Why Should Authors Care About the WGA Strike?

Michael Connelly, Elizabeth Cosin, and Terrill Lee Lankford were among the MWA many members who have showed up to walk alongside the striking screenwriters on picket line recently. Obviously, there are many authors who are also WGA members (like Paul Levine, Robert Crais, Andrew Klavan, Steve Cannell, Lawrence Block, Eric Garcia, Mark Haskell Smith, Seth Greenland, Elmore Leonard, Donald Westlake, Robert B. Parker, Larry McMurtry, George Pelecanos, and myself, to name just a few). But why should a non-screenwriting author give a damn about how the strike turns out?

The answer is simple. Because we are a community of writers…not just book writers or screen writers. We should be concerned about any efforts to limit the royalties that writers receive from the commercial exploitation of our creative work.

Many of the corporations that own the studios and networks also own many major publishing companies…if they succeed in limiting what screenwriters get from new media, they will only be encourage to seek similar "rollbacks" from authors and other artists who, incidentally, don’t have the benefit of being represented by a powerful union. The final deal struck between the corporations and the WGA in those emerging markets could create a template  or how writers of books, computer games, and other media are treated.

SAG President Alan Rosenberg put it best: "This fight is for the rights of all creative artists and our collective future is at stake."

5 thoughts on “Why Should Authors Care About the WGA Strike?”

  1. SAG President Alan Rosenberg put it best: “This fight is for the rights of all creative artists and our collective future is at stake.”
    I completely agree with your sentiments, I find it difficult to accept in our society that what makes a movie sell in this country most of all is its actors, now more than in the past I feel directors are getting more respect here, Europe I understand to be different and define their films much more by the director than the actors. But still I fell that the writer deserves much more credit than he/she receives in this country. But at the same time it may come from the reality that we as a culture seem far more interested in seeing film adaptations rather than original content. There are just far too many films based on literary sources, now don’t get me wrong I love many of them but it does make it harder, in my opinion, for a screen writer to establisher themselves when what is in demand is not original content.
    Perhaps I am wrong, I am only a student from New York who has film experience in that I love going to the movies and can confidently say I see many more trailers with actors’ names, sometimes directors’ names but rarely writers’.
    So with all that said I support your post and am strongly rooting for the union to come out on top I agree that this is a fight for creative artists in general and the control of their creations.

  2. A related issue, perhaps, for print/published writers is the increasing move by publishers to refuse to put books out of print, locking up rights. The reason being that digital technology and POD is going to continue to change publishing so that there will be need to have an out-of-print book. Everything is potentially in print, with the push of a button that can print and package your book in the bookstore or in the coffeeshop. Sounds good, but not if your publisher isn’t selling your book, and you know you could do much better if they would just release it to you so you could give it new life.


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