[The deal with the directors] required studios to work with union directors on content produced especially for the Internet.
So the Directors Guild has made a deal with the Studios in only five days.
And the deal covers everything the writers wanted.
The clause I quoted above seems strange, as I thought that was the major sticking point for the studios ... that they had to use Guildies for content produced especially for the Internet.
Because, really, any kid can produce content for the Internet. Why pay these directors and writers extra money when the most creative Internet content is not coming from them?
I'm guessing that there's some subtlety to the language so that the requirement is only for long-format Internet content. But I don't know.
Here's another take on the deeper issues:
Last time we spoke to our favorite former WGA attorney and prolific Huffpo blogger, Jonathan Handel, he gave us a pretty grim assessment on the state of the studios vs. the writers. The studios had just broken off talks, and the two sides were farther apart than most observers realized: Not only were they miles apart on digital, the guild was sticking to other demands: It wanted to unionize reality and animation writers, who aren't part of the WGA, and it wanted the ability to call sympathy strikes -- the ability to walk out, if, say, the actors guild does.
The digital negotiations are knotty, but it's those other demands that seem to be real non-starters, Handel says. Giving the writers the ability to unionize reality shows, for instance, would take away the lifeboat that the networks are currently using: The next time the writers went on strike, there'd be no new shows available - period.
Based on this article about the lead negotiators, I'd say the chief negotiators for the WGA are just the wrong guys: they are guys that are taking a hard-line stance when they don't have the upper hand:
Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America West, is a sporadically busy comedy writer with a law degree that has seen him through the rough spots between jobs at shows like “The Simpsons” and “Futurama.” David J. Young, his chief lieutenant, is a plumber turned hard-bitten labor organizer, with roots in the rough-and-tumble world of Los Angeles sweatshops.
I'm guessing that the WGA will use the DGA agreement as an excuse to settle. Otherwise the WGA rank and file will need to fire these guys.
(You can read David Letterman's side letter at Slate.)
© 2008 Stephen Clarke-Willson, Ph.D. - All Rights Reserved.