Writing as a future career

The Writer's Guild Association strike is an inconvenience to most of us. We want our new episodes of "Colbert Report," "Grey's Anatomy," "Ugly Betty," "Hannah Montana," "Family Guy" and "Jeopardy!"

Yet, while most of us worry about our favorite actors and personalities, the reality of entertainment is that writers contribute a large portion of the quality of television shows and films. Since we do not see the writers, this strike is something of a mystery. Why would they strike? What do they have to strike against? What do they have to complain about?

The WGA strike is a strike against artistic efforts taken for granted. Every three years, the WGA makes a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The writers are striking because the producers guild currently does not properly pay writers for the profits of DVD sales and Internet downloads. The business term for these payments is "residuals on new media." Writers are not paid when their work is downloaded from iTunes or played on a commercially supported network Web site.

AMPTP argues that writers should not receive residuals because the revenue collected from online "new media" sources make up for the climbing costs in marketing and production. Rhetorically, what the producers are telling the world is that it has money for those who handle the business and advertisement of Internet entertainment but is not willing to support those who actually create the thing.

Our country does not support creativity in the arts. We tell ourselves we need lawyers, police officers, accountants and construction workers. Who needs artists, writers and musicians? This attitude reflects the ignorance of what drives our culture.

Writers not only reflect the state of our culture but also influence our culture enough to change it. While this strike may appear to be about money, I believe it is about obtaining recognition and respect from those who make the most money off the efforts of the writers, those represented by the AMPTP.

No other quote can better represent this separation of creative efforts and money-making than former CEO of Disney Michael Eisner's opinion, reported by Reuters.

"For a writer to give up today's money for a nonexistent piece of the future""they should do it in three years, shouldn't be doing it now""they are misguided they should not have gone on strike. I've seen stupid strikes, I've seen less stupid strikes, and this strike is just a stupid strike."

Eisner admits that digital Internet downloads will be the dominant media form in the near future. Eisner would have writers let the problem of residuals on new media become so bad that it would be impossible to deny the unfair treatment.

As a veteran of the corporate media executive world, Eisner sees writers as just another contributing ingredient to the product his company exports. AMPTP want to make the largest profit they can legally make by keeping "expenses" at minimum while maintaining an acceptable level of quality.

What these producers do not understand is that when a person shares what they write, they share a piece of their soul. not getting their fair share through residuals on new media, writers feel more disrespected than ever before. That is why the strike is so large. Writers are sick of being used, under appreciated, and under paid and finally want their reasonable compensation.

is a graduate of Southern Oregon University with a degree in English. He lives in Ashland with his fianc&


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