We will discuss it later.
UPDATE: Time for discussion!
Whedon is right but misses the point.
The old model is dead. Writers will lose. Because of:
1. Lack of unity -- showrunners like Whedon can strike for a long time, and get potentially a big payoff. Working writers can't and will have to go back to work, they won't get the big payoff either.
2. Strike is affordable. Niche content generates Niche revenues and reality is both broader in appeal and makes therefore more money. Writers pursuing niche content have weakened their position.
3. Internet allows the Studios to break the strike by using Canadian, British, Australian, and NZ writers cheaply. The way Honda and Toyota and GM are using cheap Vietnamese engineers instead of costly Japanese and American engineers. Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other knowledge workers have been hurt by the internet allowing outsourcing and so too will the writers.
The only solution IMHO is a complete break culturally. Offer up original content, done fast, cheap, and good, through ITunes or even a WGA constructed website. Charge $2-3 a download. Make it good. And compete directly with the Studios.
Do what Rob Long has suggested. I don't think however that writers culturally can make this adjustment and so they will lose.
Okay. Let's see what Whiskey_199 is talking about and look at his arguments.
1. Lack of unity -- showrunners like Whedon can strike for a long time, and get potentially a big payoff. Working writers can't and will have to go back to work, they won't get the big payoff either.Well, I'm not sure if Whedon's supposed immense wealth somehow makes him more militant, he doesn't have a show on the air. He's probably getting some residuals from reruns, but apparently none for downloads and DVDs, hence the strike.
Now there is some unity troubles. Some of the big-money makers (show-runners included) are rumoured to go "fi-core" and sell out to a deal for more up front money, but that hasn't happened yet.
2. Strike is affordable. Niche content generates Niche revenues and reality is both broader in appeal and makes therefore more money. Writers pursuing niche content have weakened their position.True, the corporations that own the studios do have deep pockets, but the bulk of the TV season has been lost. There goes ad revenues, syndication and DVD sales for those episodes, and all whole truckload of other ancillary revenues. Millions, if not billions, pissed away over what is mostly ego.
I don't think niche content is a particular problem for the studios. No one forces them to make unpopular movies, in fact I'm sure every project green-lit for anything other than political reasons, is made with the intent to be popular and profitable.
Since the issues here are profit-sharing, niche projects that don't sell, don't have profits, so those writers will starve whether or not there's a deal.
3. Internet allows the Studios to break the strike by using Canadian, British, Australian, and NZ writers cheaply.Despite the rumours of American networks purchasing Canadian and British shows for prime-time, I have yet to see a deal signed and a foreign show on the air.
Because the unions in those countries either already have deals similar to what the WGA wants, or they are looking for that deal.
Plus there's another little hole in your argument. There's a reason Hollywood is the dominant player in the world movie and TV biz because they're pretty damn good at telling stories that sell around the world.
The creative community in Hollywood doesn't outsource, it absorbs.
Canadian, British, and Australian writers migrate to Hollywood in flocks every year to participate in the "big time." So why would they give up that dream just to be cheated like the American writers out of a share of the profits earned by their creations.
Engineering and writing are two very different things.
Engineering, while requiring creativity, is based on concrete scientific principles that are universally accepted.
Writing is an emotional, instinctive art-form, that really can't be taught to anyone without the talent and drive to create. Stories are not cars. Each are unique, and with a life of their own, and require the skills of a small group of talented people to create them.
Now you were right when you said that the "old model is dead."
The way Hollywood does business has to change drastically from being an adversarial system, pitting the creative and financial against each other, to a more symbiotic system, where they work together.
You can't run a business on the foundation of cheating the very people whose creations make your business possible. It's just not tenable.
Will your iMovies type thing work? Who knows, I'm not an economist.
Any other ideas?
UPDATE #2: Another shot of Whiskey_199
Whiskey_199 came back and reiterated his points about writers being replaceable by cheaper foreign labour, but I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree on this matter.
The only way the AMPTP could get any writers that wouldn't eventually want the deal that the WGA are looking for, anywhere in the world, is if they enslaved a bunch of Chinese political prisoners and had them start pumping out scripts like they do overpriced sneakers, and all the studio would have to is translate them into English.
Of course, then the translators would want a better deal.
And any of the prisoner-slave writers who showed any real talent would then be shot by his guards for being too clever.
So you'd have to keep replacing them.
And the audiences would start wondering why every movie coming from the studios is about how crappy life is in a prison labour camp.
I just think the studios would find it a hell of a lot more convenient, and profitable, if they didn't waste time, money, and effort trying to screw everyone, and just stuck to doing business.