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"Do not fear me. Ours is a peaceful race, and we must live in harmony..."
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December 01 2007

The curse of Joss. The showrunner of the new Terminator TV show explains why he is cursed by Joss (read Joss' response).

That is a great blog entry. The conversation with the guy at the dinner is priceless.

Also:
I have spent DAYS OF MY LIFE devoted to the works of Joss Whedon and I'm pretty sure I haven't even sent A WHOLE DOLLAR OF RESIDUALS in his direction.

If that doesn't sum up what's wrong with the current deal, I don't know what does. =)
If that doesn't sum up what's wrong with the current deal, I don't know what does.

It's also partly why I think writers should maintain websites that link to DVDs of their own work via the Amazon Associates program, and ask their fans to buy their DVDs through that. Then at least they'd also get the referral money. ;)
"Alyson Flanigan" hehe
theonetruebix, that's a great idea. However, it does expose how desperate and stupid the residuals model currently is and how abominable it'll be if the studios have their way in negotiations. A writer making spare change off amazon referrals to his/her work reminds me of those peeps on the street corners twirling ad signs. The AMPTP should be ashamed.

Edited to correct embarrassing spelling mistakes. Whee!

[ edited by orphea on 2007-12-01 09:44 ]
Mwah! This guy is funny. I'm even more excited about Summer's new show!!
That blog was hilarious! I love that Joss "sent" the Hellmouth because of the casting of Summer - that cracks me up.
I'm totally psyched for "Terminator:SCC"! Just what I need... another weekly show to watch haha I can't wait!!
Plus... Lena Headey? Yes please! *grin*
Uh...what about the writers for The Unit. The lovely Ms. Glau did some awesome work with that show recently, so should we ask the writers of that about any sacrifices they have been making to the writing gods?

;)
Hahaha, That was great. Joss sending the hellmouth...teehee.
Great blog entry. I loved the Dexter reference.
Hi it's me Joss me. A few things.

First of all, I did not do any of those terrible things to Josh's house or family. I DID give him that rash -- and it's time he admitted how! Josh, I won't live a lie any more! All right. Li'l bit more.

Second, we're a week away from Mutant Enemy Picket day! Since the AMPTP have generously offered us a thimble of sputum in exchange for everything written ever, I think it's fair to say it won't be a picnic.

And in two weeks, I'll be in Boston, speechifying (look for some long, fancy words, yo) and rallying shoulder to shoulder with, among other people, my dad, who somehow lived through both the '88 strike and my adolescence. Word. (Long fancy.)

And after that? Well, we might take this to the streets of some other cities. Get the word out, remind everyone that corporate greed (it's nothing but) is hurting everyone in this country. Not just because they're robbing people of entertainment (and, on occasion, art) and strangling an entire (non-writing) community, but because they're sending a message to every union in the country: you're next. The actors know that in their case, it's literally true, but it's also true for the concept of a unionized workforce. We get a lot of flack for being well-fed, glamorous, rich and powerful. We've worked hard to dispel that stereotype but in fact, a select few of us are wealthy and influential. And we have the support of some of the most famous and beloved (and wealthy and influential) people in the country: TV and movie stars! So the fact that the studios feel perfectly comfortable SPITTING IN OUR FACES in front of the whole world cannot bode well for any other union that works under them -- or under anyone who sees how easy it is to deny the basic rights of workers even so public as we. This is bad for writers, bad for actors, teamsters, teachers, nurses, dockworkers... the shape of this country is changing. The middle class is being squeezed out. We're trundling back to the middle ages, people, and all we can do is lie there and take it.

But of course, that's not what's going to happen. The studios mean to starve us out. They can't. We know what's at stake. We take care of our own, and those around us who aren't our own. We dig in. And eventually, if after months of deadlock we still can't make an equitable deal, you will start to see real change. Change in the way we entertain you, change in the essential structure of America's most popular export. (Unless it's corn. Is it corn?) The fact is, the studios have been robbing us for twenty years. (Actually, it's been much longer, but the statute of limitations says I should let 'em off easy.) This grotesque insult of a negotiation is the end of an era. It will be remembered as the stupidest move the conglomotainment empires ever made. WE ASKED FOR PRACTICALLY NOTHING. And they...

Something snaps. Something changes. Chaos, meet opportunity. Let them try to starve us out. We won't just survive. We will THRIVE. We're known as a creative community, and those numb f#$%ing frost-giants are about to find out we're a lot more of both than they knew.

If they come back to the table this very Tuesday next with the deal we need (and they won't), the change will still have come. The snap. The thing that broke, that can't be fixed. The eye, still wincing from the light, but finally wide open.

Good going, guys! Way to think it through.

A long while ago, I remember logging on with the intention of making jokes and spreading joy. Apparently, the thing that's broken is me. Apologies. I even forgot to complain about my cold.

Thanks for being here. See you soon.

-j.
Power to the people. (Yes, I'm a child of the 70s. But so what! :) I can't help what decade I was born in. In which I was born.)
Second, we're a week away from Mutant Enemy Picket day! Since the AMPTP have generously offered us a thimble of sputum in exchange for everything written ever, I think it's fair to say it won't be a picnic.

Will we be carrying said thimble at the head of the picket line?
Gorgeous luxuriance of Fancy! IN the zeal to pin a letter, red or whathaveyou, upon the lapel or plunging neckline-thing (I'm simple, flog me, please)of writers, the pin-ee isn't going to come through as unfettered as they imagined.

To sum up my stance: I don't get why writers names aren't above the movie title; every time. Four cents? Eight cents? That's what they want to pay (nix that, don't want to pay) for the creative rights to someone's creative mojo? What the hell? Seriously. This whole $*#$ing thing is a freak fest. It's like I've awoke in some Neanderthal, upside down, entitlement fiesta of conglomo-magnate , gimme-all-your-sand, play box bullies that have taken over the world. ITS OUR FREAK'N SAND, Dip#($%S.

And my pardons to my Neanderthal relatives, that was unkind.

How is it the person(s) who wrote the enjoyment aren't as recognized as anyone else involved in the project? How? Why? How to rectify? Please rectify.

I should awake into a world that makes an iota, scintilla, flagella of copulatory sense. (ID'n't that basic enough?)

I haven't the gift of words like his Purple Badness but, dammit, arrrg. See - no gift. How can something so simple get all fuxored up? They came and peed on my rug. They've been peeing on my rug for years, and I'm a simple fan. And, damn it all, that rug really tied the room together!
It'll be days before I can read Josh's blog due to stupid work blockages and lack of interwebbiness at home, but I just wanted to say to shinygroovyj -- and Joss of course:

Power to the people, right on!

(For all you young'uns, that's from a song. We sang about these kinds of things way back when.) ;-)
The elephant in the room is that there are billions of dollars at stake. Yes. Billions. Over time. This fight is not over some piddling $130M or $150M. Those sums are laughable. I hope the writers (and the other unions) are able to get their fair share. From where I sit the companies have no standing. And for those of you who know where I sit, well then...

