This video is making the rounds with a clever multi-media presentation of the precepts behind the WGA strike. In a nutshell: the writer want their cut of internet profits. Which, studios say, don’t exist.

Right.

There’s a lesson for EVERY creator here — don’t give up your rights. You may have created Vitameatavegemin. Please, watch.

Todd Alcott has more, including a link to a suspiciously articulate article by Alec Baldwin.

Big Producer calls, or, more likely, Big Producer has Enthusiastic Minion call. Enthusiastic Minion tells me a little bit about Massive Pop Behemoth and how it’s going to be a big big hit and make everyone a ton of money with toys and video games and spinoffs and all I have to do is come up with a compelling story that will appeal to absolutely everyone, offend absolutely no one, and make the movie a smash four-quadrant $500 million hit, a beachhead for MPB’s life-long juggernaut upon popular culture.

So I spend a week or so watching other $500 million four-quadrant hits and figure out a broad-strokes story that I think stands a good chance of becoming a movie. This week or so is spent preparing for the “pitch” instead of actually writing something that could ever be actually something other than a soul-destroying “product.”

Because I am not paid to prepare for the pitch, I must have, literally, ten or fifteen of these projects going on in the hopes that one of them turns into an actual paying gig.

1 COMMENT

  1. Anyone know _how_ the writers want to measure “internet use”? They argue convincingly that tying residuals to profit is bad for them since profit can easily be made to disappear through clever accounting. OTOH, tying internet residuals to clicks creates an incentive for (human) bot farms (in third world countries), especially when considering the other groups who also get residuals. (To a total of 20% of rerun fees split between them according to Wikipedia.)
    Much as I side with writers on this, I don’t see how they can “solve” the problem of how money is made on the internet (i.e. not through product for money transactions but through links, merchandising, increased DVD sales). I mean, lots of internet rerun _are_ purely for promotional purposes.

  2. I’d imagine if new internet entertainment portals like Hulu are successful, then there would be a solid count of per plays. It’s not that difficult to count how many plays of “Lost” or “Heroes” there were from the studio sites. Right now, nobody gets paid for those plays at all, but the Studios are making money from forced ads.

  3. The studios are already tracking and have pretty solid numbers on traffic, on how much online views and downloads are increasing, how many viewers watch the entire episode (indicating they like myself don’t have a television and watch the one or two shows *cough-Lost* ahem entirely online). You know how you can tell they already have these numbers, despite them claiming they don’t?

    They sell ads.

    Advertisers, for all of there rampant vileness, aren’t known to be terribly stupid, and they are not going to pay for something they can’t be provided numbers on. The studios are selling ads. Therefore, they have the numbers. All that, “the technology is too new” crap, is a lie. They’re wankers.

    If anyone is selling strike t-shirts to support the union, like proceeds go to help the striking writers, I’d buy one *hint hint. I mean, come on, it’s Slogannin’ Time! You’re writers.

  4. If the producers are worried about bot farms and whatever spiking fake eyeball counts then maybe they should escrow the ad revenue and use the money to form some sort of ASCAP or BMI like group.

    You can’t know how many people are listening to what songs on the jukebox at a given bar at any particular time, so BMI simply charges a flat monthly performance fee to the owner for keeping the box going at all. All that money is pooled and every member performer takes a cut. I don’t know the arcane algorithm involved in deciding how much that is but some money is better than none, no?