Monday, November 26, 2007

The Writers' Strike

The word on the street is that a deal will soon be struck between the robber barons and those Hollywood factory workers, the writers. This has been an interesting development and the first time E! has ever aired real news. Not that I'm singling them out, it has also been the first time in a long time CNN has aired real news as well.

The movie studios were supposed to have been safe. After all, don't they have an endless number of scripts of remakes and sequels locked away in that warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Unfortunately Hollywood forgot just one thing, that each script is tinkered with endlessly by an orgy of writers to make absolutely certain every film is exactly the same. Johnny Depp's next flick, Wolverine, and some others have been the victim of their scripts not being ready. Which begs the question, why is a film being OKed with a subpar script. Shouldn't that be the first thing in place to make a good movie, or have I just answered my own question?

Before the strike began the thought was that since the 1988 strike reality television had caused a shift in the balance of power. After all, no one writes those witty lines for Simon Cowell, that's pure Simon, and American Idol happens to be the most popular show on television. Apparently people don't want fake TV, they want fake TV pretending to be real. Too bad the networks already tried this several years ago with a reality television craze. Too bad most of those shows bombed. Does anybody remember Tommy Lee Goes to College because I certainly don't. I don't suspect there has been much short term damage, even with the immediate death of most "variety shows." Although, I will admit I've been watching less television, not that I watched that much to begin with. Here's a little clip to tide over all you Daily Show fans.

Not surprisingly, the writers have apparently been winning the war of words. I mean who are you going to side with, some rich guy that forced American Idol on the world or the person that makes Stephen Colbert say all those funny things. Writing for a living probably helps get your message across as well. A new poll says that 63 percent of Americans side with the writers.

This is another interesting situation where the internet has given more power to artists and less power to the robber barons. Earlier in the year Radiohead forged their own small revolt by leaking their own album online and then asking people to pay what they want. The writers are using the internet as a means of communication, and now that communication is slowly being democratized, the people are seeing fewer producers being interviewed on CNN and more youtube videos of picket lines. On a level playing field the pen beats the purse every time.

No comments: