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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

WGA Strike: this (marketing) blog supports the WRITERS

285feywritersstrike110507_2 Background here.

In searching for marketing bloggers talking the WGA strike, I came across David's post that forecasts what will happen to online media if this strike continues for a few months.

I'd like to point out a few things here--that are not forecasts, just observations. And I also want to give some love to the WGA (Writers Guild of America). Here goes:

1. Content needs Concept. Yes, studios need to make money. I've worked in television media and they exhaust it like crazy making content for us to consume (they literally hemorrhage money until it's a hit, or in syndication). But the fact is, writers can't go on zilch for downloadable media. See...without writers producing a concept, there is no content to become a hit.

2. How far we've come...and so fast. Funny how all this "Internet Stuff" is CENTRAL to this strike, eh? Who'd a thunk it ten years ago? Amazing how far we've come in so little time. That one deserves a pause and a grin. Remember, we overestimate what happens in the short term (2-4 years) and underestimate what happens in the long term (10-20 years).

Wga_logo 3. Writer to Writer. While not that type of writer, I write a lot. Concept even more. And it's hard work. Some of the best of the best practices and tips I've received? They've been from television writers (i.e. "arrive late and leave early," don't be "too on the nose," etc).

4. The "I told ya so" tech dance is sweet. Also, working in technology, I am pleased as punch to see what a profit center it now is--if it's enough to strike over, it's a permanent SHIFT (no longer a trend). I'll certainly be using this as a firm example with all the naysayers.

5. Everyone needs to adjust their business models, get used to it. Disruptive technologies do just that (disrupt!). Go ask the papers and magazines what they're wrestling with (oy!). But adjust we must. If we want better content--and this is one of the better fall lineups I've seen in five of them--we need to incentivize the artists. There's always room for profit innovation--and studios are particularly adept at that.

Lots of love going out to those on strike...and to the many others experiencing inconveniences and stress as a result of it (many innocent "victims" in a strike).

Here's the explanation of "Why We Fight" by the WGA (readers click through to the blog).


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It's funny, I was at this New York Law School event about user-generated content, and a lawyer finds out I'm a blogger and he started asking my thoughts on issues of others repurposing my content illegally. I told him most of the time people use anything of mine, it's well attributed and I get a link back, but I'm sure it happens occasionally without credit and that's just the cost of doing business. Yet blogging's something I do for free; I even lose money on it (in the direct sense - in the intangible sense, it pays for itself many many times over). We're clearly not in the shoes of those who make a living off their writing because we have other pursuits to pay for our writing habit, and the writing habit then supports our careers.

I'm not sure where exactly I'm going with this except for the rather humbling thought that it means a lot to support the readers, though I don't want to go so far as to say I can empathize with them as I've never tried to make a living off writing alone.

A PS here: let's get Arrested Development back while we're at it.

@David: I hear ya. Blogging is something apart from my business--and my business includes A LOT of paid writing. Be that writing part of a presentation for a marketing strategy...positioning...thought leadership paper or messaging platform. And I get paid for it no matter the platform (online/offline).

To give writers zilch is just plain wrong. But I love what it says about the maturation and adoption of technology. HUGE validation for all those in tech. Will work on AD show, too.

I'd argue the writers for some shows have been on strike for awhile.

I'd say that people shouldn't write for free... but look what I do almost every day. ;)

I think more of us should be supporting the strike. But I get upset my favorite show will be ending soon...I don't know what to do!! LOL


I have been on both sides of this aisle and like you understand the complexities involved in any pay dispute. That said, I also worked as a freelance writer for six years, and I didn't and still don't want anyone using my work without paying me unless I give them permission to do so.

Of course, my writings online for blogs are not part of the work-for-hire principle laid out in my comment above. Everyone should feel free to use any of my blog posts: I would like credit, however, and a link back, which are just part of the rules we play by online.

Interesting side note to all this is, as David mentioned, the whole CGC phenomenon. And part of that is the fallacious notion that anyone can write.

They can't.

Well, not very well, anyway. Look at how few really good books, TV shows and movies there are. Writing is a skill, not a craft. And the people who have that skill deserve to get paid for it.

Unless, like me and my fellow bloggers on here, we choose not to.

Amen CK. Amen.

I am not a writer, BUT I am very affected by the strike.
I work in the on a TV SHOW which was put on hold.
I am one of the lowest paid people on set and I don't know how my family is going to have a christmas celebration this year. If the strike continues into the new year and I am not able to work. I don't know how I will make my house payment, or school fees, car payments, etc.

I am sitting at home right now trying to find a job outside the industry just to make ends meet. Even when the strike is resolved and the already well paid writer's are satisfied, I will still be one of the lowest paid people on set - JUST with extra debt because the strike has left me without a job.

Good luck to you all, hope it's worth it.
I'm trying really hard to keep in mind that this is for the greater good.
Hopefully if we are ever forced to strike we'll, have the WRITERS' SUPPORT.


Hey Unemployed:
I'm sorry this strike is taking its toll--like I said above, there are far too many innocent victims in a strike. Maybe those nets will come to their senses and give a percentage to the writers, or maybe both sides will compromise.

Here in NYC we also have Broadway on strike and I feel terribly for the tourists who have brought their families here, only to have to see a movie (instead of a play).

Sending lots of good luck your way (and remember, so long as you have your family your x-mas can be great--having lost my mother this year, I could care less about gifts. Family is what really matters ).

I agree with your support of the writers. I cannot understand the obduracy of the TV networks on this subject because viewing to broadcast is already down more than 10% in this new TV season and that's with all new programs. At the same time, the networks are charging record ad prices to advertisers. Why jeopardize such an incredibly profitable business by refusing to share with one of its most important resources, the writers? The only possible answer is excessive corporate greed. Go writers!

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