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February 05 2008

"I wanted to be sure..." Variety talks to Joss today on the strike lines, amidst the swirling and as-yet entirely unconfirmed rumors that a deal is imminent.

"I wanted to be sure someone was out here early with one of these," said Joss Whedon, hoisting a sign, which wasn't easy given the gusty winds. (The wind even blew the water from the long rectangular fountain that runs the length of the pickets' loop onto the sidewalk, hitting strikers from the knees down and keeping the sidewalk muddy.)

Whedon arrived at Fox before 8 a.m., and helped set up the water jug and sign-in table. The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator said he's encouraged by the reports of progress but won't get overly enthused until there's "something I can vote on." He also noted the emotional factors that have raged during the strike. Whedon, for one, sez he's not going to be able to paste on a big smile as soon as there's a deal.

"I'm still really angry," he said. "I can't just recalibrate (my feelings) just like that."

You know, just as the strike began joss posted something on here about how he knows execs aren't sat around smoking cigars counting their money, or something along those lines.

Several months in, that's the impression I've got of some of them.

Signed, a consumer.
I sincerely hope the rumours are true, and that the strike is resolved soon. The show I work on only shut down last week, and I know I'm chomping at the bit to go back, I can only imagine how those who have been out much longer must be feeling.

While I absolutely support the writers, and want them to get a fair deal...I just want it to come soon, as I have rent to pay ;)
I sympathize with Joss saying he can't just turn a switch on his emotions, but I hope that every writer, showrunner, producer, studio exec, and bean counter remembers that after a deal is done, the *only* thing that grudges can accomplish are slowing down the creative process and hurting the fans.

I'll actually be a little puzzled if this carries on much longer -- if the WGA has given on the animation and reality writers, and the AMPTP has given on the internet residuals (evidenced by the DGA deal), how much is there really to hammer out other than the fine points?
I feel bad that I chose this Monday to slack off and take care of some personal business. No delivery today. Um, everybody come to NBC on Wednesday for Scifi Day. Lots of pizza!
KingofCretins, a lot is left and the AMPTP has not "given" nearly enough. The "promotional" window for streaming TV is not acceptable to many writers. The amount paid for streaming and the fact that it is a fixed fee is not acceptable to most writers. And that is just two little examples. The DGA deal was not really a decent template for the writers deal like the studio likes to spin it. The DGA took a really crappy deal.
The goodness or badness of a deal are subjective; I didn't read much of the specifics of the DGA deal and haven't followed this one very closely since December. I'm still bitter about the 1994 World Series.

But I stick by the thing about holding grudges... doesn't do anybody any good, really in any aspect of life, but especially in the making of good TV and movies.
I really doubt Joss or any other writer needs to be reminded to not go grudge wilding. They're all in this to get back to work with a fair deal, not shoot themselves in the foot once they get one.
Whedon, for one, sez...

SEZ?! Are you KIDDING me?
General admonition to both sides to 'lock it up' once the strike is over, is all, not Joss specifically or just the writers. My first grudge fear started when FOX announced they'd be cutting back on development, that they'd grudge against Joss for being a vocal strike leader by dropping "Dollhouse". It's not like they haven't jerked him around before, when he hadn't been outside their gates with a placard.
Bwhahahaha I thought the same thing Dan.

The prospect of the strike ending is amazing, but its not over now and that's all I need to know.
I'll be there Dreamlogic You awesome pizza god :)
Re: "sez", remember this is Variety's less formal strike blog, not an article in their print edition.
*cough* Dan Corson, I did try not to say anything but, well, um, "The writer's on strike?" maybe it's a show of solidarity. ;)
that they'd grudge against Joss for being a vocal strike leader by dropping "Dollhouse"


I can't see the development studio doing that and its up to the development studio to decide whether to develop it or not. The network are the ones who have jerked him around in the past, not 20th Century Fox development, with whom he has the deal. The other thing to remember is that every 3 years, the network that you "knew" is all new people. In this case its new people who are supportive of Joss. Plus, if Fox TV doesn't want it for some reason, then the studio shops it to someone else, and someone else would take it. In any case, I don't see Fox TV holding a grudge where they stand to make money by not holding one.
I don't get down to Fox much, but it is great to hear that Joss is picketing there regularly.

We had an amazing turnout at NBC Burbank today. Jane was there, as was Ron and the Battlestars. The general feeling of everyone there was pretty much on par with the sentiments expressed in the article. Resolve remains as high as ever and I am expecting a tremendous showing of solidarity until this thing is over.

