So, here we are, at the beginning of what could be a long and messy strike. I say "could be," because I tend to be an optimist about stuff, and I'd like to believe that perhaps the WGA's brinkmanship will be rewarded with serious negotiations...
...but I have my doubts, because so much money is involved.
It's gone past the simple negotiations of one piece of talent, one representative, and 12 lawyers and business affairs people (slight sarcasm, yah, but you get my point) to becoming a larger debate about writers and writing.
In a world where a dog skateboarding on "You Tube" is seen more than "Viva Laughlin" on CBS, how do you define the importance of writers?
But then: The above question says more to their importance than their irrelevance, I think.
The debate isn't about the now: Now, it's all about reality shows and dance contests and all that crap that I hate. (Honesty.) It's about what happens when the pendulum swings back and suddenly, people want scripted things again in a digital age. Or if, I suppose.
It's about what ideas are worth in success, which is the frustrating part. Nobody's asking for a ridiculous amount more upfront (I think). They're asking for a little bit more in success: In success, I might point out, where everybody's making more money.
But then again, good TV is like creating a really good new medicine. A lot of money up front to create it, and then a lot of time to see if that's paid off. Look at Studio 60. The whole season is out on DVD right now, BTW. Get it, if you'd like a set of coasters with creator commentary.
So as this thing starts, I have three minds, all of which I'm trying to balance, all of them which I'm going to have to strive to remain ethical and consistent with, which won't be easy.
* The WGA mind - which supports my union, supports it's members and is proud to be part of something bigger than myself. As a friend of mine said today - others have walked this line and fought this fight for me, it's only fair that I do the same.
* My Hyphenate Mind - Which is about to executive produce my first live action, WGA covered single-cam,era idea, something that I've waited my whole career for. It's been very hard to watch this unfold at the exact same time - a little like getting a holiday gift and then realizing it came from China and it's chock full of extra lead.
* My Union 839 Mind - Which continues to produce cartoons in the midst of all this, because the cartoons I produce are not covered by the WGA. 839 is part of the IATSE which I always tend to find myself conflicted over - they represent writers, but we're 8% of their 839 (am I right?) - and we're not even called writers. We're... "Story Persons" or something like that. And you don't need to be a forensic scientist to know the divisions between writers and artists within 839 is deep indeed.
There are good things about 839 - but I also tend to find animation representation to be super limited - a small number of agents, and a limited number of talented people that are in bed with a small number of companies, which creates an "eggs in one basket" mentality that makes it very hard to push for "in success" pieces of the pie.
Everything substantial I've ever gotten in animation - outside of their Health care - has been through the effort of an agent, a lawyer, and individuals in a larger company that believed in me outside the parameters of my union minimums. And that, by the way, includes the studios I work for.
And within all of that, I have friends who are producers and directors, family, co-workers, people I work for, people who work for me... all of whom have their own individual agendas inside a million larger issues.
It's no wonder the debate has gone to brinkmanship... there are too many moving parts. Everybody has to fear the car falling apart, or nobody's gonna take it into the shop.
There's so many sides to this it sometimes feels as though my head's going to explode, but it really boils down to attempting, to the best of my ability, to act with integrity and be proud of my actions when this is all over.
It's day one.
That's where my mind is at. All three of them, actually.
How about yours?
P.S. Sorry about the duplicate Emails. Outlook for Mac is ASS.