[ edited by TamaraC on 2007-12-01 08:29 ]
I'm sitting here watching Newsies and reading Joss' inspiring words; I can't believe that the studios/networks can be so stupid. They've read the polls, they must know that they will lose viewers, many of them never return. There are dozens of entertainment choices and driving their viewers away is really not smart.
And here I am longing to see Summer as the Terminator (awesome sweet beautiful Terminator!)...but so long as netflixs can provide me w/Newsies and umpteen British TV shows there is no reason for me to waste one minute on network television.

I can't come to LA on Dec 7th, but if this drags on then I will come down to picket later.
I will never ever understand the corporate greed mentality that allows suits to see the workforce as something to be milked dry. Not human beings, merely human resources. Labor machines. That line of thinking is what needs to be broken around here. Watching the AMPTP drag their heels and offer insults in negotiations while all the below the line folks who didn't even have a say in the strike have to worry about how to pay their mortgage/rent... it makes me ill just thinking about it. Bah fraking humbug. I know where they can shove that Hellmouth.
I feel sad that I'm missing ME picket day.

Also, Joss is right about corporate greed. I am no socialist but it's gone too far. I respect Warren Buffett because of his acknowledgement that he's been disproportionately rewarded for what he's good at - which is the reasoning behind his donating his fortune to charity (same with Bill Gates). I only wish that the suits in all industries would recognise this.

In Japan, CEOs earn (only) approximately 100X what their average employees earn. That creates a large middle class, and has fueled the tech boom. No matter how rich you are, why would you buy 100 blackberries? There is no "trickle-down" effect by marginalising the middle class. It is stupid economics.
Watching the AMPTP drag their heels and offer insults in negotiations ...

It's funny, but you could tell right from their blackout-breaking statement on Thursday that they were right back to dissembling and disinformation. But I won't belabor this thread with my rant, because you can just read it over at Fans4Writers.
Okay, got ranty. Forgot a few things.

Pencils. Al gough got all creative, with his Lex phoner, then Ron Moore's entire cast went activisty. Fine, I can take a hint. I'll try to get some of my fabulous stars to put their mouths where your money is... or went, I don't know. I'll step up. And I personally pledge to call, at random, Ron Moore. So I can Farley abot how awesome Razor was. Oh, I'll call some fan, too -- and if you've bought a pencil, you're already in the pool. I'm warning you, I'm gonna call late, and probably drunk, and maybe cry. It's gonna be so cool. Also if anyone buys more than six boxes of pencils, I will become your common law wife. (As soon as I get some actors involved I'll let you know for personallized pencil buying.)

Things that are nice and don't make me type cranky:

The Fox billboard of Summer on Pico. It made me tear up like a proud papa. My little girl's all grown up and missing her arms and lower torso. Seriously, she looks Buh-DASS. Glau yay.

Thanksgiving. Nailed the gravy. Doesn't always go my way. Walkin' tall, this year.

The staff of the Women's Muder Club. My new picketing buddies. They're nifty.

Razor, dude. Levels within levels. Frakkin' old school cylons! Holy boy.

My cold. I've embraced it now. It's like BKV's beard; I won't let it go. It's my strike-cold.

A kitten.

Laura Linney's 'Speechless' spot. And in a related topic, Laura Linney.

Agents. Seriously. In the classic definition, they are protectors, facilitators, and often unsung producers. And mine is a classic. (I know they're supposed to be soulless shark-suited scum, but that's a modern preconception. Look at some of the great 50's flicks like "The Bad and the Beautiful" or "In a Lonely Place" to see the real deal.)

Buffy comics. I'm working on so many all at once (that's show-running), and every one jones's me. I hate that you guys have to wait to see what I've seen.

Okay. see? I'm not just grumpy. I'm also sneezy.

Time for medicated rest.... -j.
Hi Joss, hope you get well soon. Getting ready on buying seven boxes now ;)

[ edited by omraged9 on 2007-12-01 08:56 ]
Razor WAS SO AWESOME.

INCREDIBLY WRITTEN. I NEED MORE CAPS.

Also, kittens.

Rest well, Joss!
I'm hoping I get a drunk dial from Joss. Figure the alcohol'll get his guard down, and I can get answers that common sense and decency and general-secret-keeping would otherwise prohibit. It's gonna be awesome!
Coming soon to Whedonesque: "Drunk Dialed By Joss - One Fan's Unforgettable Tale of Heartbreak(!) and Redemption(!)"

I caught your rant earlier today b!X, only it registered more as a rational post aimed at stopping the spread of misinformation. You manage your anger well.
LOL - bringing the fun in! "And I personally pledge to call, at random, Ron Moore." Nearly spit my Belgian white (Barry smooth, btw) out. Nailed the gravy, eh? I was visiting Portland for the annual "whores and orphans" Thanksgiving we put on and when it was over there were four pies and cake left over in a house of two...and they had some kind of moral stance against confections. So I did my level best to eliminate the offense to their home. Sweet hell. Too much.

Buffy comics....What have you seen...delve, man, delve! It's like a Rozencrantz Tim Roth ask of the genius beside him. Okay, hell, I'll consign to my fate of wait.

And this is me waiting for the maestro to publish. And, now that the Sweet fun has returned lets not forget that the world is still topsy turvy and I'm still pissed about it. But, hey, there's fun, too! Thanks, Joss!
I hope the strike ends soon, for your health's sake as well as the other million reasons.

I haven't seen Razor yet! *covers eyes* Waiting for the extended dvd on Tuesday. Ah, but the writers will only get 4 cents! What to do?
Joss: "Also if anyone buys more than six boxes of pencils, I will become your common law wife."

Read 'em and weep, here. Or rejoice. Or something in between.

Oh, and just wondering - am I the only one who bought a box for "Cheese for Frieda"?

Ooooh, just had another thought - that's two in one day.

*goes to buy a box of pencils or seven for the long-waited and much-anticipated "Andrew: The Musical." Oh, yeah, and one for "Razor" too, which really was some kinda fine, and which I also forgot last time.*

I hope your cold is gone before too long, Jossir, and may it pass over to those who are real denizens of the Hellmouth - the AMPTP - until they realize at last who really has the power. Until then, see you at ME Day/L.A. or at the end of a crying drunk dial or in the funny papers.

ETA: Oh, My Me! I totally skipped buying a box for "Marti Noxon: Untitled New Show." It was completely unintentional - I love Marti, and will now fuss about it inside until I do it. Acch!

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-12-01 10:10 ]
Firstly, Joss gave this guy a rash? I'm so jealous!

Secondly, I had hoped for a quick end to the strike. I had hoped that the AMPTP would come to the table with a reasonable offer rather than this "thimble of sputum" business and this whole mess would be behind us. Looks not to be, and that just sucks muchly. Not just for me, as a watcher of TV, but 'cos I think the weakening of unions in the U.S. -- and the outright contempt with which corporations treat unions -- is a Very Bad Thing.

I'm in school right now to work in a profession that's unionized and that's a comfort to me. What's not a comfort is the figures I've heard: only 13% of the American work force is unionized. A lot of the setbacks for American workers -- the downgrading of traditional pensions to 401k, the rollback on health benefits -- would not be as easily accepted if private workers had a stronger collective voice.

