMPTP shill, but I will point out to you that A) offering health and pension to reality and animation writers is not nonsense and B) they aren’t OFFERING a decent deal for new media. Would you have us remove our animation and reality demands before they give us anything in return? Yeah, no thanks. They will take and take until we have nothing left. They’ve offered us $250. They can go fuck themselves with that. It’s beyond insulting.

    Comment by LB — December 7, 2007 @ 10:54 pm

  26. Guild writers,

    Others have suggested this in other threads, and I’m echoing it:

    Set up a table in front of the AMPTP HQ and post big signs demanding they “come back to the table.” Then have a rotating group of writers assigned to sit there all morning and afternoon through the holidays.

    Except make it big and dramatic and inclusive of everyone affected by the strike. IATSE and other non-unionized BTL workers could join in. Fans could join in. Write and film some “episodes” about the long table wait, starring our SAG friends. Maybe they could play famous Christmas characters… Santa comes begging the moguls for cookies and milk? Charlie Brown arrives with his straggly little Christmas tree in tow? The Grinch shows up and pals it up with Scrooge? These are silly examples, but you can come up with something good! And air them on youtube like the “speechless” vids. Get the press to cover it as much as possible.

    Make it real freaking obvious who’s walked away. Don’t let the AMPTP spin this anymore.

    Comment by from the peanut gallery — December 7, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

  27. Just for the record, the AMPTP walked away. Therefore the “This seems to be the WGA’s fault” comment is… wrong. Whether you call what the WGA did a negotiating tactic or not, the WGA is NEGOTIATING. Once again, the AMPTP(), otherwise known as the AGREGIOUS MANIPULATIVE PERNICIOUS TROOP of PIMPKINS (WHO WANT TO GO ON VACATION EARLY) walked away from the table. Not the Writers Guild of America.

    Comment by Cynthia — December 7, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

  28. They walked away, not the WGA, Jack24. AMPTP stands for Agregious Manipulative Pernicious Troop of Pimptons (also guys who want to go away early and don’t care if people lose their houses because they aren’t human).

    Comment by cYNTHIA — December 7, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

  29. Maybe if the AMPTP had gotten us the supposed second half of their proposal in any sort of timely fashion, and hadn’t left our side sitting around twiddling thumbs the issues regarding reality tv and animation wouldn’t have even come up. If they aren’t going to negotiate what we came to the table to talk about in the first place, well…we gotta try to negotiate something.

    And people wonder why the Israelis and the Palestinians can never get it together. Jeez…

    Comment by yougetwhatyoudeserve — December 7, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

  30. Maybe now the WGA should have reality and animation writers come forward and talk about what happens to them when they start thinking of unionizing…

    Comment by Evan Waters — December 7, 2007 @ 10:10 pm

    Right now would be the perfect time. No Studio would be illegally firing writers when there are no replacements to be hired.

    Comment by Dave — December 7, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

  31. The AMPTP is full of shit with regards to the Fair Market Value proposal. The “marketplace” that would be determining the value is their own vertically integrated conglomerate.

    Interesting quote though: “The notion of … developing a legal system to ascertain monetary values in our business is utterly unacceptable.”

    Interestingly enough, a legal system to ascertain monetary values has been developed. It’s called the U.S. legal system. Both Alan Alda and David Duchovny have taken 20th Century Fox to court over this very issue and both won settlements. Is that really the way they want to determine Fair Market Value?

    Comment by DLJ — December 7, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

  32. The AMPTP are greedy assholes. The WGA leadership is comprised of well-meaning but stupid pseudo-revolutionaries who are in way over their heads. Why can’t they all please just shut the fuck up and make a decent deal so we all can get back to work? What a tragedy. Jesus.

    Comment by Sammy Glick — December 7, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

  33. “And I’m only a TV viewer. I can’t imagine what the writers or other workers in Hollywood are feeling.”

    It is the slow motion (well, fast now) destruction of everything I have worked towards - a loved career, a modest home we designed and built, my kids’ extra activities and decent education. It is the feeling that optimistic American ideals of hard work and building a decent life have given way to unchecked greed that steamrolls over good people no matter what they contribute. The feeling that being moral, honest, and dedicated are no longer qualities that will pay dividends in the long run as large, non-human conglomerates will destroy you at their whim. I have contributed to telling the great stories of these writers for the profit of the companies and I am close to ruined for nothing more than picking (in hindsight) the wrong vocation.

    Comment by IATSE JE — December 7, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

  34. I think it would be interesting and perhaps valuablefor the WGA to make a special deal with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, a temporary deal to be modified later when the strike is inevitably resolved.

    Why these shows? Because of their high social value and to create dissent, jealousy and weakness in the AMPTP Syndicate and to use their platform to apply pressure with humor, satire and facts. Maybe Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert could speed this whole thing up with their audience’s support.

    Comment by Bobby the Actor — December 7, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

  35. I can’t believe the AMPTP… which basically means, I can’t believe Disney, Warner Bros, CBS, GE, etc. Are we still living in America? Then why are these companies trying to treat us like some Eastern Bloc factory worker.

    Comment by disillusioned — December 8, 2007 @ 12:12 am

  36. e writes:

    Aren’t CBS, NBC, et al being represented by the AMPTP?
    If not, then who the hell is Les Moonves (besides an adulterer & a failed actor) or Jeff Zucker (who’s just a failure) in all of this?

    It’s complicated, but technically, no the AMPTP does not represent the networks. They represent the production entities affiliated with the networks. But Moonves and Zucker oversee those production divisions as well. On the narrow legal issue of whether the WGA can make a legally unassailable deal about whether the networks could do business with a non-signatory in an area that isn’t fully covered, I think the AMPTP might actually be correct, but that doesn’t excuse the ultimatums and ingenuine tactcs.

    Comment by Mike — December 8, 2007 @ 12:17 am

  37. They call them viewing “habits” for a reason and I don’t think the market can withstand a long strike. The WGA strike of the 80’s happened at a time when people didn’t have a lot of entertainment options and I remember that the public followed it very closely. I sense people outside the industry don’t care that much about this strike and many will go to the internet or other entertainment options and never come back. I know I’m not the first to say this, but I haven’t seen anyone bring this up for a while. It’s called killing the golden goose. It’ll go the way radio did after TV invaded. The fact that you are reading this on the internet proves it.

    Comment by Not an industry person — December 8, 2007 @ 12:18 am

  38. I think the moguls will try to have their cake and eat it too. I expect some kind of new proposal within days after force majeure hits in efforts to save pilot season. I don’t know how big a window that is but both sides have to know it’s there.

    Comment by AnthonyDe — December 8, 2007 @ 12:27 am

  39. why does the WGA continue to expect good faith negotiations from the AMPTP?

    wake up, people.

    the AMPTP wants to rebuild their business model.

    first step in rebuilding is demolition.

    it has only begun.

    Comment by Hello??? — December 8, 2007 @ 12:33 am

  40. Leave us out of it!

    Please understand that:
    1)Reality Writers are NOT “prisoners who by some queer exemptions are basically excluded from basic protections the WGA offers”. I attended the big recruitment meeting a couple of years ago along with fellow editors and story producers in Reality and, like many others, I was NOT INTERESTED IN THE SLIGHTEST. The WGA gave us the opportunity to join up with them and We said, “NO THANKS!”. LEAVE US OUT OF IT.

    2)As a Reality Editor, I did not need: Overtime and credit guarantees (most editors already receive these), Health Insurance (Yeah, I make so much I can buy health insurance for ME AND YOU), a Pension (?! How 1950’s! (No thanks)), and, oh yeah, they (the WGA leadership) told us that they wanted to make sure if the WGA went on strike, Reality Programming would not be an option for the AMPTP. Nice try… (Thankfully, I am currently employed now). As for residuals, I don’t need them (I get paid an assload to do what I do), but from reading Nikki’s site you guys do – so I hope you get ‘em for the internet too!

    3)FYI – a big problem you guys (WGA) are having with unionizing reality TV is that the writing is spread (unequally) between Story Producers and Reality Editors. In most cases the Reality Editors are the major story-telling force. At the very least, a Reality Show CANNOT BE MADE WITHOUT THE EDITOR. However, the employees in need of your “protection” are the producers, both story and field. They are not paid much, they are occasionally abused, get weird titles etc. Um, but, if you ask me, that’s because they aren’t essential to the final product. This was proven most effectively when the America’s Next Top Model Story Producer’s were convinced to STRIKE, and the show simply decided to continue “writing” with the Reality Editors. And ya can’t get the Reality Editor’s to unionize with you b/c they are compensated extremely well, get overtime, proper credit etc. It’s like the worker’s who need you (story producers) are not needed and the workers who are needed by you (reality editors) do not need you.

    I am PRO-WRITER and am rooting for you guys. Come back soon! And with a good deal! The AMPTP is an evil, heatless beast. Good luck bargaining with that thing!

    Comment by Reality Editor Not Interested — December 8, 2007 @ 12:38 am

  41. The WGA needs to be counter-intuitive (no pun intended).

    If Nikki is right and the AMPTP playbook is to: deal with DGA, undercutting the writers; invoke force majeure; sit back and wait for economic factors to compel writers to scab/go fi-core, then the WGA leadership needs to do whatever it can to frustrate that plan.

    Nothing it can do with DGA - up to that union what happens. But could it frustrate force majeure i.e. pause the strike temporarily to write a couple of episodes, then strike again? It would mess up the tv cycle, but would keep the shows active.

    But whatever the case, Counter and the AMPTP’s plan is to break the writers’ guild, forcing them to accept sub-standard terms and continuing to treat them like second class citizens. This must not happen and Verrone and Young now need to ensure that the writers are geared up for the long haul - probably for most of 2008; it’s only when the movie slate for 2009 is threatened is when the studios will begin to feel the pain.

    If the majority of IATSE members hate Short as some suggest, then use whatever opportunity you can to destabilise his leadership as he will be on the front line in the PR war.

    Check out tvguide.com - its coverage is worse than Variety’s; it only mentions the AMPTP release, not the WGA.

    Comment by j — December 8, 2007 @ 1:43 am

  42. Such bullcrap. The AMPTP believes writers for reality and animation should have a choice? Just ask the America’s Next Top Model writers who sought to be covered by the WGA and got fired for it. Or the Nickelodeon writers who asked to be represented by the WGA–and got fired for it.

    It’s sad to me that some people believe fair compensation for these writers isn’t important enough to fight for. Sure, you’ll have your better deal for “new media”. And writers for animation and reality will still be forced into deals where they don’t get residuals, health insurance, or paid for overtime.

    How are those not “real issues”?

