November 06, 2007

More on the Strike

 Colleen Doran has a long, informative post on the math, misperceptions and reality of the writers strike here. Roger Simon has more here. and this comment over at LGF is probably pretty close to the truth.

The situation here is so utterly backwards from a regular strike that many peoples knees are jerking backwards.

I am no fan of unions.

 I've crossed a picket line and dealt with threats, pursuit, intimidation and since, the union won that one, a bit of harassment. I am not ashamed of that period of my life. Last week I was finally forced to join that union because of my recent injury. Not a happy Ken. Now that I've signed on the dotted line I could (in theory) get in trouble for non-haiographic blogging about Unions.
meh...

I also know voice actors who have taken low end jobs (generally better than no job) for start-up-shoestring Anime companies that could not pay union rates. They helped get the anime industry off the ground in the US. Of course, being "scabs" they must now work under pseudonyms if possible, in Canada, or not at all. One told me she gets harassed occasionally. Closed shop SUCKS! I have a good deal of respect for these guys.

This writers strike, however is not typical.

The writers are the creators, the investors of the creative capital and they are fully entitled to compensation for that. 4 cents per 30 dollar DVD and naught for downloads does not cut it. The production companies are essentially middle men. Yes they take the writers work toproduce and market it, but for any given story, the writer is the only piece of the equation that cant be changed.
 It's not about weather they produce crap (and 90+ percent of TV and movies certainly is fits that description). The writers produce a commodity of value (someones watching it) they are damned well entitled to a percentage of the proceeds given that without them there would be no proceeds.

Bottom line the writers are in the right.

 
If anything the arguments again the  writers getting a percentage of their new media earnings smack of leftist arguments about information wanting to be free....an argument that all of us on the right should be very wary of.

This is not about politics, it is about right and wrong.

I wish my fellow conservatives could realize this.
Injustice is injustice no matter who it happens to. To determine your sympathy for the victims of theft based on their politics is to become like the vile denizens at Kos or Democratic Underground.

We lost the 06 election in part because we became like the Dems in the area of earmarks, and corruption, we became what we most opposed.
It seems some of us have decided to extend this trend to questions of right and wrong too.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:06 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 480 words, total size 3 kb.

1 Except that a significant percentage of anime work is done in Texas, where the union is dead. "Closed shop" isn't even legal here. Never once heard of a union issue related to the local work...

And they aren't paid badly either, just irregularly. (That is to say, it's NOT a full-time job for people; it's something you come in for two or three hours in a month and do, for compensation that's pretty princely by the hour. The actual pay came in regularly unless yours truly screwed up the paperwork, which admittedly did happen once.)

The real problem is that while you claim that the writers are an irreplaceable element of Hollywood, it just doesn't seem that way. Admittedly I have a bit of talent in that direction, but I could manage and do a fair job of it; the idea that I shouldn't be allowed to cut a deal with a studio and do some writing for them because I don't agree to hold out for the union rate (which, of course, would guarantee that a union member would be offered the job, instead of me) is repellent on its face.

If they manage to push it through, hey, more power to 'em, but there's no moral force behind the strike as far as I'm concerned. Let 'em rot. I've put a hell of a lot more work into releases for which I get precisely jack as residuals, and you don't see me whining about those thieving anime executives.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Wed Nov 7 00:18:14 2007 (LMDdY)

2 There is no theft and no injustice. The writers are justly compensated for the work they do. They just want royalties.

I have exactly the same copyright on Linux as they have on shows, but I am not asking for "royalties" on OEM preinstalls from Dell, or from RHEL subscriptions.

These whiners really need a reality check and get fired from their jobs forever.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wed Nov 7 13:36:54 2007 (9imyF)

3

 If an author publishes a book they get a portion of the royalties from it.  An actor gets residuals from DVD and video sales and every time a movie is aired or a show is syndicated.

Why shouldn't a writer get the same ability to claim royalties? And before you say "Anyone can do what they do." I will state that if you could do what they do you would be writing for Hollywood. You obviously aren't. Not everyone can write a script. 

I know a guy who wrote during the last writers strike.  He thought his work was superior to what had been going on and that he could do just as well as the current crop of writers.

