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January 19 2008

Joss posts on UnitedHollywood (now confirmed). Joss lays it down re: how to proceed now that the DGA has settled.

Thanks, theonetruebix. The site has now confirmed the post.
It must be driving Joss crazy, this strike making him have to get all these new accounts to remember passwords for.
He's also an reviewer but that never made the front page (this is true).
I was encouraged to see the discussion among WGA members and supporters in the UH entry that gave the first UH thoughts on the DGA deal. The general tone was consideration, not celebration.

I think I'm missing something in this particular exchange though. Who said "endgame"?
Maybe it is time for another big fan picket/riot/gathering to demonstrate that the fans may be turning off their TVs (all ratings are down, even 'American Idol' got it's worst ratings in 4 years), but we have NOT turned our backs on the writers! We are just as strongly in support of the WGA today as we were last November.
The term has actually cropped up a few of times in the last 24 hours. Oddly, that link you give, Sunfire, isn't the first place I saw it (although it might pre-date the one I saw), but I'm having trouble tracking it down.
Maybe it is time for another big fan picket/riot/gathering...

It's actually well past time for many of these around the country. But the plan pitched to do this (to the WGA, who was on board, and to F4W) appears to have completely vanished into the ether.
Maybe it is time for another big fan picket/riot/gathering

Ah, ok. So it was a reference to a general discussion going on on- and off-line, it sounds like. The term wasn't used at all in the article people are commenting on, but they all seem really aware of it and to be commenting more on it than the article itself in places.

I'm a little worried. This all seems more or less designed to pressure the WGA into taking a deal with something squirrely in it. I can't make sense of it as a business strategy any other way. You don't walk away from negotiations entirely when you're actually willing to concede some points unless you want the other party to feel considerable heat when you put another offer on the table later. It doesn't seem to me that enough's changed for the AMPTP to really change their minds about what they're willing to accept.
The term was in the article Sunfire but was then taken out - this is a problem with web articles, unless the author/site mentions it (as they have in this case), edits can be made transparently (or opaquely depending on how you look at it) with no-one any the wiser.

Wonder if that was really Justine Bateman posting after Joss ?

He's right, you have to play to the whistle. At the same time though, "endgame" just means the final phase of play. Games can still be won or lost during the "endgame" or at the very least held to a draw, I can guarantee you that guys like Kasparov don't think "OK, endgame, i'll just totally relax now and work out what i'm having for dinner". In that sense the term is perfectly applicable.

The DGA deal seems to make some gains and some (big) losses but it's a place to start from. I don't think the streaming terms are doing the writers any favours but at the same time they are terms, as opposed to nothing at all and a foot in the door is a foot in the door. Now's the time to calmly but firmly press your collective shoulders in order to get the bugger open ;).
Wonder if that was really Justine Bateman posting after Joss ?

Most likely, since she's had main postings on UH in the past.
I think very one should read Justine Bateman's post. She is right on the money - IMHO.
OK, ta theonetruebix. And yeah, second that coolpeace she does an excellent job of explaining why the DGA deal is strictly a starting point for any writers deal, with the streaming terms probably having to be changed the most radically.

(if the current model is to survive at all then the studios need a way of ensuring adverts are unskippable which means controlling not just what we watch but how we watch it so she's spot on that streaming is the real battlefield)
He has a blogger account now? Is he planning on starting up his own blogspot?

He's taking over the woooooorrrrrllllllld!

[ edited by daylight on 2008-01-20 00:25 ]
I pretty much agree with Ms. Bateman that the DGA is a good starting point. I wonder what would be a good compromise that both the WGA and AMPTP would like.
Err, i'm not sure she thinks that (unless by "starting point" you mean "Let's start by scrapping this" - i'd say she's pretty vehemently opposed to it, even putting the word "deal" in quotes ;).

As for compromise, I don't know how the AMPTP will feel about it but I can't see how the WGA can accept a flat-fee at any point in the residual structure (unless, obviously, it's higher than at least the average residual payout), whether it's the first year, second year, whenever.

