Media companies really shouldn’t let this strike drag out

The writers strike has temporarily saved me from staring zombie-like from my slouched position on the couch, and instead has me typing zombie-like from a differently-slouched position on my couch. After seeing a couple of mildly amusing clips from on-strike writers (from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report), I was curious enough to poke around the writers’ website and see them make their case. Regardless of the merits of the strike, the writers are in a much better position to make their case than they were the last time they did this.

But I think it’s a lot worse than writers with extra YouTube posting time on their hands. There’s a piece in the L.A. Times about how non-Hollywood money is starting to find good writers (via pmarca)

Writer Guild members, listen up. There is a lesson here. Just ask Tony Gilroy, the writer-director of “Michael Clayton,” a nervy thriller that’s won critical raves this fall. Gilroy had a script that was dead in the water until a total outsider — a Boston real estate developer named Steve Samuels — said if Gilroy could get a star and stick to a budget, he’d bankroll the film.

Being entrepreneurial isn’t for the faint of heart. If you want a sweet upfront paycheck, you may not have the stomach for it. But after seeing studios bowdlerize their scripts, many writers will swap a big payday for more control. [Writer-Director David Twohy] says that after Relativity [(the firm that financed “3:10 to Yuma”)] read his script, “They told me, ‘Script approved as-is.’ I’ve never heard a studio ever say that.”

I have to agree with Marc Andreessen on this one: “Is this really the right time to pick a fight with the writers over royalties from DVD and Internet sales, leading to an industry-wide shutdown and massive economic pain for all sides in the world of traditional scripted film and television content?”

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