Saturday, October 20, 2007

Writers Guild votes overwhelmingly to authorize a strike

Los Angeles Times
By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

In what union officials say is a record turnout, 90% of members approve a walkout if a contract can't be settled by Oct. 31.

Hollywood's film and TV writers are ready to trade their pens for picket signs if they can't reach a deal with their employers by Halloween.

Members of the Writers Guild of America voted by an overwhelming margin to authorize their leaders to call a strike if they can't negotiate a three-year contract with the major studios to replace one that expires Oct. 31. Of 5,507 members who voted, 90% favored granting a strike authorization. Guild officials said the turnout was a record for the union, which has nearly 12,000 members.

"Writers do not want a strike, but they are resolute and prepared to take strong, united action to defend our interest," said Patric M. Verrone, the guild's president. "What we must have is a contract that gives us the ability to keep up with the financial success of this ever-expanding global industry." Full article.



Blogger Diane said...

Let's hope this gets settled and fast. After all the pain of getting C.I. renewed, this would be a disaster of the first magnitude. Hell, I'll write something if necessary ;0)

3:10 PM  
Blogger Ilea said...

Just give them what they want. Most of us want our CI fix. I know I do.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Regina Caschetto said...

I hate to see a strike anywhere but since I'm not a writer or a member of the union, I guess you just have to trust them-hopefully a strike won't be necessary or at least, short-lived, because it will have a trickle effect on a lot of production people being laid off and shows getting cancelled or never starting-
And please, do we really need more reality shows-

10:41 PM  
Blogger val said...

I just KNOW some Vincent Vixens out there have already written stuff. Send it in, ladies!

8:12 AM  
Blogger Curly said...

As a writer and member of the guild, I encourage you to go to the WGA website and read what the writers are looking for. Stand behind your writers and showrunners -- they're not asking for the world! They just want what's fair for what they do. The writers and writer-producers are the spirit of your favorite characters... don't just go around saying you'll "do their job" if there's a walk-out and strike. That's almost like saying you'd replace an actor if they were to walk out, in a way. It hurts! Things wouldn't be the same. Replace writers and the dynamics change. The knowledge bases change.

Someday, though? I want to try to have a network run an entirely fan-fiction driven show. Seriously. It would be an awesome trainwreck. We'd have pregnancies and marriages and twins with funky names, everywhere! Woo! (I'm not talking about the good stuff, I'm talking about the law of averages!)

9:35 AM  
Blogger Ilea said...

I would like writers and showrunners to get what is fair. I realize they work hard. I also know that people can go overboard. I don't know if that's the case here. I just hope that those who voted for a strike are thinking about how this will affect t.v. viewers, and not just their pockets. I wouldn't be suprised if the majority of them make more than the average person. I hope I don't offend any of these hard working people, I'm just stating my opinon. A strike, especially one that stops the production of our favorite shows, is a serious thing. I hope you guys can work it out.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Curly, lighten up dude - I was joking about writing a script! I'm sure I couldn't begin to, but if it kept C.I. on the air, I'd be willing to try. With respect, you may put it on the page, but it's the likes of Vincent and Kate who bring it to life. Like I said, after all the agonies of just getting NBC to renew C.I.,this is about the LAST thing anyone needs. New viewers can be fickle. Unlike the 'faithful', they are not going to hang around for weeks on end waiting for a new episode.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Curly said...

I'm not in any way offended or anything :) It's just that people often forget that somewhere, in the middle, there are writers and producers who bust their rears, day in, day out to make these characters come alive. People see actors (who do the most fantastic job breathing life into what we write, certainly) and a lot of the surface work, but rarely can't see the inner workings of the industry.

I agree. This is the last thing that CI needs, in a way, given the ratings, the move, the "new viewers not sticking around" danger... If there's complaining to be made, lodge the complaints with the Companies that own the studios -- the companies that are at the root of the contract disputes. Right on the writers' tails are the actors themselves. In the summer of 2008, the SAG contracts also come to an end and the strike is looming.

Writers are very aware of the impact the strike could have on the shows -- including shows in precarious positions like CI. Heck, CI's producers are writers. Showrunners are writers, in the television world, and therein lies the problem: they now are facing the problem that they have a show to produce but cannot write for it. Nor can they make changes to existing scripts. This said, please remember that we all have been busting butt (!), everywhere (and I'm sure collegues at USA/NBC/NUTS(or whatever their accronym is now!) have too!) to produce as many episodes ahead of time before the strike hits. Most of us have enough material in the can or ready to be in the can to float us through January or, in some cases, all the way into February sweeps.

