“This writer’s strike is getting annoying,” I heard someone say on the corner of 2nd avenue yesterday. “What the hell is their problem? And why does it have to be my problem?”
Because of what I do and where I go to school, I’m in a position to hear about the Writer’s Strike all the time. But I can understand the frustration of those who don’t know all the details—from far away, it can look like a bunch of people walking around and complaining.
But it’s more than that.
UnitedHollywood, a new blog that’s blossomed in the wake of the strike, explains exactly why hundreds of television and film writers are marching, and does it in a funny, entertaining way. A few of TV’s bigger shows have made YouTube videos for the site, and after watching of few of them, two things become blindingly clear: 1) without these people, TV is gonna blow, and 2) big businesses are greedy.
Basically, writers want a small share of Internet profits. As of right now, when you download a show from the Internet or iTunes, or buy a DVD of season 1 of your favorite series, the people who wrote those shows get no compensation whatsoever, even though big conglomerates like Fox and NBC make millions with Internet advertising and DVD sales. The strike is about giving people who create our favorite shows and characters a tiny piece of what network CEOs are making on a daily basis.
Until the Writer’s Guild and Network Execs come up with an agreement, our favorite shows are going on hiatus. That means, once the holiday season ends, we’ll be watching re-runs and reality TV. That’s right. 24 hours of Deal or No Deal and The Bachelor—or more likely, knock-offs of those shows that are even worse than the originals.
I mean, we’re screwed.
But there are some things you can do to help. Going here and grabbing the names, phone numbers, and addresses of Network Execs is the first step.
The second step is calling these people and telling them that their network is on your shit list until they start treating their writers fairly. Use different voices, try a few accents, do whatever you can to annoy the piss out of rich assholes who apparently have forgotten how to share.
Create Facebook groups, post your own YouTube videos (screaming “leave the writers alone!” while black mascara drips down your face is always an option), and try not to download movies or shows from iTunes.
Right now, the strike might not seem like such a big deal, but in a month or so, when all you want to do is take a break from papers and studying, and there’s nothing to help you relax except the 5th re-run of Dancing with the Stars, things will suck.
…Especially for me. TV is the only thing that helps me survive the Holidays.