If there's a WGA strike, do you think more people will read books . . .

or will more TV/film writers be writing books?

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We should strike.
Funny, I've never been in a profession where strike was feasible. And the bastards always know it and treat us accordingly.
I think Bush should fire them all. Like Reagan did with the air traffic controllers. ;)
Didn't the last strike lead to the first reality TV shows? Something to the effect of "How can we cut these guys(writers) out of the picture all together?"
That's what I thought.

Sad to say, I don't think people will be reading more.
Okat, next time I need to read the topic more carefully.

So, to answer the question that was really asked, I don't think that many writers will turn to books rather than scripts. There might be a few who choose to do that, but unless the strke goes on for a long time or has unexpected consequences for writers, I think they'll go back to writing scripts when it's done.
Funny thing about that, it also seems to have led to some other things.

In the LA Times a couple of weeks ago, Rob Long wrote for their opinion page (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-oe-long18oct18...) about how when the last strike happened in 88, a bunch of writers who weren't really supposed to write went out and wrote anyway.
The town was flooded with buddy comedies, cop dramas, blended-family sitcoms, erotic thrillers and cop-partnered-with-orangutan projects. So many, in fact, that it was clear that a lot of striking guild members, when not picketing on Lankershim or brooding about their ill-treatment, had been doing a good deal more than noodling around an idea.

So, no I don't think most WGA are going to turn to writing books. Some of them might start, but when it comes down to it, they've got a mortgage to pay just like everyone else, and there's not much point in pursuing a brand new career when the promise of money is so elusive and far away.

By the time they get their first advance, provided they sell anything in the first place, they'll be back in the workforce pulling a steady paycheck.

As to more people reading books, I think if that happens, it's going to be a while. Television will have to rely on more reruns, shows already in the pipe, and reality television. I think there are some other areas the WGA doesn't cover. Animation? I know they don't get benefits, but I'm not sure if they're within the WGA.

Anyway, it will take some time to run through shows already in the can, and definitely through the movies. We won't see a problem (or more of a problem considering how shitty the latest batches of films have been) until around 2009, because of the longer lead times.

I think we'll see more indy films and foreign imports, but that's just a guess.

So, the viewing public is probably going to have to get through the glut of premade programming before they finally give up and head towards a paperback.
Rob Long's comment tallies with what I've heard, that screenwriters tend to spend their strike time writing spec scripts. For those who don't know, spec or speculative scripts are original ideas developed by the writer. Most writing in Hollywood is done for hire - a producer has an idea and a writer is then paid to turn that idea into a script. That's one of the reasons why sequels, re-makes and adaptations of other properties proliferate.

The strike is likely to impact films in two ways: first, a bunch of films are being rushed in front of the cameras with scripts that probably need more work and have no scope for last-minute on-set re-writes. That means some of the films released next year will be even crappier than normal. Once the strike is done however, all those spec scripts writers have been working on will go to market and out of that might come a relative glut of fresh and original films that wouldn't normally have been written.

However, on the whole, Hollywood can cope with a long strike. They've been stockpiling scripts and the lead time on features is long anyway. The business the strike will really hit (and already has) is TV and, yes, the networks are already looking to slant all their programming toward reality shows - expect more of them and episodes of existing ones to be extended.

The lines are fuzzy on writing for animation. It's actually covered by a different union (can't remember which), but the WGA are trying to claim jurisdiction over it anyway. In fact, while I completely agree with the WGA's stand, which is basically over getting residuals for things like internet broadcasts, the way they've gone about it makes them look like a bunch of... [hmm, best not finish that sentence in case I ever have to join]

I'm curious to hear how you think the WGA misstepped in the stand they've taken. From where I sit, it seems the AMPTP are the ones who should be embarrassed by their intractable, arrogant idiocy.
Variety have posted a couple of good articles on the strike:



My reading of the situation is that, yes, the AMPTP have taken an unreasonable stand, but their PR has been in a different league to the WGA. Yes, the writer's problem has been, ironically, one of communication.

I read today that the WGA have quietly backed down on enforcing the rule of no writing for animation after threats of legal action from both the AMPTP and Local 839 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees - the union who actually has jurisdiction over animation writing, but there remains confusion surrounding whether writers can legally hand over scripts in progress to the WGA as the union has demanded.

Allegations of bias against the writers in the mainstream media seems to have mainly arisen because the WGA is either slow or unforthcoming with press releases, unlike the AMPTP.

The crazy thing is that the share of revenue the WGA are asking for is peanuts compared to the cost of a strike, which has people asking whether this is about the AMPTP trying to quash the writers, rather than anything to do with economics.

I feel most sorry for the writer-producers, especially working on those shows considered on the bubble of popularity. All of them want to support the strike, but by doing so they could see the shows they created die as a result of no new episodes going to air until the strike ends.
Over on Galley Cat is a bit of an article that suggests the striking writers will now dust off their novels and submit to publishing houses in New York. And contracts for film rights to books will continue to written. So I suppose all it means for us is that there will be more competition in the market place.
There's a story in today's L.A. Times about how the publishing industry will be watching the strike:


The article mentions that striking writers may be dusting off their novel manuscripts. But this article also states that some studios may be sending out "force majeure" letters that essentially cancel book options because of forces out of their control. Hope that doesn't happen to the many film deals involving crime novels that have been announced recently. Can't imagine that it will because the industry will eventually need good material when the strike is over.


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