Saturday, December 29, 2007

Treading Water

Updated: Didn't have any time for commentary before so here goes. Well things look much different since my post about Obama. It seems that was about the turning point of his campaign and now he's giving Clinton a run for her money. Hey, that's politics. I actually think that Hillary would not be the landslide that the media has predicted. She has a lot of baggage and if I were her republican rival, I'd honestly rather be up against her than Obama. I actually think both can be beaten if the right republican is chosen and his campaign plays it right. She will constantly be in the shadow of her husband, who ironically is the only reason she has a chance at running.

She's actually not bad on national security issues, though pre-primary she's been rather elusive, if not inconsistent about her positions and the right will try and point this out until November. I think the left gives her too much credit.

The primaries are almost here and it's gonna be close for both parties:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No Words

Well if anyone doesn't know and has been living in a cave, there is a strike among writers in the television and movie industry right now. On Nov 1, the contract between the WGA (Writer's Guild of America) and the Sudios expired. The following week, the WGA went on strike. So, what's all the fuss? Well, currently, writers recieve a residual payment whenever a show or movie they wrote is shown in syndication (reruns) or purchased as a DVD. They do not, however, recieve a dime for any of their work which is streamed or downloaded off the internet. This is the central issue for which the writers are striking. They also want a higher DVD rate and they want to bring the Reality TV writers... (yes they do have "writers" for reality) and animation writers, who are currently covered by a different union, into the WGA juristiction. I believe these are relatively minor issues though and if a "good" internet deal was made, they'd have less support from their members to continue the strike.

So, why do I care? Well, some of you may know that I work in the entertainment industry and so this affects me directly so, I care. On December 10, I finished my last bit of work and have been out of work since. Up until then I had been working frantically to make as much money as I can to last as long as it can and hence, my blog has suffered. So, as I can attest, this strike affects many more than just the writers. Without writers, there is literally no work to be done at all. If anything it shows the value of writers in the television and film industries.

So, why start a strike right before Christmas? The DGA (Directors Guild of America) and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) have contracts which expire in June '08. The DGA tends to negotiate their contracts early to avoid work stoppages like these and they are much more diplomatic (meaning they'll settle for less than ideal) than the other two guilds. The WGA wanted to get a jump on them because the first deal struck will be the standard for the rest of the unions. If the DGA got a deal which was not as good as what the WGA wanted, it would be that much harder to negotiate.

The downside has been that the entire industry has been shut down and thousands of people are out of work, most of whom do not work as writers. The AMPTP (the collective negotiating arm of the Studios) appear to be ready to sacrifice the rest of the season to the reality hell of reality programming and the DGA may get to the table first anyway. This thing could last a while.

Deadline Hollywood Daily - Nikki Finke's blog. The most accurate accounting of the facts. She's definately on the side of the writers but she's the first to report insider strike information and it's always turned out to be legit.

As WGA strike continues, writers form online co-ops and some earn millions - This, in my opinion would be the best move for the writers to do. Take the market before the studios have a chance. "Some, ventures, such as Will Ferrell's has seen one no-budget short top 50 million views. At the touted advertising rate of $60 per 1000 views for professional quality video, this would have earned the producers up to $3m, with no notable initial outlay." Yikes!