The Flip Side Of The Writers’ Strike

Published 7 years ago by

strike The Flip Side Of The Writers StrikeMy personal opinions have me on the side of the writers in regards to the current WGA writers’ strike situation. The studios have got to be kidding when they cry “we can’t afford it” when it comes to compensating the folks that are the foundation of the TV and movie entertainment business. Yes, the bulk of the issue is “new” digital media includes the streaming of TV shows on the web where perhaps it’s so new that the studios don’t have the economics of the whole thing worked out, but writers should get residuals from this as they do from any other media as far as I’m concerned.

There is no doubt that the current WGA writers’ strike is going to have a big impact on the 2007/2008 televsion season, maybe even bigger than was originally anticipated. Many popular TV series and talk shows have already stopped production, and there are rumors that some series that are supposed to start in January like Lost and 24 may end up getting their premiere dates pushed way back due to this whole thing. 24 may not begin until the strike is over and Lost may end up getting pushed back to 2009.

As has been mentioned here, this also affects movie production since most movies have ongoing script tweaking going on during the process of shooting a film, so there are movies going into production that could end up being that much worse when they’re released.

Which leads me to this thought: Although I support the writers’ side in this conflict, I don’t support all of them.

What the heck does that mean?

It means that while I believe that writers of TV shows like: Lost, 24, Mythbusters, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Journeyman, etc. and movies like Children of Men, The Departed, any Pixar film, etc. certainly deserve everything they’re entitled to when it comes to a piece of the pie – there are many, many other writers who I would just as soon see stay on strike.

Who? Well, at the risk of pissing people off and the fact that I’m sure that within a few of the shows and films I’m about to list there must be some writers who are decent, I’d say TV writers that are responsible for the following are welcome to find another line of work: Cavemen, Painkiller Jane, Wife Swap, The 1/2 Hour News Hour, Pirate Master, Phenomenon, The Bachelor, Joey, America’s Next/Best/Most Whatever, The Book of Daniel, Bionic Woman, etc.

And lets not forget screenwriters: Catwoman, Ultraviolet, House of 1000 Corpses, Baby Geniuses, Timeline, Dukes of Hazzard, House of Wax, The Honeymooners, Aeon Flux, Elektra and any writer whose stock in trade is writing remakes. I could name lots more but I think you get the point.

I don’t know if it’s a case of “who you know,” nepotism, or what, but it seems to me that lots of stuff that is, for lack of a better word, crap ends up making it onto the big screen every year and the small screen week after week.

So while on the whole I support the writers who are on strike, I really wish that some of them would just go get jobs waiting tables.

TAGS: 24, Lost
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  1. “Cavemen, Painkiller Jane, Wife Swap, Trading Spouses, Pirate Master, Phenomenon, The Bachelor, Big Brother, America’s Next/Best/Most Whatever, Bionic Woman, etc”

    Heh 7 of those 10 are reality shows and are NOT be affected by the strike. Cavemen, Painkiller Jane and Bionic Woman are the only 3 scripted shows on your list.

  2. I am sure that writers are involved in some capacity even with reality shows. The hosts of those shows aren’t coming up with their own dialog, just as talk show hosts don’t write their own material.

    However you make a good point, I should add more cruddy “regular” shows to that list. I’m open to suggestions. :-)


  3. How about producer-writers on those Reality TV shows? Showrunners?


  4. Ok, I’ve made a couple of changes to the list above, but it still doesn’t change the intent of the article. BTW, just like I was surprised to discover that TV game shows have writers, so do reality shows: who do you suppose comes up with the challenges and such?


  5. That’s right, sometimes the producers have dual roles.


  6. Then I would guess that the writing on reality shows is done by those wearing two hats: Producer and Writer but are credited exclusively as Producer.

    So are you saying you disagree with the point of my post, which is that there are plenty of crappy TV shows and movies that get written?


  7. Ok, we agree. So stop arguing with me already, LOL! ;-)


  8. If you think the writers of Heroes deserve top compensation, you’re obviously waiting for S2 to come out on DVD. Message boards (Aint it Cool) have been filled with loathing and disgust.

    The writers screwed the fans by not resolving major plot threads from the suckiest season finale ever. Heroes had a great foundation but introduced a whole new crop of characters, diluting the interest of old viewers and I’m sure, alienating most new ones.

    Everyone hopes that the Mexican twins meet a fate as glorious as LOST’s despised-contrived couple. Hell, a lot were hoping a piano would fall on Jessica and Micah!

    Fans have made long lists of how S2 is derivative from S1, and of the predictable plotlines. Once again there’s a future tragedy to prevent, and Peter’s central. The feudal Japan plot was almost completely predictable way back in May. Was anyone surprised who’s behind the hero killings? Everyone knows who is really going to shoot Bennett. Who doesn’t know why Nathan sees Scarface in the mirror?

    But the writers have given us glorious new developments: Peter is in a shirtless scene every five minutes, and the arrival of Kristin Bell has been the one carrot on a stick that many fans have held out to see.

    Nice to see that in the 8th or 9th episode of the season, they’ll resolve some questions hanging out there since last May. Although LOST has many mysteries remaining, I’m glad they didn’t leave John and Kate halfway down the hatch for 8 episodes!

    I’m a union member, but as to Heroes’ writing–bring on the scabs!

  9. LOL, Jim when AREN’T the AICN messages boards filled with loathing and disgust? :-) I think there are some seriously disturbed youths that post on that site.

