Friday, November 23, 2007

The Writer's Strike

This was going to be a very different blog entry, but I really wanted to weigh in on what's going on in Hollywoodland right now.

Last week, I was browsing a message board for indie filmmakers and came across a rallying cry that all indie screenwriters should take advantage of the WGA strike and start sending in our scripts to the studios, now that the "window has been opened by the striking writers". I found this rallying cry shouted by other indies on several other boards, including a couple of forums here on Myspace.

That this sort of opportunism exists on this level didn't surprise me, nor did the level of idiocy of this cry. First, and more obvious, the studios aren't looking for new scripts from non-Union writers. They don't care about writers because the non-writers think that it's easy. That writers are "schmucks with Underwoods", according to Jack Warner, from days gone by. Second, and less obvious, what would happen if one of us indies DID hit the lottery and get a script accepted for TV or film? If it didn't immediately go into turnaround the minute the strike ended, what would the outcome be for the writer? In order to continue to write in Hollywood, a writer, upon selling two scripts, is REQUIRED to join the Writer's Guild of America. Therefore, this scab who jumped the picket line for his own gain, now has to rely on the very people he screwed over by selling his non-Union script. Way to win friends in a friendless land, eh?

But third, and most aggrivating, it's opportunism at its absolute worst. We're all hungry writers. We're all reaching for that brass ring. But the very people who are on strike are Just Like Us. Their own brass rings are continuously wrenched from their grasp.

"But it's all about money!"

"But big screenwriters already make tons of money!"

"I just wanna write!"

The first two outcries are dead wrong and exactly what the Producers and Suits want you to believe.

The third: what the fuck is stopping you? It's a global world, writer, everyone with an internet connection considers himself a writer, when, in reality, the majority of these screed-scribblers IS a "schmuck with an Underwood", or, really, a laptop. You want to write? Learn how, write well, don't stop and keep submitting.

But if you really want to know what this strike is all about, why there won't be new shows after December and why the Studios are convinced that the schmucks with Underwoods won't be missed because reality TV is so popular: READ THIS. Do it now. It's worth the read. Don't whine that it's wrong. You have the fucking time. Ignore YouTube for a few seconds, ignore adding new friends, and READ THIS.

It's only a little about money. Mostly, it's about who did what? Who created those shows and movies? Was it the studio, or was it a schmuck with a laptop who had the idea in the first place.

And if you're a writer, one of those indies who was ready to storm the gates when the guards were screaming for their rights, figure out how this strike affects you, and what will happen to you if your gamble pays off and now you're stuck with the new buddies who were fighting for what you just "won". And what will happen to you now if they lose.

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