Thursday, November 8, 2007

Strike! The Reality Series

As one without access to network or cable television on a consistent basis, I have not noticed a substantial change in the quality of television programming. I watch the same DVDs over and over again and, luckily for me, the quality of the DVD never changes. Unless of course I accidentally step on one that is hidden beneath a pile of dirty laundry, in which case the quality of the DVD has changed to "broken."

But for those of you who do rely on TV - live TV that is - for your evening entertainment, you are probably aware from the late-night show reruns, the surge in reality television and all the press that the UWA, the screenwriter's union, is on strike. This means no new TV episodes of your favorite crime drama, no fresh Daily Show political barbs, and no new family comedies on the big screen involving "the Rock" (actually, that last one might not be such a bad thing). That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Ugly Betty is about to get even uglier.

Now before you start shaking your fists at the sky and damning writers to an eternity of agonizing torture and writer's block, I recommend that you check out why the writers are striking. Here are some links:

Basically, the producers don't want to pay writers (or actors or anyone else for that matter) royalties for 'new media,' which includes any internet or iPod viewable shows, even though the studios make an assload of money from selling the shows on iTunes or selling advertising on the free downloadable shows. The producers also would like to keep the royalties on DVD sales at a whopping 4 cents per DVD, as opposed to the ridiculously exorbitant sum of 8 cents per DVD which the writers are demanding.

Since very few writers are employed year round, most rely on those royalties to eat. Surprisingly enough, very few writers are insanely wealthy. Or even sanely wealthy. Or remotely wealthy. And with the distribution landscape changing as rapidly as it is due to changes in technology, etc. writers are now threatened with the prospect of a future filled with not eating.

As a wannabe writer/actor/ GENIUS, I am accustomed to doing work for free. That's just part of the deal when you're starting out. The one thing that keeps me from giving up and looking for a "real career" is the hope that one day I will be able to buy food, clothing and shelter with my earnings from being a writer/ actor/ GENIUS.

So, in solidarity with future-Nat and in my own potential self-interest, I feel that it is important to at least get the word out to you three people who read this blog occasionally. Also, I won't be streaming episodes of The Office anytime soon. Mostly because I don't have reliable internet access at home.

Take THAT, Hollywood!