Tuesday, October 23, 2007

AMPTP and WGA near showdown; newswriters also involved now

There is a lot of angry talk on the web right now as the expected deadlines and showdowns approach for the possible WGA strike.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has its own page here and it has its own side expressed in its FAQ page, here.

The AMPTP claims that WGA proposals would limit its (“our”) agility and flexibility to “promote and market TV series and films, and prohibit us from experimenting with programming and business models in New Media.” This seems to play on concerns that newbies, who make super-indie films often outside of the normal world of unions, might not be able to produce and market their work. This is in an environment where companies serve up ads to “self-publish your film.” This ties in to other controversies, like the way major film festivals pick films (are they just a showcase for established stars doing their own work?) and so on. Many of the films at the Reel Affirmations festival, just discussed on this blog, were of the “real indie” variety, produced outside the system, although SAG held a meeting Monday night (Oct 15) for GLBT filmmakers.

Carl DiOrio reports that AMPTP gas dropped its recoupment issue, in the Hollywood Reporter, Oct. 17, here.
However, Variety had a story Oct. 15 that the AMPTP president (Nick Counter) had threatened to sue WGA, in a story by David McNary (“WGA Strike Rules Bashed, AMPTP president threatens to sue guild”), here.

The latest story appeared this morning in the news business “CBS newswriters threaten strike authorization vote,” By Carl Di Orio, here.
The WGA homepage is here. Here is its Contract 2007 Negotiations Statement. Its strike authorizations story (David McNary, Variety, “Turnout yields 90% approval from voters”) is here.

There have been other rumors of lockouts, and of demands by studios and production companies to have shooting scripts turned in by Oct. 31. In case of a long strike, one wonders how series and particularly daily shows like soap operas (the notorious "Days of our Lives") would fare.

Some network television news outlets report that WGA wants reality television shows to go union -- and it hardly seems realistic to imagine candidates for "The Apprentice" to join a union first!

Talks / Progress / Strike possibility and afteraffects: Updates: Nov. 2, 2007

The Nov. 1, 2007 Wall Street Journal, on p B1 Marketplace, has a story by Sarah McBride and Rebecca Dana: "Scenes from Next Week? ... Value of Content Distributed by Net, Phone Is Big Issue as Writers' Strike Looms." The older model based on VHS is certainly out of date. The National Writers Union has also raised similar issues about secondary distribution of materials over the past few years.

ABC News has a big story by Sheila Marikar "Writers' Block: Strike Set for Monday Federal Mediator Calls For 11th-Hour Negotiating Session," link here. The pun isn't funny. The effect could be much harder on television than movies (although I put it in my movies blog). It could finish off some soap operas if prolonged.

On Nov. 3, Saturday Night Live did a spoof on the producers' position. "I have 20 million dollars but I don't have $200000."

Nov. 5 The strike has begun. CNN story here.

Previous coverage

I had some comments about this on Sept. 30 after my review of “Into the Wild.”.

"Fun" Update: Oct. 25

While one hopes the two "both" sides come together before Halloween, CWTV's Smallville tonight proposed a fictitious movie "Warrior Angel" in which one of Clark's protege's acts. Viewers were invited to video blog about it (especially in the absence of professional writers) and CW has some sort of contest. Except that imdb already shows an obscure B movie called "Warrior Angels" from 2002 directed by Byron Thompson. Lana also managed to mention the silly 2001 thriller "Don't Say a Word."

There was a proverb, an inevitable epigram in the Smallville script tonight, "he who saves the world remains alone."

I guess a Warrior Angel is not someone to trade places with. So much for upward affiliation.

In the mean time, amateur screenwriters will continue their table readings.

Note: I continued the coverage of the WGA strike on the Nov. 4 entry of my TV blog, here.

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