$250 Flat Fee Producers Offer Writers Guild for Internet Distribution Is Way Lame, Still Screws Writers

Illustration for article titled $250 Flat Fee Producers Offer Writers Guild for Internet Distribution Is Way Lame, Still Screws Writers

The Writers Guild strike languishes on: Heroes ends for the year next week. In a bid to end our suffering, the producers' trade group has made a "groundbreaking" offer to the Writers Guild, grandiosely titled the "New Economic Partnership." The deal's a mind-blowing less-than $250 flat fee for an hour-long show to be re-broadcast on the internet for up to a year. If you recall, internet distribution's sort of the sticking point and writers asked for 2.5 percent of the "distributors' gross revenue." Let us count the ways writers get screwed by the producers' Scrooge-y offer.


Ars points out that right now writers pull about four to six cents a DVD, so a two-million seller will bring them between $80,000 and $120,000 on a title raking in millions for the studio. Even though it's a less-than-stellar deal, at least it scales. The $250 flat internet re-distribution payment and fixed $1300 for 15 minutes of internet-only content doesn't, which is a problem in a couple of ways.


For one, these contracts are in place for a long time—when the initial deal regarding DVD sales were made, DVD wasn't very big. In today's climate, they're studios' biggest cash cows, and writers get the short end of the stick. This deal would lock them into the same rate for internet distribution and content, no matter how big new media gets, and it's obviously going to be huge, so they're standing to get screwed even harder here.

On a smaller scale, it means no matter how many clicks—and therefore ad dollars—a video drew, writers would still get the same tiny compensation. The guild's going over this "proposal" until Tuesday, when talks resume, but our feeling is that you better have a hard love for reruns, reality TV or YouTube. [Ars Technica]

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Some thing we're also forgetting is that some of these writiers, don't necessarily want to strike. Sure, a good deal of them are all for better wages and residuals, but some are actually pleased with their job and now can't continue to do what they love without violating union rules or getting blacballed by their peers. I have a friend who loves his writing job, but he has to be on strike becuase if he does not share the WGA's united front, he may find himself out of work (god forbid) when things get back to normal, and unable to find another job becuase he "backstabbed" his fellow guild members. Not an easy thing for a newly minted and highly aspring writer.

Personally I agree with the capping of actors' salaries. I, being an actor myself, feel that Millions is easy enough to live off of for an entire year, and it is also easy enough for that same actor (if he's being paid millions) to find work later that year and make another few million, if he/she is infact WORTH that much. Whereas I don't think that "actors without writers would just be a bunch of models with nothing to say" (there are a good deal of actors that can take a very basic scene, and turn it into gold, and notice that I say ACTORS not Celebrities), I also think that certain Hollywood players have become grossly overrated and need to get a reality check.

It's a big cycle really, and the same actors need to realize that if the writers don't work, then there are no productions for actors to get work, and if the actors do get work from scabs it may not be high quality, and the actors get paid enough that they can afford a pay cut, so in turn they should support getting the good writing talent back. Take away the possibilty of some pretty, talentless face like Tom Cruise or John Travolta making over 2-3 million on thier next film, and the next time that the writers strike watch how quick they'll speak up to try and get it resolved. I'm sure you'd be surprised.

Frankly, I hope the writers strike holds out for however long it takes to get things resolved amicably and fairly. I want those guys to go back to work, but I also do't want to do it at the expense of them getting screwed over for a second time.