    Comment by caroline — December 8, 2007 @ 1:47 am

  43. THEY THINK WE ARE NOTHING. WE HAVE TO BREAK THEM. THEY ARE SCHOOL YARD BULLIES. THEY CAN’T CONCEIVE OF THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION. THEY THINK IT’S EASY TO MAKE MOVIES. THESE GUYS DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE ENTERTAINMENT. THEY KNOW HOW TO SELL IT.

    IF SOMEONE WITH SOME MONEY WOULD START THEIR OWN PRODUCTION COMPANY, NEGOTIATE THEIR OWN DEALS WITH THE WGA, THEN THEY WOULOD HAVE A CORNER ON TALENT. THESE PRODUCERS CAN MAKE A KILLING WHILE GIVING US EVERYTHING WE WANT TIMES 20. THEY JUST WANT TO PUT US IN OUR PLACE. WE HAVE THE POWER. THEY CAN’T MAKE MOVIES WITHOUT US. WE CAN BURY THEM EVERY WEEKEND. SO WE’LL SHOOT DIGITAL.

    A LINE MUST BE DRAWN OR ELSE WE ARE ALL FINISHED.

    Comment by GROWSOME — December 8, 2007 @ 3:43 am

  44. May I make a suggestion? I hope to be in the WGA when this strike ends so this is my two cents. Don’t waste your breath on AMPTP. The only avenue is political & legal. You will get NO help on the national stage as the FCC is bought and paid for and the wait for a new administation is unacceptable. It’s past time to take their accounting practices to the legislature, California Labor Board, CALPERS and any other agency in your state that can look into their union busting activities and their conflicting statements to stockholders. I do not know the requirements for a class action, but I would leave no stone unturned until I found SOMEONE who could look into the books.

    Stand strong mighty writers, but it’s time for the lawyers & the lobbyists.

    Comment by shortgirl — December 8, 2007 @ 4:22 am

  45. Negotiate with Sony. They don’t have a distribution arm like the other studios. They’re content providers and are going to be hurt the most. Give them a sweetheart deal that they can’t turn down.

    Comment by Divisive — December 8, 2007 @ 5:12 am

  46. There are two ideas here that make sense — Congressional hearings and picking one company and offering them a take it or be annihilated proposal. Might not work, but at least it’ll work better than complaining that they’re mean and that life’s unfair. This is a kind of war, so forget what you deserve, and focus on what you can get and how. In my view, pickets don’t do anything. Speechless videos don’t do anything. Got to target the things that matter to them, not to us, and if those can’t be done, punt until the next contract. I was perfectly happy with what I was making, and I’d be happy to be making that now, but if you all want to fight, fight smart.

    Comment by Richard Smoker — December 8, 2007 @ 6:13 am

  47. Point of information: I want writers to get payment for all modes of internet delivery.

    The AMPTP has one goal: reduce cost. That’s it. All the companies involved share it. You may call them ugly, greedy, capitalist pigs - however true that may be, their objectives are plain and simple.

    The WGA has too many objectives here, some emotional, that are getting in the way of what should be their single objective: raising revenues for writers.

    Congress ain’t getting involved, folks - Big media’s books are already reviewed by the SEC and the ‘opacity’ of movie accounting isn’t really all that confusing if you read Harold Vogel or anyone else in the film section of the UCLA/USC bookstore. Smoke, but no fire.

    Kevin Martin call hearings on media consolidation? And monkeys might fly out of my butt. (Thank a writer when you can…)

    It’s morning in america, folks - 30 years of Reagan, Bush, and crappy Democrats who sound liberal but are in bed with the same lawyers and corporations as the Bushies. This is the world we live in.

    I admire the resolve of the WGA…but their tactics are poor. They would have had more leverage if they had kept working and struck in 6 months with the actors.

    For those who expect Google to ride in like a white knight…god help you. 5% residuals on nothing won’t feed your family. Would you like to put your standard of living on the hope that enough people click on a button somewhere?

    Have you seen what the margins are on iTunes? Trust me, Steve Jobs makes the AMPTP look like the Girl Scouts. Ask some of the original employees of Pixar about Steve ’steal my stock-legally but very questionable’ Jobs’ behavior.

    The studios are the only concrete source of revenue for the writers…and the WGA handed the AMPTP the force majeure stick and asked to be beaten with it. And at holiday time, no less…makes me sad…

    Comment by Jus' the facts — December 8, 2007 @ 6:31 am

  48. To my fellow writers and all others this strike is affecting, let go of the hope. Prepare yourselves emotionally and financially for this strike to continue for at least ten more months. Take other jobs, take out equity in your homes, rent a room out in your apartment, sell your extra car, babysit, mow lawns, eat Ramen, sell crap on ebay or craigslist… prepare yourselves. If we are not ready to suffer in the short term, we will absolutely suffer forever after. If we cave now, they will absolutely go after our base fees, pension and healthcare next time around. There is a great article on the Forbes website on how if we don’t win this now - our union is broken. And if they break us, they’re going to do it to every union out there - including you IATSE and DGA. You are not immune to the brutal, unmerciful, pillaging corporate machine. Finally, if you are getting angry at Nick Counter, then you are helping him succeed in doing his job. That is his goal. He wants us to be worn out emotionally so we will cave. If you want to win this, spend your energy preparing yourselves for a long, long, long strike.

    Comment by muststaystrong — December 8, 2007 @ 6:35 am

  49. The AMPTP did us a favor. It was never going to be about this other stuff. Get us a raise on dvd and get us protected on new media and GTFO!

    Comment by old writer — December 8, 2007 @ 7:05 am

  50. Can someone answer a question for me, and I’m genuinely curious… If we’re fighting so hard for jurisdiction over reality and lobbying to have reality writers as members of the guild, why are these people still going to work for the studios and networks who plan to program much more of the stuff as the strike drags on. Shouldn’t all of you reality writers be walking off the job now? How bad do you want to be covered by the WGA. Seems to me that if you all walked, there would be absolutely no programming for the moguls to offer. That would really force their hand and show to the rest of teh WGA just how serious you are.

    And standard WGA punishment for writers who continue to work during a strike would apply: No membership or benefits ever. Am I missing the obvious here? Maybe I am, but I’d love to have someone articulate it for me.

    Comment by Mike — December 8, 2007 @ 7:15 am

  51. What I want to know what stops the Networks & studios from importing stuff from overseas & doing more news & sports Programs? I hate to break it to you they could get the upperhand ….at least in the beginning. Imean the average joe is gonna watch whats on regaurdless if it’s american or not (Or Writen by one)

    What needs to be done is organize a TV shut off starting like Jan. 1st to when the strike is over & yes that includes the Super Bowl and yes all childrens TV. Also boycott all movies & Movie rentals (if you must librarys you can borrow Dvd’s for your children) that will be the ultimate way to force the shareholders to do something (might in some cases get some people replaced).

    Thats the only way to win it otherwise the studios will start experimenting on more animated shows & lots of Reality programming & as I said most likly more sports. I Mean if say they had no shows & started making a big deal out of Hockey & Basketball (Not that they aren’t great sports but you know what I mean) & people stated watching more due to lack of other programming they would make up that advertising revenue in no time

    so I say no more programming til the strike is over.
    are you with me

    Comment by Lost in the mess — December 8, 2007 @ 7:16 am

  52. Bryan Lourd asked us to try to “trust” the AMPTP? What is he, a retard?

    Comment by Matt — December 8, 2007 @ 7:20 am

  53. hey, david young, you’ve got at least two thousand members who have shown that they’re willing to picket every day. we’ve already shut down tv production, so let’s start sending those two thousand members to shut down films. two thousand people, with megaphones, could do a pretty good job shutting down the new james bond movie, or whatever other features the studios are trying to shoot around town. there are teamsters and film permits to let us know what’s shooting where. forget about these delta force strike squads of twenty writers at a time. let’s pick a different movie shoot every day and have two thousand to three thousand members show up and scream and shout.

    we’ve heard about what you did in the construction and textile trades, let’s start applying those tactics to this strike. when you were first hired, the studio chiefs got nervous because they were picturing strikers outside their country clubs and their homes and their kids’ private schools. none of this has happened so far. can’t we picket the restaurants where they lunch? these people need to be embarrassed.

    Comment by RampItUp — December 8, 2007 @ 7:20 am

  54. Today in the paper I saw a picture of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness sharing a joke with Bush. Paisley thinks the Pope is the Anti-Christ and McGuinness is a former IRA commander. If they can get along…then again, they seem reasonable next to Counter and the rest of the AMPTP.

    If the AMPTP wanted to ‘win’ this, they could agree a reasonable deal on new media, get that signed off, and THEN pull this stunt, putting the WGA in an impossible situation. Instead this bs… I sincerely hope Nick Counter and the rest of the AMPTP extremists rot in hell. A bigger bunch of greedy bastards it’s hard to imagine.

    Comment by Dublin Dave — December 8, 2007 @ 7:22 am

  55. I would just like to say something for clarity’s sake. I fully support the writers and the strike.
    But.
    Okay, don’t attack me but:

    I feel a bait and swtich. I feel like the WGA’s PR campaign and battle has been about being fairly compensated for downloads, streaming, and Internet as a new distribution model. No one wants to see writers screwed on that (like we were with DVDS).

    However, my general understanding was NOT that this was about making sure SURVIVOR and BIG BROTHER writers part of the guild.

    Nor that the guild now wants complete dominance OVER THE INTERNET (control of “original content for new media”!) THAT’S scary.

    Please explain to me how the guild is not coming across like making a grab for power vs. negotiating with their members’ best interests at heart?

    The guild should drop reality and animation and then make big PR announcements about how conciliatory they are being and open to compromise and how inflexible and unreasonable the AMPTP is being.

    Although at this point it may be meaningless. I am not even sure what the AMPTP wants, other than to be misers. AMPTP: it’s almost Christmas, stop being such a Scrooge! WGA: stop trying for world domination. Like, let us write an e-mail without having to pay dues or negotiate a contract.
    Geesh. This is unbelievable they can’t come to an agreement.

    Comment by AnonAnon — December 8, 2007 @ 7:26 am

  56. I smell fi-core.

    Comment by Anoneemus — December 8, 2007 @ 7:30 am

  57. What a huge mistake it was to split CBS off from Viacom. It’s like a plant clipping from the mother tree that didn’t take. Now we’re all going to sadly watch it wither and die, all presided over by Lester Moonves. What a terrible legacy for such a great man.

    Before long the stock price will be so low that CBS will be acquired by Google or Yahoo or Wal-Mart. I know Sumner has all the voting stock, but well, Sumner’s kinda old.

    And that’s the best case scenario. Maybe CBS will just go under, and we’ll go back to having three networks. After all, CBS makes almost all its money from television, and the AMPTP doesn’t want there to be television for a few more years. I guess Lester could strike a seperate deal with the WGA, but, well, that would require him to not act like a sheep. And to risk not getting to sit in the good raft at Herb Allen’s Idaho retreat. And, well, he just doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would do what’s best for his company and his shareholders if it meant giving up some social status with the boys.