[for the record, I'm in library school right now and I'm going to be a mini-and-female Giles when I get out! Sadly not going to Oxford -- "where they make Giles'" though; I don't even know if Oxford has a post-grad library school...]

ETA: quotergal, your list o' TV is pretty awse! <---- 30 Rock reference for those not in the know.

[ edited by dottikin on 2007-12-01 10:03 ]
Pencils. Al gough got all creative, with his Lex phoner, then Ron Moore's entire cast went activisty. Fine, I can take a hint. I'll try to get some of my fabulous stars to put their mouths where your money is... or went, I don't know. I'll step up.

*cough*JamesMarsters*cough* I've heard some people paid money for his hair, huh...

The "put their mouths" sentence flashed a naughty picture in my mind. No. It was pretty.

*hands Joss a hanky* Don't want to get your fabulous stars all sickly now.
What do we want ?
At least an egg-cup-full of sputum !
When do we want it ?
Just after our residuals you fuckers !
(but before the mystical strength of a doily)

OK, seriously Joss ? Maybe get someone to give you the once over. Colds do not last weeks on end, not if your Mark 1 Human Body (TM, Pat. Pend.) came with a little thing I like to call an immune system. Or failing once overs, an IV of chicken soup, bit of rest and plenty of fluids (IANAD BTW - nor do I play one on TV - but I did used to own a lab coat). And that's in my new, somewhat genderistically confusing role as your common law wife.

Also, I know it's bad form to ask direct questions of His Supreme Purpleosity but since I assume he's a member of the DGA too, I wondered, Joss, if you have any feel for whether the AMPTP might jump straight into negotiations with them to undermine the WGA and whether the DGA are likely to be accommodating ?

Also also, thinking I may need to rewatch 'Razor' on account of possibly missing something. I was, regretfully, unawed - though I was enamoured, admiring and tickled at various points. I mean, it's no 'The Core' but it also wasn't the best those crazy talented BSG guys and gals can muster either IMO.

OT BTW, but there was another A-Team reference on 'NCIS' this week so that's 'Razor', 'Bionic Woman' and now 'NCIS'. WTF ? Screenwriter in-joke ? Anniversary ? Curious.

(and that Friedman's a funny bugger although, for the record, it's partly large furry jumping spiders from Brazil that make me love temperate, dull, mostly harmless dear old Blighty)
Forget about the kittens, Spike has gambled them away.

An alternative use for pencils is to stick one up each nostril, Blackadder style, and stem the flow of snot. Do you have a Summer cold?

The hellmouth problem might be due to the demolition of the hospital that used to cover the Romford hellmouth in Darkplace.

Is anyone else worried that Joss is suffering because he has to resist an outpouring of genius during the strike? A kind of intellectual constipation.

Good luck at the picket.
Agents. Seriously. In the classic definition, they are protectors...I know they're supposed to be soulless shark-suited scum, but that's a modern preconception.


OK, that's a sloppy pull quote, but I'm so in love with my boss, an agent, today that I wanted to jump in here. I and the other assistants were pretty sure we were going to be laid off this week, but he decided that instead of letting anyone go, HE is going to stop drawing a salary until this and any other impending strikes are over or averted. The business side of Hollywood is looking so broken and ugly lately, but it's people like this who keep me believing.

[ edited by Samantha on 2007-12-01 12:14 ]
This past Friday when I read that talks had resumed and the studios were offering a deal, I had high hopes. Then, I read the package and realized they were still short changing the writers of their due. In fact, there were several cuts in their current bonuses-es-es. Whatever, our writers were correct in rejecting that deal. It would've locked them in over the internet rights which is the same deal they got burned back in '88. Also, noticed how quickly this report of how the studios are extending an olive branch to end the strike and how those greedy writers just thumbed their noses?

Joss, you hang on to that cold. We're right there with you in support.
Joss,
I'm ever so excited about lots of new Buffy comics, but I'm thinking if this strike keeps up it's the perfect time to make that musical that's in the back of your head happen. Especially now that our stagehand strike is over here in New York.
I love Joss's first post, all wrath-of-Joss-y and there's-a'reckonin'-a'comin'-y. Very badass. Very final-episode-of-Angel.

(Plus, I'm actually excited about the possibility of creative people like Joss working together and creating some sort of alternative to mega-corporation-controlled media distribution.)
I dunno, without mega-corporations how are we gonna arrive at the bleak, dystopian future i've been looking forward to ?

They have all kinds of cool shit there, like flying cars and direct neural connections to t'intarwebs and noodle bars.
We Browncoats are about to head to Mexico today. In honor of this, the writers should use this Spanish chant onthe picket lines..."Si se puede", which means "Yes We Can". It's inspirational, and it works! Try it!
loved Joss post...as usual.

We should
NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER

FORGET
that
UNIVERSAL,
FOX,
etc...
are ALL part of a corporate system and must always be regarded and treated as such....
we should never make excuses for them... as in Universal's mishandling of Serenity's publicity campaign (shitty movies make millions ALL the time but only because of good publicity-- the fault was Universal's... they fucked it up)

the list of corporate "misbehaving" is endless on all fronts... and we as consumers should NEVER take their side, but hold them accountable...

I've seen folks get a little too apologetic about corporations in the past few years. I've even seen it in here.


But I've personally suffered from corporate sociopathic behavior.

I saw what happened when FCC deregulated media markets in the early 90s....LUNATIC conservative radio became mainstream....and all other voices were silenced.

Corporations were allowed to own more than 3 radio/TV channels in a single market/city. This is why we have the O'Reillys of the world....This why EVERY city in the country seems to have their own home-grown Rush... People I personally knew and loved lost jobs in that era.

All other voices have been squashed.
I'm not saying that corporations are in league with conservatives (although in the case of Murdoch, its hard to refute) but they go for what the market dictates--- and if the market is being fooled by "unobjective" reporting...well suffice it to say that the formerly proud CNN now has Lou Dobbs and Glen Beck (BOTH inaccurate, filthy liars)

This may not seem related to the writer's strike... but it is.

Corporations will do their damndest to maintain their control over who creates content, how it's distributed and how much we pay.

And we should never take the corporations side.

[ edited by hbojo on 2007-12-01 16:10 ]
hbojo, please don't do that again.
"The fact is, the studios have been robbing us for twenty years. (Actually, it's been much longer, but the statute of limitations says I should let 'em off easy.) "

Everybody who employs copyright has been robbing people for much longer than that. One job, one pay.
I don't know if we really want to get into this here, Pumps, but there IS a logic behind copyrights. Ahead of time, it's very hard to tell whether a particular creative work is going to be an economic success. If we used a "one job, one pay" system, that initial payment would have to be higher than it is now, and it would be too much for stuff that isn't going to be a success and too little for stuff that does turn out to be a success. Copyrights allow stuff that is popular and successful to be rewarded while not overpaying for stuff that's goes nowhere. (Frankly, I bet that most writers would be happy with getting paid significantly more upfront when there's no guarantee that the work will be a success - since most works aren't, but the studios would be even less happy to do that.)