The minute the strike ended so did his job.  He wasn't retained by the studio in any capacity.  They basically said "So long.  We don't need you."

He hasn't been able to get published anywhere since then.  Sure he could blame the the WGA but the fact is that studios will drop those that they use to do the fill in work as quickly as they hired them.  And they won't give a damn.

Joining a union doesn't make you evil.  It is a choice that some people make so they have someone to back them up when unfair business practices occure. 

If you don't like unions don't join one plain and simple, but you shouldn't sneer at someone who does because they have to eat just as much as you do.  They need healthcare and the ability to retire just like anyone else.

You don't like what is on the TV?  Don't watch it. 

 

 

Posted by: Marina at Wed Nov 7 16:16:43 2007 (z3dTy)

4

Except that a significant percentage of anime work is done in Texas, where the union is dead. "Closed shop" isn't even legal here. Never once heard of a union issue related to the local work...

I wasn't talking about Texas today per se. If they want to go to SoCal to do voice work (where much of the non-anime voice work is) then they run into issues (At least that's what I'm told). The union in their case limited their horizons.

Regards the current unpleasantness however, the fact is that the writers have been promised royalties that they have not gotten. The studios have gunjacked the books to keep even their pittance of a royalty from being paid. This is wrong.

 I think the  precedent of copyrights for authors and royalties for successive issues should be the guidance here.

Pete's argument about writing being a one time payment with no royalties does not (I think) jive with past precedent regards intellectual property laws. However it is reflective of current trends. I fear that is where all entertainment is headed. The LINUX analogy may be representative of much information technology in the future.

I must confess I'm uncomfortable with that.

Posted by: Brickmuppet at Wed Nov 7 17:29:34 2007 (V5zw/)

5 Well, I -don't- watch what's on TV. ;p

It's certainly true that the studios cook their books. But we've known that for years! It's practically a truism that a percentage of the net profit from any movie will always be zero, even if the movie makes a hundred million dollars. In this aspect, the studios aren't screwing the writers any harder than the actors.

I'm not necessarily saying that it's bad to strike in this sort of circumstance, nor am I about to even try to land a Hollywood writing job in the first place. But I don't see a moral entitlement involved here, just a straightforward contract negotiation.

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Wed Nov 7 23:21:13 2007 (LMDdY)

6

Actors get residuals EVERY time a show is aired on television.  A writer doesn't get squat.  When the writers get what the actors get for residuals I'll be happy.

Hell if the writers of I Love Lucy had gotten paid residuals they would have been set for life.  You think they or their kids saw one dime?  Hell no. 

Posted by: Marina at Sat Nov 10 18:58:19 2007 (z3dTy)

7

P.S. Just because we know its what a studio does doesn't make it right and doesn't mean we shouldn't try and stop it.  The writers don't even get the dvd's of the shows they do. They have to go out and buy them.  How fair is that?

If I work on a majolica piece I can make a stencil of it and make another piece for myself any time I want.  I can enjoy that piece of art for however long I choose. 

I don't have to go pay someone to allow me to do majoilica or to look at my own stuff.  I only pay the people for the materials to make such things which is only fair.

For heavens sakes the least the companies could do is pony up and give the writers copies of the dvd series they help on.  And if its the addage "We're in this business to make money" then my rejoiner is:

"So are the writers"

 

Posted by: Marina at Sat Nov 10 19:04:38 2007 (z3dTy)

8

<i>Actors get residuals EVERY time a show is aired on television.</i>

I don't know where you got that idea. What I've heard is that they get three times, and then it's over.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sun Nov 11 09:08:44 2007 (+rSRq)

9

That is a misconception.  There is no end to when an actor can claim royalties.  If there were you would see actors wetting themselves and striking over it in droves.

I have a friend whose father was an actor and his dad did a movie in 1976.

His son is still getting about $200 a year from the royalties.  I can bring him over to the blog if you want to ask him about it. 

 

Posted by: Marina at Tue Nov 13 01:51:22 2007 (z3dTy)

10

Wikipedia has this to say about residuals for actors:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residual_%28entertainment_industry%29

This coinsides with what my friend says.

Posted by: Marina at Tue Nov 13 01:56:53 2007 (z3dTy)

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