    Who presided over the end of the Dumont network anyway? Oh well, I guess it’s just another name long fogtotten, who probably died drunk and penniless in the gutter.

    Comment by Hey grandpa, what was CBS? — December 8, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  58. “Set up a table in front of the AMPTP HQ and post big signs demanding they “come back to the table.” Then have a rotating group of writers assigned to sit there all morning and afternoon through the holidays.”

    Yeah, this will have them shaking in their boots. They’re not even there around the holidays!!! Is this a shill post by the AMPTP to give the writers something totally stupid to do!??

    It’s time to get real and call in someone to resolve this thing.

    Comment by Ohbrother — December 8, 2007 @ 7:41 am

  59. How about both sides stop bitching and get a deal done. I want 24 in 2008 and Heroes to come back very soon. Stop this bullshit and negotiate!

    I blame both sides - the WGA screwed up when they brought reality TV to the front. I didn’t think unscripted shows had writers in the first place!

    The studios, however, are being childish as well.

    LOCK BOTH OF YOU UP AND NEGOTIATE A DEAL!

    Comment by Anonymous — December 8, 2007 @ 7:49 am

  60. From Wikipedia:

    A false compromise (also known as a gray fallacy) is a logical fallacy: X and Y are opposite alternatives. So Z, a middle path, is the best choice.

    Even when no particular compromise has been presented, the fallacy can hold sway when a group tries to reach consensus: X and Y are opposite alternatives. So there must exist some Z, a middle path, which is the best choice.

    The problem with the false compromise fallacy is that it implies that both extremes are always wrong, that only the middle ground is correct.

    Comment by Jim — December 8, 2007 @ 7:56 am

  61. On The 12th Day Of Negotiations The AMPTP Gave To Me:

    12 We Are Walkings
    11 Broken Promises
    10 Games They’re Playing
    9 Meaningless Offers
    8 Poor Excuses
    7 Pack of Lies
    6 CEO’s Gloating
    5 Offers of Nothing
    4 Sacks of Bullshit
    3 Leaky Pens
    2 Bad Proposals
    1 And Refusal to Increase DVD’s

    Comment by Evil Brad — December 8, 2007 @ 8:05 am

  62. Reality and animation jurisdiction have always been on the table. They were part of the WGA’s pattern of demands long before the strike.

    The only reason they were being discussed this week, was because the AMPTP said they were not ready to discuss streaming and ESTs yet, so they moved onto other things on the list.

    The AMPTP lies constantly. They say we’re asking for more from the Internet than they make. We’re asking for 2.5% of what they make. How is that more? They say they don’t represent the networks. That is a lie. They represent the companies that own ALL of the networks.

    Comment by Klaatu — December 8, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  63. Just so we’re all singing from the same hymnal: jurisdiction in reality TV and in animation have been part of the WGA’s stated goals since day one. In fact, I would argue that animation has been on the table far LONGER than the internet. Have memories grown so short and neurons so feeble that we all forget that a) Varrone came from animation and has vowed since he first ran for office to organize it and b) that the “new media” issue is actually NEW. Much newer than Varrone. TV and movies legally available over the internet haven’t been with us that long — the associated economic disagreements are merely extensions of old arguments over home video.

    To suggest that the WGA arbitrarily put a “new” proposal on the table is disingenuous at worst, and willfully stupid at best.

    Comment by Simon Jester — December 8, 2007 @ 8:16 am

  64. Okay, okay, I get it. Don’t take reality and animation off. *sigh* Still sit at that table, and have someone broadcast you doing it. And please, please, take some kind of action. The AMPTP deserves no more good will and no more chances.

    Comment by Caitlin — December 8, 2007 @ 8:23 am

  65. When writers didn’t like the joke proposal AMPTP made last time, AMPTP said, “You can’t just walk away. Haggling is part of negotiating.”

    Yet, curiously, it is ok for them to lay out an ultimatum and storm off - conveniently on a Friday at holiday time.

    What about your insistence on haggling, AMPTP?

    They are following their own self-serving script.

    Writers, don’t let these jokers keep steering the ship. AMPTP IS worried, things have backfired on them, there IS dissension amongst AMPTP.

    Stay strong, WGA. You’ve come this far so well.

    Comment by AMPTPinsider — December 8, 2007 @ 8:43 am

  66. The ball is in the WGA’s court. I wonder what they will do?

    Comment by nice — December 8, 2007 @ 8:46 am

  67. Dear WGA,

    Keep crying, your salty tears sustain me.

    Comment by Mogul — December 8, 2007 @ 8:47 am

  68. What is the WGA’s excuse for not being prepared for the actions (and the harshness) of the AMPTP? The fact the writers are on the receiving end of a huge dildo with their asses in the air is indicative of the WGA’s mismanagement of this strike and their unrealistic expectations of the AMPTP. Again, how can you all work with these people in the AMPTP for YEARS and STILL be caught with your pants down time and time again? If they’re assholes and you’ve been “played” by these assholes AGAIN, then what does that make all of you?

    Another question: the producers may not know what business model(s) is going to be most successful on the internet, but at least they began moving their assets online, investing online and having a presence online over a year ago to have a stake in the future “web pot of gold”. Why haven’t you writers done the same?

    Here’s THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM that none of you want to acknowledge (but that the producers are FULLY aware of): Billions of dollars is being made and millions of people are being entertained on the internet today WITHOUT Hollywood writers’ creative input. You’re biggest problem is not negotiating a better deal for the internet, it’s proving that you are going to be of substantial value on the internet DESPITE the fact that you are irrelevant to the internet today (and that your significance in tv is shrinking as scripted tv dies a slow, torturous death).

    If you’re all still sitting on your butts with your hands out waiting for the producers to define your value on the internet, then you don’t DESERVE a piece of the pie. Period.

    As far as what will happen next — Newsflash: while the WGA has convinced the DGA not to go to the bargaining table yet, trust me when I say that the DGA and the producers have ALREADY been talking about when they are going to start negotiating. The Producers would never walk away from the table unless they had SOME reassurance that the DGA would negotiate. The strong language the Producers used in these press releases serves to (a) cut the WGA off at the knees in a despiriting manner (mission accomplished) and (b) assure the DGA that there is NO CHANCE that they are going to rekindle negotiations any time soon which paves the way for the DGA to step up to the bargaining table without stepping on any toes (mission accomplished).

    Towards the end of January (AFTER the studios clean house by dumping stale development deals), the DGA and the Producers are going to sit down and hammer things out. You will continue to suffer well into next year and your egos will feel the sting of defeat when you accept a deal that is no where NEAR the “pie-in-the-sky” deal the WGA has you convinced you will get. That is all.

    Comment by ChuckT — December 8, 2007 @ 8:51 am

  69. The thing that caught my eye that it doesn’t seem like folks are covering here is the desire to have writers cross other’s picket lines when those guilds go on strike. The writers have benefited publicly by all the actors joining their picket lines since their own negotiations will depend in part on what happens here.

    If I understand the AMPTP’s demand, they’d want the writers to f over the actors next year. Regardless of beliefs over who should have jurisdiction over reality and animation, the writers are morally obligated to provide equal support when SAG likely goes on strike next year.

    Here’s hoping the writers stay strong and keep negotiating–but without selling out their neighbors in the process.

    Comment by Scott — December 8, 2007 @ 8:55 am

  70. Below the line, turn your wrath on AMPTP.

    They walked away from the table in a planned hissy fit.

    They should be grinding out a resolution, but they just want to go on vacation - leaving all of you out of work at Xmas.

    It is clear WGA will stay at the table and work towards a solution.

    It is clear AMPTP has NO intention of resolving this strike.

    Comment by gavin p'lonely — December 8, 2007 @ 8:59 am

  71. These CEO’S are suppposed to be Masters of the Universe. Alpha males.

    Yet, they need to shell out big, big bucks so Lawyers and PR companies can fight their fight, and spin their spin!

    They can’t even fight their fight themselves.

    Or cook up their evil strategy themselves.

    These guys need to hire people to do everything for them. Just what are these CEO’S capable of doing themselves?

    Comment by former tv viewers — December 8, 2007 @ 9:11 am

  72. The horrible coverage by TV GUIDE should come as a surprise to no one. TV Guide is part of Gemstar-TV Guide International, which is in turn… 41% controlled by News Corp. Of course.

    I say the next time we feel compelled to write a comment here or any other strike blog, we stop and write our Senators first.

    Comment by DLJ — December 8, 2007 @ 9:18 am

  73. A few points:
    I went to the reality rally @ Freemantle yesterday. (Where were you?) Verrone made a great point. Reality is already covered by our current contract, they just fail to recognize it. Game shows, quiz shows, competition shows and documentaries are all already covered. If Top Model, Survivor, et al don’t fall into one of those categories, they fall into another.

    Yes Editors are a huge part of reality storytelling, but they’re a huge part of it in scripted shows as well. The person who posted that was an EDITOR - of course you de-value the writers (just as writers, directors, actors and editors all de-value each other behind each other’s backs). Documentaries are written just like reality shows - ask Michael Moore.

    It’s not in the best interest of any of the Big Media companies to split off. Gains today for them equal less monopoly -errr- collective bargaining power down the line.

    Most of the DGA membership is below the line. UPMs, Line Producers, ADs. They don’t care about “residuals”. But they need to understand that our resids are their pension and health. But even if they do a deal before us I ain’t signing on to that contract.

    AMPTP - you can’t Charlie Brown us again. We know you’re going to pull the football away! The AMPTP will come with a deal in late Feb/March. WE SHOULDN’T TAKE IT. Our REAL leverage will come July 1st when SAG walks. Then we’ll get most of what we want and all of what’s fair. But can we hold out - that’s the question. Until then I’ll be up at 4:52 so I can make it to my 6:00am picket shift. See you out there.

    Comment by Writer in a 1 bedroom — December 8, 2007 @ 9:20 am

  74. Please see link to below news article for the REAL ENTITY who is driving the AMPTP.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071207/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_kenya_cobra

    Comment by tom — December 8, 2007 @ 9:21 am

  75. Ignoring most of the AMPTP shill on this board, and the Huffington Post and United Hollywood, there is one comment I will comment on:

    “What I want to know what stops the Networks & studios from importing stuff from overseas & doing more news & sports Programs? I hate to break it to you they could get the upperhand ….at least in the beginning. I mean the average joe is gonna watch whats on regaurdless if it’s american or not (Or Writen by one)”

    The average Joe isn’t as average as he/she first appears. Firstly, they WON’T watch foreign stuff. If they did, PBS would be much more popular. Second, there isn’t that much good stuff out there to find that isn’t already shown here somewhere. Just like in the United States, the foreign networks produce about 80% shit and 20% watchable material. The BBC is full of “Gardening in Chichester” in between reruns of AMERICAN TV.

