I have more than a few friends walking the picket lines right now. These are not people who make a lot of money. They're probably going to be in trouble quicker than some of my other friends who work in production who are going to be out of work as a result of the strike.
Let's face it many of my writer friends are already in financial trouble because they've been running down the dream and it's been getting away from them what with the onslaught of reality programming.
The only friends in the industry who are not going to be in financial trouble are those who work for "the companies". Doesn't that sound like some ominous, faceless demononic sect in a John Grisham novel?
It's kind of feeling like that right now, and J. Nicholas Counter is starring as the oily little minion who does their bidding.
Here's what I see coming in the near future reality. Television as we know it is going to disappear and be replaced with large, flat screen monitors attached to our computers and we will be downloading all of our programming options and e-mailing and chatting through this one device and it's all going to interactive. It may take me a while to get with it because I can't even text message yet, but most people over the age of 5 will be rocking the downloadable entertainment.
Advertisers will be foisting their sales pitches at us from all directions also via this avenue and they're going to make it fun. It's their only option. I have Tivo and I haven't watched a commercial ever since I got it. I won't watch shows at their regularly programmed time because I don't want to watch commercials. I spend way more time watching TV then I ever have because it's all content all the time.
This technology is available to everyone and when it comes to priorities in America - watching TV is up there in the top three with God and Country. I granted a Make-A-Wish, not that long ago for a family that lives in an area that you normally only see from a news helicopter covering the murder of a child after a drive by occured at a birthday party. They are receiving assistance from the state and the mother was claiming to be single although a man that the little kids called "Papi" was in the back room smoking out of a bong the whole time I was there. This family had a flat screen TV with a full cable package and a DVR that allowed them to scan through the commercials on MTV's Cribs.
Digital video recorders were introduced in 1999 and in less than 10 years the technology has evolved so quickly that you can get one for less that $200. Think about cell phone technology and how quickly that has evolved. You can watch stuff on your phone - right now. I do download television and watch it on the computer while I'm working at some mindless task, and I know I'm not the only one. Currently downloaded technology is my only exposure to advertising.
I mean other than the crap that comes at me all day long out in the world.
So for "the companies" to state that "new media" is an unknown source of revenue is not only obtuse it's insulting. If the writers don't strike hard and hang tough now they are going to get royally screwed and that's an ass fucking that's going to be felt throughout the industry. Even those who don't get paid residuals will feel it because their unions negotiate with "the companies" for pension benefits based on profits from various revenues.
To deny that the bulk of revenues generated in the future is in new media is to basically say to all the people who work so hard to create the content that they don't matter and that they are easily dispensed with....
.... the situation the good guys find themselves in in a John Grisham novel, right before they stand up, fight back and kick the shit out of evil.
CBS has sent out letters to the showrunners on their shows advising them that they will be sued for breach of contract if they don't perform their producing duties. CBS as in Les Moonves. No one better represents the shift to bottom line business man as opposed to creative genius than Les Moonves. I cannot fault his bottom line. He's an excellent businessman. But entertainment used to be about taking risks and telling stories. This is the guy that gave us Survivor and CSI. I'm sorry I know CSI is the number 1 show in the country but I think the country is dumbing down and that's proof.
Well, that and the election of George W. Bush in 2004.