Writers are made of tougher stuff than the studios expected and everyday I am out, I am always inspired by the writers' commitment and sacrifice.

And as dreamlogic stated, there will be a lot of pizza at the big picket at NBC on Wednesday. It could (hopefully) be the last opportunity for fans to have their voices heard in support of the writers. So, everyone who can make it, please come!
Well, that's reassuring. I often forget to distinguish Fox from Fox from Fox as corporate entities. I just remember Joss' (and Eliza's) rotten luck with Fox television and have been wary of "Dollhouse" being the mighty Escape Goat for post-strike issues.
There is no indication that Fox is anything but thrilled to work with Joss and Eliza (they were paying her to do nothing, remember). Let's not borrow trouble where there isn't any.
"I wanted to be sure someone was out here early with one of these," said Joss Whedon, hoisting a sign, which wasn't easy given the gusty winds.

Good lad. Joss has always said play to the whistle and that's exactly what he's doing, quite right too.

Too much has happened and too many extremely cynical decisions have been made IMO for the writers just to turn around and make pally-wally with the people that have literally been trying to take away their livelihoods. At the same time, they're professionals and know what's required to do a good job of work.

(personally I hope/suspect some of them, maybe Joss included, will take that anger and direct it positively into alternative ways of creating content and getting it to the people that really appreciate it i.e. us)
Dreamlogic, how are the funds for pizza delivery holding out? Is there still enough?
I concur with Saje on the anger being directed in creative ways.
I am hoping (as is everyone) for a resolution soon so everyone can get back to work. I hope that the writers are able to absorb some love and positive energy from the fan support during this strike, and it results in some truly inspired artistic creations.

As for Joss' feelings of bitterness- it even makes ME bitter thinking of how much Fox has profited from him and his creations. The bitterness is justified and again- agreeing with Saje- hopefully that will inspire new creative ways to take down The Big Bad and all that entails in the Whedonverse....
Lioness, our funds are still strong. Thanks for asking.

While we are talking about it, I want to say thanks to everyone who has donated to the Food For Thought fund. We have been out on the lines every week and the writers have been constantly moved by all of your support.
Yeah, we're fixed for another couple of months, at least.

In terms of the writers and show-runners "holding grudges." I doubt that's an issue. But there's no question that many involved on the writer's side were surprised and disappointed by the studios' behavior early in the strike (and in the middle). That's got to generate some additional wariness.
dreamlogic: "I feel bad that I chose this Monday to slack off and take care of some personal business. No delivery today. Um, everybody come to NBC on Wednesday for Scifi Day. Lots of pizza!"


Oh, pul-ease, DL, you and your fellow-feeders have been pizza-ing the writers on days when there's been crickets chirping everywhere else in fandom strike-support. Let us hear no more talk about your bad "slacking."

I'm keeping up my strike-y stuff, too, but I gotta tell you - the suspense is just killing me. And when this is all over and settled to the writers' satisfaction, I am so gonna party.

Dan Corson, I think "sez" must be some kind of an artifact from Variety's famously-annoying and hopelessly outdated Hollywood lingo.

Um, gotta ankle; busy sked.
Frankly I worry that having Peter Chernin (the head of Fox) announce that the strike is over is just another gaming stratagem. The US Congress is thinking about starting hearings, and you know the studios don't want their accounting records subpoenaed, so they have to sound like they are trying to negotiate. But for months all we've seen is game playing from the AMPTP and I'm not confident at all that they have gotten serious yet. I am glad to hear (now from Joss, and also on today's Hollywood Online Podcast) that the writers are standing strong, and I'm very proud of all the fans who have been supporting them for all this time. Jane Espenson said on her blog that she'll be out every day, and is happy to see anyone who comes down to join the picket.
Finally, voices of reason. I got worried this weekend, seeing people online acting like the strike is over. I keep saying, the AMPTP did this kind of spin before before Christmas. I sure hope it's not just spin, but we need to be wary of any rumor until the deal is officially announced.

Stay strong, everybody! If I lived in LA I'd be down at the picket line showing my support every day. I'm grateful to all of you who are there on the front lines who are making the effort.

I'm keeping up my strike-y stuff, too, but I gotta tell you - the suspense is just killing me. And when this is all over and settled to the writers' satisfaction, I am so gonna party.