(opening the flat-fee door just encourages the studios to somehow weight repeats or ad revenues so that most of them occur within that time-frame IMO. Maybe that's unduly cynical, but, as with paranoia, sometimes it's not whether you're cynical, it's whether you're cynical enough ;)
As an absolute essential the 17 day "Promotional" window has to go. Imagine JK Rowlings publisher suggesting that she get no royalties for the first 17 days sales of Harry Potter XIII while they sell it, at full price, claiming it's "Promotional". Anyone want to guess what she'd say to that?

(The 17 days is for streaming, not sell through, but it's still buckets of profit for the studios either way)

[ edited by zz9 on 2008-01-20 01:45 ]
Ack. I wondered about that, Saje, but dismissed the thought because I had some (false) recollection that their edits were more transparent before. That kind of editing defeats the point of having a comments section at all. Now people's responses don't make as much sense. If they doubt their own use of the term, they should have added a few lines at the end, making it clear that they now think that's a bad way of putting it.

I mostly like UH but some of their choices make it clear they're learning the internet communication ropes as they go.

He has a blogger account now? Is he planning on starting up his own blogspot?

UH's comment form requires that you enter a gmail/blogger/whateverelsegoogleowns ID. Which means he probably just used a gmail account, like I do when I comment there.

alternative hypothesis: Joss's strike blog, THIS IS NOT ABOUT FANCY SCARVES, is coming soon to a blogspot near you. ;) Damn, I like that version better.
Seven words, two of them are "chicken" and "hatched". Easiest way to lose a battle is to stop fighting before it's over.

[ edited by Lady Brick on 2008-01-20 03:43 ]
Think it's safe to say this has little impact upon the writers demands.
I think it might be time to check on my checking account and see if I can spare anymore cash for some of the other folks affected by the strike. This strike is really hitting the other workers hard but it has to keep going until the writers get what they are asking for. Someone named ddragon just made a very convincing and rather scary post over there about what would happen if they capitulated now. It's grim.
Madhatter, what has little impact? The director's deal? It may have little to do with their demands, but it may have quite a bit to do with their final deal. Hopefully they can fix some of the stuff that is wrong with it like the entire bit about residuals. Don't fool yourself into thinking that it doesn't pertain to the writers.

There have been many many years of pattern bargaining in Hollywood and to dismiss the deal out of hand would be foolish. It needs to be seen as a framework and a starting point.
I really want to read some of Joss's Amazon reviews.

And I hear there's a strike of some kind happening? Fate of creativity hanging in the balance? (I overstate. But as Th' Joss has it, we need to dig in our heels and overstatement helps me dig mine in.)

I hold out hope in human decency. Any day now, the producers will cave and agree to pay the writers fairly for the work they do. Any day now. Any day now

Hope. I'm too tired to even try to be profound on that topic. A lack of "Dollhouse" is beginning to make me feel awfully Communistic, though.
Sightly tangentially - I'm wanting to support the writers and I'm visiting LA from Australia in about 2 weeks. Should I boycott Universal Studios etc??
Should I boycott Universal Studios etc??

Well they did greenlight Serenity. The fandom does owe them a debt of thanks for that. Plus I think they have the mule on the Universal Studios tour (I think, you might want to check up on that).

I really want to read some of Joss's Amazon reviews.

Ask and you will receive.

OT, but is it confirmed that that review is by Joss ? "God bless this song" just seems an unusual phrase for a self-described "angry atheist" (unless he's being all ironical and such).

Doesn't matter much either way obviously, just curious.
Well I looked at the criteria uses for having "real name" besides a reviewer's name.

You created a Real Name and used a name from your credit card to help other customers identify you. This is a permanent badge.

Thanks so much for this link, IMMORTAL. Things have been getting confusing for we mere mortals not in, or that savvy about, the inner workings of the business. I'd highly recommend that anyone else who has been feeling that confusion, especially regarding the new DGA developments, read all the comments. Joss is as always eloquent and Justine Bateman (apparently for real) gives the most understandable explanation about why the terms of the DGA deal, as they now stand, are a bit of a disaster.

And I noticed right away the note that the offending term "endgame" had been removed, (with the author admitting it had been an ill chosen term) so I wasn't at all confused on that issue.
Joss reviewed a random song written ABOUT him, without commenting once on any of his own projects or the other MANY projects he's had a hand in?
I find that...strange, in the very least.
Given that my bank allows me to create subsidiary card holders on my own credit card account with no verification, so technically, I could register a 'Joss Whedon' as one of my cardholders, and use that card to post 'Real Name' reviews.

