While it certainly doesn’t have the cachet of the Iraq war or a massive fire in Southern California, I have been following the Hollywood Writer’s Strike with some interest and, unsurprisingly, have some thoughts.
The issues seem to boil down to the fact that the writers want a piece of the New Media pie–internet downloads of the shows they wrote for, and such–while the studios and producers would prefer to give them, well, a pittance.
Now, I’m a writer. I don’t write “Pushing Daisies” or gags for “The Daily Show,” but I do make my egg and butter money putting words down. And my view of the system in general is the same as how I view computer software: without the creative people, the sales folks don’t have anything to sell. Without software engineers, no software, and no product. Without writers, no scripts, and therefore no shows.
I may be harsh, but “producers” aren’t really “producers,” nor should they be called such. Producers, in the film/TV sense are really financers and salespeople. They put up the money, and they sell the product. You need them, of course; no money, and nothing gets created. But without the writers, nothing gets created. And you can’t make money off of something that doesn’t exist.
So my bottom line is pretty clear: the producers should stop trying to keep all the swag to themselves, and share it fairly with the writers. Because while they don’t like to admit it, without writers, they’re nothing but bankers and salespeople. And while there’s nothing wrong with bankers and salespeople, you just don’t see a lot of them riding around in Ferraris and hanging on the arms of famous actors.