Why I support the writer’s strike

November 7, 2007 at 4:13 am (news, politics, pop culture) (, , )

_1304774_strike2_300.jpgI intern at a talent management agency so I get to look at the big project books of all the films in production over the next year. The William Morris Agency sends them out so that the guys I work for can scramble to get their best talent in meetings with the casting directors for those films. For the past couple of months while scanning the upcoming flix I noticed that most production companies were busting ass to get as many finished scripts into production “pre-strike”. It seemed a given that this writer’s strike was gonna happen – not to worry though, most of those scripts were formulaic crap starring Channing Tatum or Gerard Butler types or more bloody remakes anyway (Straw Dogs and The Magnificent Seven, for Chrissakes? Is anything holy to those bloodsuckers in LA????!) .

People in New York can be surprisingly whiny about strikes. When the MTA workers striked for a few days people grumbled copiously about everything and the union head was thrown into jail. This should scare the shit out of all of us because were it not for unions and the influence of socialist politics on the workforce in general, we wouldn’t have stuff like overtime, child protection laws, minimum wage, sick leave, etc… Sure, unions can be corrupt, racist and exclusive, however without their collective bargaining power the indifferent market and greedy fat cat capitalists would steamroll all over workers’ rights. Check out the minimum wages and benefits in states that have anti-union policies (Texas, for instance) and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

We might not be talking about blue-collar workers here, when we talk about the writers strike, however writers have been the underdogs of the Hollywood machine since cinema began. Unless they are a hyphanate writer-director-actor or exceptionally successful like Charlie Kaufman and Paddy Chayefsky from a while back, writers are woefully underappreciated and considered unglamourous. Now, they are trying to secure a bigger piece of the digital pie for themselves as films, TV and other scripted entertainment segues into non-traditional screening venues like your iPod or more DVDs. And why shouldn’t they? Directors, producers and talent make the big bucks filming the stuff that these guys and gals pen. If Hollywood is a big shiny mansion then writers are the beams and 2 by 4s that keep it from sinking into the tar pits.

Let the writers have their extra 4 cents in DVD revenue and if I have to watch reality shows for the next year due to the lack of produced material from the strike I’ll gladly tune in to I Love New York 2 or American Idol season 82 in the meantime. Honestly, that’s what I’d probably be watching in the first place.

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