Tuesday, November 20, 2007

John Edwards Strikes with the WGA!

Old News - I know - but still worth mentioning. Afterall - you still gotta ask a serious question: Why is Edwards the only presidential candidate who's so publicly sided with the WGA that he showed up to march? Easy photo op? Sure. But - at least Edwards cared enough about the issue to make it a priority for his campaign that he would publicly side with the WGA. It's a good show of character. Edwards' warnings about media consolidation are actually part of a much bigger problem outside of the strike - I plan to discuss more on that soon - but for now enjoy this great video from www.unitedhollywood.com -JG

Imaginary Digital Download Residuals

The AMPTP said writers are getting paid for internet downloads of their work. Of course, they curiously didn't mention exactly how much that cut was... here's a video with some comedic insight to what TV writers make from current Netresiduals... it's from the always great www.unitedhollywood.com -JG

Friday, November 16, 2007

Screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson's Strike Story Notes!

Wow - I wish I had someone as cool as Phil Alden Robinson to submit posts to my rag-tag blog, but, since I don't - I gotta again say hats off to www.unitedhollywood.com for doing amazing coverage of the strike. This letter really cracked me up. --JG

Screenwriter Phil Alden Robinson

From www.unitedhollywood.com

Story Notes for Nick Counter

(Nick Counter and the AMPTP (The Media Moguls) paid for an expensive ad in yesterday's "Variety" -- for those of you who don't work in the industry, "Variety" is an entertainment business magazine that is in the pocket of the Media Moguls.

Since we don't have tons and tons of money like the Media Moguls do, we'll have to respond here - on the Internet - which they don't entirely own and control ( but they sure would like to).

Below, WGA member Phil Alden Robinson gives Nick Counter "story notes" on his advertisement and general "script".)

From: Story Department

To: Nick Counter

Dear Nick:

While we are still very excited about your project "Stonewall", we feel there are still some serious script problems that need to be addressed.

1) As every writer knows, the first rule of fiction is to at least SOUND believable. But you have a character saying dialog like "writers do receive residuals for digital downloading (regardless of whether the download is temporary or permanent)". Then why do you have the WGA character have to arbitrate to get what's already in the contract? Wouldn't the AMPTP character have more credibility if he just told the truth and did the right thing?

2) You also have a character say "the notion that we are not sharing new media revenue with writers is simply not correct." Wow. If that's what you want him to say, then we suggest you delete all the scenes in which entire episodes of TV shows - with COMMERCIALS - are streamed on the internet for millions of users, and the studios earn advertising revenue, but pay the writers nothing. This is a major logic problem with your script, and needs to be fixed.

3) Major typo: you've got a character saying "the Writers Guild is asking that writers get a percentage of what the Internet site owners receive in advertising revenue". But it's not. The WGA's proposal is for a percentage of "company's accountable receipts". It has nothing to do with Internet site owners.

4) In earlier pages (the Sunday night negotiation scene), you had the AMPTP character say that progress was being made, and then you have that character abruptly walk out of negotiations. We've asked you to fix that, but you still haven't made sense of it. This sort of behavior is usually reserved for the villain. Is that your intention for this character?

5) The WGA character keeps saying they're ready to return to the bargaining table, but you still haven't had the AMPTP character respond. Suggestion: why not have the AMPTP character call the WGA and return to the table? Along these lines, we suggest you put a pin in the 1st and 2nd act problems, and just concentrate on the ending.

In short, we still have high hopes for you, so please don't be discouraged. We're looking forward to the next set of pages.

Warmest regards,

Your friends in the Story Department.

p.s.: Aren't you glad we didn't give you a one-draft deal on this?

Todd Bridges Speaks Out! Um, thanks todd...

Man, I really wish I had some time and equipment to hit the strike lines and document more of what's going on, but I'm utterly short on both and sincerely wish I could be more active.

I take the strike very seriously, but have been under harsh journalistic deadlines that I can't get out of. I hope to write about the strike soon and have a few interesting articles being considered so - we'll see if they get the greenlight... Putting on my journalistic hat seems to be the best way that I can help the writers I so admire.

Thankfully www.unitedhollywood.com is continuing to produce great videos. And I guess - why not in a time of need turn to the important political rhetoric of TV's "Willis," Todd Bridges...JG

Actors Show Solidarity With The WGA

Perty repetitive - but that's the point right? Actors without good words might just get perty repetive...JG

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Voices of Uncertainty

Another excellent video from www.unitedhollywood.com entitled, "Voices of Uncertainty." --JG

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Have You E-Signed this E-Petition?

Here's a petition that has been generated and was mentioned on the www.unitedhollywood.com site. I think this is a solid way to show support. It seems like a legit document however it is unclear to me how and when this document will be submitted.

Click below to check it out for yourself and if you feel so inclined - don't forget to E-Sign it...JG

Check out the petition by clicking here

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Patrick Dempsey Speaks About The Strike

Another solid video from www.unitedhollywood.com -- JG

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lost & Desperate Housewives Writers Comment On The Strike

I'm really impressed with www.unitedhollywood.com as they've continued to produce great videos providing insight into the Writer's Strike.

Here's another of their videos featuring Lost's David Lindelof and Desperate Housewives' Marc Cherry explaining their perspectives on the WGA strike. --JG

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Curious What The Writer's Strike Is About?

This video pretty much sums up the basics. It doesn't really take into account some of the non-residual issues like coverage for animation writing, etc., but is a decent primer if you want to get a grasp on why writers felt the need to authorize a strike in order to protect the future of a residual based payout structure.

What can't be stressed enough is that a residual is only paid on earnings a studio makes. They are not arbitrary payments. A flop of a film that garners no public interest will pay a low amount of residuals as there's a lower demand for it in ancillary markets. A huge success, on the other hand, has lots of ancillary options and play and thus as networks pay to televise the film and consumers pay to re-experience it on DVD or cable - out of such newfound financial interest in the film a residual payment is also made to the writer. It's not really an added cost and anytime the studios pretend a residual is an added cost it's intentionally misleading.

This video is from www.unitedhollywood.com a really well done site that has tons of info and first person accounts regarding the strike. --JG

The Strike's First Scab Writer!

Well, the strike is on and I gotta say I'm perty amused by the first official scab writer, Alex Perez (if that's his real name and I'm guessing it is).

By showcasing all this "scab's" bad ideas, dialogue and pitches he subtly makes a good point that folks should be waking up to soon in such that without good writing, all the technical prowess in the world ain't worth a dime. Good writing is invisible, bad writing ain't so invisible.

Alex Perez - Scab Writer

It's definitely worth checking out his site and watching some of the funny promotional videos too. --JG

Visit the Hollywood Scab Writer Site by clicking here