November 2nd, 2007 16:00 EST
Hollywood Writer's Strike - Will Write for Food
(Transcription of Audio Podcast)
Political and current affairs humorist offers his services while writers strike gets hotter.
All I know is what I read on the Internet or the Variety news rag! Well, it looks like the Hollywood writers strike may become a reality. However, you will have to keep your ear to the ground, because you won’t see it in writing. Seems Hollywood writers are upset by the recent revenues created by DVD's and Internet distribution (New Media).
Anything outside what was normally thought of back when they took the jobs and that would be around 1920 when moving picture started talking back.
Now, I want to tread lightly on this subject, mainly because I am a union person as well, (SAG: Screen Actors Guild) which of course is for actors. They have not asked me into the writer’s guild yet. Could be that what I do here is considered more like ramblings and not writing. Plus, it is way easier to be an actor than a writer. You don't have to know how to spell to be an actor. (Applause) Thank you, thank you... anyhow, seems these hard working … (tap keyboard) hardest working writers in Hollywood and not being included in the big "New Media" pay off. You know the one that you have coming through your phones, IPods, Internet, DVDs and coming to a chip in your head soon. They are getting the same pay for more distribution; i.e. WORK.
See, performers, writers, and artists can make a deal with the folks that can get there work out to the masses either one of two ways.
#1. They can do a buy out where they pay you one lump amount for the project. And you never hear from them again. In the biz, we call that NON-union. It is like a flea market, you know you got a good deal when you bought it. And the seller does not know you will sell it for 5 times the amount OR
#2. You create a project (produce, write, act in … etc.) and you get an amount of money each time it shows. (That is called UNION). (The union figures that you spent all the years struggling so you deserve to get paid every time they use your product, just in case you never work again.
However, the struggle in Hollywood is that the backend folks making all the money – NOT the writers are not sharing the wealth. So they want their share. It is the American way. Now, not since 1988, has there been a strike and when that happened, shows like Johnny Carson were off the air for 2 months. Not only because of loyalty of the union but if you look at the closing credits of a talk shows like Letterman, or Leno, you will see 25 names listed in the credits of writers. That is because Hollywood has become so serious that it takes that many writers to make something funny.
Now, they don't except the strike to last too long, and in the meantime, if you Hollywood folks need a hand with some jokes, you can steal mine. Now you have to steal um because I won’t step over the union line to give um to ya. Just open up a newspaper go to the political section and start reading.
Email your comments and thought about this story or any other subjects to: Will@WillRogersUSA.com
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