(Now, are there problems with copyright? Yeah, absolutely. It may protect too much for too long, but that's a whole other issue from the question here which is about how to recompense people for creative works made under a work for hire contract.)

[ edited by Septimus on 2007-12-01 17:15 ]
Where's that goal post again? "Kicks, scores! The crowd goes wild!"
Everybody who employs copyright has been robbing people for much longer than that. One job, one pay.

Hmm, tempted just to "(-1) Troll" and leave it at that but ... ;)

There's nothing wrong with the idea of copyright, it protects works that require a speculative, upfront investment of time and money by one party from then being exploited by another. It's the abuse and corruption of copyright that's the problem.

The key thing is, copyrights (and especially patents) should have a limited lifespan. As it is now, large corporations stand to benefit more by extending copyrights for as long as they can (because they "live" longer than a single human lifespan). And because governments listen to large corporations a lot more than they probably should, the laws have been perverted (why yes Disney, I am looking at you).

(don't even get me started about patents on ideas or even genes - the whole sentiment behind that is disgusting)
Saje a troll? Na, never will happen because she cares too much for this room.

Now, Saje, do after me. Smile!
The "one job, one pay" leads us right back to the to the problem we already have: the creators of a popular work being unable to reap the benefits. Screenwriters gave up copyrights (and thus, control of what they write) in exchange for a fair share of the profits. And it's sad that they still have to fight so hard for that fair share.

I talked to my dad last night about software engineers, a labor force in sad need of a union. The standard work-for-hire contract usually stipulates that employees are not allowed to file any patents during their employment, as anything they invent, even unrelated to their job, even during non-work hours, is owned by the company. (Though after 10-30 hours or more of unpaid overtime a week, not like most engineers have the energy to invent things in their off hours.)

I'm sure the studios would love to own the brains and souls of writers for a token fee if they could. It isn't just about squeezing resources dry; it's the idea that people will make ridiculous concessions regarding their rights because they love their job oh so very much and don't need anything else in their lives.
It had been decided hundreds of years ago (and put into law) that publishers couldn't strip an author of their copyright, and a theater producer couldn't reap all the profit from a playwright's work. These laws were put into place because society benefits more from encouraging artists to be creative than to give into the greed of the non-creative profiteers. Of course the people who front the money have to make a profit, but they do not have any right to 'own' the work of the writers. It is already established by law that they don't have that right. The residual system was one that was hammered out over decades, but now the studios and networks seem to think that they have enough power to over-turn that, and maybe break the union. It would be better for all of us if they are not allowed to do that.

Sorry about the rant.... I'm getting really annoyed is all.
Corporations are not inherently evil. Let's get a tiny bit of perspective, people. There are a few with representatives that are acting in a very disappointing manner right now. However, as Joss alludes to above, this behavior will create a paradigm shift that will bring about a hefty dose of karma.
"Saje a troll? Na, never will happen because she cares too much for this room."

Madhatter, I think there is more chance of Saje becoming a troll than there is of him ever becoming a "she". Unless there is something you know that the rest of us don't... ;)
Saje a troll? Na, never will happen because she cares too much for this room.

Yep, 'Hatter, it was Pumps I was (tempted) to call of the under-bridge, goat threatening persuasion. And i'm not a "she" either (unless you know something I don't know either ;). You did make me smile though you crazy diamond ;).

Lady Brick, trust me when I say all software engineers, if they've thought about the matter, should be utterly against patents on software. All it does is stifle creativity and make "garage" development and innovation impossible (it also makes genuinely free software impossible - or at least at the mercy of the large corporations that can afford to enforce patents). When we start calling ideas (and that's what an algorithm is) a controllable commodity we might as well all quit and go back to the caves cos in the long term, that's where we'll be headed anyway.

And the residual system is in fact how writers get recompensed for not owning their work - it goes hand in hand with the work-for-hire idea, which is almost the antithesis of copyright i.e. the writer relinquishes "authorship" of the work in return for a share of the profits over the long-term. This is why trying to take that away is so reprehensible, they're getting hit with both ends of the shitty stick (losing authorship and not getting paid for doing so).

(copyright arose to protect authors and publishers from printers just making copies willy-nilly and selling them for their own gain without having taken any of the initial risk or spending any of the original time, money and talent on the production of the work. The trouble comes with films which, until very recently, had a very high financial barrier to entry which effectively gave the "publishers" too much power over the authors - as well as blurring the lines between "publisher" and "printer")
Yet, that wasn't my meaning. Saje, did you smile?
Firstly, Joss, so glad you enjoyed Razor, too. Fortunately, I had time-shift taped it, because it gave me a chance to replay that scene that made me pump my fist in the air and scream "YES!" three times -- yeah, you know the scene -- the same one that made us all scream "YES!" But, all-the-restly, I'm sorry, Joss, that the AMPTP think that we are all addled-pated, moon-brained eejits who are too desperate for crumbs from their fancy, gold-plated table to realize that their latest offer was actually a rollback of the already crummy crumbs-filled offer they had already spat our way. (Wow, word a day really pays off!) So picket with you we will, all around the world, for as long as it takes. And we'll buy pencils, and watch Speechless and the other wonderful videos that frustrated writers and actors are making, and We Will Not Be Moved. See ya Friday at Fox, Jossir.

Power to the people, we shall overcome, and...WON'T BE FOOLED AGAIN, you know? :)
I will never ever understand the corporate greed mentality that allows suits to see the workforce as something to be milked dry. Not human beings, merely human resources. Labor machines. That line of thinking is what needs to be broken around here.

Having spent the past 22 years as a disposable academic, I've seen the corporate mentality take over colleges and universities. Academic freedom has gone out the window in favor of controlled, measurable outcomes that are being specified by regulators reflecting the agenda of the present federal administration. A job I've had for 19 years just suddenly ended, because administrators at the college are so frightened for their own jobs, heads are rolling. Mine is currently stuck under a mountain of bills that are just not going away.

I was on my way to a new, old job, where I got disposed of after 10 years, but who rehired me again after another 10, thinking "We are no better off than people were 100 years ago". The hours of work are getting longer and the pay is worth less and less. Days off are a thing of the past. Vacation time is dwindling, and paid vacation time is only had by a lucky few. We're expected to be at the beck and call of our bosses, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

I'm part of a union, but our union is forbidden by law to bring health care coverage to the bargaining table - so we don't have any. We are forbidden by law to ask for a reduction in class size, tenure/job security, or other very basic things - so we could be working for a college for 20 years - and get the best evaluations in our departments for teaching - and then be discarded without a word.

The jobs of writers are just as insecure as mine. You can't control how much work you will have, how many hours you will work, or whether or not you'll even have a job next week. They are getting underpaid for work that is THEIRS, while someone else gets the lion's, lioness's, and cubs' share of the money it yields and the writers themselves get maybe an amoeba's share. If that much.

OK. That was ranty, but the environment for writers and other workers is toxic.

