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Hollywood writers can strike

Book.jpgI've held back writing about this topic so as not to add fuel to the fire, but it seems now that the proposed strike in Hollywood could well go ahead now that the writers union has balloted its members and found that they majority vote was to go ahead with the strike once the current contract expires at the end of the month.

Now I know that voting systems in America mean nothing, but this could now really mean that there's going to be a strike of writers in both television and film, and that means no new material coming through the doors for some time.

Actually, thinking about it, what new material of note is coming through the doors of Hollywood right now? Can't they just stick to their remake policy and get some studio executive to rewrite the film? Saves them getting someone else to write it and when they see the finalised product order rewrites, sack and replace the directors and just head on with what they wanted in the first place?

The writers are complaining that they aren't getting a fair share of the profits in Hollywood compared to everyone else.

Now although I think that they probably get much better pay than you or I, I do see their point. When there's so much money being made for a film you have to wonder if the profits are going to the three areas that really make the film, writers, directors and editors. Remembering though that the whole team creates the film, from electricians to costume designers, but those three key places are where a film gets made, the pen, the lens, the - I can't think of something that rhymes with lens and pen – the blade. That's really where the film making is, so are they the ones that get the rewards?

Not according to the writers anyway, and they are prepared to go to strike to try and prove that they are serious about wanting more of a cut.

According to it's pretty serious now:

“More than 5,000 members of the Writers Guild of America cast ballots, with 90 percent voting in favor of authorizing the strike, the union said Friday evening.”

The President of the Writers Guild Patric Verrone said:

“Writers do not want to strike, but they are resolute and prepared to take strong, united action to defend our interests...What we must have is a contract that gives us the ability to keep up with the financial success of this ever-expanding global industry.”

The contract with the writers guild is coming to a close very soon and they are wanting better deals for the DVD and Internet sales of films, something that the Actors Guild also agree with.

Film studios and production companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have been in talks with the Writers Guild and have yet to find any progress. The last stike was in 1988 and lasted for four months, according to reports losses were around the half a billion mark.

We'll see more on October the 31st when the contract expires, but writers such as Mark Verheiden of Battlestar Galactica fame are quick to point out what this really means:

“That does NOT necessarily mean there will be a strike, or that it's going to happen exactly on Nov. 1. It DOES mean that our negotiators go into their next work session knowing that 90+% of the membership will back them if they decide a work stoppage is the only way to be heard.

it should be made clear that the vote does not mean that 90% of the membership WANTS to strike. I certainly don't! We're fully aware that a strike not only hurts our bottom line, but rolls through the rest of the entertainment community as well.”

Over on his blog he points out that he was on the outskirts of the previous strike, but he saw the effects:

“...it was devastating to far too many people, not to mention the business in general.”

He hopes that a positive deal will prevail, and I can't see it any other way really, especially when the actors are in support. Could we see a complete talent strike? I don't think so, there will be posturing right up to the wire and then something will be agreed.




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