The WGA strike and game writers

You may have been reading this blog since November and been thinking to yourself — is the Writers Cabal living under a rock? Why has there been no talk about the WGA strike? The answer is both simple and complex. The strike covers many issues, not all of them obvious. We’re also both WGA members and game writers, so we find ourselves in an odd situation as we continue to work while others don’t. But at the end of the day, the WGA strike has had only one clear and non-debatable effect: more people are playing games.

What the strike is about
The Writers Guild generally wants a fair piece of the profits for its members from both DVDs and the internet. Much ado has been made about shows such as THE OFFICE which created original content for the internet, but the writers got paid nothing. Whether this strike comes too early because no one knows the right revenue model for the internet is anyone’s guess. The Directors Guild of America (DGA) recently settled their contract negotiations with the producers (AMPTP). Many have assumed that whatever the DGA negotiates the WGA will have to accept, but that remains to be seen. Ultimately, the strike is an attempt to deal with the slow shift in power away from film and television and toward the internet and other media. That said…

What the strike is not about
In this contract negotiation, games are not an issue for either the Writers Guild or the AMPTP, because most guild signatories (producers who work exclusively with WGA members) don’t make games. It appears animation and reality merely serve only as bargaining chips this time around, too, in case you were keeping track.

Why the Writers Cabal is still writing
As WGA members,Picketing at FOX we are not writing for any struck company. Since most game developers have little or nothing to do with the AMPTP, that means we continue to write for various projects. However, in our wayward youth, both of us did the Hollywood thing, so we support the efforts of our guild-mates. I happen to be based in Los Angeles, so I walk the picket line on days when I can afford a few hours away from writing.

The strike and games
However the strike ends up, the lack of new scripted television has sent about 26 percent of viewers to their computers or consoles and are playing more games, according to a recent survey. I’m sure they’re finding story-driven games more fun than the latest episode of American Gladiators 🙂

Got any questions or angry words about the strike? We’ll do our best to answer them!

Question Mark Last week’s game dialog came from GRIM FANDANGO. John Green guessed it right! Stay tuned for more Guess that Game Dialog!

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Published in: on January 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve been watching the strike a bit myself, and I see a big issue here for all writers. Sure, the strike itself is only about the WGA, but the reasons for the strike affect anyone who claims to be creative. They simply want to be recognized when they create something. Yeah, the producers have a huge part of making movies, but there would be nothing to make without the writers. It’s the same way with any creative medium. Everyone should be recognized for the part they play, not just the ones that invested the money.

  2. I’m probably going to get myself in trouble here, but I’m thinking it’s not recognition the WGA wants — you still see “Written by” on every TV episode streamed on the internet, after all — but a piece of the profit pie.

    -Anne

  3. Perhaps “recognition” is the wrong word. Maybe the phrase “Show me the money!” fits better. 🙂

    I find it a little troubling that when someone writes a book, their name is on the front cover. When someone writes a movie, their name is buried in the credits. It seems you’re always hearing about a script that someone spent all this time on, and then the movie doesn’t even resemble it. But I suppose that’s another story entirely. I think what the writers really want is some respect.


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