Some good movies to watch while the strike is going on:

Newsies
Matewan
Cradle Will Rock
Salt of the Earth
Norma Rae
Office Space
The Molly Maguires
Germinal (French with subtitles, but very powerful)
Glengarry Glen Ross
The Killing Floor
American Dream
Harlan County USA
The Corporation

There are tons more. I'm compiling a list of union/labor-oriented science fiction TV shows and movies. If nothing else, watch "Dirty Hands," a Jane Espenson gem from Battlestar Galactica. Writers, adjunct professors, secretaries, store clerks, mine workers... we're all really just slaves.
Nebula1400, there's a whole thread partly on strike movies, on a Joss post about, well, strike movies. Heh.
Wow. That one must have gone off the radar fast, because I check in here every day, and never saw it!

Thanks!

In my defense... I have more on my list than showed up in the discussion!

Oh... and I can offer Joss a kitten. 12 weeks old. Very playful. Loves to cuddle.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2007-12-01 20:54 ]
OK, seriously Joss ? Maybe get someone to give you the once over. Colds do not last weeks on end, not if your Mark 1 Human Body (TM, Pat. Pend.) came with a little thing I like to call an immune system.


Yes, seriously, Joss. Please do NOT do a Jim Henson.
Meanwhile, re: pencils, now you can win a towel worn by BSG's Jamie Bamber.
Lady Brick: "I will never ever understand the corporate greed mentality that allows suits to see the workforce as something to be milked dry. Not human beings, merely human resources. Labor machines. That line of thinking is what needs to be broken around here."

It's very Matrix-y, innit?

And also, Nebula, the list of strike & labor films & shows extracted from the Jossy-thread b!X linked to above were posted on the F4W links pages, and I'm expanding them as I find them. I'll add the ones you mentioned that aren't on there already, and if you find more, you can email 'em to the site or me, if you want & I'll post them, too.

"The human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 BTU's of body heat. Combined with a form of fusion the machines have found all the energy they would ever need. There are fields, endless fields, where human beings are no longer born, we are grown. For the longest time I wouldn't believe it, and then I saw the fields with my own eyes. Watch them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this." - Morpheus, The Matrix by Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski
M'cookies- thanks for terrifying me, I've got a cold that's lasted as long as Joss'.
Oh man...Joss likes dismembered Glau poster. I'm waiting for the "I told you so"'s. But, I stand by my assertions!
Well, not to scare people but anyone with a cold will definitely die. Of course, it might take 80-100 years ...

If the mega-corps are like the Matrix, we at least have the consolation that they'll die out owing to the laws of thermodynamics - hint: people make very bad batteries ;).

(and there is no so to be told yamsham. Everyone's line's in a different place and all lines are equal. Course, some lines are more equal than others ;-)
I think I have the mumps.
Eugh, I don't want to be sucked into an 'Atlas Shrugged' world. Even with the sex and violence it's still all awkward and manifesto-ey.

Damn, how ridiculous is it that everyone else thinks of The Matrix and I'm the nerd who says Ayn Rand?
First of all, Joss, if you take the strike on the road please come to Austin TX. I have fought for worker's rights here in Texas without much success so you might not want me after all, and I would love to join the picket line.

Second, if it comes to that, know that I support David Lynch's attempt to invade the net all on his own. I will support yours too.

much love and Power to the People

RB
Damn, how ridiculous is it that everyone else thinks of The Matrix and I'm the nerd who says Ayn Rand?

Well, Ayn Rand has already died out owing to the laws of thermodynamics so she's less of a threat than the Matrix.

(it's not ridiculous at all, I just view that name as a variant of Godwin's Law ;-)
I'm fond of the corporations in some ways, they fund Joss' tv and movie projects. Don't see anyone else doing it.
Don't see anyone else doing it.

Somewhere in the world, Ace Underhill's ears are ringing.
If it makes anyone feel better, Joss can't have exactly what Jim Henson did, as he was killed by a fast-acting pnemonia, less than a week after his symptoms began. One of my favorite professors in college had it - within three or four days he went from no symptoms to near death. Fortunately, he came through fine; but scary stuff. But yes - if you are still dealing with the same cold you had three weeks ago, Joss, we do hope you've had it checked out.
Somewhere in the world, Ace Underhill's ears are ringing.

Does that mean somewhere a pet is in danger ?

...

Actually, that may be another Ace. I'll get me coat.

I'm fond of the corporations in some ways, they fund Joss' tv and movie projects. Don't see anyone else doing it.

Don't see anyone else being given the chance either.

Corporations are a necessary evil I reckon, we have them, there's no going back. They exist to make money though, pure and simple. If you have a hand in creating a monster (and we all do where corporations are concerned) then don't be surprised when it turns green and starts smashing shit up.
Oh man...Joss likes dismembered Glau poster. I'm waiting for the "I told you so"'s. But, I stand by my assertions!

Newsflash: Joss isn't always right.
Can I just say that I agree wholeheartedly with what the writers are doing. They're not just standing up for themselves but the represent a glimmer of hope for society at large. Secondly, kitten lol. I myself would have gone with a puppy but hey, not my call.
bix, shhhhhh. That is just way too much tempting o' the fates.

Also, I'm glad that Joss and I see the promotion posters for Summer's show the same way. It's nice to know that some of us can see things with layering on imaginary and unnecessary subtext. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Just wanted to chime in and say, Joss, dude, I hope you're all right health-wise.
Joss,

I say if the internet is truly the future of how we'll watch most movies and series, then why do you even need the studios? Why not have more successful writers like yourself go directly to advertisers and get funding for original content? The studios have no leverage when it comes to the internet. It's just as easy to set up and watch content on JossWhedonsTotallyAwesomeShit.com as it is on fox.com or whatever... aside from the less letters to type but you could always call it JWTAS.com (I pretty sure that's available too so, grab it now, dude!).

Just wondering why something like that wouldn't be feasable and help lead the way for lesser known writers/directors/producers to do the same and bypass the studios completely...

All I ask in return for my totally awesome idea to you is that you consider me for your writing staff on said JWTAS.com internet-network. James Gunn will vouch for me. (He'd better after all those handjobs I gave him!)

-TZS
Josh funny.
Razor rawked.
My T-day gravy came out groovy, too.
See ya in Boston.
I bake cookies said by recipients to possess restorative powers. No controlled substances, just straight up chocolate chip. And I spend the month of December baking, so one more batch = no problem.

ETA: Doctors -- scientific studies have shown them to outperform cookies on three separate occasions. Leave no stone unturned in diagnosing and treating what Dave Barry calls "Martian Death Flu."

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-12-02 15:50 ]
TZS...
It is feasible....
But it's not just Joss that would be involved.
There's the camera folk, costumes, special effects... etc...
and not to mention ACTORS.

Robert Rodriguez is the KING of making movies on the cheap... his scripts aren't very good--- BUT his style of directing and making movies with CGI etc.. is great.

But the REALLY big ticket items are the actors.... at least if you want studio funding... they want someone who is well known.
hbojo,

I realize that but I think if a big name like Joss or JJ Abrams, etc was involved, you could find enough advertisers willing to put up the cash to produce a pilot. As has been said before, internet advertising is more valuable since you can't skip it or change a channel. It's not as feasable for full-length features at this point but for episodic shows, why not?
I am sorry to hear the illness and the strike are still ongoing. I'd be sorely tempted to breathe on any paperwork going AMPTP's way, myself. ;)
Just a reminder to sick Joss and all his Hollywoody friends heading east soon:

WINTER!

