Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Think the striking writers are a bunch of whiners?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 12:41 PM
Original message
Think the striking writers are a bunch of whiners?
This from Micah Wright, WGA member:

"The AMPTP clearly never intends to pay us one single cent for internet delivery. The music business model clearly indicates that internet delivery for most, if not all content is the future. What then were we supposed to do when faced with rollbacks and refusals to bargain in good faith? Pray? Or just swallow the bullshit they were trying to shove down our throats, and forget about not only what we're making, but also what every person who ever follows us into this union will ever make?

People like you keep bitching about the DVD negotiating point, and yeah, you're right: DVD was lost 20 years ago, but there's no magic rule which says we can't reopen that topic. More importantly, though, DVD didn't take off for almost a decade after the '88 strike the Internet is here NOW, and it's here FOREVER, and if we give in and allow them to pay us ZERO on Internet delivery, we can just kiss the idea of ever getting paid residuals goodbye forever.

It's not self-righteousness which is driving this negotiation it's quite simply the greed of the AMPTP, which clearly sees this as the year in which they intend to break the WGA on the rack once and for all. But you don't see that you seem unable to get it through your head that the AMPTP doesn't want to ever pay us anything. If you think these people are so reasonable and that they deal in good faith, then try talking to writers who work in Animation and Reality THAT is the future that the AMPTP has in store for EVERY WRITER IN THE WGA. Because if they don't have to pay residuals to the woman who wrote The Lion King, then why should they ever have to pay one to YOU? Or anyone else?

Oh, and before you give me some sob story about the disastrous strike of 1988, let me bring you up to date with a more RECENT story: mine.

I came to this guild having had a "successful" career writing Animation for $1400/week for five years. During that time, I wrote on several of Nickelodeon's highest-rated shows. My writing partner wrote and directed 1/4 of the episodes of "SpongeBob SquarePants" and I was responsible for 1/5 of the episodes of "The Angry Beavers." The current value that those shows have generated for Viacom? $12 Billion dollars. My writing partner topped out at $2100/week. In the year 2001, tired of not receiving residuals for my endlessly- repeating work (even though the actors and composers for my episodes do), I joined with 28 other writers and we signed our WGA cards.

So, Nickelodeon quickly filed suit against our petition for an election, and set about trying to ferret out who the "ringleaders" were. In the meantime, they canceled the show that I had created 4 episodes into an order of 26. Then they fired the 3 writers who'd been working on my show. Then they fired 20 more of my fellow writers and shut down three more shows, kicking almost their entire primetime lineup for 2002 to the curb, and laying off 250 artists.

Then, once the WGA's petition for election was tied up in court over our illegal firings, Nickelodeon called in the IATSE Local 839 "Cartoonists Guild" a racket union which exists only the screw the WGA and its own members and they signed a deal which forever locks the WGA out of Nickelodeon, even though we were there first. Neato!

Then Nickelodeon's brass decided out of thin air that myself and two other writers had been "the ringleaders" of this organizing effort, so they called around to Warner Bros. Animation, the Cartoon Network, Disney Animation, and Fox Kids, effectively blacklisting the three of us out of animation permanently.

And why did Nickelodeon do this? Why were they so eager to decimate their own 2002 schedule, fire 24 writers, break multiple federal labor laws, sign a union deal, and to even bring back the blacklist? They did all of that to prevent us from getting the same whopping $5 residual that the actors & composers of our shows get.

For five lousy bucks, they destroyed three people's careers and put 250 artists out of work and fucked up their own channel for a year.

Ahh, but my episodes run about 400 times a year worldwide, though, so obviously Sumner Redstone (Salary in 2001: $65 million dollars) and Tom Freston (2001 salary: $55 million) were right to do what they did myself and those other 23 writers might have broken the bank, what with each of us going to cost them another TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS each! OH NO! That that's FORTY EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS!

A YEAR!

So don't come crying to those of us who have EXPERIENCED what the AMPTP plans for all of the rest of you, that people who are deciding to stand up to bully-boy tactics like that are the crazy bunch of hoards lustily marching through the streets searching for blood. The AMPTP are the barbarians sacking Rome in this scenario.

The AMPTP and their glittering-eyed weasel lawyers are a bunch of lying, blacklisting, law-breaking scumbags, and the fact that they haven't budged off of ANY of their proposals in the last three months proves that what they have in store for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU is exactly what they did to us at Nickelodeon, and what they can do any day of the week in daytime animation. Or reality.

Strike or no strike. That's their plan: to winnow down your membership, to snip away at your MBA, to chew away at your health & pension plans until there's just nothing left of the WGA. Why? Because they've had a good strong drink of how much money they make off of animation when they don't have to cut the creators in for any of the cash, and now they want to extend that free ride to all of live action as well. THAT is why they have pushed for this strike at every step, with their insulting press releases, with their refusals to negotiate, etc. because they're HOPING we go on strike, and that enough cowards and Quislings come crawling out of the woodwork after six weeks that they can force us to accept the same deal that Reality TV show writers have.

