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"Remember when this place was just flame-throwers and rotating knives? I miss that."
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December 14 2007

"This is about people just trying to protect their right to make a living". Joss talks about the strike in this interview with KFI AM 640, a Los Angeles radio station.

How to get the message out of the closet? Sounds like the vanguard of a bad joke, sure, but how do we get the word out to people that don't know how words (written by wordists) create what they are enjoying?

How do we reach the people that don't give a gnat about writers or directors or producers or DPs or grips or any of that? Feed me, Seymour! How? How do we reach them? Trendy clothes? Pet rocks? The Rock?

What do they consume? Food. Do we make our own writer's cereal, alphabet included, but only fill the box 2.5% full and explain why?

Do we appeal to their wonder and amazement? A big top? Guinness book of world records--it entertained me for hours as a kid--and show them show business chicanery? It is astounding how certain gigantic films have earned nothing in the way of profits. That'd be interesting consumption, en mass.

Mass...choir...songs...redemption...where is our fiery, magnetic sermon chomping, gesticulating, undulating, spinifying dervish of delivery? They like music. Can we write a hit song and get airplay? Radio shows?

How do we reach the folks that just want their shows and don't care about the other stuff? How do we make them care?

People care the most about their health and their family's health. Can that be used?

How do we reach them? A Whopper Meal with 2.5 fries? Going to let my subconscious genius go to work on this enigma.
The question might be, who do you need to reach ? As have been pointed out before, if you reach the advertisers who pay for the TV you have leverage, if you reach the stockholders who own the companies, the Calpers and the like they have leverage.
The average tv viewer, not so much.

May I suggest using the fact that it is a election year to increase awareness ?
Ask two questions to all political candidates at every opportunity.
- "What do you think of the Writers strike ?"
If they support it ask
- "What do you plan to do about it ?"

This in combination with researching and releasing the political contributions of the AMPTP, studios and the moguls might have some interesting consequences.

But who am I to talk, I live on the other side of the world.
Question: Do the writers continue to want us to buy pencils?

(Personally, I think it sends a good message of fan support.)

ETA: Recognition of my bias in favor of sharp sticks.

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-12-14 15:47 ]
Sorry if this has been discussed ad infinitum but WHY aren't the top folk in WGA calling for a consumer BOYCOTT of DVD sales? I don't get it. My family is actively boycotting: NO DVD buying and NO on-line viewing of shows. I went to ME day, I've ordered a mug and a bumper sticker through Fans4Writers - I'd be willing to walk around with a headband screaming: SUPPORT THE WRITERS - until a decent settlement is reached, but isn't a full-blown boycott by consumers a powerful tool? Why don't they formally ask us to do it?
I'm guessing because the current leadership feels as if they call for a formal boycott and the numbers don't dip significantly (as they WILL NOT at Holidays), then the AMPTP will have more PR cannonballs to lob over the castle wall.
HY aren't the top folk in WGA calling for a consumer BOYCOTT of DVD sales?

The WGA in their wisdom decided not to press for an increase in DVD residuals during talks (last time I looked) so they would look a bit silly if they called for a boycott.
The average tv viewer, not so much.

Yes, to a point, it doesn't matter whether the television consumers are on the writers' side or the studio's. If they begin to demand that their television shows return to their screens, and affect the advertising revenues in the process, they will likely force the studios back to the bargaining table. It's what happens afterwards that is the issue. (And, yes, part of this is the PR that the studios can use to spin anything their way.)

The real problem is not in reaching "the people" in the short term so much as not allowing the union to be busted in a time when one by one mega-corporations have used laws written in their favor to circumvent unions, to re-write contracts in their own favor, to rid themselves of health and pension programs, and so forth, to make larger and larger profits. The studios are merely following the same pattern established back during the Reagan years of union-busting, to rid themselves of having to negotiate with their employees in any sort of even-handed way. It's only now that people are realizing how much lower their salaries are (but, hey, let's blame it on the immigrants and not on the crooked politicians we have elected to rid the country of collective bargaining), and how much they have lost in terms of job security and benefits, while the very same corporations who complained that they couldn't stay in business otherwise are making record profits. This strike is a microcosm of what has been going on everywhere--it's just this one will be more visible because it is the one industry that affects everyone. The real issue here is to protect the union--the only entity looking out for people's jobs--and not have too many of its members quit or vote for a poor contract because they need income.
Is there any other way to access the interview? All I get is the advertising and then nothing else, reopening the site again gets me advertising and no interview (all the annoyance and no pay-off!).
Thanks for the advice: I saw the icon, listened to the add and waited for the nothing.
*grrr argh*