Don't forget your puffy coats! :)
I like the dismembered Summer pic, I have it as my wallpaper right now.

And Joss' response got posted to the United Hollywood site. Go, purple man!
And Joss' response got posted to the United Hollywood site. Go, purple man!

Now he can go read all the anonymous AMPTP trolls that don't get to post here.
I second the idea of taking the fight on the road next to Austin TX. Why you ask?

-rabid Joss fans ready to stand picketing to the cause
-a budding film and TV community
-a town that prides itself on being "weird" and ready to cause a media buzz
-decently warm weather for your picketing pleasure

Joss, come on down - we'll make you proud.

[ edited by austinglobe on 2007-12-03 00:45 ]
"Rapid" Joss fans? Good thing they're quick. Gaia forbid we have any sloth-like fans.

And Joss, really worried about the frikkin' illness. Ain't no cold ever lasted this long. See your doc, please. Please.
Boston? Sure. Austin? Sure. But remember: The Portland of Oregon is the founding city of Can't Stop the Serenity (and top fundraiser two years running). The city that had complete runs of Buffy and Firefly on the big screen.

Well, okay, for some reason the SciFi Channel didn't think we were cool enough to get an advance theatrical screening of Razor, and we had to drive to Auburn, Washington. But that's just because they were clueless.

The touring strike of the WGA isn't clueless is it? ;)
There's just a shit cold going around that seems to go on for six weeks. I'm just getting through it. Missed a ton of work when it was at its worst, and then the chest rattle and nose full of snot just...lingers. I swear a third of LA has it.
Aren't all you glad you're coming for ME day?
I'm in the Bay area, and I swear the cold I had last Winter hung on for at least six weeks, but I did blame myself for running round instead of resting and forcing liquids.
For those going to ME day: take a lot of vitamin C, wash your hands frequently, dress warmly (when it is chilly in the morning), and make sure you're stocked up on cold remedies for when you get home (because if the LA cold/flu doesn't get you then you know you'll still pick up a bug at the airport).

Have fun everyone! I wish I could be there!
"I'm gonna call late, and probably drunk, and maybe cry."

Oh Joss, ha, you just made me laugh out loud for the first time today. And, yeah, Razor was sweet. By your command. Classic, yo.

P.S. Tell Ron Moore to get a blogger account or something. That template he's using is B-A-D. School him in the ways of cool bloggy-ness, pretty please.

[ edited by kerfuffle on 2007-12-02 08:08 ]
I'm horribly sad I'll miss ME Day. But I have to stay here and be a paycheck slave.
I am considering sending in my strike pic, kudos to RavenU for such a great idea.

You could not be more right about the implications of this strike, Joss. Hopefully the WGA leadership will stay strong and hold the line. The pendulum will shift back, that's the nature of power. Hold the line, and their paradigm will crumble into dust. You and yours have the commodity that will always be in demand. In the meantime, please take some vitamin C, man!
theonetruebix: "Now he can go read all the anonymous AMPTP trolls that don't get to post here."

Oh, my gods - they are out in full force, and it's like watching Fox news doing their White House-issued talking points. Today's bullet point from the AMPTP is clearly:

Attack the WGA negotiator's skills. You can't win the public sympathy away from the underdog, nor attack their facts, so try going for their negotiation skills. We've got to chip away at their "image" somehow.

Their job is also to distract and divide, so I'm of the hit-it-and-quit-it variety of astroturf & troll responders - say something, and then go away and get on with the job. Anything else is letting them energy-suck.
First .... Dearest Josssir I join with Saje, m'cookies, LKW and UnpluggedCrazy in concern for your health. Please, go and see a Doctor. Especially before traveling to Boston. What's it gonna take, a petition?
I realize that we've all been concerned with other news, but a couple of weeks ago, I caught this tidbit on a local TV newscast, picked up from L.A. There is a new strain of pneumonia showing up in the So Cal area, it mimics a cold that just keeps hanging on. I wish I'd caught more & could remember the source, but it was a quick item. So pretty please with monsters on top, get it checked out. You are now my common law wife (which makes me a lesbian?? ... even though I'm a straight woman and you're a man??? .... I'm so confused) so you must take me seriously. :(

Josh Friedman's blog post was hysterical. Except for reminding me that my own life is nearly as much of a mess. But I refuse to blame Joss for that, especially since he is now my common law wife :=)
Then Joss's post made me really angry.
Wait .... isn't this what writers do, touch our emotions and funny bones and anger switches? Keep us more in touch with our basic humanity? Sounds like something that should pay well, with lots of benefits.

What struck me most about Joss's post is something I think we would all do well to remember and that I'd like to see emphasized more. That there is a much larger social and political context here .... not that the writers plight isn't important enough on it's own.
For close to thirty years, since Reagan was first elected, we've seen the rights of workers eroding here in the U.S. Specifically, the power of unions to represent the workers of this country, be they creative or academic (can be both, I know) or retail slaves (I'm looking at you, Wal-Mart) or service workers or medical professionals .... the entire spectrum of the "working for a living" population. It is truly terrifying.
And I believe the writers are well aware that they are a part of something much bigger than their own interests, important as those are. Which should really frighten the mega-corporations that now have a strangle hold on our entire political structure.
So strike on. And support John Edwards, he's the only presidential candidate who has come out to support you.

Climbing down off soap box now.
Point #1 in those comments is still "These rich writers don't deserve a break while real workers like myself struggle to make a living." But yes the star is rising for new Point #2, "You stupid writers are clearly out of your depth when it comes to negotiating. You WGA members might as well give up now because your leaders are leading you to disaster." And that is a more dangerous line.

Although these are bad, I have actually seen much worse on global warming and evolution blogs. I expect this is just the beginning of it.
I'm waiting for Point 3: "Most writers are paedophiles and terrorists. Osama Bin Laden himself has written. FACT !"

It's nice to know that some of us can see things with layering on imaginary and unnecessary subtext.

That strikes me funny ;). Before it was all, "everyone's line is in a different place", now Joss says they're cool and that's it ? Suddenly there's only one possible way of looking at it ? C'mon ;).

(bearing in mind that I actually agree with you TamaraC and obviously assuming you meant to put "without layering on ...")

This is one of those situations (like so many others) where there just is no right or wrong. Certainly makes life more complicated but the "matter of opinion" idea doesn't change because of one particular person's opinion, be he ever so Purple and wise.
I expect this is just the beginning of it.

Yes. But it's also a clear sign that the studios know they are still losing. You don't send out your anonymous flunkies otherwise.

There isn't, really, anything to do about it, other than continue to make sure that the facts of the issues at hand are easily accessible and widely available.

(Yes, I know that doesn't always mean success, depending on how hard the opposition wants to push the dissembling and disinformation. But it's really the only response we have.)

In the end, keep the main points visible at all times. A couple of the current big ones:

* Forget the "average" writer's salary, because it isn't useful information, despite the AMPTP trumpeting it again this week, and despite the anonymous trolls talking about all the rich writers. What matters is the median. What matters is the writer I watched on YouTube the other day explaining that she also has a part-time job at $10/hour in order to make ends meet.