    AS for movies, the studios may have stocked up and have some scripts to produce but we all know what happened the last time they stocked up before a strike (or threatened strike): the had warehouses full of unreleasable films. Without anyone to do last minute adjustments, the dialogue was leaden and the plots made no sense because nobody was there to do last minute spot repairs AND THE DIRECTORS BY AND LARGE CAN’T WRITE AS WELL AS THEY THINK THEY CAN.

    I have found an alternative financial source and everyone else must do so as well. It may take a year but we have to humble these pricks.

    Comment by anotherWGAmember — December 8, 2007 @ 9:22 am

  76. how dare the AMPTP call the WGA negs ‘organizers’…tactical masterminds Verrone and Young have a proud track record of failing to organize reality, animation and now a negotiation to end the strike they’ve been planning for two years…let’s start calling them by their proper names…

    Comment by skeptic — December 8, 2007 @ 9:26 am

  77. Quoting from the APMTP’s statement above: “These proposals are completely unacceptable in their present form, or in any altered form.”

    They are refusing to discuss “ANY ALTERED FORM” of these proposals. Isn’t altering proposals the heart of a negotiation??

    I thought each side proposed something and then they debate each point, and then each side gives a little bit and then everyone goes back to work. That’s how it is supposed to work. But the AMPTP won’t even stick around to negotiate.

    They are taking early vacations for the holidays. While all the unions suffer because they aren’t even willing to discuss altered versions of those proposals.

    Comment by Cloudlite — December 8, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  78. Anon: The WGA isn’t asking for “complete dominance over the internet.” What they’re asking for is jursidiction of content that the signatories create specifically for the internet. That’s not scary at all — it’s absolutely necessary.

    For instance: There’s a show on NBC.com right now called “Coastal Dreams.” It’s a scripted program that only streams from their website. If you click on “Credits,” the writers’ names aren’t even listed.

    Why this is important (and what is really scary) is that streaming, for all of the clamor surrounding it, is pretty much a novelty at the moment. But it’s going to get faster and it’s going to get better and when the next generation of TVs arrive, you’ll be able to plug them into your internet connection and stream shows on your television. And next-gen theaters will be able to stream movies and digitally project them, greatly reducing distribution costs.

    And at that point, when you’re streaming shows at home on your TV from the internet and theaters are streaming movies from the internet, then the studios can turn around and say that EVERYTHING is content created for the internet. That’s why the WGA is asking for jurisdiction over signtory’s internet content. They’ll cease to exist if they don’t get it.

    Frankly, I think that’s why they took DVD residuals off the table on Nov. 5: in hopes of bettering our internet deal and getting internet jurisdicition. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s a fair compromise. The internet is going to render DVD obsolete faster than VHS, so why not take the hit on DVD and focus on the future?

    Comment by DLJ — December 8, 2007 @ 9:36 am

  79. To “Not an Industry Worker,” who senses the general public isn’t interested: the fact that the NYTimes story about the collapse of talks is on their “Most E-mailed” list suggests otherwise. People are invested in their TV shows, maybe more than ever, thanks (it’s true) to the ways in which the Internet enhances TV viewership. Think TWoP, show websites, etc.–for the moment, these amount to interactive “Special Features.” Public interest in the strike is huge, especially considering how many alternate venues are vying for people’s attention compared to the 80’s strike. The interest is there because viewers want their stories back; there’s a fanaticism for storyline that’s new, and likely a product of the Reality TV glut (and a spate of generic movies). The public craves that kind of content. Writers, I’m in awe of your intelligence, your humor and your unity. Keep it up! We’re on your side!

    Comment by another non-industry gawker — December 8, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  80. Can someone please tell me WHY we are not picketing outside the AMPTP offices? And is there a reason we can’t picket outside their homes?

    Comment by Curious — December 8, 2007 @ 9:41 am

  81. Feeling discouraged? Hopeless? Helpless? Well, now there’s something we can all do in addition to walking in circles. LET’S KICK ‘EM WHERE IT COUNTS. ADVERTISING DOLLARS. Use the template below - call your favorite car company, phone service, call McDonalds. Email to all your friends and relatives and ask them to do the same.

    Yes, this post is lengthy… NOW GET READING!

    GLADE advertising executives and company lawyers are holding an emergency meeting Friday December 7th to debate pulling their network television spots due to direct pressure from the thousands of television fans who have called and expressed their EXTREME RELUCTANCE to buy their products until the writers of their favorite shows receive a fair contract.

    If SC Johnson Glade pulls their ads and asks for their money back, their competitors will follow suit. And the sooner the advertisers demand their money back from the networks, the sooner this strike will end! Let’s make sure that SCJ GLADE feels the heat this week. Please distribute this email to your fans, friends, family, and anyone who watches network television, cares about writers, hates reruns, and despises corporate greed.

    Call SC JOHNSON GLADE at 1- 800 –494 -4855 and say: “My name is ________________. I am a consumer calling to tell you that I support the TV writers in their ongoing dispute with the television networks. I regret to to inform you that I am no longer comfortable using, buying, or recommending SC Johnson Glade products due to your company’s continued financial support of the networks by paying them for television ad time. Thank you.?

    The call is free and will only take two minutes of your time. We already know it is making a difference. Once you’ve called, please forward this email to anyone and everyone you know who watches television or movies. The strike is hurting everyone. Writers. Actors. Crew Members. Everyone who lives and works in or near Hollywood. Help all of them have a Happy Holiday Season. The strike needs to end. Help us. Make the call. Thank You.

    Here’s a list of the top TV advertisers for 2006. Pick your favs and give ‘em a call and give ‘em hell and then pass the number and the template above around to everyone you know!!!

    General Motors Corp Dlr Assn

    DaimlerChrysler AG

    Ford Motor Co Dlr Assn

    Toyota Motor Corp Dlr Assn

    Honda Motor Co Ltd

    AT&T Inc

    Nissan Motor Co Ltd

    Ford Motor Co

    Yum Brands Inc (Taco Bell)

    Verizon Communications Inc

    Hyundai Corp

    McDonalds Corp

    Time Warmer Inc

    Berkshire Hathaway Inc

    Walt Disney Corp

    General Mills Inc

    Procter & Gamble Co

    A writer Who likes to yell at advertisers

    Comment by KaylaFresh — December 8, 2007 @ 9:42 am

  82. I seriously doubt the WGA will ever get reality juristiction-it’s too much of a cash cow for the networks to ever give up that much power -and from what I read about the America’s Next Top Model fiasco, it seems like reality is the red-headed stepchild of TV-they don’t mind working for those shows, they just don’t want people to know they’re working for those shows (and admit it, would you want to have Big Brother 8 on your resume after all the cries of favoritism over the Donatos? BB is a guilty pleasure, but I HATED those two and how they were edited to make it look like they were the good pair, while on the feeds they were mean to everyone and obviously favored by the producers so they could get their dream ending of both of them in the finals- especically winner Dick, who lived up to his name with his mysgonistic attitudes)..

    Comment by DW — December 8, 2007 @ 9:43 am

  83. The time for shock at the despicable AMPTP is over. The time for screaming and complaining on DHD is over. We must take drastic ACTION and play hardball with these bastards. Since the 1950s the WGA has been a weak union with regard to strikes/negotiations… No more! The AMPTP is another example of GREED Gone Amuk in America.

    We will lose unless we fight back and hit them hard. There have been numerous suggestions here and elsewhere of creating a new network, a new company, a new paradigm that could totally circumvent (obiliterate) the AMPTP… they probably laugh at these suggestions, thinking that it coulde NEVER happen. But it is possible, it CAN be done. We can break THEM.

    Let’s do it. Let’s do it NOW!!

    Comment by dante writer — December 8, 2007 @ 9:44 am

  84. How about the AMPTP agree on new media and then discuss the rest. Isn’t that plain common sense? Agree the common ground first and then move on to the more contentious stuff - it’s how every major conflict has been settled.

    I started off thinking that the truth met in the middle but the longer this goes the more it seems the AMPTP are losing their minds.

    Comment by Davey — December 8, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  85. (With apologies to George Lucas)

    SAVE US GOOGLE, YOU”RE OUR ONLY HOPE!

    Comment by Futurist — December 8, 2007 @ 10:04 am

  86. All this DGA talk means nothing to me. We don’t have to accept an inferior contract even if the DGA does settle first. The studios still can’t do without scripts.

    I’ll be out there picketing for as long as it takes. We have to get this one right.

    Comment by Fly on WGA Wall — December 8, 2007 @ 10:17 am

  87. Has anyone noticed that the president and vice president of the WGA have both done a lot of animation writing? They’re probably right that it should be covered, but it’s no surprise it isn’t being pulled too quickly.

    Comment by tf — December 8, 2007 @ 10:22 am

  88. Here is what I don’t get - if the WGA has had the AMPTP playbook all along, that is Bowman and company telling membership this is what these guys do - roller coaster you, PR spin you as the bad guy, divide and conquer and demand, why haven’t they had a planned strategy to thwart their game? If the moguls’ lawyers are doing what they do, then why are we coming up with the end around, quarterback sneak, Hail Mary Play? Why aren’t they suits playing the WGA game? I have confidence these WGA leaders have something other than acting unsurprised at AMPTP tactics, and will turn the game around in our favor. If the WGA really believes it can quarterback this game, BECAUSE THIS IS A GAME - let’s come up with a few surprise plays that actually score the extra point and win this in the last second of the GAME- that is BEFORE CHRISTMAS - TOMORROW! OR let these boys fight it out playing Guitar Hero III - guaranteed we have more writer musicians in the WGA who can out play their lawyers even if the tune is Jingle Bells! Winner take all!
    Semper Fi

    Comment by Semper Fi — December 8, 2007 @ 10:24 am

  89. The budget of Shaye’s movie could have ended this strike.

    Comment by striking writer — December 8, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  90. “We pick the meanest, most spiteful studio/network and give them one final ultimatum: settle with us separately or forever be blackballed by the WGA. No writer or showrunner will ever be allowed to work there again. Not until the studio begs for our forgiveness. Then we work on the next and the next.”

    I think you’re on the right track here, only I envision a giant gameshow-like spinning wheel with the name of each studio on it (size of space on wheel would be directly related to market share). We tell the studios they have until next week to wrap this up or… we spin the wheel. I personally hope it lands on Disney.

    Comment by Lionel — December 8, 2007 @ 10:26 am

  91. I may be a dreamer, but at least it makes me feel better to express my opinions to my representatives. If enough voices begin to collectively weigh in on this, perhaps, just maybe…

    Here’s the email I sent to Barbara Boxer this am:

    “As you are aware, we are well into the second month of a writers strike that is crippling many sectors of the Los Angeles economy. Al Gore has written a fine book entitled “The Assault on Reason,” the premise of which is how extremely dangerous the threat the current wave of media consolidations poses to our democractic society.

