Wednesday, December 12, 2007

He's Mister White Christmas, he's Mister Snow. He's Mr. Icicle, he's Mister 10 below.

If you hadn't been following the writer's strike compulsively you might have missed that the strike took a different tone in the last few days after the last series of talks "broke down. " In actuality it's become clear that the studios are following the George W. Bush model of negotiation- "Our willingness to compromise begins and ends with agreeing to sit down at the same table with you scumbags. Don't expect anything more than that." They are trying to break the union.

Patrick Goldstein has a great piece in the L.A. Times covering this conflict.

This puts all of Hollywood on the road to perdition. That still leaves the real unanswered question: Why have the studios walked away from the negotiating table? Although it seemed hard to believe at first, the evidence is overwhelming that they never had any serious intention of making a fair deal, at least the kind of deal that, as Lew Wasserman might have put it, would've allowed both sides to come away declaring victory. There is clearly a powerful studio faction that believes that giving residuals to the writers was a fundamental mistake. Since it's impossible to put that genie back into the bottle -- not that the studios didn't try -- the next best thing would be to put a tight lid on any new media revenue streams, since they will someday become the studio's biggest new source of profit.
In the broader picture the Director's Guild and Screen Actor's Guild have contracts up soon. The Director's aren't going to stand with the writers and pretty much get everything they want anyway as Overdroid pointed out to me yesterday but the actors are in pretty much the same boat as the writers when it comes to internet revenue and residuals. The studios want to break both unions.

The thing is the "new media streams" referred to above are currently democratic and inexpensive. Writers would probably be better off to break from the studios and tap these resources on their own outside of the studio system. The studios themselves seem to be signing their own death warrant. As painful as this is to watch it's akin to a slow-motion corporate suicide. You don't see that every day.


ladybug said...

I am unsurprised. These guys are just gross...they've been giving us piss poor reality shows, and they snivel and cry like babies about the pittance they throw at everyone who WORKS on a production ...

Evidently the only REAL income is one you don't work for, (according to these scumbags) but where you get paid to be a talking head jerk.

Dean Wormer said...

Yeah, I think Hollywood is just a microcosm of business in general. There are a hell of a lot of leeches making money off of the real people that work and create. All they're doing is pushing numbers.

It's disgusting, really.

Swinebread said...

Reminds me of the Comic Book work-for-hire BS.
Creators slaved away for years creating all manner of new characters and stories but then got nothing while the corps got profits for years to come.

Dean Wormer said...

Yep. It's funny because any time people whine about universal health care or something similar they always say socialists want to crush the people who "create."

It's all a wonderful conceit that the captains of industry are somehow responsible for all the wealth that's generated in our society.