Speaking of that WGA strike, Variety blogger
Tom McLean explains very clearly why Comic-Con is strike-proof. The comment thread to the post points out something interesting that we had kind of noted in passing, as well: the price for a four-day pass has been raised from $55 (pre-reg) to $75. That should do a wee bit to keep people away. Stress the “wee.” $55 was a very low price considering all that you got.

And speaking of the WGA strike, the impending DGA contract settlement is ratcheting the pressure on everyone:

Top scribes have been telling agents they will seriously consider going fi-core (resigning from the WGA by declaring “financial core” status) should the leadership spurn the terms in the DGA pact. That group, which styles itself as moderate and pragmatic, held a meeting early in the week and has been seeking recruits with the warning that more pain will visit the scribes shortly should Verrone and Young give a thumbs-down to the DGA terms. The DGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers met for the fifth consecutive day Wednesday under a news blackout. Both sides will meet again today at AMPTP headquarters.

Adding to the pressures: studios and networks are using force majeure to cancel dozens of independent contracts. That means lots of people are now out of work. And with the nation headed into a recession, if Lou Dobbs is to be believed, everyone is itching to get back to work.


  1. Since this strike began there’s always been talk of top writers going fi-core if the WGA doesn’t do X next. I seriously think it’s all AMPTP planted bullshit. Especially this tidbit since it’s about the following the DGA agreement.

    Also: consider the source, it’s Variety, which from the get go has been a AMPTP mouthpeice.

  2. “I seriously think it’s all AMPTP planted bullshit. “

    Do you seriously think EVERY member of the WGA marches in lock-step with the leaders and prominent pot-bangers like Evanier? I think it’s logical (and understandable) for a percentage of WGA members to desire an alternate path to getting back to work.

  3. The WGA is a perfect example of how unions are sometimes a very bad thing. In order to work regularly as a Hollywood writer, you have to join the WGA. And when they go on strike, you go on strike whether you want to or not. And when they walk away from the negotiating table for “X” reason, you’re basically screwed if the strike drags on and you need to get back to work.

    At this point, it’s time to bail on the WGA’s collective bargaining and start negotiating separate agreements with production companies.

  4. Brian, the WGA *has* negotiated separate agreements with production companies. Worldwide Pants (Letterman) was first, then United Artists, the Weinstein Company, and now Spyglass have followed.

    I’d take this fi-core rumor with a Variety-sized grain of salt. Any impending DGA agreement will undoubtedly pressure the WGA, but the MacWorld announcement on New Media with– surprise!– every major studio onboard to provide content has proven what the union has been saying about NM since the beginning. I’d wager that this revelation has only strengthened the resolve of most members.

  5. Re: “unions are sometimes a very bad thing”, without the WGA writers would likely have no pension or health plan or residuals, all benefits only won after hard fought strikes in the past. I consider those all very good things.

    Further, the AMPTP is the entity that walked away from the table, twice now, and they still refuse to negotiate unless the WGA unilaterally drops six important negotiating points. I’ve been on the picket line since day one, and believe me, I’d much rather be working. But this is about striking a fair deal and how writers are compensated as we move into the brave new world of internet distribution.

  6. Gotta agree with Jamie Coville. This is about the 3rd or 4th time I’ve read the same nearly identical message about the WGA falling apart.

    That the actors are fully behind the writers should indicate to any logically thinking person that this is an important strike. The AMPTP is trying to break the Unions/Guilds. They won’t be able to do that this year. If the strike lingers into autumn of 2008, then they might have a chance to break the Unions/Guilds, but even then I don’t think so.

    There are potentially BILLIONS of dollars at stake over the next few decades, all generated from the internet. The writers, directors, actors, and all the ancillary workers deserve a slice of that internet produced pie.

  7. Mark, while I certainly understand and respect your position, unions aren’t a requirement to obtaining pensions and health benefits. Like many people, I work for a company that offers these kinds of benefits simply because they want to be attractive to prospective employees.

    With a shift to staff writing positions, studios and production companies will start competing against one another and will start offering more benefits to get and keep the writers they want. There are plenty of writers in the world, something I’m sure the WGA is well aware of, so why in the world should studios and production companies lock themselves in to whatever the WGA demands?

  8. If you purchased a four day membershp onsite at the 2006 show for 2007, you would have paid $45.

    If you purchased a four day membership onsite at the 2007 show for 2008, you would have paid $50.

    Full price for four day memberships last year (2007) was $65.00.
    Full price for four day memberships at 2008 show is $75.00.

  9. Mark Engblom: No, but 90% of the Union voted to go on strike and I don’t think anything the AMPTP has done since then has won people over to their side (quite likely the opposite). Nobody can really say who the 10% are that voted not to go on strike, but I suspect it’s the top writers that have the most to lose are are walking the picket lines right now.

  10. Right, but 90% at the time of the vote doesn’t necessarily translate to 90% two months in. It’s logical to assume a good chunk of that 90% voted a very tentative “yes” to go on strike, and now may feel differently. Perhaps the notion of a strike seemed more palatable than the reality of a strike during the heady days of the vote…but as bills pile up, minds and loyalties can certainly be changed.