Why A Strike May Be Necessary

Howard Rodman had an excellent article today in the LA TIMES on the issues the WGA is fighting for…and why we may need to strike to get a fair deal for writers. He says, in part:

First, the companies are still refusing to raise the rate they pay in DVD residuals. […]That decades-old formula is such a thin slice of a thin slice that on each disc, the companies pay more to the manufacturer of the box and packaging (about 50 cents) than they pay in residuals to the writer, director and actors combined (about 20 cents).

[…]Published reports show that the operating income of the entertainment segments of the nation’s media conglomerates has grown at a compound annual rate of 12% between 2000 and 2006, from $8 billion to $18 billion. I guess they just don’t have enough to pay the people who made those revenues possible.

[…]What’s more, the companies refuse to let writers share appropriately in the revenue stream from material distributed over the Internet. They claim that this torrent is at present only a trickle, that there is no "business model," that this all needs to be "studied." And while they search for that elusive business model, they are offering to pay us at those antiquated fraction-of-a-fraction rates. Never mind that, even now, this unstudied trickle is making them millions: Each studio or network has cited $500 million or more a year in online revenue.

1 thought on “Why A Strike May Be Necessary”

  1. In another time, and another culture, the most celebrated marquee name was not that of an actor or director or producer, but the author of the play. I am referring to Alexandre Dumas, whose very name on the playbills brought the French swarming to the theaters. The playwright, after all, creates the story, the characters, the scenes, the relationships, the climax and denouement. Even the best actors are largely puppets playing characters and saying lines that were conceived by the playwright. It is a pity that in our times, the writers of drama, especially screenwriters, don’t receive their due. They are much the most important artists in any film or television drama and ought to be paid accordingly.


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