Finding Middle Ground at MIDDLEMAN

The strike has put my friend Javi in a tough situation.  He was in the midst of producing his pilot THE MIDDLEMAN, a dream-come-true for him, when the strike was called. Now he is in a moral quandry:

i can’t be legally penalized by the guild for doing my duties as a
producer: but the guild would certainly prefer it if the walkout was
complete – if people like myself struck not only as writers but also as
producers…because if the paralyzing effect of the strike is felt
swiftly and across the board, the producers might be more motivated to
settle quickly.

so here i am, given the opportunity to see
through to completion the production of a nine year-old dream into a
pilot…a dream i self-financed as a comic book, seen through to three
volumes and fought to get to this place, into a reality…

on the other hand, there’s a labor union of which i am a member,
mounting picket lines i am required to honor, running a justified
strike against a predatory media cabal that has no qualms about taking
from creators as much as they can possibly get (while laughably
pleading poverty when their entire raison d’etre is to monetize the
work of people such as myself) asking me to walk away completely.

I wouldn’t want to be in his position. It seems like an awfully cruel twist-of-fate for him.

4 thoughts on “Finding Middle Ground at MIDDLEMAN”

  1. Neither would I. It would be heart-wrenching. But on the other hand, the inner struggle might have some good come out of it in the sense that it would help sort out, at a very deep level, what he really wanted and believed in. He might come to understand himself at the deepest of levels considering the depth of the issues involved. It seems to me that the fundamental issue is–is he a writer first, or a producer? If he’s a producer, he should keep working–if he’s a writer, he should honour the picket-line — and, either way, no one should criticize him for walking his path. As for the moral issue of “exploited writers” versus “exploitative producers”, this is not an issue, it seems to me, where a single person must carry all the load. There are many ways to help besides sacrificing your dream — which probably nobody wants him to do. He can help the writers’ cause, and that would be enough, and it would be up to others who are in different moral spaces to act more for the cause. At least, this is how it looks to me. But as you say, it’s a tough position.

  2. Lee,
    Do you know if he’s made a decision? (I noticed the post you linked to was more than a week old.)
    If not, I would submit that he should continue work on the pilot (but only the pilot) because:
    a) delivering just the pilot really won’t help the AMPTP that much, if at all.
    b) this particular pilot, like John Rogers’ Leverage, Marshall Herskovitz’s Quarterlife, and your own Fast Track, demonstrate how things can be done outside the studio system. And that’s the ultimate goal–make them come to you. And when they do, you say, “Sure, just pay me 8¢ per DVD and 2.5% on new media.”
    My 2¢ – M


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