Friday, November 9, 2007

WGA: THE STRIKE

One of my bestest of friends, "I.V.", went out during her lunch hour to show her support for the Writers' Guild. As visitors to Toobworld must know, the WGA is on strike to get their fair share of the profits from "new media". The Guild hasn't been on strike since 1988, and their deal back then didn't have much foresight about the advancements in technology and in the ways to deliver TV shows and movies to an audience. So this strike hopes to rectify that situation; as such, it may last a lot longer than the last one.

Here's I.V.'s report from the picket line:

Got back from the picket line a little while ago. It's pretty sad. There are about 30 chilly and damp picketers corraled in a pen too small for them to be able to march effectively. When I asked, they said they do take "civilians," but it was already way too crowded in that little pen.

Somebody had just delivered a large stack of flyers listing the names/addresses/phone numbers of all the major network execs to a young actor thrown out of work by the strike. I offered to split the pile with him and took half the pile and handed them out on the other side of the plaza. They seemed a little incredulous that someone not in the business would volunteer to do this on a lunch hour. Also sad. But this actor guy thanked me several times.

Gotta say it's not very high profile and a scene that the media is going to be able to ignore very easily.

And yesterday's turnout of lots of high-profile celebs was not the case today. I guess celebs don't come out in the rain.


When I heard about how the writers being penned in like cattle, the somnambulant socialist in me stirred for a few minutes, angered over the restrictions to our "guaranteed" freedom of assembly. But I.V. then mentioned this:

I think the main problem is that they're out on the sidewalk, and any larger pen area would impede the ability of pedestrians to get by. I don't think it's a Republican National Convention-type situation.

When she got back to her version of 'The Office', I.V. typed up what was on the flyer and asked me to spread the word via Inner Toob. As a supporter for the rights of the writers, I'm more than happy to do so:

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Call or Write These Media Executives and Tell Them: Give The Writers A Fair Share Of The Billions Your Company Makes From The Content They Create. I Want My Favorite Shows Back Soon!

Anne Sweeney
President
Disney-ABC Television Group
The Walt Disney Company
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521-4581
818-560-1000

Kevin Reilly
President
Fox Entertainment
Fox Broadcasting, 10201
West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064-2606
310-369-1000

Bruce Rosenblum
President
Warner Bros. Television Group
Warner Bros. Studios
3400 Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA 91505
818-943-6000

Philippe Dauman
President/CEO
Viacom
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036-5794
212-258-6000

Leslie Moonves
President/CEO
CBS Corporation
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6101
212-975-4321

Jeff Zucker
President/CEO
NBC Universal
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1002
818-777-1000

This is the front of the flyer:

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE WRITERS ON THE PICKET LINE

We are the people who write your favorite TV shows -- comedies, dramas, soaps, late night and more -- and favorite movies. We're anxious to get back to work. But first we need to be heard.

The media business is healthy. Execs are well compensated, but we're not sharing in the success. The companies make money from online, DVR, mobile, video-games, and DVD. But, as an example, we only get a nickel for every DVD of our work that's sold.

We're only asking for a fair share not only in the present, but also in the future. We're proposing a flexible model of revenue sharing that will work with whatever technology comes next.

Residuals are our life support system. Writing for TV and film is seasonal work. Most of us don't earn regular paychecks. Many of us don't even qualify for healthcare benefits. We need residuals to pay our bills until we get the next TV show or film. There's really no other way for us to survive in this type of business.

So that's why we are out on this picket line. We'd rather be holed up in the writers' rooms, keeping you informed and entertained. But, in the meantime, until this strike gets settled fairly and equitably, we thank you for your support.

Writers Guild of America, East

As Ken Levine said in his blog (link to the left), "The stars that REALLY support the strike will be the ones walking the line in a month." And it doesn't have to be just the stars. The writers will appreciate all the support they can get, especially as it drags on and no longer is the chic thing to support. (It seems to me that most of the media is focused on the strike out in Hollywood, where the high-profile stars can be found out supporting the strike. As the weather gets worse here in the East, it's going to be tough times for the strikers.)

Their work is vital to the continued existence and expansion of Toobworld and they deserve what they're asking for. Hopefully you'll support the WGA in their cause by writing to those addresses listed above to hammer the point home.

Thanks!
Toby OB

"Dealing with network executives is like being nibbled to death by ducks."
Eric Sevareid
[also attributed to Morley Safer]

2 comments:

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

"Dealing with network executives is like being nibbled to death by ducks." -- Eric Sevareid

Definitely sounds like something Sevareid would say. I like Morley, but he's no Sevareid.

an IDD Cousin said...

Toby, if you wanted to help out, then get the cell phone numbers of
those execs, or at least their direct dial numbers rather than a
switchboard!!

If you are going to call a switchboard, dial at 2AM when you have to punch in the President's last name and get forwarded to his/her voice mail so the messages are waiting at the start of the day!

Cuz