Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Writer's strike still not sure

The writer's strike is now ready to go. Well, not right now. If and when it does, it will be at the end of the month which, coincidentally, is the end of our contract anyways.  Our 13,000 writers voted 96%, so it's pretty obvious.

But, again, nobody knows for sure.

And as I said, of the 13,000 WGA writers, there's only a fraction who are working and I mean a fraction. I don't know for sure, but probably at most there is around 1000 working writers at most.

And then there's guys like me who aren't TV writers and who, for the most part, handle it all by themselves. Those are mostly feature film writers.

You know now that there are a lot of "series" going on but most of them are the big guys, the networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and all the others who depend on people watching television. 

But you know that there are a lot of us watching streaming series but they are different than networks. They go streaming or they also go in individual series of 8 episodes rather than the network's 22 episodes. 

That's one of the big deals there.

Network writers in TV usually get an episode or more and when there's 20 or 22 episodes. That offers at least one or two episodes to the writers. 

Now put that together in streaming and 8 episode shows gives you less money. Instead of getting maybe 2 or 3 episodes, you're getting far less. Making less money.

Showrunners are the winners even though they are also complaining but it's not hard to make around $350,000 if you're good.

But the handful of "writers" will get less. Mathematics.

That's the writer's bitch for starters.

But the big problem is how to handle that and also get a tiny piece of the billions of dollars that the studios make.

We missed out on our last strike and settled for less as streaming and 8 episodes (more or less) didn't exist as much. It was Netflix's world.

But not anymore. Hulu, Amazon and more coming every month it seems. 

And we want a piece of it.

Do I care about rich showrunners?  No. But do I care about the regular series people who won't get even close enough for a living standard.

Always about money. 

The L.A. Times says that writers lost more than $287 million on the last strike. There's also minimums we want, a whole 3% more. So what's that mean?

Minimums are the lowest paid members. If you read the WGA book, there are a lot of different payments depending on the budget of the movie or TV show. 

In other words, the bigger the show the more you get. 

And finally, there's the health care plan. I didn't use WGA healthcare but do have a pension plan that works reasonably well.

So let's see what happens.

I'll be back in a few days to show you how all of this began.

Bing Crosby?


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