Friday, November 30, 2007

Making chicken salad out of the new AMPTP proposal

The Writers Guild negotiating committee is taking the weekend to study the new proposal by the AMPTP. But don’t get your hopes up. Upon examination their proposal is really a big rollback. By the time this thing is settled Carson Daly will be stealing Double Bubble comics for his lame jokes.

Most writers I know are very disappointed. One or two are silently relieved, thinking, “Oh shit! If this thing is over soon then I’m going to have to actually write that pilot/episode/screenplay.”

The trick is not to get too disgusted. And yet it’s hard to find a positive spin for all of this. But in the interest of keeping moral up I have found maybe the only good things to come out of the strike so far. I know it’s a small list. If you have more, please tell me. I’m having a hard time believing the ones I have.

Anyway, they are…

The rest of the world has discovered that Nikki Finke’s website is the place to go for information.

YouTube videos have gotten much funnier now that David Letterman writers have joined the junior high nerds from Lancaster, Pennsylvania who normally contribute these comedy classics.

It hasn’t snowed.

Many writers are getting cardiovascular exercise for the first time since 1988.

I got mentioned in Rolling Stones magazine (but I haven't seen it yet so I'm not certain it's a good thing).

There was a rally to salute the veteran writers although I could have lived without the phrase "meet the writers from YESTERYEAR." It makes it sound like we're all the Lone Ranger.

We get to relive the 60s without being teargassed.

Agents for once have a legitimate excuse for not talking to their clients.

Other people may start to hate Carson Daly as much as I do.

SAG has really stood by us. Now I admire as well as lust after some of its members.

Jesse Jackson has moved on.

Bob's Big Boy gives a discount to striking writers.

And the biggest benefit – finally a new version of AMERICAN GLADIATORS!


Anonymous said...

I assume "Rolling Stones" magazine was tongue in cheek, right??

By Ken Levine said...

Nope. It's true. Page 42.

Christina said...

Many writers are getting cardiovascular exercise for the first time since 1988.

Amen! The strike has probably put years on each striking writer's lifespan. (Instead of the other way around, like it'd be with... stunt people or animal trainers.)

Anonymous said...

yeah, but did you make "Rolling Stone" magazine, too?

R.A. Porter said...

Hey, wait a minute. Lancaster's smack dab in the middle of Amish country. Are you telling us Mentos-in-Coke, Star Wars kid, and Rick Astley are just the by-products of riding to WalMart in a horse and buggy?

No. That can't be right. Definitely not Rick.

(Moohaha! I Rickrolled Ken's fans!!! I need to get out more.)

Jake Hollywood said...

I've expressed this elsewhere, but in addition to getting to talk to actors (who because I'm the writer never really thought I had anything to to do with the director's movie so who the hell was I anyway?) on the picket line, I've managed to meet veteran writers whom I've long admired. It's been a learning experience.

I never really thought this "ground breaking news" promoted by Nikki Finke was going to amount to anything worthwhile. And, sadly, I was right.

Since the AMPTP is now pushing reality Tv, maybe a sister show of American Gladiator would be in order. Something like: AMPTP vs WGA in a Steel Caged Grudge Match featuring Summer Redstone against Ken Levine and a host of other producers and writers...

I'm sure it would draw big ratings plus be one way to settle this ugly business.

Anonymous said...

Why is no one talking about what the advertisers said this week about asking for refunds if they have to settle for Celebrity Apprentice when they paid for The Office?
This is crunch time. What the producers did was try to break morale. Because they know that just a scant month from now they will be in the crapper, probably forever.
Writers! Hold out! You CAN make it through. There is gold at the other side, but you must not break yur resolve!

wormme said...

With the info blackout lifted, I just saw the numbers of the WGA proposal over at Nikki's. 151 megabucks a year, that's ~3% increase a year vs. projected 10% revuenue increases for the companies.

If accurate, and considering daily losses during this strike, it seems amazing that the industry doesn't just sign. It's gotta be fear of the upcoming DGA and SAG contracts, right?

Maybe the writers should negotiate for their contract to end right AFTER the other unions's contracts, next time. Batting lead-off is probably not the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Picketing is great for writers who get their best ideas while pacing.

Anonymous said...

What’s to be cheerful about? Kids, Santa will bring no toys. You weren’t bad. The AMPTP and WGA were. No toys, no toxic lead paint.

WGAW members can be grateful they don’t face 3 months picketing in a New York winter.

We have out a month and have already shown more resolve than the DGA in 1987 directors strike lasting a grueling 3 hours and 5 minutes.

