Friday, November 9, 2007

Reruns Suck...

I am not a strong union supporter. In fact, there are a number of times when I think that those in charge of the unions are just trying to make money off creating adversity rather than actually trying to help their members. Don't get me wrong - I think unions have done this country a great service in the past - I am just not sure they continue to keep their members best interests at heart.

That being said, I completely and totally and wholeheartedly stand behind the writers who are currently striking.

Writers are the great force behind everything you watch at the movie theater or on TV and even, for the most part, on the Internet. This includes "reality" shows. (If you really think what is happening is real, I have a bridge to sell you. They may not be following a script when they film it, but it is scripted by the time it hits the editing bay.) Without the writers, actors wouldn't have any lines, directors wouldn't have any stories and the networks and studios would not be able to make any money by selling advertising, DVDs and online versions of the shows.

In other words - this is not a case of the writers crying wolf. This is real.

You see, the studios and networks did something in an attempt to continue to show revenue potential. They claimed two new revenue streams to be profitable before they were proven. This caused the directors and the actors to all clamor for a piece of the New Media pie when their contracts were up and now the writers want their slice. Remember - these are the people who came up with the idea for the show in the first place for the most part, or at least the episode. Personally, I think it is only fair that they get their piece of the pie. It might not be their face or their storyboard - but it is their idea, their heart and in some cases their soul that you are watching when you turn on the TV. These are the people who share their brain space, who occupy a big chunk of their waking thoughts. To have the networks and the studios say "Oh, sorry. You only get one piece of revenue when everyone else gets more than one." says to me that writers are not valued for what they bring to the table.

A MSNBC columnist proclaimed the Writers Guild to be one of the last knowledge based unions out there. Theirs is not a talent you can outsource easily. It is also one of the few unions out there that protects intellectual property - if not the only one - for members and non-members alike. I have at least two or three scripts registered with the WGA and I am not a member. It is points like this that make the case of the writers even stronger in my eyes.

So, fully understanding that there are going to be a lot of reruns and hurting people out there who live life below the line in Hollywood, I applaud the writers and their willingness to put their money where their mouths are. Not just the writers who drive expensive cars and live in the Hollywood Hills, but also the writers who live in one bed-room apartments and eat ramen noodles for dinner. These are the people who know what it means to need to write, they just want to get their fair share.

I urge you to stand with the writers, if only because reruns suck and bad reality game shows suck more (Battle of the Choirs???). Go ahead and watch the rest of the recorded season and then turn the TV off. It may help, it may not. If nothing else it will help you reintroduce other forms of entertainment to yourselves and your children.

Maybe its time to buy stock in bookstores again.

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