Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Behind the Scenes at the WGA
The Wall Street Journal takes a good look at the rush to finish scripts before the Writers Guild strike began.
Scramble to Ensure No Writing Goes On
Union Seeks Scripts
To Monitor Any Work;
Signs of Breaking Ranks
By PETER SANDERS
In the days before mounting a strike against Hollywood studios, film and TV writers did something that might be considered unusual in other labor disputes: They completed -- and were paid for -- a lot of work that was delivered to the companies they were about to picket.
Now, the Writers Guild of America, which represents the striking writers, is scrambling to get copies of all the scripts turned in to studios over the past six months as part of an effort to police the use of nonunion labor to complete or polish union work. So far, however, by most estimates, the union's efforts to collect all of those scripts has fallen far short of its goal.
• The Plot: In a bid to police use of nonunion labor, the striking union for film and TV writers is scrambling to get copies of the large number of scripts its members submitted to studios just ahead of the strike.
• The Subtext: On the eve of the strike, the studios put money in the pockets of the writers they are now trying to wait out.
• The Twist: There are signs some writers may be planning to break ranks.Meanwhile, in the strike's second week, signs have emerged that some writers may be planning to break ranks. Some of the writers for at least one soap opera, CBS Corp.'s "The Young and the Restless," went "financial core," meaning they gave up their status as guild members this week, with plans to return to writing, according to a person close to the show. Other soap writers are considering following their lead -- or writing in secret -- to keep their jobs and their shows on the air, this person said.
And the union takes to YouTube: