For the first time since 1988 the Hollywood writers union has been authorized to go on strike, a decision fueled by the lack of proper residuals given to the writers from DVD and internet sales.
Authorization to strike was determined in a vote cast by the Writers Guild of America last Thursday. Writers are being authorized to strike anytime after October 31, which is when their 3-year contracts will be up. The strike of 1988 lasted 22 weeks and cost an estimated $500 million.
Money is, of course, the issue that’s surrounding this strike. With more and more television shows available on DVD, writers want compensation from the sales. According to an article in USA Today, “A key issue dividing producers and writers, as well as actors, is compensation for DVD sales and productions that get distributed on the Internet or in other new media formats.”
The strike means one thing to me, an end to over-the-top, crappy scripts. It may sound harsh, but this strike may be the break society needs in brainless entertainment. Television has been the biggest example of poor writing and mindless entertainment. With the fall premiere season coming to a close, one cannot help but look around and survey the damage. A new slew of televisions shows were ushered in with great force, but of those shows only a very small handful will be successful. With every flop there is a major financial loss for studios and production companies. Writers have more say about scripts on television then they do in any other field of entertainment. You would think that with more control over production there would be a better product turned out.
Writers are one of the key figures in entertainment, so with the strike ahead many producers are scrambling to get as much television shows out as they can.
This fall season hits a new low with what premiered on TV; ABC’s Cavemen. The show is based on three cavemen living among modern society. The show was based off the popular Geico commercials, and is one of the reasons why I feel that the writer’s strike just might be a good thing.
Many late night TV shows will need to rely on their own writing skills, as many late shows depend on writers as well. This strike, in many ways, will be able to showcase which entertainers are actually talented enough to carry a show. Those who are not creative enough to produce an entertaining show without the aid of writers will be displayed for all to see.
The one bad thing that I see coming out of this strike is the fact that it might increase the number of “reality” shows. Reality shows will not be affected by the strike because they are nonunion, so America will continue to be fed large doses of reality TV.
Some may say that these writers deserve compensation for the work that they do, which is understandable. Writers do deserve to be paid for the work that they have produced, but pay should be rewarded to those that produce quality work. Actors and Actresses become more profitable after they have won an award, and seem to lose worth when they accept bad roles. The same can be applied to writers: they should be given more money if the product is successful.
Writers should be paid for the work that they have done and it’s understandable why they feel the need to go on strike. Writer’s hope that the strike will bring them the money that they deserve, until then the strike should be used to focus on producing better material.
For those who are concerned about not being able to catch the latest episodes of their favorite shows, ?America should see this strike as an opportunity to put down the remote control and pick up a book. ?
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