The Flip Side of the Writer's Strike - the Point of View you're Not Being Told...
Jan 5, 2008
I keep seeing petitions for signing in regards to the Writer's Strike - to support them. I wish to present a flip side of the story you're NOT being told....
I wish to start by writing that we believe in the right to strike & unions etc etc etc, but this flip side needs to be presented. I also wish to start by writing that the union members of the different production crew unions involved in Film & TV production have not been given a raise corresponding to cost of living over the last 25 years. But the writers have, along with the rest of the "Above the Line" people.
My husband is a camera operator/steadicam operator working predominately in TV, but also in film. His resume can be seen here. He's worked in the industry working his way up from gofer to his present position over well over 35 years. He's earned his way.
He is now Out Of Work since one month due to the strike. He's one of the lucky ones.... This is not the first time we've had to deal with this, last time the strike lasted 22 weeks & it took forever for him to get union work again. We lived on nothing. Barely making it. Last time, the result was the exodus out of Hollywood to Canada & beyond. It's taken forever for him to get back with studios & regular work. Life has not been easy most of the time.
I could write a long e-mail on this, but it gives me serious headaches, & as we all well know - - I already suffer far too much from those.
So I'll boil it down to this. The already highly paid want more, the greedy are being greedier.
So this is how it goes.... Yes, the producers don't want to spread the money around. But they answer to the studios, who in turn answer to the network & affiliates, who in turn answer to the shareholders. That's whoever owns stock in whatever company that's on top. Shareholders want their dividend. The producers simply have to show profit. There are producers who put all the money in their own pockets for sure, but this is a business & it has to show profit & it has to offset all the losses of other projects as well. Give & take.
The highest paid people on a production, either Film or TV, are the Actors, Producers, Writers & Directors. They're referred to as "Above the Line". "Below the Line" is everyone else. "Above the Line" can travel all over the world & work with no problem, "Below the Line" can't. Not even to Canada, though Canadians seem to have very little problem working here.
Once the Writers get their way, the rest are going to want the same increase. Producers & Directors are all about to start renegotiating their contracts & are also threatening strikes. Actors just make demands & if good enough - they get what they demand.
So, once the writers get what they want - the rest will follow. End result - - production costs will go up. Studios are going to say, we don't want to give you any more money - - so the producers will now have a smaller budget to work with. We all know how far $ 100.00 will take us today, where will it take us a year from now, where did it take us a year ago? This is no different in Film & TV production.
So what will happen.... producers are going to have to enforce that the people who are already the lowest paid will get paid less for the same work. It's that or another exodus out of Hollywood... End result will probably be the second exodus & yet again reduced work in an already depressed town.
For every writer there is on a show, there's at least 50 people in the crew etc etc etc. out of work, This includes rental houses, vendors, carpenters & many others. Most shows have a few writers & 100 + people in the crew (not including the actors). Some studios & shows my husband has worked on solve issues with writers by also making them producers. That actually means that they're paid for being both writer & producer at the same time. They get double pay this way. Talk about money going bye-bye.... Sometimes to keep an actor happy, they make the actor also a producer & they get double paid as well.
Fact is that a licensed plumber makes more money than someone working on a Film or TV crew. Plumbers get increased pay corresponding to cost of living - Film & TV crews do not.
So, if you truly believe that the writers, who already get residuals for a long time, are entitled to more money & are entitled to put all these other people out of work & lower their pay - - - than please feel free to sign these petitions.
If you find it unfair that my husband and so many more people, should be out of work, loose their homes, get divorced due to stress etc etc due to the writers wanting more money - - than, please don't sign the petitions. We have no way of know when there will be work again for my husband. Reality is, we could loose our home.
Yes, the fact that people "steal" movies in cinemas & sell them, the CDs are copied illegally, that the Film & TV industry loose billions due to theft etc etc etc should not mean that the crew (totally apart from the writers, producers, directors & actors) should have to make less money & loose work.
So, do the math - for the 12,000 writers on strike, there's probably millions of people out of work in the US. Is this right?