Also... who knows... a resolution may come about before the 31st! Keep your hopes up. Feed your writers ;)

5:38 PM  
Blogger Curly said...

Ilea - for the record? What you're saying is like saying that actors are all rich. Truth is, most of us barely make ends meet. Most of us are contract workers who, right now, don't even get a guaranteed minimum of work for the week but are BOUND by contracts that may not let us work elsewhere (which is a point of contention in this strike -- lookitdat!) Sure, showrunners may make a fortune. But for every CREDITED WRITER, there are dozens of uncredited writers and scriptdoctors who live on their uncle's couch, who struggle, who take on two or three jobs, hoping to break into the business...

Some of us work 17 hour days, 7 days a week, just to make ends meet. We work overnights, we do the grunt work of rewriting dialogue midshoot even if it's 3 in the morning... yeah, it's all glamor, indeed. Oh, and because we're not writers who have written 50% of the script? We don't get ANY residuals. Nothing.

... so no, we're not thinking "with our pockets", and yes, we love our shows. Heck, we created those shows! They're OUR BABIES. We love the actors, they're FAMILY. 90% of us voted in FAVOR of the strike. Things need to change.

Don't assume that because people work in the Entertainment Industry that it's all money and glamor. Supporting the few folks who make all the money are the grunts, and we're WAY more numerous than you'd think...

I'm not ticked off or angry or anything, and I don't want to come across as evil ;) It's just one of those things that irks me. :)

I guess what I'm trying to say is: Instead of saying: "Oh no, strike, evil writers are going to kill our shows, they are already loaded, what's their issue!!! AAAAH! Heck, any idiot with a No 2 pencil can do their job!! DUDE ACTOR WE LURVE YOU, WE WILL WRITE FOR UUUUUUU! ..." show us a little love! ;)

Tee hee.

5:50 PM  
Blogger DonnaJo said...

thank you for your insider prospective. I agree that the networks are being greedy & don't want to share the wealth. I hope you don't have to strike to get what you are rightly entitled to. It hurts everyone.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Ilea said...

Never said I thought all actors are rich. I'm not sure where you got that. And I did mention that I know how hard the writers worked. I've been writing since I was ten. I'm now working on a book I hope to get published. I'd love someday to write screenplays, so I have been paying attention to all of this, to what both sides are saying. It sounds like both sides have good points. But if I understand correctly, there is only one point that can't be agreed upon, and that urks me. It urks others I know that are fans of CI. That's all I have to say on the subject. I hate "urking" people. Make of what I've said as you will. I'll shut up now, Curly.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Curly said "it's like saying" he/she never said you did say that. He/She was making a comparison. and it's spelled irk, by the way.

10:01 AM  
Blogger SnarkAngel said...

I'm with Curly. Writing is the FOUNDATION to any scripted series. And screen writers work under tremendous constraints. It's not all about their creativity. They have legal, budgetary, and technical constraints that make the creative part of their job all that much tougher. They deserve their fair share, and I hope they get it.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Regina Caschetto said...

Yes I would miss new episodes of CI if there were a strike, but so would other fans of other shows-
This is much bigger than CI-I really don't know the issues so I am not going to comment-just hope that things can be resolved without a strike because of the trickle down effect that a strike has on so many people-
But as a daughter of a life long Teamster factory worker, I have seen stikes do good and blow up in people's faces-so I do appreciate the writers and I trust them to do what they think is necessary-

7:54 AM  
Blogger Alyssa said...

I'm big on unions since they help keep the little ppl from getting screwed. And that's no exception when it comes to writers. It's a really competitive business out there so you have to have notable talent to begin with to get to the position where you're being overlooked. No doubt these guys deserve what's being denied to them. But a strike does affect everything and everyone--not just, thanks for mentioning it ilea 'cuz you know i'll be affected ;), tv viewers. It throws the entire industry out of whack because then other little people like cameramen and makeup artists and wardrobe designers, etc. find themselves out of work or with considerably slimmer options. This strike could be devastating for the California economy and I imagine a good portion of the New York one, as well. Normally I'd fear network/studio execs would deal with the void by plugging our tv screens with more *shiver* reality shows... but turns out from the articles I've read the reality show runners/writers are t'd off and striking as well! (I guess you don't get enough credit for suggesting someone hop in a jacuzzi with another housemate. Or writing voiceovers to recap how much weight somebody's lost and whatnot...)

Here's hoping this is resolved quickly, CI fans.

1:36 PM  

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