Monday, January 21, 2008

A light at the end of the tunnel........

...but is it the end of the tunnel or is it a train?

There IS some good news (we THINK!) for the first time since the strike started. We were all worried about the DGA and what kind of deal they'd make. If it's a bad one, then there will be more pressure on the WGA and SAG to agree to similar deals, and the DGA has a history of caving BIG time to the studios. This time, it appears they MIGHT not have.

From what we KNOW (which, granted, is not a lot), it looks like it might be fairly decent. Two BIG things they've gotten is jurisdiction over (at least some) internet original material and a much higher residual on electronic streaming/downloads. There may be restrictions which make it worthless, but we'll have to see, and it's still not what the writers asked for, but the studios seem to have granted the directors concessions they REFUSED to give the writers (and, in fact, WALKED OUT of negotiations rather than even DISCUSS).

The biggest of these is basing payments on distributor's gross. That is a LOT more than producers gross (after they deduct their 'expenses,' which basically means what they CHOOSE to allow).

My question is WHY would they absolutely REFUSE to even DISCUSS these things with the writers, but give them to the directors?

My guess is that this strike has had a much larger effect on the studios than they're willing to admit. They tried to make everyone believe that they had material AT LEAST until the beginning of the year, when they didn't. They didn't bank on the film side being so heavily affected so quickly, nor that they would run out of television scripts so quickly. The reruns they've been reduced to showing have been doing MISERABLY in the ratings, and in another two weeks, it's going to be Sweeps weeks, when their advertising rates are going to be set.... and they cannot afford to lose the money they will lose if they are showing reruns and getting the horrible ratings they've been getting... not to mention, their viewers are getting annoyed with the reruns (I know I am!), and are putting pressure on the studios to do something about it.

At this point, it's going to take close to a month to get most of the shows back into production and back on the air. If they push it, and have some scripts close to ready to go, maybe 2-3 weeks. And if this strike goes on much longer, pilot season will be a wash, which means they'll lose at least part of NEXT season... and, that, they REALLY can't afford. An entire calendar year without new episodes??? That would be death! Not to mention that SAG has shown MAJOR support, and we will not hesitate to go out on strike when our contract is up. Won't do them much good to have directors without any writers or actors, and a long strike by the actors would mean at least half of next season (if they even had any pilots at all) would be shot.

So let's HOPE that this deal is a decent one, the writers are able to go back to work, and that when we begin to negotiate, we have a good starting place!! PLEASE!!!!! We want to get back to work!

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