If you doubt me, go read their contract proposals again there's not ONE of them which isn't an insult and a deal-breaking non-starter.

So can we PLEASE stop hearing about how it's the current WGA management which is the problem here? Because, frankly, that canard is getting a little stale.

Or perhaps you prefer presidents like the President of the Guild back in 2001 who just threw up her hands when we were fired and blacklisted out of our careers and said, and I quote, "oh well, it was a good try"?

To our writer friends, this is why we need to stay strong and fight. To our non-writer friends, please support us.

Please forward to everybody you know. Everybody."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you. I support the WGA, even though this strike could be
hard on my own business (because we all rely on entertainment dollars to trickle down in this town).
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. here too
but it will be hardest of all on writers.

I was a member of the American Federation of Musicians for years and I had a lot of disagreements with their negotiating points (IMO they got just plain greedy). But never, ever did we experience the discrepancy between what the rank-and-file WGA writers make and bloodsuckers like Sumner Redstone.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. thank you for this post! all the news has been so sugared-down. no wonder
the meme has taken hold.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. delete nt
Edited on Mon Nov-05-07 12:54 PM by wtmusic
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
5. I don't think strikers are ever whiners!
A strike is a last resort. It means no income for the duration. It means making do with less, watching the kids do without their favorite foods, going to food pantries to feed them at all, wondering where more than two mortgage payments will come from. It might mean taking a part time night gig at a convenience store so you can be on the line during the day. It means hoping against hope they won't find enough scabs to run the place and replace you permanently at your next review. Strikes are risky business for strikers. All owners lose is a little money. Strikers risk losing everything.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R. (nt)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Whisp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
7. thanks for posting this! k&r'd.
what is happening to the writers will soon be to every union that there is left.
it's apparent what the intention is on the parts of big corps - make us all powerless slave wagers.

damn, this is SOOOOOOO important. SUPPORT UNIONS. and the next person here who calls hollywood writers whiny rich brats, just take a bit of a look into the history of unions - how hard fought they were come by - how it cost blood and guts and lives in order for workers to have a fair share. we can't let them take any of that away.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
8. they are the creators of product and the first ones screwed.
they want to be paid for their work. that's not whining
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
9. k&r nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
10. Sorry I can't rec this one twice
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
11. You know who I think are a bunch of whiners?
People who don't give a shit about labor issues because Leno is a rerun.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MLFerrell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 02:14 PM
Response to Original message
12. To the author, not the poster: Hmmm, you wrote kids' shows...
Shows for which dialog is strictly secondary (or tertiary).

And you're complaining about $72000 - $109000+ / year being too little? You're whining because others make more than that, that they get royalties, and you don't?

Boo-fucking-hoo.

Try living on minimum wage for a few years. Try raising a family of four on $25k / year.

"$12 Billion dollars"

Did you originate the concept? Did you animate the show itself? Did you promote it, advertise it, etc?

No?

Then quit your whining, and get back to work.

A family member works for PPG. He *invented* automobile clear coat. That's a "property" that's worth immeasurably more than any fucking TV show, especially a children's show.

Is he entitled to royalties for every application of clear coat to a car or truck, just because it was his idea?

Of course not. He never would have made the discovery without access to PPG's facilities and resources.

Did he strike because he earns "only" 200k a year, and wasn't being paid royalties on his work? No.

Similarly, would these writers have ever gotten a thin dime from pitching unsolicited scripts to studios?

Answer that last question honestly before you flame away, and I'm sure that many a flame there will be.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. you don't know what you're talking about
writers only want their fair share of the proceeds.



Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MLFerrell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Yes, and if my family member led a strike of PPG chemists...
Because he only wanted his "fair share" of PPG's profits from the sale of his inventions, that would be perfectly alright with you, correct?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Writing a TV show is far more creative and far more competitive
A tiny, tiny fraction of writers ever make it to the point of writing for a show like SpongeBob. Part of the reason why people take a gamble against a day job (like being a chemist) is to have a shot at some real financial success -- just like sports figures. Only the very best succeed.

Not to disparage being a chemist. It takes a lot of school and a lot of smarts. But it's relatively easy to get a good job, and my guess is that your relative's contribution to clear coat was: 1) similar to formulations that were already out there 2) the result of a team, not an individual, which relied heavily on existing PPG patents and equipment to ever see the light of day.

If his/her contribution was extremely unique it should be rewarded and rewarded well. If that type of clear coat has seen $12B in sales since then there should have been, at the least, a fat bonus and some stock options.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
15. I don't think they can win..
for the same reasons this man lost his battle with Nickelodeon: leverage. Nickelodeon felt that they could simply hire other writers for these cartoons with no effect to the quality and ratings of the shows.

In the same way, the WGA has less leverage than at any time in history. The studios are now just small pieces of large corporate conglomerates. Reality shows dominate and writing is seen as a trivial element to the production of all but a few shows.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-05-07 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
17. Like...
Writers are notorious for being SOOOOO OVERPAID!!! :sarcasm:

This is a great piece. Thanks for posting it.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Apr 19th 2014, 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC