Thursday, January 17, 2008

Directors deal finished; could writers deal be far behind?

Over at the blog, news of the first step in what's hopefully the end of the WGA strike.


Anonymous said...


That is all.

Anonymous said...

Bravo. Finally, a glimmer of light.

Anonymous said...

So I guess the Directors Guild is already tired of "Dance Wars: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann" and "Celebrity Apprentice".


Even better? This totally undermines the stubborn writer's guild, who are most responsible for the endlessness of this strike.

My sympathy has evaporated at this point for the writers.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how it undermines the writers. The things the directors got in this deal are the things that the writers have been asking for all along. The directors never would've gotten this much were it not for the writers playing bad cop to their good cop.

Anonymous said...

well, yeah, yay. i guess. i mean its great that the dga settled. which means the wga will probably settle. and then the sga.

and then everyone is back to work. yay. they all get to make more money. yay.

but does anyone here think that the amptp is just going to swallow that cost? heh. and who do you think gets to pay that cost.

that's right. you and me.

movie ticket prices will rise. cable bill costs will increase. netflix costs will go up. more commercials... my god...

i get that we are all pro union and all, its just that my world suddenly got significantly more expensive. not a knock on the unions or the corps, that's just a fact. they got theirs at my expense. the wga/dga/sag/amptp knows where the increase will come from.

so... yay! i guess.

write a column about that, alan. you are a fan of david simon and the wire.

write a column about that, alan.

i dare you.

R.A. Porter said...

From the fact sheet, this looks like a fine deal for film directors, but those terms on Ad Supported Streaming look like they'll kill TV writers. 17 days free streaming. I doubt there'd be much reason to re-broadcast over the air after that. Kiss that juicy residual check for first rebroadcast goodbye, but be oh so happy that it will be replaced by a $600 check for unlimited streaming for the following six months (for an hour program.)

Oh, and as long as original content for the Internet is done on the "cheap", ie: under $15K per minute, it can be directed by non-guild members. If the WGA accepted the same terms, that would mean non-guild members would be writing those extremely "cheap" productions.

I could be reading the fact sheet wrong, of course. But man, it doesn't look good for people working in TV.

Zodin2008: usually, and this is just a rule of thumb, it is the ones who walk away from the negotiating table who are considered "responsible" for any subsequent breakdown in negotiations. I'm impressed by the boldness of your assertion that in that case it is the abandoned party to be blamed.

Anonymous said...

What I'm hearing from fellow writers on the picket line is, this might be a good contract for directors guild members (most of whom don't actually "direct"), but a terrible deal for writers, as it seems to amount to a near total elimination of the residuals which make up half our pay.

Long-time TV writer Mark Evanier has a pretty balanced dissection of writers' possible problems with the tentative DGA contract on his pop-culture blog,

Anonymous said...

The fight was about net residuals, so from what I understand it was a given that the first wave of downloads wouldn't count.

The big question now is if WGA accepts the deal till Sundance, what does that mean for the TV season?

Tom said...

Dennis wrote: "...a terrible deal for writers, as it seems to amount to a near total elimination of the residuals which make up half our pay..."

Well, that's only if the rerun-in-primetime business model is superseded by downloads and streaming. I'm not certain that's going to happen. Each network has a fixed number of hours to fill each week. They will program the most profitable shows in those hours. I don't see CBS migrating, say, the CSI franchises to the internet and filling the hours currently filled with CSI reruns with more and more reality or game shows. Does anyone see the internet out-earning the huge amounts made on primetime advertising anytime soon?

By all means, the WGA should fight for equitable residuals on downloaded and streamed programming. But it shouldn't take its eye off the ball, which is to keep scripted programming the king of the TV empire. And that means CREATING it, darn it. Prolonging the strike and training audiences to seek entertainment in other media, forcing the congloms to come up with cheaper ways to develop programming than the current pilot season formula, resuscitating "American Gladiators" for pete's sake...all that's playing with fire. IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Tom, thanks for telling us poor writers what our goals and tactics should be. And defining for us what the broadcasting "landscape" is. Obviously we haven't given enough thought to these matters over the seven three-year contract terms since the rise of home video and cable, during which our pay and health-care structures have been eviscerated.


Tom said...

Okay, Dennis. Take that tone.

The WGA leadership has brought things to this point based on a certain set of assumptions. Let's see what happens next.