Friday, November 30, 2007


I am a very moderate Brit who saw the damage excessive union power did to my country in the 70's. I am not a militant. However, I am a writer and the contemptous, cynical behaviour of the AMPTP is truly something to behold - if unsurprising in a town where the writer is still seen as something unpleasant stuck to the bottom of the star's shoe. If the AMPTP's long-term intention is to break the WGA, that is not going to happen; this experience simply radicalises us more each day. If the belief is, as I suspect: 'To hell with 'em! We'll just get more writers who WILL take this crappy deal', (witness the long lists of names on movie credits for evidence of the prevailing 'Change the writer!' attitude) then bear this in mind, guys: yes, you can replace me; but you will take YEARS to replace us all. Good luck with the utter dreck you'll be pumping out in the meantime.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Okay, okay

So this is where we are.

I'm failing to fight the impulse to click-refresh-click-refresh the fuck out of Nikki Finke, United Hollywood or Google 'WGA' then hit 'news' then stories sorted by most recent.

So this is where we are right now. Nikki says that the AMPTP is coming back in with the same tactic as last time, which is to present old proposals as new ones, to offer nothing new, to stall and stall and stall. She's claiming to be genuinely bemused at this behaviour, given that her contacts in the studios tipped her off that they had significant new proposals.

I didn't want to believe this. But they are really fucking playing us. They really, seriously want to drag it out long enough to enact these force majeure contracts and get rid of lots of writer and producer deals. They really are utterly fucking evil. They believe - with good reason - that the writers' popularity and edge on them can only last so long. The showrunners have gone back to work. They believe that they can drag it out longer, offer nothing useful, let the talks fail, then go back to their mouthpiece Variety and get it to report that the writers were intransigent, that we just don't get it.

It's all over already, in my opinion. Even if they lose every writer they have, these shits believe 'Fuck 'em. We'll get new writers'. Because that's what they've always done. Script not working because the attached star keeps fucking with the writer's work? Get a new writer! From the very start of Hollywood, the writer has always been the most expendable, replaceable resource in their minds. They despise us, they hate SO MUCH to think they need us that they prefer to convince themselves that they don't. They will blow Hollywood apart to prove they don't need us. They look online, they see the shit being made by the untalented masses on Youtube, they see the number of hits this dreck gets and they think: 'Let's just hire these idiots!' Because one writer is no different than another. We're word gardeners. We're fuel. Run out of fuel? Get more.

Hope I'm wrong. But maybe that's our weak point. That we have hope and worry and fear coursing through our veins. And Nick Counter has something very different. A strange cold, slow-moving substance that looks like the white plasticky blood that androids have when they've just been exposed as inhuman. How personally afraid can a man who earns $26 million a year get? Sure, he can fear for his reputation, for his company. But if, whatever happens, he can never ever ever be poor - if he grew up in a world of wealth, and knows that his children will too, then I ask again - can he ever feel that terrible thing at night that all but the most wildly successful writers and actors feel?

Fuck them. Such a strange feeling to be radicalised against my will. This is presumably what they want - push them so far, they flip out, walk out, tell them to go fuck themselves. The strike goes on, the WGA falters, people need to work again...
But somehow, I don't know how yet, we will punish them. Not personally - Nick Counter, Sumner Redstone etc - these are people who will never personally suffer or lose any sleep - until that empty heart starts failing or a lump appears where it shouldn't - and the real pain that even they can't avoid appears. But our victory, their punishment, will come in us continuing to reap the satisfaction of surviving, somehow, in a profession that genuinely gives. People characterise writers as spoilt, indulgent, making money from our hobbies - but we really fucking give to the world. Always have, always will.

Four Cent

Friday, November 16, 2007

Today's waffle

We're up against people who don't think they should share more than a third of a cent for reuse of the material we create. Do people who oppose us oppose the whole royalties and residuals system - or just for writers? As for the notion that we all go around in Range Rovers and eat gold, check the facts: the average writer's salary is $60,000. That's in the years they are working. The years they aren't? Nothing - supplemented by those pesky residuals which the studios wish to take away. Marc Cherry, creator of Desperate Housewives, struggled by on Golden Girls residuals for 15 years before having his big break. Love it or hate that show, no residuals, no Desperate Housewives. And that goes for many, many beloved shows and films, which were created by writers struggling along, developing their great work before selling it. Even if you think we're spoilt idiots lucky to be writing at all, if you want any quality to survive in the digital age, if you have even a crumb of dread about being subjected to endless YouTube amateur impressions of George Bush or videos of peoples' cats dressed as Britney Spears, then you will back us. Believe me, the writers go away, so do all the classic shows.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thought for today

When a studio manufactures a DVD or streams a film or sitcom online, it accepts that there are costs - making the disk, the packaging, the marketing, the commission to iTunes etc. The studio doesn't refuse to pay anyone else involved in this process on the argument that 'we don't know how much this will make for us'. So why penalise the writers? Just because they think they can?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007