The Writers Guild of America does not seem to realize that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is out to break them. Cast them to the wind. Blow them out to sea along with the Santa Ana Winds. They are naive to think otherwise. And what can they do about it? Probably not much. Although in our opinion the writers aren't asking for that much. The Hollywood writers want a piece of the action from new technologies (distribution of shows via the Internet, cell phones and other digital platforms). The Hollywood producers will not agree to restrictions to their ability to experiment with new digital delivery options for films and TV shows. There is a lot of money at stake and the producers have dug in. It will change Hollywood forever.
The TV Networks are at most risk for product and some shows have already had to shut down production because of the walkout. The pilot decision making process usually starts in January and a disruption of this process could seriously delay the Fall TV season. Can the networks simply hire new writers at some point? Will the networks hire nonunion writers at some point? They have to. Every waiter in Los Angeles has a script and if you throw a rock you will hit a script writer. If the walk out somehow goes on into the summer it will begin to threaten movie production and the Fall TV season. And THAT the producers will not stand for. Remember what Reagan did to the striking air traffic controllers? We think it could happen to the Hollywood writers too.
Some of the contract proposals by the Writers Guild of America:
- authority to unionize writers on reality shows and animation projects.
- Home video and DVD residuals: The guild withdrew its call to double the payout base rate from 20 to 40 percent.
- Internet residuals: Increase from 1.2 percent to 2.5 percent.
- New media: Institute residual payments for webisodes and mobisodes.
- Streaming video: Institute residuals, including payments for network-produced shows streamed on Web sites.
- The CW: Implement a pay standard for work appearing on the channel.
- Contract length: Three-year contract