As time wears on, I – like most other television watching Americans – want the Writers Guild of America strike to end. For the most part the strike doesn’t bother me (God forbid I be forced to leave the house or read a book), but I am annoyed by the idea that the strike might promote an influx of more eye-gouging ‘reality’ television or that it could negatively impact the shows that are coming to an end this year.
I have no sympathy for the producers and studio executives who could have easily forgone a strike by making equitable concessions to Writers Guild demands. I was surprised by how little control and compensation many Hollywood writers receive for their work, which plays no small role in making studios billions of dollars. I understand that the major studios are playing their available cards – and that their considerations encompass more than just appearing insuperable to the writers – but this generally sucks.
On the other hand, it irritates me to see two generally wealthy and well-off groups argue melodramatically about money, particularly when the country is filled with people who are much more screwed over than Hollywood writers are.
Seeing the panic that “new media” has caused for both the film and music industries, I think it was wise of the writers to go on strike now. I disagree with those who say that they should have waited to see how lucrative methods of “new media”/internet distribution will become. If companies do find means of profit in these distribution methods, I would think that it would be much harder for writers to get financial ownership of them down the road. What would compel major studios to generously give up the financial rights to an assured area of tremendous revenue? It could be argued that the studios would want to invest what is necessary to keep their “new” revenue stream going, but I suspect that wouldn’t turn out to be the case.
My primary concerns, as I stated above, reflect my status as a television watcher; not an insider. What will happen to the shows whose final seasons are this year? Will I be able to see the end of Scrubs as it was intended? Will scripted comedies and dramas become even less visible on television as studios favor even more easy-to-produce ‘reality’ shows? As with many other things, we probably won’t be able to assess the damage until it’s done. Here’s to pastime creativity.