WGA Gets Tough

wga - image borrowed from website

The last time there was a full-fledged Writer’s Guild strike, I wasn’t in the Writer’s Guild. That was many many years ago. I remember hearing about the strike and then all of a sudden, Dark Shadows with Ben Cross was on TV. And while I’m in the Guild now, I haven’t actually been an active member for about a year, and I haven’t had a paid gig in a couple, so I’m not exactly pacing with tension over this apparently looming strike–at least as far as making rent is concerned. According to an article in today’s Variety, the WGA have drafted strike rules, a move that’s actually more akin to showing Iran a map of where we’d like to bomb should push come to shove than telling our soldiers what would happen should they go AWOL.

In addition to a ban on any guild-covered work in features and TV, a draft recap of the WGA rules said the guild plans to prohibit any writing for new media and declare that writers can’t do animated features — even though that realm is not under WGA jurisdiction.

The WGA didn’t specify what the penalties would be for violating the rules. It’s also asserting that nonmembers who perform banned work during a strike will be barred from joining the guild in the future.

Craig Mazin over at The Artful Writer, who’s been keeping tabs on Guild maneuverings for as long as I’ve been reading points to something that bothers me about the recent focus of the talks:

Everyone in the negotiating room knows that DVD residuals are the epitome of a sailed ship. Harping on doubling that rate is as pointless and absurd as the companies’ proposal to tie residuals to profit.

I completely agree. Popular or not, DVD will soon be as obsolete as the CD (and if you don’t think the cd is obsolete, go talk to the guys at Apple, or for that matter, at Amoeba) and quibbling over the residual rate seems to be missing the point.

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