Thursday, November 8

Writer's Strike: Lawyers are Busy, Writers are Solid and Michael Eisner Cares?

Here's some randoms on the Writer's Guild of America Strike, Day 3:

Entertainment Lawyers can't get off the phone, according to the ABA.

Apparently no one remembers the last writer's strike, so none of the writers know what they can and can't do. The WGA told writer-directors (aka show runners) that they couldn't do any "writing services", and so far they've just gone along with it. But now that the WGA is ordering scripts turned in (so no one does any under-the-table creativity shilling) the questions are pouring into attorney's offices. Plus, the shows have to be replaced, and somebody's gotta negotiate and write up the contracts.

"Hollywood is not Flint, Mich. It's not Allentown, Pa."

The biggest issue facing the picketing writers wasn't the studios so much as the other two unions, the Director's Guild and Screen Actor's Guild, so says Tim Goodman at the SF Chronicle:

The cynical in Hollywood - and that's a town built wholly on the failed dreams of the jaded and the bitter - suggested that the agendas of the members of the three unions were, roughly in this order: "looking out for myself," "getting what's rightfully mine" and "bleep the other guys."

But then, as we previously mentioned, the show runners (directors and writers) joined the strike. And the stars showed up. And the "no-strike clauses" in those union contracts started to look a little thin. According to the piece, there's been an email from producer Shawn Ryan (the Shield, the Unit) "floating around" that kind of summed it up:
I obviously will not write on my shows. But I also will not edit, I will not cast, I will not look at location photos, I will not get on the phone with the network and studio, I will not prep directors, I will not review mixes. I can't in good conscience fight these bastards with one hand, while operating an Avid with the other. I am on strike and I am not working for them. PERIOD.

If you're a network exec, and you expected all these people to be working on scripts and now the people haven't shown up and the scripts are confiscated, you may be a little more willing to negotiate? Hmm? Maybe LA's more like Flint than they'll admit.

"The only real winner here is Steve Jobs. They should be striking up at Cupertino or wherever he is."

The WGA strike does have it's detracters, though. If this is going to sell, we'll need a good villain. Someone get on the phone and see if Michael Eisner's available. He is? Of course he is.

Eisner, the former Disney CEO, was speaking before some "we're all rich enough to think about money" club and said the following:
For a writer to give up today's money for a nonexistent piece of the future -- they should do it in three years, shouldn't be doing it now -- they are misguided they should not have gone on the strike. I've seen stupid strikes, I've seen less stupid strikes, and this strike is just a stupid strike.

Hmm. "Stupid" and "Less Stupid". That joke kind of sells itself. Eisner went on to say the writer's didn't put blame on the right people, faulting the networks instead of Steve Jobs and Apple. Word to the wise: Don't take your financial advice from the guy who recommended Ovitz to the Board at Disney.