* Given that re-use is moving off of broadcast and onto the Web, the AMPTP proposal of $250 for online re-use is (contrary to what the Companies' flunkies say) indeed a rollback. If nothing is re-used via broadcast anymore (which will increasingly be the case), then the $3,000-20,000 re-use residuals from broadcast go bye-bye, replaced by a flat $250 re-use residual from online. That's a rollback, period.
I must be getting tired, b!X. I just thought you said, above, " . . . depending on how hard the opposition wants to push the disemboweling and disinformation."

!?!?
I just thought you said...

Well, has anyone double-checked that the AMPTP isn't represented by Wolfram and Hart?
Jeez, I thought they'd just talk at you, there's a bowel thing too ?

I agree with making a comment and then leaving in these cases. If the AMPTP actually are astro-turfing (and people - anonymous and otherwise - have been making those comments since the very beginning so i'm not convinced they are) then they have more time and resources to devote to it and anyway, it's never been wise to feed the trolls.

Explain about medians, explain that in any given year nearly half of all writers are unemployed, explain why flat-fees for products that can provide revenues over a period of decades is an insult and then do as one shepherd said to the other.
We do have that 6-week creeping grunge here in L.A. that hangs on and hangs on with all sorts of awful bodily fluids, as Allyson was describing, but rest assured, everyone, it is NOT the killer staph or flu. I had this clingy cold last year, fortunately finally got smart so my cold this year was just a short one (1000 mg vitamin C every 1-2 hours [yes, I know I probably peed half of it out, but the point was bombarding myself with it], plus Chinese herbs and a week of taking off work = getting over it in about 2 weeks instead of 3 months of lingering cough like last year). I'm really sorry Joss is feeling awful now, and I know exactly how this cold-that-never-ends feels, but he's really going to be OK, especially with all the love we are sending him! :)

About writers making a living: A friend of mine whom I've known for ages, who has been a staff writer on many TV series, makes and sells jewelry to assure that she can consistently make her mortgage payments. Saje, you are absolutely right (and also consistently hilarious, by the way, in case I haven't fawned over you before): like actors, most writers are unemployed most of the time, so those huge paydays you read about are paid maybe once a year, or every few years. The only millionaire writers are the big feature film superstars and the showrunners in TV; most writers are rank and file, so the median is really a truer reflection of writers' lives here.

And let's never, ever forget that we are talking about percentages. There is so much profit in the film and TV business it isn't even funny, but most of it stays in the hands of the studios and networks and their uberlords (Murdoch, Sheinhardt Wig Company, etc.). The writers want a piece of that massive pie, which we shall call here There is More Than Enough Profit to Go Around if the Corporations Just Stop Screwing Over the Workers Pie (in honor of Waitress). Corporation guys, it really is time you break it to your executives that their severance packages are just going to have to be lowered from $82 million to, say, $75 million so that the people who made the product you are exploiting, sorry, repurposing can make a decent living for their families, too. /power to the people, right on rant

BTW, on a happier note, did anyone follow that link to Ron Moore's page, what with the photo of the towel that Jamie is Bambering? I think we've successfully counterbalanced any possible objectification of the female body in the Summer-on-the-robot-assembly-line poster with this objectification of the male body. Turnabout is fair play, and all that. Thanks for leveling the playing field, Ron!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some websites to visit. Um, Ron Moore's website. What? Stop looking at me like that, OK?
TSZ, one problem with everybody making their own deals with the advertisers and going straight to the Internet -- unless you are a writer/producer, the producer could make *any* sort of deal. Even if you *are* a writer/producer, in fact, the advertisers could make any sort of deal. Pay into everybody's health and pension benefits (a big part of what *all* unions are about) -- probably forget it. The AMPTP would actually love this -- that would be the end of the unions, each producer could make whatever sort of deal he/she wanted and pay or not pay writers according to whim. That's one of the things the strike is trying to avoid/prevent.

Question for People Who Know Board Etiquette, is it okay to recommend a specific (commercially sold) cold remedy? I have found one that works like nothing else I've ever tried, but don't know if it's kosher to mention specific things here.
Question for People Who Know Board Etiquette, is it okay to recommend a specific (commercially sold) cold remedy?


Yes.
Saje, I did mean "without". I really wish my fingers could keep up with my brain at times.

And I am still of the opinion that the interpretation is just that, all opinion. I just felt a little more validated to know that my opinion wasn't as left field (or at least was in very good company) as it seemed to be in that thread.
We do have that 6-week creeping grunge here in L.A. that hangs on and hangs on with all sorts of awful bodily fluids, as Allyson was describing, but rest assured, everyone, it is NOT the killer staph or flu.


OK, then - just wanted to make sure no lurking opportunistic infections were waiting to hit a purple man while he was already down.

So, seeing's how many of us are comin' in to Los An-gel-eez (sans keys) (yes, I am that old) for ME day, we can look forward to getting the creeping grunge. Huzzah!! It can't stop us, 'cos we are mighty and stuff. :)
Now I'm wondering how long before Joss works the phrase "creeping grunge" into a script for Buffy Season 8.
People Who Have Colds, Including But Not Only Joss, since Simon has said this is okay (thanks Simon!), may I recommend something called Wellness Formula. This can be bought at most supermarkets and vitamin stores -- it's an herbal concoction that you can get in either tablet or capsule form (I get the tablets) and it works like nothing else I have ever tried. There have been times I've been *positive* I've got a cold -- nose running like a faucet at 9 PM -- I take three tablets (recommended dose when sick is three tablets together, three times a day) and wake up feeling fine in the morning. When I have been sick, except when the "cold" has turned out to be bronchitis, the Wellness Formula has gotten the cold down to a few days, rather than dragging on for weeks. I have friends who also have had similar experiences with it. So please try it so you're nice and healthy by Mutant Enemy Day, whether you're present in body or just spirit. Think "On Strike, Not Out Sick!" :)
Shape, I was suggesting not dealing with studios only as far as the internet. To bypass them just as far as producing some original content for the internet. Not as the WHOLE distribtion of a writers work and maybe not forever but just as a tactic to make them realize that we both need each other but they need writers way more than we need studios. We can make our own deals if need be, we produce our own product. Without writers, studios would have nothing to sell.

I was proposing that if they wanna show content online and not give anyone any share of the profits, why not produce original internet only content without them and if it does well you can bet they'd come around trying to get in on it. To which we reply: "Oh there's no money in this. It's just for promotion."
Shapenew, regarding "making own deals" and the result of pension and health bennies hitting an iceberg, I'm thinking of business owners who contract for work...don't they have avenues for pension plans and health benefits?

Wouldn't writers (agents) be the contractors hammering out a contract with the advertisers?

I'm not promoting the ideas you're making counterpoint to, Shapenew, as I only have a wafer of understanding regarding the business model of writer/studio/agent/internet/advertiser/etc. I feel like I've got muddy thinking, so maybe you can help me understand why the studios would win if more (not all) writers began contracting with ad agencies (I'm guessing they represent their clients? Me: ignorance).

