Studios Move Towards Writer Lockout

by Paul William Tenny

quill.jpgHardly ever do you hear about what the studios do in preparation for a strike that is just as damaging to the situation as anything the writers do. The writers you see are not the only people who can refuse to stop working with the other side.

Will the writers strike until they get what they want, like whiny children bound and determined to stay up just another five minutes? Or will they be fair to those poor production studios who are out there just trying to make an honest buck in a cruel world full of pirates and thieves? At this point it doesn't even matter, as the studios have begun locking out writers and shutting down projects that can't be wrapped up in the next month. The writers don't have to strike, they are effectively being fired without being fired.

Several other factors may be pushing studios away from making any deals with writers, such as the recent decline in box office performance plus the increased production activity to stockpile projects. ``We're at a time of year where the studios have often spent all or a big portion of their development money,'' one prominent producer noted.

antm-strikemodel2.jpgThat recent decline in box office performance equates to an all-time record summer box office that raked in $4.3 billion for the major studios this year, and that doesn't account for the rest of the year prior, or the coming fall. The studios having been lying for far too long, and are finally being called on it.

Scribes and agents say that execs at Warner Bros., Universal, Fox, Paramount and DreamWorks have all indicated that they're not interested in making any deals with screenwriters until the WGA reaches some kind of agreement.

And there you have it, a strike at this point is pretty much a done deal. And how could it not be, with the studios locking out writers just because writers have the gall to demand fair wages in an industry where directors, actors, and producers regularly make 10x what writers do?

How could they not demand fair wages when writers make at times less than $0.05 per DVD sold?

If and when the strike is called, don't blame the writers, and remember that it started the day the studios decided it was in their financial interests to try sitting out a strike, shutting down all new television and film production for months, rather than give a pay raise to writers making .0025% off every DVD, VHS, and online download sold.

Source: Daily Variety
in Film, Labor, Television


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