Friday, November 2, 2007

Story of the Week -- Oct 29-Nov 2

On Strike

My cousin Herb insisted to my Dad that I would have to go on strike Monday. Insisted.

Thing is, I'm not a member of the Writer's Guild of America. Or any union. I don't get residual checks for anything I've written. My name doesn't appear in the credits of any major motion picture or TV show, and an IMDB search of my name says that I played myself in a 1999 episode of "Horizon"* Only that wasn't me, it was someone else with my name, and he didn't write anything for that show. So there is no possible way I could be on strike Monday. And I can't really believe anyone thought I would be.

Well, I can believe that Herb thought I would be.

So it's Monday now, and I am not on strike. It took me a while to write this, but I have no labor-related excuses. The Writers Guild of America is on strike, and the degree to which you or anyone outside the guild care is probably based on whether or not you depend on The Daily Show to keep you sane and/or alive. If you're like me, you can probably deal with the fact that The Late Show will be a rerun tonight. Some people won't even notice.

A NYC Transit strike this is not. But I can sum up in one word why you should care about the Writers Guild Strike and you should be praying they get back to work soon:

COPS.

"If it weren't for the (1988) strike, "Cops" might not be on the air today," said the show's producer Morgan Langley.

You may not remember there was a 22 week long strike in 1988, but you're suffering the consequences today. Without new episodes of "Married with Children" to show, Fox resorted to COPS and America's Most Wanted, two of the earliest reality TV shows. Those shows proved 2 things: people will watch anything, and writers are expendable. And if the latest strike lasts (which it could) get ready for more reality TV than you ever thought possible.

And if that happens, you shouldn't encourage it. Watch sports, watch the news, but don't watch "The Bachelor: Teen Edition" or "The Real Lord of the Flies" (actually, I think CBS is already doing that show...) Those shows are cheaper to produce as it is, and with the writers demanding more of the DVD and online share, you wouldn't want to encourage studios to cut out the WGA altogether.

So while I am not on strike, I do hope those who are on strike get their issues resolved soon and get back to work.

Here, read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-networks5nov05,1,6311115.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=2&cset=true



*You're still wondering what the hell "Horizon" is, aren't you?
I dug further. It's a long-running BBC documentary series. So the other David Spiegel didn't so much play himself as, well, give an interview in a documentary for British Television.

3 comments:

Samantha said...

I had a few friends ask me about striking, too...one, I'm a researcher, not a writer. Two, I'm not a member of any union (although I would kill for health insurance right about now). Three, it seems like a large point of contention with the strikers is profit sharing from DVDs and such, yes? Not applicable to Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!
::bang head on desk::

brookLyn gaL said...

I'm curious as to your opinion on the strike since you're a writer. Of course as a viewer, I don't care who wins what, I just don't want to be without The Office. But I don't know enough about the demands and whatnot to know who is in the right.

Samantha said...

Ok...unrelated to the post, but CNN-related...

Whoever did the article on the Flying Spaghetti Monster needs to be given a very large raise. The more people who are touched by the FSM's Noodly Appendage, the better!

RAmen.

;-)