Thank you for your consideration; and anyone else that chimes in. :)
TommytheZombieSlayer, RhaegarTargaryen, advertisers already wholly subsidize multi-million productions -- their commercials. There is a business model for one or two advertisers "sponsoring" a particular episode of a TV show, but why on earth (from their point of view) should they invest the amount of money it takes to produce an entire show? Putting the exact same content you'd find on TV or in a movie on the Internet doesn't make that content any cheaper to actually *produce.* The strike involves feature films as well as TV -- how is an advertiser going to fund, say, "Indiana Jones 4"? Generally speaking, you can't fund an entire film on product placement, those five-minute car commercials with Clive Owen notwithstanding. (And in fact, those *are* commercials.) People who have been able to raise *any* kind of independent (non-studio/network) funding have already been doing it forever. Writers who aren't producers still need somebody to go actually set up a production so that there's some purpose in selling the script (as opposed to, "Hey, look, I just bought this script -- I'll put it on my shelf!" :) ). The AMPTP seems to be trying to wear down collective bargaining -- turning the Internet or any place else into a union-free zone doesn't help matters. I feel like I'm not being terribly articulate about this, but for large-scale productions, large-scale money has to come from somewhere. Studios and networks and even independent financiers are in the business of funding long-form for-camera storytelling; advertisers really are not.
Shape, of course I wasn't saying writers do it all themselves but in association with lawyers/independant producers, etc. I dunno. i was just brainstorming and stuff...

Okay, nevermind my idea then... but hey Joss, it's the thought that counts, right? How can I go about applying for a staff writer position on "Dollhouse" -y'know after this whole strikey thing is over. Gunn told me the handjobs I gave him would guarantee me at least your consideration. I mean that seems... completely implausible! Damn it! I'm SO gullible sometimes.
Thanks for your words, Shapenew. With your help, I understand there's a large expenditure to taking a story from page to presentation.

I suppose an "ad" company that would fund such an expenditure, if they couldn't find a way to adequately promote product, would essentially be a studio looking for revenue. And that'd be full circle around a tiny circuit.

Why isn't the expense of taking a story from page to presentation far less expensive than it used to be? Aren't there powerful programs for editing music and video and creating "presentation" that allow a far broader base of people to put these shows together, and for far less money?

I suppose it seems I could buy a 5k camera, a gigantic hard drive, some software suites for editing the whole shebang, and produce a show of some kind. Now replace me with someone talented, of course.

With this kind of power filtering down into the hands of regular folk doesn't this decrease the studios' power?

[ edited by RhaegarTargaryen on 2007-12-03 05:32 ]
Rhaegar, here's the conundrum. Yes, the means of acceptable production have been made considerably more affordable and accessible for the general public. However, you're more likely to watch something made by Joss Whedon than by Ann Nonnie Mouse, right? Which is why someone who makes a Joss Whedon project stands more of a chance of making money than Ann Nonnie Mouse, whether the medium is film, TV, the Internet or sock puppets (unless Ann Nonnie Mouse has developed an incredible reputation in Sock Puppet Theatre, but I digress). Now, if somebody is making money, *everybody* should be making money. Joss loves writing and directing, but I'd be guessing, even without his vocal support of the WGA strike, that if the producers are making money, he'd like to make money, too. If he and the producers are making money, the actors would like to be making money. If the actors are making money, the technicians would like to also get paid. Unless *everybody* involved works totally for free -- in which case, this is a hobby for them -- unless they're incredibly rich, they then don't have that much time to write/direct/act/produce, because they're doing something else to make a living. Filmmakers who are just starting out often do use the inexpensive tools, but except for a few people who flourish outside the studio system, most of them want to graduate to using full crews, non-home-quality equipment and not constantly be losing crew and cast to paying gigs. In fact, unless they want to do films as a hobby and not as a job, eventually, they *must* get paid. To vastly oversimplify the situation, neither side wants to do away with the business model that applies to normal film and TV distribution. The AMPTP is saying that the Internet is different and therefore should not generate pay for anybody except the producers, and the WGA is saying that since the work is exactly the same -- in fact, right now it's mostly exactly the same *content* -- that the pay scale should be similar, and that if the producers try to turn the Internet into a zone where they are the only ones who will make *any* money, the writers will strike, as they have done.
Thanks again, Shapenew, you're spending your energy on me and I am appreciative. I hope you don't mind one last battery of questions.

I'm thinking of the Henry Ford model of production, in the beginning (as little of it as I understand, may be errors to ensue) he paid people a fantastic wage. And they wanted to work for him. So why doesn't a large production company see what is fair, offer a fair wage, and scoop up talented writers who are loyal to them? Isn't there a one of them that wants a fair business model? Can't one of them stand to benefit by breaking ranks?

If the big production companies all get together and fix wages how isn't this a cartel-like practice? Wages aren't product, I suppose will be the answer. But these wages are for product...and I guess that makes the production companies "consumers" (of the writers product) rather than pushers of the (writers) product. The product they push is a collaborative effort, a film or television show (which includes the product they bought from the writers). I sense I'm talking myself into a fizzle jam. My next extravagant ignorance is to wonder why WGA isn't a monopoly of sorts. Well crapapalooza, I'll hit the net to get a better understanding - no reason for someone to lead me through the basics of business.

I guess I'm flailing because something feels wrong about the writers not getting a fair share and there not being a company that wants to cavort with them, to give them a fair share. I don't understand why it doesn't make good business sense to make the writers happy. And why there isn't a production company that sees this as an opportunity to score writer points.
Additionally, Shapenew, and differently and related back to the previous point: A couple of cameras, a crew, some editing software - pay them all, but run it lean, then profit share all the way through the ranks when success is found. Isn't that a simple idea for a production company that would benefit all?
Joss - We are preparing for the Rally in Boston!! Our job is get the word spreading far and wide - by hook and crook, we hope to have a huge crowd for all the speakers. Your job Sir, is to get thee to a Dr., so you don't pass out on the march!! The first snow is falling today, it's wet and cold - Boston is the home of the Revolution, we don't want to also be known as the "killer of Joss Whedon". There would have to be some seriously bad Karma for shit like that...
RhegarTargaryen, Shapenew, there is a post still on the front page of United Hollywood today about new distribution models, even referring to Joss' comment in this very thread.
just curious, but what happens if we just don't turn on the tv or turn it on so that we can watch old dvds that the writers didn't get paid for? (Can't buy new ones til they get a deal) Doesn't that hurt a whole bunch more than pencils? It's not like we'd be missing much. New stuff is getting thin on the ground unless Miami Ink is your cuppa. Not saying I can do that tonight, cuz Life is on tonight, but like next week...
I don't think anything happens if you don't have a Nielsen box, the studios would never know you weren't watching. Guess if you don't have a box you could watch as normal, make a careful note of all the companies and products advertised during the shows and then ensure you don't buy anything from them. If enough people did that the advertisers and, as a result, studios might notice.

Personally, i'm in two minds about a DVD boycott. Won't the writers etc. miss the residuals they do get ?
Thank you, Swanland :)

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