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the writer’s guild strike

13 Nov

This little video will help you to understand why The Daily Show and Letterman are showing reruns this week.

I mean, it helped me understand it. The problem with most Big Scary Corporate Entities is that they really only care about making money, so if they can find a way to legally screw you over, they will. That’s been my experience, at least, although I’m not naming names here because we’re talking about Hollywood screenwriters, a group of people who, understandably, get a little antsy when you start talking about “naming names.”

The basic point is that the writer, without whom there would be no movie or sitcom or hour-long drama, is at a very precarious point and could find themselves getting screwed over in the not-too-distant future. You know how they’re always talking about how your TV and your computer are going to be the same thing one day? Well, right now, TV writers only get paid when their stuff airs on TV. They don’t get paid when their stuff gets streamed or downloaded. Seeing as how “streamed or downloaded” is how most people will get their TV in the future, the writers have a point here.

They also get paid way less for DVD sales than they should – according to the video, they gave up half their share in order to get the home video industry going, and then, once it did get going… never got their full pay. Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein sleeps in a vat of fresh, chilled caviar every evening and eats his breakfast cereal out of the carcass of an endangered llama. I’m assuming.

This, however, didn’t prevent astute cultural critic IIWRIWB from posting the following on YouTube:

Am I seriously supposed to feel bad? They make 4 cents a DVD. Okay, that would SUCK if they didn’t sell 49 billion DVDs. I loved that heartstring-pulling image of a ranch house set in some low class suburb. Ya think any of those writers live in a house like that? Their DOGS have houses that size. Do you know how many talented, funny writers there are in the world? Give them a job. IIWRIWB = If I Was Rich I Wouldn’t Bitch. Get over it, guys.

IIWRIWB fails to take into account the astonishing odds against being able to make a living writing for television and movies, as well as the fact that no DVD in history has ever sold 49 billion copies. Finding Nemo, which was the biggest selling DVD of all time as of April, 2007, has yet to break the 100 million mark. Also, IIWRIWB probably isn’t considering that, once these “talented, funny writers” get hired, they might want to be paid money for their work as well. Also, IIWRIWB is a really stupid screen-name.

Point is, yeah, it’s pretty hard to identify with Hollywood types with their seemingly cushy jobs, but really, if you invented something, you’d want to receive royalties for it too. And if you found out that someone else was getting more than their fair share, you’d be pretty pissed off as well. Plus, the best of these writers have created things that have changed the world for the better in a very real way. Give ’em a break.

Unless we’re talking about JK Rowling vs. the Lexicon guy here, in which case I’m with ya all the way, IIWRIWB.

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