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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Writer's Strike

Hey all,

Thought I would add my two cents about the current Writer's Guild strike. The longer this goes on, I think the worse the effects will be down the road. Currently the writer's are striking for better revenue sharing on Internet downloads and DVD sales. There are many other aspects they are asking for too, like credits on movie posters and such, but those are the big ones. Currently the writer is making only a few cents off of DVD and Internet sales, and they seek more. Entirely within their rights I believe. What I don't believe is that anyone is making a lot of money off of Internet downloading, of movies at least. I don't think you can argue that that ITunes is making some money, but really who buys movies online as a viable medium right now. I understand that the belief is that the future will herald more profit from downloads, but I really doubt it.

Of course online sales will be there for the use, but with the influx of High Def and the widespread dominance of DVD the medium is going to have a slow rise if any. Now I have read previously that the release of the fourth Die Hard this week will include a digital download. (Now I can't seem to corroborate that fact online anymore so maybe that's not true now) Personally I think that is the way to go. I know its frustrating owning a DVD and being forced to buy additional software to hack a DVD you own to your own iPod. Getting both formats makes sense. I should be able to plug in and transfer what I want without all this other hassle.

Digital downloads currently are not something to cause such a fuss over. I understand the belief though that the writers think they will get screwed like they did with VHS and DVD residuals. I am all for them getting their fair share. But ultimately everyone is going to suffer from the strike.

Many shows are down to the last few episodes they have in the can, no more will be filmed as they don't have scripts. Shows like Journeyman and Heroes will end at the mid-season arc, while shows like The Office are already shutting down as so much is improvised on the set and many cast members are also members of the WGA. This will particularly hurt freshmen series like Bionic Woman and Pushing Daises. Bionic is struggling in ratings and may not recover once the hiatus ends. Daises is such a different concept the growing status of the show may not recover from a long absence as well. This will also affect many mid-season shows, like Lost and Battlestar Galactica by limiting the number of finished programs they will have ready, causing more of the episodic delays that plagued both shows last season. Will fans still be interested in a long wait again on both series? Programmers will be banking heavily on the mid season replacements to keep revenues up. The big ones being returning programs like Jericho and Fox's Terminator series The Sarah Conner Chronicles.

Movies will be fine through 2008, but come 2009 there will be limited fair to be had at the multiplex. Stockpiling scripts before the strike will only help so much as many of the tent pole big budget movies see script revisions all the way up and into production. Spider-man 4, Harry Potter 7, Transformers 2, and projects like The Hobbit may not take place for even longer periods. That is particularly bad for the Hobbit, as New Line's rights to produce the pic ends in 2009 I believe, production would have to start prior, which gives a limited window the longer this strike goes.

In the end the only thing we have to look forward to will be more reality television. Juggernauts like American Idol and Dancing With the Stars can continue, but some of the future projects like My Dad is Better Than Yours make me shudder. We all know were I will be during this time, turning back to finding more great classic movies on TCM and hoping that NBC carries over the BBC version of The Office into prime time. Hoping for a quick resolve. Thanks for reading the rant.

End of Line.

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