    This writers strike is in large measure a result of major corporations whose subsidiaries in the entertainment industry are less profitable than the primary business of the parent corporation. Said corporations have less vested in a presumably temporary decline in their entertainment division’s profits. Further, and more alarming, such corporate media consolidation puts broadcast power in the hands of a few.

    What the writers have brought to light are the studios’ questionable accounting practices in compensating the writers fairly, implying just a slight hint of corruption. If there truly isn’t enough money to give the writers some of what they request, then this needs to be verified by an independent source. However, the studios have made contradictory claims of impressively growing profit centers on the internet to their shareholders that they now say, in reality, do not exist. The studios are either giving false information to their shareholders, or false information to their writers. One thing is for sure, they are speaking from both sides of the mouth.

    I strongly urge you to push for an investigation into these matters, as they bear relevance in many different ways on our society: to the Los Angeles economy as a whole, to the principals of fair labor treatment, to corporate greed and deception, to upholding anti-trust laws, to the concentration of broadcast media in the hands of a few and thereby narrowing information flow to the American public.

    I submit, for inspiration, you begin briefing yourself with Al Gore’s book, if you haven’t already done so.

    Respectfully yours,

    Comment by zagyzebra — December 8, 2007 @ 10:33 am

  92. Look, bottom line, this is how it looks like:

    1) Recently, it’s become a PR battle. They want to make the other look bad and win over the public.
    2) The WGA is demanding too much because they don’t want to be screwed again.
    3) The AMPTP is saying “If you don’t play by our rules, we’re not playing.”

    Goodbye TV season. Thanks for the memories.

    Comment by Kevin — December 8, 2007 @ 10:39 am

  93. ChuckT — Sure, YouTube.com is nice, but it absolutely is not the same as scripted TV.

    In the short run, there just is no way that the production companies can produce 2006-level-of-quality shows with scabs. I once tried to read some scripts in the unagented slush pile for a friend, and, seriously, maybe those “Black List” unproduced scripts are great, but the vast majority of unagented slush pile scripts are unreadable.

    In the medium run, sure, enough people will cross the picket lines to bring film and TV scripts up to an acceptable level.

    But, in the long run, if the production companies break the WGA, the stars will still do fine, but the pipeline for producing skilled new journeyman workers will break down, just as it has in most other deunionized industries.

    Comment by a spouse — December 8, 2007 @ 10:45 am

  94. Strike Smart. Picket Washington and get the FCC to reverse its insane idea that a large corporation can buy up all the newspapers, radio stations and networks and still have fair trade. The day 5,000 writers marched down Ave. of The Stars NBC didn’t have one news story on it. This strike is like a tornado that’s hit Los Angeles. How could NBC not have a single blip on it?!

    DGA and SAG realize the AMPTP is trying to bust all of our unions. However, we can’t stop the DGA from making a deal. If it’s bad, they have to answer to their union members, of which I am one.

    I think the WGA has to be clear that we’re not saying we’re not open to setting aside the issues of the reality writer (I haven’t run into any who have walked off their job and picked up a picket sign yet) or the animation writers (same as reality writers) or crossing the picket line when SAG strikes (they’re not contractually supposed to strike but they did. So can we), but we can not have a gun held to our head and be told do this or else. You have to go with “or else.”

    AMPTP stop making ultimatums. Every thing’s negotiable when it doesn’t become an ultimatum.

    Comment by Striking writer — December 8, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  95. Are there any ADULTS involved in these so called negotians? Geez…what a joke.

    Comment by Moxie — December 8, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  96. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND why some of the people are posting here are acting like reality and animation is a new issue. IT’S NOT.

    Maybe the PR firms need to do a little research on what transpired BEFORE they got into the fray before putting their minions online to post.

    Comment by LB — December 8, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  97. ohbrother,

    “Yeah, this will have them shaking in their boots. They’re not even there around the holidays!!! Is this a shill post by the AMPTP to give the writers something totally stupid to do!??

    It’s time to get real and call in someone to resolve this thing.”

    It’s an idea, which is more than I can say about your post. What specifically do you mean by “call in someone to resolve this thing” and how is that getting “real”?

    Comment by ohburn — December 8, 2007 @ 11:24 am

  98. I don’t think reality programing is the future. I think it’s a genre on the wane and I would be surprised if they were around in any great numbers in five years. Just saying.

    Comment by zencat — December 8, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  99. Does the AMPTP really think their spin doctor is gonna work this late in the game? Are they that stupid? The public still doesn’t buy it, they are still on the writers side.

    The AMPTP are putting all these people out of work, with lay offs and not really caring about anyone but themselves. How do they sleep at night? All those people out of work at this time of year?

    My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are suffering all because the AMPTP is acting like spoiled children… Do it our way or were not talking. That is how two year olds act not adults.

    Christmas is the time to be giving, not to behave this way.. It breaks my heart to see adults acting like children. They need to remember God is watching them, and karma will bite them in the booty!

    Comment by Tv Fan — December 8, 2007 @ 11:33 am

  100. The producers are wishing you(tube) a Merry Christmas, and…

    A Crappy New Deal (for WGA).

    Stay strong and insert WGA tactics long (into their Bottom Line).

    As THE GOLDEN, er, SILVER, er, BUSTED COMPASS proves: writing is the real value, and they know it.

    By destroying the union — their real agenda, as we all know — they make corporaPe agenda media the only acceptable alternative.

    They are attempting, in short, to set newer, lower standards. Have you watched t.v. lately? Scanned the New Releases at Blockbruiser?

    God, the quality is ALREADY pathetic. What they want: further reduction in quality so a) consumers will accept whatever is shown (see: unreality t.v., et al) and b) give advertisers no other choice in the matter, either.

    By controlling ad revenue AND destroying writers, they will profit on two fronts.

    Unless they’re destroyed in the process.

    A scorched earth policy is the only way now, folks. Laugh at the writers’ pain if you will. Laugh and believe nothing will happen and that you’ve nothing to fear but greed itself.

    Viewer: “I’m not afraid.”

    Yoda: “You WILL be. You… WILL… BE!”

    Comment by Greed is God (for Producerr$) — December 8, 2007 @ 11:54 am

  101. They put it in writing. The AMPTP won’t haggle.

    Anyone who gets force majuered should be able to use this when they sue the company. This strike is no act of God. It’s an act of the moguls.

    Comment by Slightly improved from ZERO — December 8, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

  102. Check out shill McNary’s latest Variety hatchet job…

    http://www.variety.com/VR1117977366.html

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

    Comment by PJ - Writer — December 8, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  103. Chuck T,

    Are you really such a stupid shill that you don’t even change your name? Try something different so it’ll at least take us a moment to recognize that you’re a shill. Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t you try… Douche B.

    Comment by ShillsArePathetic — December 8, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

  104. If the AMPTP agreed to let all the workers on reality shows who should rightly be called writers become WGA writers, this would hardly cost the AMPTP side anything. There are not that many of these people on each show, and all the WGA is looking for is five percent or so for health and pension. The WGA would happily agree to a minimum that many of these writers are already making more than. It’s NOT a lot of money. In fact, you’ll see, before long the AMPTP will realize this if they don’t know it already, and we’ll see a change in their position where they’re willing to grant us reality jurisdiction in exchange for a smaller residual on Internet. Mark my words, that will happen because it makes economic sense for the studios to do that. It’s probably already their game plan.

    Comment by Dollars&Sense — December 8, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

  105. Jesus, don’t tell me some of you are really SERIOUS about reality TV jurisdiction? You’ll never get it. NEVER. I think it was interesting as a hardball approach on Thursday, but it only served to piss off the AMPTM. I’m with the WGA 110% on the internet issue. If they want to pull in other proposals to shake things up when the AMPTM is draging its feet — why aren’t people making more of a deal about the AMPTM’s promised-but-never-delivered second half of its “New Economic Proposal”? — I get it. But if this is something Verrone and Young truly believe they can push through, they’re delusional. The WGA needs to learn to pick its battles.

    Comment by Jack Burton — December 8, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  106. Lionel Wrote: “I think you’re on the right track here, only I envision a giant gameshow-like spinning wheel with the name of each studio on it (size of space on wheel would be directly related to market share). We tell the studios they have until next week to wrap this up or… we spin the wheel. I personally hope it lands on Disney.”

    Yeah, but Lionel, Game Shows don’t have writers.

    Comment by Evil Brad — December 8, 2007 @ 12:30 pm

  107. For “Mike” who wrote–

    “Can someone answer a question for me, and I’m genuinely curious… If we’re fighting so hard for jurisdiction over reality and lobbying to have reality writers as members of the guild, why are these people still going to work for the studios and networks who plan to program much more of the stuff as the strike drags on. Shouldn’t all of you reality writers be walking off the job now?……
    ….I’d love to have someone articulate it for me.”

    Allow me, Mike…

    Reality (and animation) are not covered or protected by the WGA in any way, shape, or form. In fact, the Guild (which I assume includes you and many of those posting comments here) has done very little to help these writers in any way.

    You stood by while Nickelodeon illegally fired and blacklisted a group of animation writers who tried to unionize and join the guild. You did nothing while the studios crushed a group of “America’s Next Top Model” reality writers who attempted to get into the WGA. You’ve allowed a group of animation writers to be held prisoner by a corrupt and powerless cartoonist union for the last 30 years.

    Why should you care? Those issues obviously didn’t affect you directly.

    And even at this very moment, many people on this board are screaming to sell out these writers yet again by immediately hurling them over the bargaining table in an effort to appease the AMPTP so that they can get a deal that will help only themselves and not them.

    And–let me see if I’m understanding you here– you actually expect these people to stand up and walk out on their jobs for you?

    Try standing up for them just once.

    Comment by Eddie — December 8, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  108. Please, get Bryan Lourd out of there! This guy has brought nothing to the table. He, and the other agents, have an agenda: get the strike over ASAP, without any regard to what we get. Lourd overrated as an agent, and I think the fact this thing has grown much worse post his involvement says a lot.

    Comment by The Long Haul — December 8, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

  109. Boys & Girls,

    The AMPTP has zero interest in presenting its best offer to the writers. They know that they have to deal with DGA and then SAG so if they start by giving the writers the store, then their negotiating problems mount exponentially. To test this concept try giving your youngest child an iPhone for xmas and just wait and see what the middle kid and oldest expect.

    The AMPTP knew going into the new media situation that they had three kids to appease: the WGA, DGA and SAG. They chose the WGA as the weakest link and their goal all along was to try to powerplay the writers into a bad deal and then use the weak deal as leverage against the DGA and ultimately SAG.

    If the WGA falls for it and continues to drop significant issues like DVD residuals under the guise of making progress, then this whole exercise is a waste of time. But I don’t see David Young making the same mistake twice.