    As to “Heroes,” yeah, this season has been weak but last season was amazing. Also Tim Kring recently admitted that there are problems with the start of season two here:

    I can’t argue with any of your points regarding this season, but I’m hoping for improvement as things move on and I still think that the writers deserve HUGE props for season one.


  10. Ok from – “If that’s the case, expect even more new reality shows to debut in the next few months.” – This includes a possible new season (winter) of Big Brother

  11. No there are too many crappy tv shows and movies, and I agree that the writers should get more money. For a good perspective of how I feel – see SNL’s nice take on the situation –

  12. Good to hear! But did Kring really listen to the fans? Or did he listen to NBC execs who listen to the Neilson ratings–and who are invested in more than one kind of “green.”

  13. Probably a combination, much like what happened with “Lost.” Viewers started to bail on the show and complain about the go-nowhere episodes so they got back on track.


  14. Jim,

    To me, Tim is apologizing for season 2 b.s., but with the show on hiatus due to the strike, will he apologize for lack of new episodes, just as its heating up.

    I feel a backlash coming from the public. And the further rise of Internet, reality TV, and video game entertainment. I don’t think ANYONE is gonna benefit once this is over.


  15. Heath – season two was written with an ending to happen at episode 11 as the writers forsaw that the strike would cause problems.

  16. Brent,

    There’s been a lot of news/rumors that it was written at the last minute, ahead of time, Kring refused to do it (which would probably further anger fans), etc.

    This much I know, from interviews in August: season 2 is split into two volumes, 2 and 3 (vs. season 1, volume 1). No matter what, vol. 2 is ending in December. But it was to be a cliffhanger, to be resolved in January with vol. 3. I think the re-tool will satisfy fans and critics, until the strike ends.

    If it goes on long enough, I guarantee there won’t be much interest in ANY shows, if they’re off the air too long.


  17. I hope you don’t mean Lawrence Kasdan in that remake remark! :-)

  18. No way… I’m a big fan of Kasdan. As far as I know his only remakes were “The Big Chill” (I heard the original was terrible) and the upcoming “Clash of the Titans” which could stand to be remade.


  19. The Big Chill isn’t a remake.


  20. We could argue that Wyatt Earp is a remake though!

  21. From IMDb’s news section:

    ‘WGA Strike Striking Other Workers
    Anticipating a lengthy strike by the Writers Guild of America, all of the major studios in Hollywood except Sony are beginning to send suspension notices to scores of production companies, which could put hundreds of their employees out of work, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Wednesday). Companies that currently don’t have shows in production are being hit first. Commenting on the situation, the Times observed: “Now, in addition to having writers going without pay, many other entertainment industry employees will have to worry about their car payments and rent. That is likely to have a broad impact beyond Tinseltown, rippling across the Los Angeles region’s entire economy.” And in its lede on the strike, the Hollywood Reporter commented today: “A sickening sense is spreading through Hollywood that the Writers Guild of America strike could drag on for some time, if only because the union and the studios have become so polarized.”‘

  22. Yup. ALL writers are on strike. They’ll just keep airing the episodes they’ve already filmed, and then…


  23. Niall,

    “Wyatt Earp” falls under Rule #1 of my Top 5 Rules for Movie Remakes:


  24. Are the smallville writers going on a strike, because I have not heard anything about them going on a strike.

  25. Reality shows don’t require writers only editors.
    They hire camera crews that film all the crap and then editors crank it out.
    Settle down guys.

  26. I’m actually happy about this strike action because it could be the boot up the backside that the industry needs to get its act together.

    I find that in the last few years I have become seriously disillusioned with the film industry in general. Sure…we still get the odd few gems every now and then but the film industry to me seems like an over-ripe fruit — it smells sweet but bite into it and you’re left with a putrid mess.

    I used to go to the cinema about two times a week but now I’m lucky if I go to the cinema once a month. Movie companies need to realize that not every one of us punters are sheep that want to see pointless remakes and films that are all bang but no buck…a lot of us *gasp* actually like watching QUALITY movies.

    I’m hoping (whether this is realistic or not) that this whole situation leads to a resurgence in smaller and more leftfield flicks like we had back in the early-to-mid-nineties to kind of balance out all the crap out there.

  27. “but the film industry to me seems like an over-ripe fruit — it smells sweet but bite into it and you’re left with a putrid mess.”

    LOL, what an awesome statement. :-)

    I’m with you… for a guy running a movie site it’s amazing how few films I go see (I probably shouldn’t admit that, eh?).

    I used to go to the movies a LOT more often.


  28. I agree, in particular since 1994, there hasn’t been a summer or holiday movie season that didn’t have a mega blockbuster opening in theatres every week (with the exception of the lower-’epics’-than-normal, bland summer of 2000), I think this is what’s needed to re-boot Hollywood. We’ll see the effects by fall 2008 and into 2009.


  29. Your right about the sickening sense in hollywood Heath.
    Disagree with you on Heroes. And also think your going to see fans of shows like 24 and Heroes boycott tv all together until this strike is over.
    People will miss 24 and Heroes and they will react.
    For the sake of the fragile economy were all in right now , End the Strike! STUDIOS!!
    One reason the fruit of hollywood tastes bad is because people support these bad films.
    If your sick of films like “rush hour3″ then don’t go!!! People are still going. Ether these films are crap or the people are crap that are seeing them.. Does that make any sense?
    I don’t see this strike kicking in gear any creative sparks Heath.
    Its only going to cause pain and suffering. Except the super rich.