But that would be crazy and insane, right?!
Chalk me up with the sceptics, I'm afraid, until this is verified.
Well it does seem a lot of trouble to go to just to post a short review which seems slightly more genuine than a fake login would so i'm erring on the side of believing it. Course, we all know the lengths some fans will go to so you can never tell.
That random song written about Joss was a song I found and passed along. To pass the Real Names test thing you have to both own a credit card in that name and verify the address with the card records - it's possible it's a fake review, but... it'd be the most amount of effort for a fake review I've ever seen.

I can't believe I just pondered all this. This post is the greatest post ever in the history of posts.
Joss reviewed a random song written ABOUT him, without commenting once on any of his own projects or the other MANY projects he's had a hand in?

I posted about the song on New Year's Day. It was the first entry of the year.

I'm wanting to support the writers and I'm visiting LA from Australia in about 2 weeks.

Check out fans4writers site for strike locations and spend a few hours walking the picket line at one of the studios. You'll be doing something to help, meet some cool people, some of who may be writers or actors, and have a great day.
I'd say it's more important now than ever to show that the writers are not giving up or caving in. Numbers on the picket line need to grow to put more pressure on the studios.
(I have written Amazon reviews in my real name, and I don't even have a credit card.)
I indeed-ly concede that we ought to keep this particular discussion on track rather than veer off into veritable tangents that have nothing to do with the topic. (My mental grasshopper has been verily placed in a glass jar for later release!)

Joss said-
I'm as ready as anyone to get back to telling stories in the media I love. But the studios need to remember that I'm also ready not to.

Does this mean Joss doesn't love comics anymore, or is he putting a moratorium on that, too?
The Buffy comics shouldn't be covered by the WGA strike action, missb. There is currently a discussion going on at the WGA about doing comics for off air series where it could be seen that the comics are promoting the studio property (that's what is holding back Rob T's VM comics), but I doubt that would effect Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

UnpluggedCrazy, do you have RealName(tm) next to your name on Amazon? To get the RealName banner you have to verify your identity.
I have not read anything about the DGA's deal yet except this post and comments, but things do not sound good.

"Joss reviewed a random song written ABOUT him, without commenting once on any of his own projects or the other MANY projects he's had a hand in?
I find that...strange, in the very least."

I don't find that strange at all. I would expect him to consider it tacky and a bit sad to go in and review his own work. Saying something silly and over the top about a song that is named for and about him on the other hand, seems perfectly in character.

"OT, but is it confirmed that that review is by Joss ? "God bless this song" just seems an unusual phrase for a self-described "angry atheist" (unless he's being all ironical and such)."

To me, it sounds like him being all ironical and such, as is his wont. ;-) I could be wrong, of course, since I don't actually...ya know...know the man.
I think all Joss is really saying is that while he wants to get back to work, he doesn't want to settle for the same deal the DGA got just to end the strike. He wants a valid, appropriate, and fair
deal for the WGA and he's prepared to stay on picket until he gets one.
ANd personally, I think that's the way it should go, because the DGA's deal , while fair and appropriate for Directors due to the way they are compensated during and after a production, isn't anywhere near as good a deal for the WGA. It's not what they're asking for and it would be a bad idea to accept it.

[ edited by Ed R on 2008-01-20 16:29 ]
One little sign that I do find somewhat hopeful in all of this -- everybody remember the AMPTP quitting negotiations on Dec. 7 and declaring they wouldn't come back until the WGA dropped six key demands? Well, the WGA has not changed their position at all and the AMPTP has now declared themselves willing to resume informal talks. So whatever the AMPTP reasoning in the reversal (my best guess is to try to make the WGA accept the DGA deal), the WGA won that particular round :)
"We need the rage that sends us out onto the picket lines." - Joss

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 21), fans will be joining the picketing writers at NBC Burbank from 2:30pm-5:30pm. All fans in the Los Angeles area (and beyond) are urged to join in on the picket.

You can find more information at Fans4Writers .

(Edited to reflect a change in the time of the event.)

[ edited by Pliny on 2008-01-21 04:28 ]

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