There's hope in sight! The Writers Guild and the Producers association, the AMPTP, is planning to resume formal negotiations on November 26. That's the Monday after Thanksgiving, so maybe everyone will be so stuffed with Tryptophan (a chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy and happy) that they'll be in good moods to strike a deal. Like Pilgrims and Native Americans?
So what does this meeting mean? I don't think they'd make a plan to meet unless they thought there was a really good chance they'd make progress. And this timing is crucial. For a deal to be made before the new year it'll have to happen in the first two weeks after Thanksgiving. Once you get to mid-December, Hollywood starts to clear out as executives head off to Hawaii and Mexico with their families. I don't just mean that the town slows down. The talent agencies are literally closed for at least that week between Christmas and New Years. So the meeting would have to be now.
What pushed the two sides to sit down? It could be a couple things. Bottom line, strikes are expensive and no fun for anyone. There are a couple of smaller factors that could be pushing this all forward. If they wait until February to make a deal, it'll totally throw off the TV pilot season, which could be a mess. Another minor factor: The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds came out in favor of the WGA strike which will make it harder for the studios to find scabs in the UK or elsewhere.
And then there's the issue of how it's all playing in the press. Some folks here in LA are saying the writers are doing a great job with PR, sending of a gazillion (and that's a technically accurate number) press releases a day. Actors support the WGA, politicians support the WGA, the American public supports the WGA. Geez, it certainly seems like some writers are writing a ton. Does it really matter that interns and assistants support the WGA? Meanwhile the studios could use some better PR, or at least a more aggressive representation of their issues. They do pay a share of iTunes downloads, they have made concessions.
There's no question that this is an issue of principle for the writers--the amount of revenue the writers (at least the working writers) are losing during a strike of any significant amount of time far exceeds the amount they'd make from digital revenues in the near future.
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