Friday, November 02, 2007

Screenwriters United in Call for Strike

The buzz today is that the screenwriters union in Hollywood will strike. Union leaders in both New York and Los Angeles have been meeting to approve the move. For both writers and producers, the sticking point seems to be the union’s demand for an increase in fees writers receive when their work is reproduced on DVDs, the Internet, mobile phones and other electronic devices.

According to BBC News:
Negotiators for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) had met the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on Wednesday, hours before an existing agreement expired.
The BBC also said:
Five thousand members of the WGA recently took part in a ballot and 90% voted in favour of industrial action.

The last time screenwriters walked off the job was in 1988. That move delayed some TV series and cost a reported $500m.

According to the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW):
Before a standing-room-only audience of 3,000 Writers Guild members in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall in downtown L.A. Thursday night, the Writers Guild of America Negotiating Committee, on behalf of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), announced its unanimous recommendation to call a strike against the film studios and television networks that make up the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The Writers Guild of America East (WGAE), on their website in an article posted at 3:39 this morning said:
Through the course of negotiations, we have never received ANY counterproposals to our serious proposals -- not only on DVD's and Internet downloads, but other issues important to us -- especially new media and expanded jurisdiction in such areas as reality programming, animation and basic cable.
The members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are using fear and attempts at intimidation to maintain a status quo that makes no sense in a 21st century world of rapidly expanding global markets and new media. They are after our livelihoods with a short-sighted strategy that would reduce residuals by as much as 85%, drastically undermining our economic security and the very creativity on which they rely.

On the other side of the table, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), in their position paper, said the roadblock, for them, is the DVD issue, including the formula for electronic sell-through.
The consistent message from the CEOs was that, for overriding business reasons, the home video formula would not be changed. ... no further movement is possible to close the gap between us so long as your DVD proposal remains on the table. In referring to DVDs, we include not only traditional DVDs, but also electronic sell-through -- i.e., permanent downloads.

The writers are getting outside moral support. Actor Alec Baldwin, for example, wrote a blog post in The Huffington Post recalling the last WGA strike and applauding writers.
… as an actor who has worked in film and television since 1980, I have always been pretty clear about the fact that we are nowhere without the writers in our industry. And that goes beyond the scary concept of a world of unscripted reality TV. Television and film writers are responsible for some of the greatest literature in the history of our society.

Things can always change at the last minute, but as of today at 3 a.m., the WGA Contract 2007 Negotiating Committee had made an unanimous recommendation that the WGAE and WGAW implement the strike authorization.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...