    Instead, the WGA needs to do three things:

    1. Reach out to each membership to make sure they stay united. Forget the draconian brute squad yanking members to the picket line. How about a phone bank making concerned calls to the membership to see how they’re dealing and offering whatever assistance they can muster even if it’s only someone to complain to?

    2. Let the AMPTP talk to the DGA. It won’t be long after the DGA puts its demands on the table that the tipping point will become very clear. After all, it’s not about the WGA winning. It’s about everyone achieving a fair deal.

    3. Forget the whole “mogul” concept. These guys are paper lions. The brains and brawn behind the AMPTP are all working in the engine room. They’re the ones tired of the honchos giving away the store. They’ve seen creative heads come and go and road the roller-coaster of hits and flops. They don’t want to let go the purse string on the only thing that gives the engine room stability and projected growth. You have to figure out how to scare the engine room, and as far as I know, the only way to do it is to kill the power.

    Oh yeah, try to remember that just because everybody on the other side is still drawing salaries, they’re sweating just as much as you are.

    Now, come on, “one, two, three, four, can I have a little more… All Together Now!”

    Comment by scribefire — December 8, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

  110. Anybody who works for Conan or Leno just got six months paid.

    Conan and Leno: call your wives. Then the bank. Then your moms.

    Then wives again.

    Then lawyers.

    PEACE OUT!

    Comment by Bunzup Nealon — December 8, 2007 @ 2:13 pm

  111. I am a WGA card carrier.

    I have written/segment produced on many shows. My opinion regarding Reality and Game shows - they ARE NOT WGA issues. I’m sorry, but with the internet issues looming as our TRUE fight, the idea that a PRICE IS RIGHT “writing” job is the near equivalent to screenwriting and script writing is borderline retarded.

    “How did you get your WGA card?”

    “I created a game where you throw a beanbag and guess how much a BBQ grill costs.”

    WTF!?

    Focus on what is right or we all look like fools. I mean, every Price Is Right fan knows - “Overbidding is a sin.”

    Comment by redblack — December 8, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  112. CHuck T you are a real asshole. The writers are also still getting rich on reruns of Seinfeld and old movies Shmucko. I dare you to come up with a full slate of shows without writers. Don’t be so proud to be a slave. you’ll get nnothing and like it. We own this business. It is only a matter of will power on our side. Eventually THEY MUST BREAK AND THEIR STOCK MUST FALL. We are asking for a pittance and the profit only comes after the studio is making a kiliing.

    Comment by growsomeballs — December 8, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  113. As a lawyer,(with no stake in either side) I can tell you that a portion of what the AMPTP says is valid, some of the WGA demands are just not viable. The focus of most of these posts is about how the AMPTP walked out, and issued an ultimatum, not really on the substance of the issues that hand. Unfortunately, WGA wants to negotiate things that inherently are not negotiable. Seriously, with animation, reality,and sympathy strike, they aren’t negotiatable, so what is the point of sitting there wasting time negotiating about something that isn’t on the table. It is not like the revenue issue, which can be haggled and negotiated forever…
    Unfortuantely, your negotiators have employed the “kitchen sink” theory of negotiating which never works…throw everything in, and give up things you really didn’t expect to get in exchange for better terms on the things you want, i.e. internet revenue. Although this is clearly a WGA sympathetic website, the reality is, this approach isn’t working for you now, and isn’t ever going to work.
    IMHO, your leadership needs to take a new look at who their fiduciary obligation is to, and it is to the CURRENT members of the WGA. That’s right, not reality writers, not animation writers, not future wannabe members of the WGA, not SAG members, not DGA members, not even BTL employees who are unemployed with absolutely nothing to gain.
    Get some new egos into the negotiating room, drop these peripheral issues, make a kick ass deal on the internet revenue, and get back to work where you really want to be. When it really comes down to it, both sides are waiting for the other to blink. Who do you really think can afford to wait longer. The financial damage that will be done to most affected by a long strike will not be remedied during the term of the contract you are fighting over.

    Comment by legallink — December 8, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  114. I worked as a reality (we used to call it ‘documentary’) producer/director for ten years before becoming a screenwriter. That meant I wrote the scripts, including the words for the talent, as well as doing the paper edit, the commentary, every single word that was ever connected with the film.

    And I *still* don’t think WGA has jurisdiction. The job is just too intimately connected with producing, directing and editing. It can’t be separated out.

    I’m happy to have the WGA represent me as a screenwriter. I am currently working up a feature documentary. I don’t see it as anything to do with the WGA.

    Comment by John Brownlow — December 8, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  115. ChuckT — You are pronouncing TV, DVD and movie theaters dead? The only entertainment worthwhile is online? We’re not trying to get every piece of internet content covered under the WGA. We’re trying to get paid for what we write for TV & flim when it’s run on the web. And we’ve ALREADY proven that we’re relevant in that arena since the distributors are already running OUR work online without paying us. But you make one good point: if we did want to do a straight to internet project, we definitely don’t need the “Producers” to do it.

    As for the DGA, I’m hoping they show some character. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Comment by LB — December 8, 2007 @ 5:43 pm

  116. Is Chuck T serious? There are no hit half hour or hour long Internet shows. There is no made-for-Internet programming that comes close to bringing in the viewership or dollars like a “Desperate Housewives” or “Lost” or other hit television shows.

    The YouTube videos are a fun snack but they’re no substantial meal. There will always be writers. There will always be stories. However, the media we present our tales upon will change. And so should our source of income so we can continue to supply the world with what they want; entertainment.

    Comment by Writer — December 8, 2007 @ 5:55 pm

  117. I think the AMPTP’s new strategy is working. The new PR firm told them to take the issue off the DVD/new media. And they did it.

    By focusing on demands that have been on the table for 3 years. They repurpose the issues into issues that seem nonsensical. All I’m hearing is people talking about the no strike clause and the animation issue. NOt internet. Because that’s all the AMPTP focused on in their press release. But that is NOT the issue at stake. That is not why the WGA is on strike. That is not what they are striking for. The issues haven’t changed.

    Does anyone truly believe that if they compromised on New Media and gave them a fair deal on that, or TALKED to the WGA about it that the WGA would say: “Nope. We want the ability to strike with our friends in a hypothetical strike that will probably never happen , but there is the miniscule possibility that it might, so screw you! We’re walking away.” Anyone? Bueller?

    Comment by Shal — December 8, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

  118. redblack said:
    >I am a WGA card carrier. I have written/segment >produced on many shows. My opinion regarding Reality >and Game shows - they ARE NOT WGA issues.

    Hard to believe you’ve ever worked on a game show with your attitude or you’d know there is lots of writing going on. The WGA’s MBA already covers game show writers but the production companies are getting around treating their writers fairly by calling them something else. They are WGA issues because they are writers. Fortunately they realize that even if you don’t.

    Comment by Anonymous — December 8, 2007 @ 6:42 pm

  119. This is fucked.

    Comment by MT — December 8, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  120. Thank you, Eddie (above), for being the only person who apparently cares that *other* writers are getting screwed and have been for years.

    I support the WGA, but some of you are making it hard. Why should we care if you get fair compensation, when you don’t care that your fellow writers don’t?

    Reality show writers may be working with existing footage, but they decide on story arcs and storylines, they create story treatments, they plan out episodes so that they tell discernible stories. How is that so different from what you do that they don’t deserve union representation?

    I find it really sad that so many of you talk about the AMPTP being greedy bastards, while you’re being just as bad in regard to animation and reality. Screw them as long as you get what you want, eh? How is that different from what the AMPTP is doing to you?

    Comment by Caroline — December 8, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  121. For “legallink”–

    Please provide your real name. Or retire.

    Seriously, those are the only ways I can think of for me to be one hundred percent certain that you are never my lawyer. But that’s assuming that you actually are a lawyer or someone with “no stake” in either side of the strike.

    You have no stake in either side? Then WTF are you doing here?

    Just random curiosity? O.k. But then why would you take the time to write an essay longer than 80 percent of the comments in this thread?

    Oh, just trying to be helpful and provide some advice? Thanks–but then why are none of your suggestions remotely helpful, productive, or encouraging? And why do your comments all follow, point by point, the list of the three major strategies that big corporations have traditionally used to fragment and break unions?

    1) CONVINCE THOSE STRIKING THAT THEIR CAUSE IS HOPELESS-

    “…some of the WGA demands are just not viable.”

    “…Seriously, with animation, reality,and sympathy strike, they aren’t negotiatable, so what is the point of sitting there wasting time negotiating about something that isn’t on the table.”

    “…this approach isn’t working for you now, and isn’t ever going to work…”

    check.

    2) GET THE UNION MEMBERS TO TURN ON EACH OTHER–

    “…your leadership needs to take a new look at who their fiduciary obligation is to, and it is to the CURRENT members of the WGA. That’s right, not reality writers, not animation writers, not future wannabe members of the WGA…”

    check.

    ***By the way–The reason the WGA got screwed on video/DVD sales in the first place is because the TV writers were convinced that the issue did not affect them. At the time, it seemed like an issue only important to feature writers so why fight for it?

    They couldn’t see into the future and even imagine a world where DVD box sets of TV shows are a huge business. We can’t see into our future and possibly predict what the landscape of our industry is going to look like in 5, 10, 20 years.

    Even if they seem unimportant now, we have no idea how issues like animation, reality shows, video games, etc. will be affecting us in the future. Just look at movies like ‘Beowolf’ and ‘300′–they look more like animation or video games than traditional movies. The entire future of our industry could very well be headed down one of the areas we seem so eager to give up just because the AMPTP issued their “terrifying” ultimatum. It’s a joke. Writers should be laughing at it, not peeing their pants and desperately calling for our guild to sell out animation, reality, or anything else.

    We can’t turn on other writers and feed them to the AMPTP, blindly throwing away huge concessions, because we think the issues don’t affect us–they very well might in the future in ways we can’t even imagine now. Do you honestly think that if the WGA gave up on areas like animation/reality/etc. the AMPTP will turn around and give us the-

    “…kick ass deal on the internet revenue…”

    –that legalink is promising in his post? Wise up.***

    But I digress…Back to exposing legalink as a ridiculous AMPTP shill, and not even a smart one:

    3) DESTROY THE MEMBERSHIP’S CONFIDENCE IN THEIR LEADERS/NEGOTIATORS

    “…Unfortuantely, your negotiators have employed the “kitchen sink” theory of negotiating which never works…”

    “…your leadership needs to take a new look at who their fiduciary obligation is to, and it is to the CURRENT members of the WGA…”

    “Get some new egos into the negotiating room…”

    checkmate.

    Sorry for the long post. I should have simply written:

    “legallink is quite clearly a ridiculous corporate shill.”

