This morning I heard an interview with spokesman for the producers’ side of the current writers’ guild strike. He said that people might think that writers deserved money for the things they wrote that made money for producers, but that they just didn’t understand the production process. He went on to explain that producers often undertook projects that failed, which cost them money. Therefore, he said, they deserved to make up their lost money when a project succeeded.
I was scrambling eggs when I heard that, and I let them stick because I was snarling at the radio instead of watching the eggs. Does the dodo not understand that writers lose money on those failed ventures too? Does he not understand that a writer can spend weeks or months writing something that never makes it to stage or screen because of circumstances having nothing to do with the writer? The idea that producers are the only people who deserve profits for successful ventures not only overlooks the fact that the ventures wouldn’t have made it in the first place if it weren’t for the writers, but also overlooks the fact that writers also depend on successful productions to fill in the income gaps for failed productions.
There’s only one word to describe the reason producers don’t want to give writers a fair share of profits, and that word is greed. But the longer the strike goes on, the more people are beginning to understand that TV personalities are created by writers. If Katie Couric doesn’t have a script to read, she’s nothing. And so are Jay Leno and Bill Maher and all the other wits and pundits. They all know that, and most of them are big enough to support the writers’ strike.