Tuesday, January 1, 2008

WGA Strike: World Wide Pants Makes Deal

Speechless #27

Speechless #28

Go Letterman Go!

The WGA made a full deal with World Wide Pants, Dave Letterman's company.

The deal INCLUDED the entire MBA. Everything the the WGA had on the table -- where the AMPTP left it when they walked out 25 days ago -- has now been negotiated fully, closed and signed with 'Pants.

Done. Game over. (For WWP. Their writers -- and only their writers -- are returning to work.)

What great, amazing news.

United Hollywood (Howard A. Rodman, member of the WGA Board and founder of the Guild's independent film writers committee)

Top 10 Reasons Why The Worldwide Pants Deal is a Good Idea

10. The AMPTP says that we're too crazy, too ideological, too amateurish to make a deal, and this lets us say, oh yeah?

9. The Networks That Are Not CBS will be hard put to justify to their advertisers and stockholders why they're letting the competition have a real late-night show while they go forth with writerless efforts. (As The Canadian Press put it yesterday, "Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart all plan returns to late-night television over the next two weeks, but aside from their familiar faces, viewers may not recognize much.")

8. And despite what some will say, that's genuine pressure. Yes, the conglomerates have deep pockets. But they do have to answer to the folks who pay the bills.

7. Because it's not just a plain vanilla interim deal: this is a deal we can use as a model, with cherries on top.

6. Cherries, in this case, meaning that the Letterman deal is the full MBA, complete with the New Media proposals we couldn't get the other side to move on at the Big Table. This shows our proposals are affordable. And, perhaps best of all, Worldwide Pants is taking on the liability of our contract provisions, including not only the payment terms, but also the backstop of the fair market valuation test under the MBA.

5. Although this will be very hard on Leno, Conan, Kimmel and other late-night Guild writers, the wedge that it drives between the networks is deeper and sharper than the wedge it drives between writers. While the companies understand ROI, only we understand solidarity.

4. Go re-read number 10.

3. Like the waiver for the SAG awards, it lets people know that, when we are able to, we honor those who honor us.

2. Because in 1988, Letterman called management "money-grubbing scum." Out loud. In public.

1. Worldwide Pants has a better logo than the AMPTP.

On a more serious note, though: we should all remember what writers gave up in 1960 so that all writers who came after them -- meaning us -- could have residuals. In order to make that deal, they gave up the rights to residuals for everything they had written prior to 1960. The sacrifice they made for the future is inspiring, and humbling in the best possible sense.
Today is the first day of 2008.

Today it has been twenty-five days since the AMPTP walked out of negotiations.

Welcome to the most important labor action of the new century.

This fight is dog-shit simple.

Will the bullies (studios) get away with stealing lunch money from the geeks (writers, actors, and directors) forever and ever, amen... or not?

At stake is control of the internet.

Whom do you want in charge?

Six big studios run by bullies?

Or middle-class folks with kids in schools and bills to pay?

Folks like you and I who genuinely give a damn about families, the war, and taking care of people. Not to mention the occasional fart joke, musical, or a musical with a fart joke. (Blazing Saddles, anyone?)

How long is our own Lower Manhattanite -- a Guild Writer -- really willing to wait?

Let's ask writers on the picket line...
  • What are you striking for?
  • What's the hardest part of striking?
  • How long are you willing to wait?