This strike hasn’t be nearly as job killing as past Hollywood labor actions.

2000 Commercial actors strike, nearly six months.

1988 Writers Guild of America strike, over five months, 22 weeks.

1981 Writers Guild of America strike, three months.

1980 Actors strike, three months.

1960 Actors strike, led by SAG President Ronald Reagan, six weeks.

1952 Actors strike, two and a half months.

1945 Set decorators Hollywood Black Friday strike, six months.

1942-43 Musician’s strike, thirteen months plus.

Anonymous said...

According to the LA Times, the strike forced late-night comedy shows to let up on Hillary Clinton. But she generously offered to settle the strike - November 5, 2008.

Anonymous said...

ken levine said...
And the biggest benefit – finally a new version of AMERICAN GLADIATORS!

Hey! Another good thing to come out of the strike. Realty TV has now officially, JUMPED THE SHARK.

Anonymous said...

Marlon M. said:"I just saw the numbers of the WGA proposal over at Nikki's. 151 megabucks a year"

Actually, according the to WGA site, what WGA wants would cost studios an extra $150 Million, over three years.

Certainly well within the means of the studios, however to be accurate if that number is true you need to multiply it by 9.5 to derive the true cost to the studios. (great explanation about residuals here)

So if it's $150M over three years then the total cost to the studios would be $1.425 Billion over three years.

Yes that's a lot of money, but then again the studios make billions off of the content, so they ought to pay for it. If you read the explanation about the 9.5 multiple he concludes that the studios should be able to comfortably bump up the residual rate to 1.25-1.5% (up from .3% now)

If the AMPTP were to suddenly come to their senses and offer 1.5% its hard to believe the guilds wouldn't jump at the offer.

wormme said...

l.a. guy,

I was scratching my head for a minute, thinking you meant 9.5x total studio cost for the writers, not all guilds. But the most excellent link you provided shined a light. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Stagehands settled their strike so Broadway musicals are back. But the Writers strike keeps late night comics from making fun of politicians in scandals. For Senator Larry Craig, this is a win win.

Anonymous said...

Marlon M. said:"l.a. guy,
I was scratching my head for a minute, thinking you meant 9.5x total studio cost for the writers"

Yeah, sorry, I should have been clear that the total cost represents what the studios would likely have to collectively pay to all of the guilds based upon whatever they ultimately agree to pay one.

And to give credit where due, I discovered the link on Craig Mazin's ever evolving Artful Writer site which features some pretty spirited, yet intelligent discussions about the strike.

brian t said...

The other day I was listening to Rob Long talking about Three Bean Salad on his Martini Shot podcast, and today we get Chicken Salad from Ken... what will David Isaacs bring to the table, I wonder? (Cous Cous?) 8)

Anonymous said...

I didn't even know the Stones had a magazine. Probably a lot of ads for ED and bladder control products in there.

(See, who needs those WGA writers anyhow.)

Rob said...

Evel Kneivel's death has me wondering why we can't have another reality show like That's Incredible. I'd like to see more motorcycle jumping and potential for death.

Rob said...

The best news of all for you striking writers is that Jay Leno's made a personal pledge to help all of you out.

Anonymous said...

Guys, don't hate me! I am going to support you. Tomorrow I'm having Mavis and 384 of my closest friend take my entire car collection and drive to whereever you are striking and honk our horns.

Honestly, I need my writers. It may look like it, but my show doesn't write itself. It takes hours to craft a decent OJ joke.

Gail Renard said...

News flash from England to make you feel better: You guys who are on strike are still funnier than most of us who are still writing!

Anonymous said...

Now that has become one of my favorite blogs, I'm scared that when the strike ends they'll stop writing it.

Screw it. Just have all the writers start blogs and I'll just skip television completely.

Tallulah Morehead said...

Without the strike, I might have missed season 2 of I LOVE NEW YORK, and season 1 of AMERICA'S MOST SMARTEST MODELS. Ben Stein now tops his work on FERNWOOD TONIGHT. (Best moment on the MOST SMARTEST MODEL SHOW:

Question: "Who killed PResident Kennedy?"

Smart Model: "Brad?"

And given how poor season 2 of HEROES has been, cutting it in half is a blessing.

Is there any way Carson Daly could be on later?

Anonymous said...

My favorite thing to come out of the strike - finding your blog.

*cue aww*

Paul William Tenny said...

"The rest of the world has discovered that Nikki Finke’s website is the place to go for information."

Sure, if you enjoy reading unsubstantiated rumors that crash and burn on a regular basis.