Monday, November 5, 2007

The War On Words on Writers

From 4 pennies to 8 pennies per CD/DVD is just too big of an increase for producers and giant corporate media moguls to bear to part with for mere writers. They moan it would eat into their thin margins as they wage vicious see and be seen ratings wars, ongoing battles of which bloated scripts to be put in executive rehab and it unilaterally disarms the rich by giving a pittance to poor WGA writers. Thy writer may have a few other jobs to keep their health care and food on the table. This will not be the reality TV show America gets to see during the newest Dark Laptop Ages of the Writer's strike. Instead, US television drivel will come from the untested mind of some milquetoast MBA with an urge to prove that Fear Factor 13 is economically viable. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

All of the trappings of a union protest were there — signs, chanting workers, an inflatable rat, and a discarded bag of wrappers and cups from Dunkin Donuts. The rat was borrowed from Local 79, an AFL-CIO laborers’ union, and commuted in from Queens.

But instead of hard hats and work boots, the people on the pickets had arty glasses and fancy scarves.

“A lot of the public probably feels like we are brats,” said Sarah Durken, a writer for children’s programs. “We are not hospital workers and firefighters, we know that — the world is going to keep turning. But I think everyone understands that the issue of corporate greed versus the needs of workers and their families.” (30 Rock's writer Tina Fey/AP Photo)

Stay on a pre-paid script. Put a bunch of dysfunctional people together in awkward circumstances with a big shiny prize that will bring out the semi-cognizant and Behold, a 46 minute burning reality show paid for by corporate entities hawking pills, diapers and the next reality show born of dire doom. Note to television audience: those same dysfunctional people on the show are mirror images of those deciding to air the show. Whew, makes you really rush to get to the TV. A half billion dollars of losses during the last strike in 1988, was a mere rainy day piggy bank to some big shots while others watched financial and professional ruin advance at the speed of light with scripts withering in the dust bowl of boring entertainment. The War on Words is a spiffy acronym - every marketer will say, you need that to get the public's attention, so WOW is officially on, over a few pennies. Call me when they speak in terms of folding money...

Writers produced an incredible amount of original product before hitting the picket and bread lines. The immediate audience ouch comes from those who like the topical late night shows like fake news star John Stewart's The Daily Show and ex-presidential premature panderer Stephen Colbert, of The Colbert Report. There is no one left to write his campaign speeches. Whoa, is business going to be better with YouTube since the content of the reality shows have a few decency limits. YouTube can sink to new depths of depravity with a bored audience or become the heights of drama capturing audience share never to return to TV again with web sensation classics like Obama Girl, Britney Spears howling Public Defender or the shocked squirrel.

Let the Word go Forth to media producers and executives alike - Writers own the Words and you need those to make the entertainment industry actually work. It's not rocket science, its the writing, stupid.

Steven Colbert has a satirical genius book out to keep us amused and suitably entertained, I Am America: And So Can You. John Stewart is a New York Times Bestselling author of The Daily Show with John Stewart Presents America: A Citizen's Guide to democracy Inaction - that word thing again in the ironic hands of awesome crafters.

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