Interesting article in Forbes about the WGA strike. Coming from a conservative business publication like Forbes, this kind of rhetoric is surprising:
“When 12,000 Hollywood writers traded pencils for picket signs this week, they took a huge risk. Even riskier: not striking. Losing to the studios now could doom their union as television gives way to the Internet.”
The Wall Street Journal also chimes in, in one of their blogs devoted to digital media, noting that the dispute is more akin to splitting a tip jar at Starbucks rather than a big bag of money:
Writers, quite reasonably, want to be paid more as their work moves onlineâ€“to the Web, cellphones and anywhere else that gadgets send content in the future.
Itâ€™s an especially pointed desire, given that they were essentially shafted in the last digital transformation when DVDs and videocassettes appeared.
As John Aboud, who is a strike captain for WGA, noted in a comment to my post last week on the strike, that even with all the money Hollywood has made, most writers are not well paid (although those at the tippy-top are copiously compensated).
“Median earnings of all members of the Writers Guild is only $5,000,” he wrote.”â€œHow can that be? About 48% of members do not earn any money from writing in a given year. Of those writers who do make some money, one quarter earn less than $37,700 a year.”
That means that being a writer is far, far less lucrative than grad school. This blows my mind.
Somewhat more tongue in cheek, here’s a vision of what TV might look like without the writer’s Guild:
Is it wrong to admit that I’m also a sucker for the word, “Guild” ? I blame the 3 Ds (Dune, Dungeons, and Dragons)