Archive for the ‘strike’ Category

Back to Work

14th February 2008

The New York Times has an article today about the good and difficult experiences of American screenwriters who returned to their jobs yesterday for the first time in three months.

Pickets Down

13th February 2008

United Hollywood carries the good news that the WGA membership has voted to end the strike.

On Tuesday, members of the Writers Guilds East and West voted by a 92.5% margin to lift the restraining order that was invoked on November 5th. The strike is over.

Writing can resume immediately. If you were employed when the strike began, you should plan to report to work on Wednesday. If you’re not employed at an office or other work site, call or e-mail your employer that you are resuming work. If you have been told not to report to work or resume your services, we recommend that you still notify your employer in writing of your availability to do so. Questions concerning return-to-work issues should be directed to the WGAW legal department at 323.782.4521 or the WGAE’s assistant executive director Ann Toback at 212-767-7823.

The decision to begin this strike was not taken lightly and was only made after no other reasonable alternative was possible. We are profoundly aware of the economic loss these fourteen weeks have created not only for our members but so many other colleagues who work in the television and motion picture industries. Nonetheless, with the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross revenue (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.

WGA Recommends Contract

11th February 2008

According to United Hollywood, the WGA now has a contract that it feels it can recommend to its members for ratification.Patric M. Verrone, the President of the WGAW wrote to his membership and said:

I am pleased to inform you that this morning the WGA Negotiating Committee unanimously and unconditionally recommended the terms of the proposed 2008 MBA to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council. The Board and Council then voted unanimously to recommend the contract, and to submit it to the joint membership of WGAW and WGAE for ratification. The ratification vote will take place over the next few weeks by mail ballot and at a special membership meeting. You will receive ballot materials and a notice of informational meetings during the next week.

The process will take a couple of weeks, and in the meantime the WGA is asking its members to decide if they should continue to picket while members are voting on whether to accept the new contract or not. A vote will take place on Tuesday, February 12, 2008, and picketing will be suspended until the members of the WGA decide what action they would like to take.

Strike Breakthrough

4th February 2008

Rumours indicate that informal talks between the WGA and representatives from the AMPTP have wrought a breakthrough in the screenwriters strike in the USA.

Formal talks collapsed in December when the AMPTP walked out. Informal talks began about two weeks ago, but this time with Peter Chernin of Fox, Disney president Robert Iger, and News Corp. COO Peter Chernin on the producers’ side. Rumours started on Thursday that there was an imminent breakthrough, and while neither side is commenting, it is understood that the skeleton of a deal was put in place on Friday when the producers addressed some key points. The WGA now believes that it has enough to take to its Board – which might happen next Friday – once the lawyers have turned the agreement into ‘contract language’.

Of course it’s early days yet, but it looks as if, on the key issue of compensation and jurisdiction online, real progress has been made by the WGA.

The Big Secret

30th January 2008

Robert J. Elisberg, writing in the Huffington Post discusses the great secret of filmmaking as discussed by legendary Hollywood executive, Irving Thalberg.

Irving Thalberg knew both the craft and business of movie-making together as well as anyone ever in Hollywood. Here’s what Irving Thalberg said about writers:

“The most important part in filmmaking is played by the writers. We must do everything in our power to keep them from finding out.”

The writers have found out.

And the AMPTP corporations have only themselves to blame. They opened the hidden door, turned on the overhead light, and let writers inside to read the magic book.

Here’s what the Book of Secrets says. There’s only one chapter.

“In order to make anything, we need a script.

“Audiences pay or tune in to see actors, but actors need something to say. Directors bring everything together, but directors can’t direct a blank page.

According to Elisberg, once writers have realised their originating power then they should go out and create their own projects and bypass the studio system, thanks in part to the Internet. Which some writers are already doing because the current strike has prompted them into this action. Elisberg believes the AMPTP have made a huge mistake in forcing the writers into examining their traditional relationships with the studios:

It’s a blunder of epic proportions, because the door the AMPTP opened also leads to copyright ownership for writers. And this has been their Holy Grail for decades. And the AMPTP corporations brought this all on themselves.