[ edited by embers on 2007-12-14 17:03 ]
embers, there's a tiny icon under the picture of Joss that you can click on to hear the interview. Warning: It's wee. (The icon. The interview is a nice length.)
It worked for me, embers, it took awhile to load after the commercial, but it did.
damn...that's Joss in REAL unfriendly territory, too...KFI is the LA home of Rush Limbaugh, and a whole bunch of local, but no less crazed "hosts".

[ edited by annagranfors on 2007-12-14 17:33 ]
The WGA just filed an "unfair practices" suit against the AMPTP with the National Labor Board in an effort to get AMPTP back to the bargaining table. Here is the URL (don't know how to turn it into a link here) for WGA president Patric Verrone's statement on the subject for them as is interested.
Could we be the force necessary to bring back headbands? They're a bit more noticeable than the rubber wrist stamps. I'd like to have a rubber wrist one, though; saying something like "Support the Creators." Mm, no, that'd scare monotheists. I think "support the writers" is simple and accurate but lacks a certain underlying message to those who aren't quite sure that writer's have much to do with output; I mean, I see it enough as is, the sentiment that *any ol'person could write t.v.*.

"Support conception" - from gestation to birth, writers do it. Wow, that's laden.
"Support the story farmer" - can't digest good tv if it there isn't anyone to till the ground.
"Writers - help them conceive" - Like the strike isn't a big enough problem.

Yeah, okay, I'm not the guy to come up with a suitable quote. But I would like to have a wristband. I'd even wear a headband here and there (though I'd be frightened to do it).
I think that was his best media interview on the strike yet. Yay!
I want to explain to my parents why I suddenly announced on Thanksgiving that I was taking a road trip to L.A. to march on the picket line with the creators of my favorite shows. My father might understand it more than my mother (he loves Firefly), but I haven't had that conversation. I think my mom thought it was some convention-type thing where I was going to star-gaze and that's all it was about. I've been looking for the perfect article or video to show them that would explain precisely what this strike is about, why I went to Mutant Enemy Day, and what I'm involved in here. Because they really don't get it my fandom, and I think not understanding it scares my mom a little.

But this is the perfect clip to play for them to educate them a little. I can add that I am a storyteller by nature, that I love storytelling in all forms, and these TV writers are doing the job I wish I could do, and yeah, it strike support I am working with might actually be preparation for my future.

Thanks for the great interview, Joss. I'll be sharing it with my parents this weekend when I visit them.

[ edited by ElectricSpaceGirl on 2007-12-14 19:29 ]
To listen to this interview I had to download the RAW file and open it in Quicktime. I think that's a Mac thing though.
shicks - Because boycotting DVD sales would be detrimental to the industry as a whole. Not only will it effect the little residuals the writers do receive, it will effect the residuals the rest of the unions receive. Which include the BTL (below the line people) which actually recieves the highest percentage when it comes to residuals from DVD sales, that money goes directly into funding their healthcare and pension plan. So I completely understand why the WGA would not be calling for a boycott, because they do not want to hurt their fellow unions any more than how the strike has already impacted them by the studio production shut down of the shows.

The writers have been working on this contract since July and in some cases before then, I don't think the studios realized that the WGA finally became union savy and it has thrown them off their game. Personally I would take the Alliance a part piece by piece. No where else have I eve seen two unions negositating with each other in this asspect, that one union is employers and the others are employees. Of all the major unions only in Entertainment do you find the employers as allied as the employees. Other unions deal with companies on a indiviual basis, like autoworkers and airlines who have a main union who work on a one-on-one contracts with each car company or airline.

