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The First Minute on Monday

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The WGA leadership just held their first “official” press conference, after last night’s meeting. Union head
Patric Verrone confirmed that a strike is set for the first minute on Monday: 12:01 a.m.

The president of the WGAE — the eastern branch of the guild — noted there was “still time for
a deal to be made before this strike begins.”

So if you’re a big believer in sudden reversals or last minute miracles, and you have any
interest in heading off a recession in L.A., this weekend is your time to get out the worry
beads.

Verrone mentioned that writers accepted low residuals on VHS and DVD platforms, in order
to get those media launched, and added “the economics of digital distribution are more favorable
than DVD and VHS,” citing the lack of physical production — jewel boxes, discs, etc. – required
to get the content to viewers. Or “consumers,” depending how you look at it.

“We’re sorry the studios put us where we are,” he said, noting that the old DVD residual
formula is the same one that companies want to apply to digital downloads.

Verrone was asked about whether other unions would honor picket lines. He allowed
as to how none of them were required to, but welcomed the recent public support
of the Teamster leadership, and thought the “entire community, above and below the
line,” — “Below the Line” being Hollywood argot for crew members — would reap a
positive benefit from a successful outcome.

And yes, getting multinational corporations to be more generous — if you can manage
it — is always a good thing. Losing your house cause you’re outta work, not so much.

No neat “third act” ending in sight, at the moment. It’s all just existential suspense.

The kind of thing those “foreign” filmmakers like to dabble in.

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