Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Into the Abyss

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The Hollywood strike is on. ‘Round and ’round it goes, and of course, where it will end, nobody knows. What this sparks, though, especially if it goes past the new year
–when the stockpiled TV scripts run out — will be a local recession. At that point, look for more houses — that nobody can afford — to come on to the L.A. market.

But we get ahead of ourselves.

Rumor and wisps of reasons-to-not-be-entirely-glum were flitting around L.A. all Sunday, as talks between the sides and the Federal Mediator went on. No one is sure where they
went off of a cliff. According to one scenario, it was the tail-wagging-dog of the Writers Guild East that did it, as their “midnight strike” deadline came at 9 p.m. Pacific Coast time — just as evening talks had resumed here. So the producer faction took a little, well, umbrage, at the fact the strike had technically begun, while negotiations were ostensibly continuing.

The AMPTP’s President, Nick Counter, released the following statement:

“Notwithstanding the fact that negotiations were ongoing, the WGA decided to start their strike in New York. When we asked if they would “stop the clock” for the purpose of delaying the strike to allow negotiations to continue, they refused. We made an attempt at meeting them in a number of their key areas including Internet streaming and jurisdiction in New Media. Ultimately, the guild was unwilling to compromise on most of their major demands. It is unfortunate that they choose to take this irresponsible action.”


Meanwhile, the WGA released the following statement on its website, with its own version of who the “refusers” –as our own blind-to-compromise President might term it — really are:

The WGA Negotiating Committee, on behalf of the Writers of Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), has issued the following statement regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:

Early today, the WGA completely withdrew its DVD proposal, which the Companies said was a stumbling block. Yet, the Companies still insisted on the following:

• No jurisdiction for most of new media writing.
• No economic proposal for the part of new media writing where they do propose to give coverage.
• Internet downloads at the DVD rate.
• No residual for streaming video of theatrical product.
• A “promotional” proposal that allows them to reuse even complete movies or TV shows on any platform with no residual. This proposal alone destroys residuals.
• A “window” of free reuse on the Internet that makes a mockery of any residual.

The AMPTP made no response to any of the other proposals that the WGA has made since July. The AMPTP proposed that today’s meeting be “off the record,” meaning no press statements, but they have reneged on that.


Strike!

Perhaps the most insightful comment comes from writer/director Craig Mazin’s “Artful Writer” website, where he’s been waxing insightful about the specter of this inevitable-for-months strike:

Do I think we can “win” a strike?

No.

I don’t think we can “win” any strike.

But if we’re at a place where the choice is “shit sandwich, or strike,” then I’m perfectly happy to soak myself in gasoline and go out in a blaze of glory with the rest of the Kool-Aid drinkers. The AMPTP should be ashamed for quite a bit, but getting guys like me to agree that a strike is the only choice left…well, that ought to be at the top of their list of “stuff we screwed up on.”

The WGA will always suffer more than the companies in a strike.

And, I think given the realties of the industry today, I think the WGA will always lose a strike.

Always.


“Shit sandwiches” however, are the order of the day now. All around Hollywood. Hungry?

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