Monday, November 12, 2007

Thoughts on Striking...

See, I get it.

I do.

I think it sucks because it's the middle of the television season and fans are getting left in the lurch. Shows are hitting their stride, mid-story, and it's possible the viewers will have to wait over a year for seasonal conclusions to already scarce shows (LOST), while baited with the promise of an upswing from faulty stories in others (Heroes). Nevermind the super quick shut down of favorites like The Office, teasing its best table read EVER!

I may go insane.

Not that I think the actors and writers and directors are using this as an excuse for vacation because they don't want to be at work, churning out episodes. If there's anything I learned from my short time in Hollywood, it's that those people are workaholics - seriously. To a fault.

I think the cast and crew is as sad about Dunder-Mifflin sitting empty as I am. Well, probably more when it comes to crew, because let's face it, this strike is NOT good for the grips and the PAs and all the other hardworking little guys making a living on set.

But if there's anything I love, it's a display of solidarity.

My husband is in the entertainment industry, so I know what residuals mean and why they're important. If someone tried selling his CD's or posting their songs on iTunes and left them out of the cut, I'd be there with my own picket sign (even though I think I'd be the only one - have musicians ever gone on strike?), knocking on the proverbial door.

So, yeah, I think the writer's deserve their cut because it's true, in a few years, New Media and the Internet will be an even bigger monster in this industry than they are now. It's strange to me that TV and Movie scribes aren't automatically figured into the deal, because without them, we wouldn't have television. No company would spend millions of dollars in advertising funds for a slot during NBC's Thursday night because characters as ingenious as Dwight Schrute and Veronica Mars would be figments of our imagination (aren't they kind of anyway), LOST would be nothing but a word normally printed in lower case letters, we'd never have heard the charming tale of Ned the Piemaker, and Prime Time wouldn't exist.

Writers ARE television.

Sure, they're important for movies, but TV is the writer's medium. They produce it, they live it, they star in it, they ... write it. The director doesn't get the glory because he comes in for one episode and leaves. It's the guys and girls in the writer's room, under a florescent light at 3 a.m. who run the show - and they do deserve to be compensated.

So, I get it.

I support the strike - what it stands for - 100%.

Still, while I KNOW it's not about greed - it's NOT - if I'm totally honest, there's this little nagging voice in the back of my brain that's kind of annoyed because the average writer in Hollywood makes about $200,000 a year (putting them in something like the top 1% of earning elite in this country) and the ones who are between jobs, working sporadically, make around $62,000 a year (almost twice the average national salary). Granted, Hollywood is an unpredictable place, and a few years from now, that once viable writer may need to live off their residuals while they look for work with the rest of us Regular Joes, so I can't really begrudge them at all - but I can't feel totally sorry for them either, when I'm living with a struggling musician and trying to find a job! Of course, it's people like me, obsessed with the Hollywood product, that make it the norm for salaries in that industry to inflate past people like teachers and social workers, so I can't get too upset can I?

No, dang it, I can't!

Get me the AMPTP, I want my TV back!!!

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