    Comment by Eddie — December 8, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

  122. Scott, I like your sentiment, but I disagree with your argument. Yes, SAG is supporting WGA. Non-working actors on shows that have been shut down due to the strike and those with big hearts and minds who recognize our cause, have been regulars on the line. But SAG members contracted to work on films and TV shows are still working. Love Patricia Arquette, but she did shoot the final few episodes of Medium as required by her contract. My point: WGA should drop the no strike clause. If SAG strikes in June, believe me, writers will be there to support them like you won’t believe. But like SAG and DGA, WGA writers contracted on shows that do not shut down will have to make a personal choice. The ball is in WGA’s court, and if they don’t “negotiate” themselves out of this spot — ie dump reality, animation and the no strike clause — it’s going to become a teeth-grinding issue. Ultimatum or not, the Jurisdiction issues should not be the cause of continued strife. Fine, wait till mid-January as to not appear to give in to AMPTP’s demands, but please, no longer. If animation writers want to be in WGA, and I realize many do and sure as hell deserve better conditions, than they must begin a petition (I suggest a blogspot petition site, which can be up in running in minutes) asap and get it in WGA’s hands by early January. We have a battle to fight; let’s not forget the big picture of negotiating for writers who are picketing and out of work (as opposed to those still collecting paychecks), and all the crew who are feeling the aftershock.

    Seriously, start the blogspot/petition animation writers, it’s not as if you don’t have a visible place to post it.

    Comment by JF — December 8, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

  123. Eddy,

    That makes sense to a degree. I can see where the WGA has never come to the ‘aid’ or ‘rescue’ of reality or animation writers who want to join the guild. But isn’t now the time to flex the muscle you have while the WGA is negotiating for you to be brought under the WGA umbrella. I certainly understand your ambivalence and distrust, but feeding the studios and networks with product while the WGA is trying to make the pipeline run dry seems to be counterproductive to your ultimate goal, doesn’t it? Not trying to be disrespectful, just trying to get us all on the same page… this fight is about more than just the WGA. In any event, I wish you and your fellow reality/animation writers well and know that I’m marching in circles in front of Radford everyday for all of us.

    Comment by mike — December 8, 2007 @ 9:13 pm

  124. WGA needs to focus on films now.

    Take your bullhorns and your signs and your well-worn Chuck Taylors, and set up a show of force at big hollwood pics filming locations.

    Stop that pipeline.

    If you want to see hairs go up on the back of studio bosses’ heads — stop the product.

    Editors sitting in bays, if they don’t get dallies, call execs. Boy do they hate those calls.

    Execs will wait a day or two, then alert studio bosses. These are even harder calls to make.

    Two, three, four, ten days of no filming, that exec is going to go crazy. Maybe lose his job.

    Multiply that by six studios, plus network films, and you have altered the flow of product in the pipeline.

    Comment by shutdownbigpics — December 8, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  125. Comment by growsomeballs — December 8, 2007: “We own this business.”

    Famous last words.

    Comment by ChuckT — December 8, 2007 @ 9:34 pm

  126. I am an NEA member in support of the WGA efforts to create a new economic model to address the future needs of employees in a vital American industry.

    You are fighting a battle that is bigger than you. The outcome of this strike (especially if it extends to the spring and pulls in SAG) may be the model for how corporations will treat newer service industry white collar employees in the future. It is important at this point to demonstrate that the unions of the 19th and 20th century can be of use in the 21st century. We need “white collar” unions and they need to be successful.

    Comment by NEA member — December 9, 2007 @ 3:14 am

  127. Hey Mike–
    I’m a WGA member walking the line also. I’ve worked in animation so I know about the conditions and experiences of writers in that industry.

    I know absolutely nothing about reality television but I do know that those shows are written by “real” writers because studios hire them to write ‘em. They’re working writers and that’s as real as it ever gets.

    I also mean you no disrespect. I just think you’re taking something that we would like to see happen purely in our own self-interest (reality writers walking off their jobs to help cripple the studios financially during our strike) and then trying to rationalize reasons why this thing is correct and best for everyone involved.

    You never call for animation writers to stop working even though they’re in the same situation. That’s only because studios are not immediately relying on animation and it would not serve your agenda and interests with the same potency.

    Don’t misunderstand me–you should be looking out for your own interests. But you can’t expect others to simply abandon theirs so that yours can be more easily realized. You’re asking these writers to leave their current jobs and (based on recent history) get blackballed from all future employment in their area of the industry. Well, it’s pretty obvious what you would get out of that arrangement.

    What would they get exactly?

    So they get the chance to be in the WGA maybe? O.k. What happens if their heroic walk out helps bring the studios to their knees–but we still have to give them up to ultimately get the kind of deal we want? What are you planning to tell them and their families while you’re salivating over your phat new media residuals/streaming fees and returning to work?–”Thanks for the help, guys. Sorry about your careers and everything. Maybe we’ll get you next time.” ?

    You can certainly claim they should do it out of pure love and solidarity with their fellow writers, right? But where was this strong sense of professional brotherhood and support when they were struggling to sign their union cards and fight the studios for recognition? It can’t magically appear only when you need something from them.

    Bottom line–you’re asking these people to stick their necks out pretty far for you with absolutely no guarantees of getting anything in return. Have you ever been willing to stick your neck out for them even a little?

    You can claim they need to make sacrifices and take chances to get what they want (WGA membership/protection). But what sacrifices and chances are you willing to make to get what you want here (reality television being crippled during our strike)? If they were willing to abandon their jobs, would you guarantee them that you would not stop the strike until the studios recognize the WGA’s jurisdiction over reality?

    I doubt it. The AMPTP puts out a silly ultimatum that any real writer would laugh off and half the posters on this board crap themselves and begin crying for the WGA to take “reality/animation/anything-just-please-don’t-issue-another-ultimatum” off the table.

    Mike, are you honestly surprised that reality writers aren’t willing to join us when we haven’t even bothered to disguise the fact that they’re the first ones everyone seems to want to sell out?

    There’s a reason why no one else here seems to be wondering why reality writers aren’t being expected to walk off their jobs. The answer is pretty obvious.

    And just to be clear–I am not preaching solidarity with animation/reality/all writers out of some sense of charity or idealism. I see opening our union to them, video game writers, and any of the other untraditional professional story tellers that will be emerging as being absolutely essential to the WGA remaining relevant and powerful for the duration of my professional career. Believe me, I’m no better than you. My stance is purely in the pursuit of my own selfish interests.

    See you on the line.

    Comment by Eddie — December 9, 2007 @ 3:43 am

  128. shutdownbigpics,

    The problem with that scenario is that the majority of films AREN’T shot in LA anymore.

    Someone on another blog suggested 3000 writers show up and shut down the new James Bond flick. Uh, that one’s being shot in England! As usual. What are those writers going to do? Hop on a plane or swim?

    Seriously, some people are just stupid.

    And if you’re going to shut down movies that were written long before the strike (sometimes years), you’re not going to make many friends from those who NEED films to be shot in LA for them to put food on their family’s table.

    Chasing away production that’s already pretty much run away out of state (and country) is not a good thing.

    Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    Comment by Sherilyn — December 9, 2007 @ 6:28 am

  129. Replace Bryan Lourd with Ted Chervin and this will get settled.

    Comment by Writer7 — December 9, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  130. In response to legallink:

    So… you’re saying that the AMPTP had the right to walk away because the WGA was trying to negotiate issues that were non-negotiable, like sympathy striking and reality jurisdiction.

    Okay, fine. Then by your logic, the WGA should have ended the talks weeks ago when the companies refused to give them the TV residual rate on streaming. There’s no reason that can’t be a “non-negotiable” issue too, since writers will be facing horrific pay cuts in the near future when many shows are rerun via streaming instead of syndication. The WGA has every right to insist that issue be non-negotiable, and if they had stormed out of talks unless and until the AMPTP sent them a letter promising to grant them their requested residual rate for streaming, it would have been just as rational as what the AMPTP did on Friday.

    Except, they didn’t do that. They had an issue on the table that was crucial to them, the AMPTP wasn’t playing ball, but the WGA wanted to keep working on it. For the sake of moving things forward, they made an issue that SHOULD be non-negotiable, negotiable. That’s how you resolve a situation like this. You don’t resolve it by taking your ball and going home.

    Furthermore, it was a tactical blunder for the AMPTP to pretend that reality/animation jurisdiction and strike sympathy are issues that will cripple their business, because the time is going to come when either (a) they have to grant those things to end the strike; or (b) they have to admit that they’re less important to them than online residuals; or, perhaps, both; and that’s going to be really goddamn hard to explain to the shareholders.

    Comment by Nick — December 9, 2007 @ 9:22 am

  131. Eddie,
    Point taken. Well articulated. And you’re right… It is mostly selfish motivation that I seek the support of reality and animation writers to cripple the studios.

    Largely, I believe all members of the WGA view those people as the red-headed stepchild of the industry. It’s not right, but it is what it is. After soul searchign a bit and putting myself in those people’s shoes, I can’t say I’d quit my job either.

    In the end, reality jurisdiction will probably be one of the victims of negotiations and I hope that at some point all of us can be brothers under the WGA banner… it might just be a while longer and for that, I fault the members of the AMPTP much more than the WGA. Best to you. Best to all reality and animation people and best to all of us in the hopes of getting only our fair share.

    Comment by mike — December 9, 2007 @ 10:41 am

  132. reading these threads from writers, I have to conclude:
    Step 1: Divide - Accomplished
    Step 2: Conquer- coming soon

    Why do you make it so easy for the AMPTP? WHOSE egos’ are their own worst enemy?

    Comment by Baby Watcher — December 9, 2007 @ 1:19 pm

  133. Linklink advised, “Seriously, with animation, reality,and sympathy strike, they aren’t negotiatable, so what is the point of sitting there wasting time negotiating about something that isn’t on the table.”

    Right….

    Because animation writing has no dialog, characters, scenes, story arcs, jokes, scribbling of “INT. or EXT.”,or any of the other elements of writing covered by the WGA.

    Comment by Writer/Director — December 9, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  134. A producer put it very succinctly to me… the Amptp don’t give a damn about the writers.

    This is how it will break down: First the AMPTP will take care of the DGA… that will take about two months, which takes us into Feb-March.

    Then the AMPTP will take care of the Actors (SAG) in June and then about a month or two after that they will finally deal with the writers, whom the AMPTP feel will be quite broken, both psychologically and financially by then. This whole mess will take us into August 2008 before it’s resolved.

    This is how it was described to me by a producer who has spoken to the big 8 cheeses who are responsible for this whole mess to begin with.

    This will get much uglier before it gets better… and if you think big films shooting right now are not being rewritten on the fly… think again.

    This is could have been so easy to resolve… now everyone must suffer because the needs of a few (Big 8) have outnumbered the needs of the many (The Writers).

