|WGA Negotiators celebrate. Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter|
At the 11th hour, the WGA avoided a costly writer’s strike with a new deal — and pulled off some decent gains on the TV side. Alas, they weren’t so successful when it came to features, and basically walked away with bupkis. But we can’t really complain — TV is where it’s at nowadays, and it makes sense to hit hard on TV since that’s where all the growth is.
Still, as the WGA notes itself in the following article (removed from the WGA website but still available via Wayback Machine,) features have been on the decline as a revenue stream (not to mention creativity and originality) for writers for years. Rapacious business practices, pathological cheapness from the studios (who no longer even finance their own movies,) one-step deals and nickel-and-diming writers at every turn has basically destroyed the whole middle tier. Whereas formerly there were plenty of pro writers making a good living in the -K zone with rewrites and assignments — generally multi-step deals which ensured the writers got paid for a draft as well as a polish or two — many established writers have seen their quotes evaporate and are now forced to compete with baby writers with no quote, who are happy to make WGA minimum. This means lower commissions for agents and managers as well, forcing them to take less chances when it comes to material and signing clients.
In short, it’s a microcosm of America — with the erosion of the middle class via unchecked corporate greed, leaving only the ones on top and the ones on the bottom.
Check out the article right here, and be aware: it ain’t the ’70s anymore…
— Jim C.