Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Writer's Strike

We've received a couple of comments on the writer's strike, so although we're not in an official capacity to comment we would like to give our take and on a more personal note my take on it. The writer's strike is officially over, but the ramifications I feel will be long lasting. I sat in on a panel when I started film school and one of the speakers was a huge director (won't name any names at this point). He said the most important people in filmmaking are the writers and the actors. The actors because they portray the vision and because they have the ability to have a project immediately "green lit" (the go ahead to have a project made). He went on to explain that the writers are vitally important because without them there would be no project to create. A bad script can never be a good movie no matter what director helms the project. Well that comment truly hit home when the writers went on strike and production came to a halt. TV shows finished showing what they had left in their reserve and that was it. Even now many shows have not been able to start production because the writers have to build up story lines. So what the director said was true, no writers, no projects.

That being said, since the internet has become more of a force, viewership on television has gone down quite a bit. Television is driven by advertising dollars. Advertising is driven by companies that want to address specific audiences to take notice of their products or services. If the viewers have shifted, the advertisers and more specifically companies want to shift the budget to where viewers will see their products or services. Writer's have a union that over the years have worked out deals that guarantee writers get a rate according to the whether a show gets picked up and how many times the show is broadcast. There was no specific deal set up for internet and since the internet has become a stronger force (they're broadcasting entire shows over the internet now), writer's wanted some of the revenue that comes from advertiser's that have committed or reallocated budgets according to internet viewership. Since this trend is increasing, the writers wanted to take advantage of the fact that their contracts were up for renewal and look after their future as the revenue stream shifts. The producer's countered that since the internet is not a proven revenue stream (without 3-5 years of market research) there should be a time allotment taken to study the shift before a deal is made.

Our take is that since the writers work is being broadcast, wherever it is being broadcast, they should get a slice of the pie. And since we have a company full of writers and we are also producers and directors we are fairly educated on the process of what it takes to complete a project. Thank goodness in the end they resolved the strike, because one of our favorite shows "HEROES" has been off the air for too long. (shameless plug) Please check out "HEROES" actor Jimmy Jean Louis who plays "The Haitian", in our documentary about Haiti. He was the guest of honor at an event we held in Miami:

Sove Event featuring Jimmy Jean Louis

We feel it is a very important project.

And thanks all for your great words about our blog. Please let us know what you think. Take care.


Eamon said...


Thanks for your email (and added you).

Interesting post. We received little coverage of this over in the UK so it is not a subject I know a lot about.

The bit about the internet is interesting. The issue you bring up in your post hasn't really cropped up here in the UK (at least not very publically). But I guess it is something that will enentually crop up.

Eamon said...

PS Thanks for the information by the way.