Friday, November 9, 2007

So, I get this call from NBC/Universal Studios...

Well, at least, I figured it was NBC. I don't know that anyone I know has a '212' area code.

'Cause I don't know anyone that lives in New York City. I think.

Anyway. On Monday, Noel, David, Stephanie, and I were supposed to go to Rockerfeller Center in New York City to see Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Obviously, I was excited. Little school girl excited. This would be only the second time I went to see Conan. The first time I got to go, with Krissy and some of her cousins, I had a good time. I never experienced that sort of thing. It was a good experience. Even if the guests were P. Diddy and I don't remember. I guess Richard Gere and maybe Straylight Run. Some group involving a piano.

I don't remember.

Well, I think you know where I might be going with this.

If you haven't been buried ten-feet deep in a coffin with a bag over your head, then you must know that the entertainment industry is in a bit of a tuffle. Whatever a tuffle is. The Writer's Guild of America is officially on strike, and I believe that the guild has been on strike now for several days. Cast members from programs like The Office are joining the picket lines and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane announced that the November 11th episode is the last fully-produced episode and that he's not crossing the picket lines.

Brian K. Vaughan, a comic book writer and now a writer and co-producer on Lost illustrates the entire situation best:

Because writers believe we deserve a fair share of the revenue generated by the stuff we helped to create, crazy as that sounds.

There’s an excellent summary of what I consider to be our very reasonable demands at this blog, which has been a consistently dependable source of good information about the strike:

But basically, writers are looking to negotiate modest residuals and protections for use of our TV shows and movies on the internet, where most of us will likely be getting the majority of our entertainment from in the not-too-distant future.

We’re are also asking for a share of about 8 cents--that’s eight stinkin’ pennies--for every DVD of our work sold, as opposed to the criminally insane 4 cents we receive today.

I read that Warren Ellis was concerned about possibly being barred from writing for animation (which is largely outside the jurisdiction of the WGA) during the strike, and while I think his concerns were absolutely valid (the strike rules have since been amended), I believe those initial guidelines were born out of the fact that this negotiation is also about fighting to extend the same health benefits, pension, and other protections that writers like I enjoy to our equally important colleagues in animation (as well as those in “reality” television, which employs more writers than you can imagine).

I got to hear firsthand how hard the Writers Guild worked to negotiate a fair deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, but after more than three months of talks, the AMPTP still hasn’t come close to even meeting the WGA halfway on its most important proposals.

It sucks.

For more on BKV's detailing of the Writer's Strike, go.
Ultimately, I felt the writer's strike in full force today, when I listened to a voicemail detailing the cancellation of the Late Night with Conan O'Brien show I was s'posed to attend.

As a creative person, I think we should support the writers, even though most of them have sold their souls to Hollywood. Because, if we don't, how are we going to get to watch The Office?

Seacrest out, true believers.

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