[ edited by RavenU on 2007-12-14 19:40 ]
RavenU - Thanks. That clarifies a lot. I have lots of DVD purchasing to catch up on! But what about on-line viewing? Should we be conflicted about it or go for it? We want to do what's right. My son is a wrestling fan and he asked me with great concern yesterday if he needs to stop watching it on-line because there's advertising - he said: I know they use writers. I wasn't sure what to tell him. I think we're grasping for some tangible ongoing way to help (besides just trying to catch all the Joss interviews we can - I mean that only goes so far...)
Personally, I'd avoid online viewing of anything that you know WGA writers had a hand in. I suspect that might not include wrestling. It also, at the moment, doesn't include animation or reality shows, but I think I'd avoid those on principal anyway. Those writers are still working because they're not WGA members, but from comments I've read on various sites, many of them would desperately *like* to have the protection and bargaining power of a guild membership.
shicks, Fans4writers has a great post about what not to boycott. I think everyone should read this because it really clarifies the issues.
Your welcome shicks. And here are some points you can concider ...

If you want to protest, there are many ways, boycotting is one.
But what should be boycotted?

Online streaming media: This includes those sites that air full episodes of the shows and movies that entertain us. That have embedded advertising that we have to sit through in order to watch the movie or show.

Downloading Movies and Shows: This is one of the biggies our IPODS have become our newest version of media access to our favorite shows and movie. Not only do you pay for this privilege. Now they are even putting advertising with the show or movie, you have to put up with or fast forward through. Also there are sites that you can download movies and TV shows from and watch them directly on your computer, right after it airs on TV or released on DVD.

Why Boycott?

- Because the studios and networks are getting paid for that advertising you have to watch or fast forward through. While the people who actually created the shows get zero, zilch, nothing.
- The studios get paid for every download you pay for, and they are so greedy that some studios want more from the download sites.
- The studios are devaluing the product for those who receive residuals. Once it is on the internet being streaming or downloaded it impacts the conventional value of the product.
- For TV it means the value of a rerun is not what it used to be. Because the ratings will be affected. Since you can either see it online anytime or download it to your computer and watch it at your leisure. Watching it when it re-airs, becomes unnecessary, which will affect the ratings of the reruns. When those ratings drop so does the price of the ads running during it, which flows into the amount the network will pay the studio for re-running the episode. In the end of the chain that means even fewer pennies reach the writers and others get from making that episode.
- This also impacts the cost when and if the shows are sold into syndication, which is becoming increasingly rare. As even cable networks are creating their own original programming.
- For movies the devaluing is somewhat different. If you can download films to your computer or IPOD, why purchase the DVD version. Yes the extras are a great reason to pick up the DVD but there are people who only want to see the film, that may not care about the bells and whistles and so they may not buy the DVD if they already got it downloaded. Again the studios get paid for the download but the writers and everyone else involved with those films are left out in the cold and are basically robbed of the opportunity for a few extra coins from the DVD sales. Now itís even worse with some online stores getting an exclusive release sometimes up to a week before the actual DVD release of the movies.
- This also affects TV Shows on DVD; for the most part you have downloaded all the episodes from a season of your favorite show. Especially if you buy the season, which is typically the cost of a DVD set or a little less. So do you pay the price again just for a few extras. I know the die-hards will, but will the average fan. Not likely. So once again the impact of downloaded product is fattening the studios wallet. While the people who are actually creating and making the product are watching their future retirement and rain day savings plans dry up, right before their eyes.

If you don't think this is right then spread the word and start a boycott that will be effective.

Most of these online places have an area where you can review the show or movie. Post a friendly statement saying something like; you would have liked to have downloaded or watched the TV show or movie but you support the people who made it in getting their fair share of your money and time. So while the writers are on strike you will not be buying or watching any episodes or movies that doesn't benefit them.


never mind

[ edited by embers on 2007-12-16 06:12 ]
As I read/hear each new press release, subtle insult, less-than-subtle insult, and outright libel/slander from the members of the AMPTP, the members of the WGA, and the people who support each group...well, I am ever happier that I have chosen to follow the wisdom of Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski. I quote from the seventh-season South Park episode "Krazy Kripples":

STAN: Stay clear, guys, stay clear.
KYLE: Yup, I'm not seeing anything.

It played fine for me and I think that's the best interview I've seen or heard about the strike yet.

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