Hey, well, look at this: last week I blogged about the need for writers to quit collectively bargaining and show some collective strength by creating and owning their own material. Today, the front page of the LA Times has a story about writers doing just that on the internet.
After I wrote my blog last week, I was amazed at how many...well, let's call them weak sisters, those who are inclined toward personal defeat -- thought the idea of cooperative economics was just "nuts." Something that could not be achieved by the membership of the guild. To me, such a response was internalized failure that smacked of self-loathing. No doubt those who couldn't see the value in ownership were just dizzy from marching in a circle. The WGA leadership needs to take a page from the writers who are working to secure their own futures rather than having to continually beg for scraps.
Ownership is the best long-term hope for us. Unfortunately and increasingly it seems as though the guild leadership does not have the focus of vision to claim some form of "victory" in the strike, let alone -- worst case -- find some kind of peace with honor. The striking points have shifted among old school residuals, new media monies, and jurisdiction over reality TV, animation and the internet. The leadership has entered into a lawsuit against the AMPTP just as they sought to bargain individually with its some 350 members. Waivers are given (or will potentially be given) to some programming, but not others. If Letterman and his crew can continue to work without a deal and generate income for CBS, what was the point of any of us hitting the picket lines?
The AMPTP has certainly done the writers no favors. As Byzantine as the negotiations have been, they have made it quite clear they have no desire to even to make the effort to stick with it. They have cut off the WGA, they treat writers with typical Hollywood arrogance, and win over none of the disenchanted with their tactics.
As I have said before, I know -- very personally -- many members of the negotiating committees, particularly on the writers' side. I think they are good people, but even good people can lack the skills necessary to do the job at hand. In Hollywood relationships are king. Rather than forge relationships, too much animosity was built.
So, then, if others cannot do for us we have no choice but to do for ourselves. I hope that like-minded writers will continue to find ways to break free of the cycle of bargaining and deal making, and embrace the virtues of ownership.
Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.