    Disgruntled Writer.

    Comment by Disgruntled Writer — December 9, 2007 @ 4:01 pm

  135. Sherilyn, Really? Who knew all filming moved to Europe? How about the Eddie Murphy film WGA picketed last month? In LA. (Or how about opening a Hollywood Reporter). The AMPTP is making this strike damaging to the TV and film community. Not the writers. I say strike where it hurts the AMPTP most. I highly doubt, even with a show of force, films would actually stop completely–although that would certainly turn some heads. As a production coordinator for seven years, my sense is that the production company would incur costs as shooting is halted. They’d scramble to get another location, keeping crew employed (you don’t return camera, grip and electric packages if filming is stopped for a week, but you do watch your budged escalate.) Those kinds of unforeseen costs would hurt the studios. That’s what is needed. Presence.

    Comment by shutdownbigfilms — December 9, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  136. Whenever I see a handle like ‘Disgruntled Writer’ I know I am seeing an AMPTP shill. Guys, really, try harder.

    By the way, good luck with those WGA/DGA deals when you’ve got nothing to shoot. That’s gonna be a real strong bargaining position.

    Comment by john Brownlow — December 9, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

  137. Hey BTL people - some wannabe WGA wants you to call these companies listed below and tell them you are going to boycott their products. Do what you will, but I think the first call you should make is to the WGA and tell them to accept the best offer they are going to get so that we can all get back to back. And Nikki…how come no coverage on the ‘lets make a deal’ demonstration on sunday?

    Feeling discouraged? Hopeless? Helpless? Well, now there’s something we can all do in addition to walking in circles. LET’S KICK ‘EM WHERE IT COUNTS. ADVERTISING DOLLARS. Use the template below - call your favorite car company, phone service, call McDonalds. Email to all your friends and relatives and ask them to do the same.

    Yes, this post is lengthy… NOW GET READING!

    Comment by writerspuh-leeze — December 10, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  138. From Eddie: “I know absolutely nothing about reality television but I do know that those shows are written by “real” writers because studios hire them to write ‘em. They’re working writers and that’s as real as it ever gets.”

    Reality writers are not writers. They think of a few ideas and toss them out into the atmosphere, not on a piece of paper.

    Real writers will spend a day on one page of a script. When a reality writer spends an hour thinking of a whole episode.

    Take reality off the table. The shows suck. It’s the joke of the industry.

    Comment by notarealitywriter — December 10, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  139. With regards to animation, reality, and strikes, it’s non-negotiable because in the end, I’m pretty sure, those decision haven nothing to do with the AMPTP.

    As I understand, they’re not being stubborn with regards to that - it’s just none of their business.

    Media conglomerates don’t get to decide which writers are in which union - the WGA can just unionize them so long as the writers themselves agree, right? And as far as sympathy strikes go, what is the WGA asking for here? If the WGA doesn’t like what’s going on with the DGA or what have you, and they vote to strike, they strike, and the companies respond however they respond, same as now. What’s to discuss? What’s to negotiate? I am ignorant of what the WGA proposed in the first place, but it seems to me these things just don’t have any place in the talks.

    Comment by Tennyson E. Stead — December 10, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  140. notarealitywriter wrote–

    “Take reality off the table. The shows suck. It’s the joke of the industry.”

    Does anyone else want to do the honors here or should I?

    If the WGA agreed to give up all the writers working on shows and movies that you could argue “suck,” our guild would be comprised of maybe fifty members. Maybe. This strike isn’t about your personal viewing tastes. It’s about money. How much money is generated by these reality shows? Is that a joke?

    Are you honestly telling me you wouldn’t accept the WGA’s jurisdiction over reality and all the money involved if it was offered to you purely on the basis of your creative objections to the shows? Bitch, please.

    I have no doubt that you would happily embrace reality writers, plus blow Flava Flav and the entire cast of the last three seasons of ‘Survivor,’ if the AMPTP offered you an extra .000001 cent per DVD/download for it.

    I find it very revealing that all these arguments for giving up realty–”They’re not real writers”/”We’ll never be able to get it”/”That was never on the table anyway”–are popping up not on a thread that has nothing do to with the discussion of those issues. Strangely enough, they’re being posted as a direct reaction to the AMPTP’s ultimatum.

    That’s interesting.

    How did you people respond when you were in school and a bully confronted you on the school yard demanding your lunch money? Let me take a wild guess here–you immediately handed it over, crawled off, and then began telling yourself “Oh, I wasn’t hungry anyway” / “I didn’t like what the cafeteria was serving today” / “O.k. Now he’ll leave me alone!” / “It’s much braver to not fight, right?” / etc.

    Even if you honestly believed that reality has no place in the WGA, wouldn’t you want to stand up for it now simply to show the AMPTP that our actions and positions are not going to be dictated by this or any other ultimatums?

    Do you honestly think that if we give in on this now, the studios we’ll then offer us some kind of sweet deal? They’ll laugh at how easy it was and then come back for more of our lunch money.

    Let me give you some advice. When you’re confronted by a bully, punch him in the face. At the very least, refuse to willingly give him anything. You might get the shit kicked out of you and your money taken anyway, but the bully will think twice before confronting you again.

    You will also be able to look into a mirror and feel some shred of pride about the person staring back at you.

    Comment by Eddie — December 11, 2007 @ 11:09 am

  141. Tennyson E. Stead:

    “Media conglomerates don’t get to decide which writers are in which union - the WGA can just unionize them so long as the writers themselves agree, right?”

    NOOO!

    Animation is a hideous double-edged sword for animation writers. They are covered under IATSE Local 839, and when writers have TRIED to leave and join the WGA, they have been thwarted by the studios, AND the union itself. IATSE prez Tom Short is a scum sucking crook. Seriously.

    To make matters worse, not ALL studios are even signatories to Local 839, so you could theoretically work non-union as an animation writer forever. Nickelodeon was non-union for a while, until some writers tried to organize via the WGA. Here, in animation writer Micah Wright’s own words, is his story (snipped a little, but including a vision of the future the AMPTP has in store for all of us):

    “…It’s not self-righteousness which is driving this negotiation… it’s quite simply the greed of the AMPTP, which clearly sees this as the year in which they intend to break the WGA on the rack once and for all. But you don’t see that… you seem unable to get it through your head that the AMPTP doesn’t want to ever pay us anything. If you think these people are so reasonable and that they deal in good faith, then try talking to writers who work in Animation and Reality… THAT is the future that the AMPTP has in store for EVERY WRITER IN THE WGA. Because if they don’t have to pay residuals to the woman who wrote The Lion King, then why should they ever have to pay one to YOU? Or anyone else?

    Oh, and before you give me some fucking sob story about the disastrous strike of 1988, let me bring you up to date with a more RECENT story: mine.

    I came to this guild having had a “successful” career writing Animation for $1400/week for five years. During that time, I wrote on several of Nickelodeon’s highest-rated shows. My writing partner wrote and directed 1/4 of the episodes of “SpongeBob SquarePants” and I was responsible for 1/5 of the episodes of “The Angry Beavers.” The current value that those shows have generated for Viacom? $12 Billion dollars. My writing partner topped out at $2100/week. In the year 2001, tired of not receiving residuals for my endlessly- repeating work (even though the actors and composers for my episodes do), I joined with 28 other writers and we signed our WGA cards.

    So, Nickelodeon quickly filed suit against our petition for an election, and set about trying to ferret out who the “ringleaders” were. In the meantime, they canceled the show that I had created 4 episodes into an order of 26. Then they fired the 3 writers who’d been working on my show. Then they fired 20 more of my fellow writers and shut down three more shows, kicking almost their entire primetime lineup for 2002 to the curb, and laying off 250 artists.

    Then, once the WGA’s petition for election was tied up in court over our illegal firings, Nickelodeon called in the IATSE Local 839 “Cartoonists Guild” — a racket union which exists only the screw the WGA and its own members — and they signed a deal which forever locks the WGA out of Nickelodeon, even though we were there first. Neato!

    Then Nickelodeon’s brass decided —out of thin fucking air— that myself and two other writers had been “the ringleaders” of this organizing effort, so they called around to Warner Bros. Animation, the Cartoon Network, Disney Animation, and Fox Kids, effectively blacklisting the three of us out of animation permanently.

    And why did Nickelodeon do this? Why were they so eager to decimate their own 2002 schedule, fire 24 writers, break multiple federal labor laws, sign a union deal, and to even bring back the fucking blacklist? They did all of that to prevent us from getting the same whopping $5 residual that the actors & composers of our shows get.

    For five lousy fucking bucks, they destroyed three people’s careers and put 250 artists out of work and fucked up their own channel for a year.

    Ahh, but my episodes run about 400 times a year worldwide, though, so obviously Sumner Redstone (Salary in 2001: $65 million dollars) and Tom Freston (2001 salary: $55 million) were right to do what they did… myself and those other 23 writers might have broken the bank, what with each of us going to cost them another TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS each! OH NO! That… that’s… FORTY EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS!

    A YEAR!

    So don’t come crying to those of us who have EXPERIENCED what the AMPTP plans for all of the rest of you, that people who are deciding to stand up to bully-boy tactics like that are the crazy bunch of “horads” lustily marching “throught” the streets searching for blood. The AMPTP are the barbarians sacking Rome in this scenario.

    The AMPTP and their glittering-eyed weasel lawyers are a bunch of lying, blacklisting, law-breaking scumbags, and the fact that they haven’t budged off of ANY of their proposals in the last three months proves that what they have in store for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU is exactly what they did to us at Nickelodeon, and what they can do any day of the week in daytime animation. Or reality.

    Strike or no strike. That’s their plan: to winnow down your membership, to snip away at your MBA, to chew away at your health & pension plans until there’s just nothing left of the WGA. Why? Because they’ve had a good strong drink of how much money they make off of animation when they don’t have to cut the creators in for any of the cash, and now they want to extend that free ride to all of live action as well. THAT is why they have pushed for this strike at every step, with their insulting press releases, with their refusals to negotiate, etc. — because they’re HOPING we go on strike, and that enough cowards and Quislings come crawling out of the woodwork after six weeks that they can force us to accept the same deal that Reality TV show writers have.

    If you doubt me, go read their contract proposals again… there’s not ONE of them which isn’t an insult and a deal-breaking non-starter.

    So can we PLEASE stop hearing about how it’s the current WGA management which is the fucking problem here? Because, frankly, that canard is getting a little stale.

    Or perhaps you prefer presidents like the President of the Guild back in 2001 who just threw up her hands when we were fired and blacklisted out of our careers and said, and I quote, “oh well, it was a good try”?

    ———-
    My source for this:

    http://kingofbreakfast.livejournal.com/67646.html

    Don’t assume animation writers “want” to be in Local 839. They have no choice.

    Comment by Princess — December 11, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

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