QuoterGal, will there be a Fans4Writers Shindig once the strike is over? I'd love to party with you guys again. :)

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2008-02-05 00:06 ]
Joss' anger is shared by many (if not most) on the picket lines. Hell, I'm angry. However, I can't articulate my feelings as well as Joss. My feelings are more on the level of "AMPTP bad!" and "Hulk smash!"

This has been a particularly bad breakup and the writers have been continuously mistreated and disrespected by the studios throughout this break. While the two sides will eventually get back together, I doubt the scars of this strike will ever be forgiven or forgotten by the writers who went through it.

However, I seriously doubt there will be any professional repercussions. Everybody just wants to get back to work. There won't be any time to hold "grudges".
It ain't over till it's over. Really really.

Also, yes - wariness as dreamlogic puts it? Very good thing to have. This strike has shown the AMPTP is... frankly? A pretty scary beast. Having such a small group control such vastness is... well. Hey, I remember a TV show on a spaceship about the sorta thing. Didn't end well. Dreams got crushed. On the show, and in real life. For fans, for actors, for crew, for creators. You know who didn't get crushed on the shit stick? Yeah.

Whilst Zucker, bless him, is banging on about the shift in the industry to redevelop pilot season to save NBC some cash, I think creative types should be thinking about any shift they can make in the industry. I don't know what that shift is. But I know the current situation is a gradual, continue slide away from creativity into a much more controlled, profit driven situation - and nearly everybody is a part of that problem.

But before any of that, people need to stand on that line and not budge. So good on everybody doing it.

Also, Dollhouse. It's still alive and kicking, rumour mill suggests.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-02-05 00:13 ]
So, ok...how many shows are still going to be able to have a full season?

Do you (general you, not specific you) think that networks like NBC are holding things in reserve (The OMGwhy remake of Knight Rider, for example) because they only had a few episodes made & want to give the fans something else to watch besides reruns?

And what of these new shows, like T:SCC, which just started - if the strike isn't ended by this summer, will they get pushed back to a winter debut?
I've no idea who your questions are for ShadowQuest, but:

I don't think any shows will have a full season. I think IF the strike is over shortly, we will see some more production, but those eps will probably go out next season instead.

Pilots? I don't think anybody knows what is going on, really.
Would it be selfish of me to mention that I miss the good ol' early days of the strike with Joss' lengthy whedonesque strike posts?

Oh, hell, I don't care if it is, I do.

At least maybe his lack of whedonesque-posting means that at long last his despicable perma-cold is gone./Pollyanna

We can at least be glad for that./The Uber-Pollyanna
I'm afraid that the writers strike will end just in time for the actors (SAG) to go out ... their contract ends in June. The optimist in me hopes that SAG will be able to get a good deal without striking since the writers will have paved the way. (Please please ...)
I'm afraid that the writers strike will end just in time for the actors (SAG) to go out ... their contract ends in June. The optimist in me hopes that SAG will be able to get a good deal without striking since the writers will have paved the way. (Please please ...)

The closer it gets to June, if there is still no deal by then, then the stronger the writers position will be since the actors will be able to strike alongside them and that will hurt the studios far more, both in production and in the media.
The general public may not really care what the writers do or say but if it's the actors, the famous stars, on the picket line and being interviewed than that's far bigger news. A newspaper editor can easily relegate Joe Writer talking about the strike to the bottom of page 22 but if it's Brad Pitt or George Clooney speaking that's going to be front page.
But also, zz9, the public could end up caring less about actors striking because they view them as being much more financially secure than writers, and many people I know who find themselves living from paycheck to paycheck have no sympathy for them. Quite wrongly, I might add.
Valid point UnpluggedCrazy, but most of the general public seem to think that all writers drive their Lexus's home after a three hour workday to spend the evening snorting coke in their solid gold jacuzzi's, so I'm not sure the public perception could be worse.
Some shows will resume production on their current seasons, Battlestar and Smallville for example, but like the latter, it will most likely be a shorter season. Many shows, I think, have pretty much given up on the current season, or it's too late, and will just wait and roll into production on their next one.
I read somewhere that IF the strike ends this week, established shows will try to crank out 3 or 4 episodes before the end of the season, summer shows of course are only a week or two late, and new shows like Chuck and T:TSCC will probably hold off until the fall season. It's going to be a very crowded slate of TV goodness this fall. :D
WGA negotiating committee chair says: "While we have made important progress since the companies re-engaged us in serious talks, negotiations continue. Regardless of what you hear or read, there are many significant points that have yet to be worked out. ... As the talks proceed, never forget that during this period it is critical for us to remain on the picket lines united and strong."

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