I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but I've been watching this for a while & I've gone over it again & again. I can no longer keep quiet. The truth has to be told. Don't believe everything you're being told - - you're not told the complete story & you're watching reruns.
Saturday January 5, 2008, 3:46 pm
I did sign the petition BUT i knew about this also. I wish we had one for the other side also.
This was a great post you made and I for one appreciate it and think it was needed. This is first hand facts about the "flip side".
Thank You !
I hope this year is better for you/your husband and his industry.
Saturday January 5, 2008, 5:08 pm
If you are reading this through LilJudds blog and have not noted the news article posted, please go to this link and note it.
Let's get this news to the front page! Thanks:)
Saturday January 5, 2008, 5:50 pm
Like many,I've always been interested in Hollywood,filmmaking,and such.You've given us the real-life view of it. I will not sign the petition. I will keep praying things get better for your family soon.
Saturday January 5, 2008, 5:55 pm
Thanks for commenting.... I forgot to add a few things...
1, the average (that's average & not all) writer makes over $ 200.000 each year & they make residuals. That means they keep being paid for a script they've written. None of the Below the Line crew make residuals. Only Above the Line get residuals.
2, For well over 20 years the Below the Line unions in Hollywood have not received pay increases to match "Cost of Living". May work for a year or two - - but Camera Union it's 25 years & the pay increase from year to year has remained fixed at the same rate no matter what cost of living has been. He ends up making more money - - but everything costs more so we still end up with less.....
I'm not trying to complain -- we have a good life & are happy. But those that make the most, get the most.
Sunday January 6, 2008, 12:44 pm
I absolutely agree with this woman - the writers are a seriously selfish bunch of people who don't seem to care about all the others who are being affected by their strike. Don't sign any petitions in favor of the writers, please!
Monday January 7, 2008, 12:47 pm
"the union members of the different production
crew unions involved in Film & TV production have not been given a raise corresponding to cost of living over the last 25 years." OMG! They must have a Horrible Union! WHY aren't they doing something about it??? How can any program or movie get made Without Production Crews? If MY Union was That Incompetent I'd be burning down the Union Hall!
Monday January 7, 2008, 4:33 pm
I fully understand you position and it is not right that people below the line are getting screwed again! Hang in and fight and perhaps start a new union that will be responsive to your needs. It can be done, it has been done in the past, it sounds like your husband in not being properly represented. Fight, you will win! All power to the people! Rise up!
Tuesday January 8, 2008, 1:00 pm
I agree with Yvonne; if the crews are part of a union, then they should be pressuring their union bosses to earn the money they rake in and fix the disparity. The writers have a legitimate grievance, but so do the crews. The difference seems to be that the writers are doing something about it, and the crews aren't. How about a petition to goad the crew unions into action?
Wednesday January 9, 2008, 9:20 pm
I signed a petition for the writers, and would be more then happy to sign one for the crews. Corporate power runs all media outlets and they could care less about fairness. Every President since the first union busting Reagan Presidentcy has followed suit. Boycott movie theaters,tv shows and dvd sales and you would quickly see the change. Most movies are made for entertainment and many made to carry on propaganda as has always been the case during war.
News media hypes the fear, movies make the fear grow and society at large doesn't know the differance. Thank you Lil, writers can afford the strike, they are still geting paid for reruns.
NASA is looking to build
a new 200 acer Commercial
these wetlands. May
not seem to matter to
most in an area this
large, but I bet the
wildlife inhabitants of
Merritt Island don't
agree.Do we really feel
NASA needs to go in &
starting to pull back
slightly from Care2 as
much of what's
happening in my life
seems to be reflected
upon what's going on
here.1, I'm about to
have minor surgery which
we hope should kill the
pain in my ear since
Dear Friends &
putting this on my
but it didn't seem to
get the right response
& messed the page up.
So in an attempt to do
this I figured I'd
try it in my blog
instead...I suffer from
Hello my C2 Family,
First let me say Thank
You to those of you who
have so sweetly fwd my
posts. You are SO
AWESOME!! I will never
forget your help. Anytime
I can repay the favour,
please tell me. Second,
my Submit button has
disappeared leaving ...