November 20, 2007
The LA Times describes some potential positives that could come out of the writer’s strike (besides more money/respect for the writers, of course).
“Hollywood is a town awash in hyphenates. TV is loaded with writer-producers. The movie biz is full of writer-directors. There’s even a legion of actor-filmmakers like Clint Eastwood and George Clooney. But as the writers strike enters its third week, I think the future belongs to a tantalizing new hyphenate: the writer-entrepreneur.”
After all, it’s already been established that the web is unlocking doors that traditional media has barred when it comes to publishing, so it only goes to follow that other forms follow – like the Hollywood studio system.
“The studios have got to be hoping that this idea about being entrepreneurs doesn’t sweep over the TV show runners, because once you start seeing really good production values on the Internet, I mean, what does Larry David really need HBO for? This is all everybody is talking about on the line. They’re not talking about healthcare. They’re going, ‘Wow, is there a different way to get our movies and TV shows made?’ “
The article goes on to explain why the strike is just a symptom of a larger problem – the entertainment game is permanently changing:
“Even if the strike is settled soon, dramatic change is coming. As more outside money pours into Hollywood and as our computers begin to merge with our TV sets, the studios will have less control over content than ever…
…Whoever enters the fray will still need writers to create this new content. So writers should keep their eyes on the prize. Getting a few more pennies of digital loot is just a beginning, not an end. The ultimate goal should be finding ways to own a piece of your own work.”
Writers, aspiring writers, and other artistic types should pay attention – especially when it comes to owning rights or partial rights to your creative output.
November 5, 2007
Is it evil that I’m glad about the Hollywood writers strike? Although we might miss out on new episodes of the Daily Show and such, anything that gets writers in general more respect is A-Okay with me, and after all, without the writers, most TV shows wouldn’t even exist. Perhaps it’s time to remind people that Jon Stewart, as brilliant as he is, is not the sole genius behind his show; also, popular dramas like CSI and Lost didn’t just spring up out of out of the minds of cast and directors. Somebody wrote all those lines and created those plots (hint: it wasn’t the much more highly paid actors).
In case you’re unfamiliar, the reason why writers are striking is because while they’ve been negotiating for ages over proper payment and residuals for new media writing (think DVDs, internet downloads, etc.), the studios and networks haven’t been able to agree on these issues. As Gawker says, the rage of the creative underclass finally boiled over. So what does this mean for the average viewer? More reruns, reality TV (ahh, horrors!) and possibly imports of British shows (which might not be that bad).
Besides, maybe it’ll remind people in general that quality writers are essential to a great product- Hollywood isn’t the only place that tends to forgot their importance (cough, cough, magazine publishers and website owners, cough*). In the mean time, and we can always turn off the television and (gasp!) read a book or engage in some of entertainment that isn’t entirely passive. Or you can check out an insider’s point of view on the Artful Writer, a blog penned by two screen writers, Craig Mazin and Ted Elliot.
Hey, maybe all those striking writers will start blogs and we’ll have all sorts of new and interesting websites and content to read. After all, while striking is almost always a last resort, perhaps while they’re doing it, the smartest writers might figure out how to beat the Man (big television media) at his own game. Either way, it is clearly a critical time in the industry and whatever decisions are reached will have a lasting impact on the way that the media, or at the very least Hollywood, works.
*I’m not referring to any of my current clients, they are all fabulous.