Fade in. The writer’s room is oddly clean, bright, and empty.
There’s a cog in the movie making machine.
Writers in entertainment, as in advertising, dream it up and write it down. Writers are the spark that lights the story’s fire. In a city and in an industry that manufactures dreams, you’d think that writers would rule.
Writers, despite all their magical powers to make things, do not rule. The studios rule because the studios have the money. Thankfully, entertainment writers have a strong union to represent them—something that creatives in advertising DO NOT have.
W.G.A. Versus The Big Four
Let’s turn to Newsy for some background on the labor conflict…
To recap, in April, the East and West branches of the W.G.A. instructed their 7,000 members to part ways with any agency that has not signed a code of conduct meant to replace the franchise agreement that had governed the relationship between writers and agents since 1976.
None of the big four — William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency, United Talent Agency and ICM Partners — agreed to the new code.
This week, William Morris Endeavor filed a lawsuit in a California federal court, arguing that the unions that represent the writers had engaged “in an unprecedented abuse of union authority.”
William Morris Counters With Lawsuit of Its Own
How long can the entertainment business go on as normal in an environment where those who come up with the ideas are not on speaking terms with those who have traditionally helped bring their work to the screen?
In a video recording last week, after the failed talks, David A. Goodman, the president of the Writers Guild of America West, seemed to prepare his members for a long battle ahead.
“This campaign now enters its next phase, where each individual agency, alone, will have to decide if it intends to represent writers or justify its existence without them,” he said. “They will, in response, do everything in their power to make each of us feel as if we are alone, but we’re not. That is what it means to be a guild. We are not alone.”
Goodman admits that he can’t say “when this will be over,” noting that the W.G.A. has taken on “something no one in this business has had the guts to do, the studios, or producers, or lawyers, or managers, or anyone else — we spoke out loud what anyone knows to be the truth which is that the agencies have lost their way.”