WGA Strike Update: New Optimism As Talks Resume

The Writers Guild of America strike has entered its fourth week, but the parties actually sat down to talk to each other Monday for the first time since the strike began. Although both director JJ Abrams and co-writer Roberto Orci have stated that the script for Star Trek (currently in production) was solid and that they had planned ahead to ensure it was strike-ready, Abrams was also recently quoted as saying he wasn’t happy he couldn’t add a new line to the script. But new reports give hope that Abrams may get a chance to add that line sooner rather than later. According to today’s Daily Variety “optimists took solace in speculation that the outlines of a deal have already been hammered out.”

Apparently Hollywood agents (who themselves are loosing money every day…and you know they don’t like that) have been working a back channel deal over the last few weeks. The Deadline Hollywood blog is even more optimistic citing sources who say “there appears to be a deal seemingly in place.” But the official WGA Strike Blog notes caution and warns writers to not to start partying just yet. Even the more optimistic report from Deadline Hollywood only stated that the strike could end ‘before Christmas.’ Regardless the Star Trek production continues and is slated to run until March.

Horror writers exorcism + taking a page from sci-fi fans?
Talks continue today and to keep the pressure up a group of horror writers are holding an exorcism in front of Warner Brothers for the ‘evil spirits’ that have possessed studio moguls. Also the WGA seem to be taking a page from sci-fi fandom with their new ‘pencils2mediamoguls campaign.’ Reminiscent of the recent (successful) campaign of sending boxes of nuts to CBS to renew Jericho, the WGA are asking people to send boxes of pencils to studio big wigs.

Daily Show Writer pokes fun at Viacom
In a recent video, a writer for the Daily Show (which like Paramount is part of the Viacom family), poked a bit of fun at Viacom and their views over the value of online content.

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Let us pray that if the strike ends, that the first written word post-strike will not be:


i for one hope they hammer out an agreement. i’d hate to think that star trek will suffer for it. not sure what writers make, but it should be fair. so let them settle soon and hopefully to everybodies contentment.

I’d sure like to know what the line is that jj abrams is concerned about not being able to add to the script. sounds like he has strong feelings about it. could be a goldie like spock’s “i’ve been dead before” from VI. always loved that line.

Writers are annoying.

Writer’s aways think of that “one perfect line” when its too late. lol

Forget the new Star Trek film I need 24 back GRRRR.


I’m afraid, all the good lines have already been said elsewhere. Maybe Abrams & Orci can re-imagine some of them.

Writers are annoying? Pffffft.

Tell that to the writers.

He should tell the actor, “Feel free to ad-lib.” Then keep doing takes till he guesses the right line.

Writers are annoying? Sheesh…just like everybody else who wants to get paid. I wish MY employees would stop annoying me for a paycheck EVERY DAMN WEEK! I mean, my GOD, I just paid you LAST week! Wasn’t that enough?? Did you already spend all that money that I gave you (’cause you CERTAINLY didn’t EARN it!) on crack, or booze, or food and electricity, or whatever YOU people spend your money on…?

Give me a minute to adjust my monocle, and to light my cigar with a hundred-dollar bill…!


That being said, maybe actors and writers and the rest of the Hollywood crowd wouldn’t need to earn so much, if everything in California didn’t COST so damn much….

re: 9
Heh, heh.

I can’t imagine any lines, old or new, that will make me accept the fake actors as those characters.

(Insert Dennis Bailey comment here) :)

Personally I think the writers have a right to a slice of the pie same as the directors and actors. Remember, you wouldn’t have a show without them.

That said I hope they come to an agreement soon. I want my 24 and Battlestar Galactica!!

As long as J.J. doesn’t put in something as terrible as the ‘My bad’ line from ‘Transformers’… ;)

God bless. Hopefully, this will end soon.
Sign of the apocolypse: During Heroes last night, they promo’d the return of “American Gladiators.” As if we’d missed seeing steroids n’ spandex at the odd hours, now it’s coming into prime-time because it doesn’t require writers. God speed WGA negotiators!!!! Save us!


Thanks “Uncle” Clay Farrow! Reading posts like yours is one of the reasons I come here. We all know who makes the money in Hollywood. They deserve to be treated fairly for the work they do.

#7 & #11

Should we leave you two alone?


You may not like the fact that there are different actors which have been cast to play these roles, but to call them ‘fake actors’ is somewhat personally insulting to them and is not necessary.

If you are a true Star Trek fan, then where is the IDIC? You aren’t interested? Fine. But don’t make personal attacks across every actor associated with this project, just because they are associated with the project.

Stanky you are such a pill! lol!


I’m sure someone has already made this basic argument before, but think of it this way:

A writer comes up with screenplay… the producers/studios buy said script and then can hire pretty much ANYBODY they want to help interpret the writer’s vision, in terms of director and actors. Literally, ANYONE could direct the film and ANYONE could act in it, regardless of resume and talent.

Now, who gets paid the most amount of money in terms of salary and residuals? The producers, studios, directors and actors. And of course, they’ll get the lions-share of glory if the film is a hit and awards come their way.

Sure, writers get awards and some accolades, but they’ve ALWAYS been at the bottom of the creative totem pole, while everyone else rides on their backs. Where would everyone in Hollywood BE without the basic template created by the writer? It’s the WRITER who helps get them their ridiculously expense and extravagant lifestyles. And writers are supposed to be “annoying?”

Hahah funny video

Reality shows will probably fill the void

20.Kinda like waiters in a restaurant or employees in a corperation.They’re not entitled to the gross profits just their salaries.The world is filled with people who are on fixed salaries for megabilliondollar corperations who work much more dilligently than writers.

Only one side of the argument being presented here.

Sorry .I’m a klutz.I thought someone deleted my response to #20 .My apologies.

Screw the unions. If working for the studios is that bad, then they should pursue a different line of work.

#23 – JC…

Interesting point, to a degree. Writers, however, are NOT waiters. For them to ask for a higher percentage of the profits is not the same as, say, a janitor, caterer or grip asking for a percentage of the film they worked on.

Writers help create the foundation for which producers make so much more money off of. And where would actors and directors be without the script? Let’s see them try to create something off the cuff… most can’t. Writers give actors the lines that help them look and sound great, and they help give directors the jumping off point they need to get their film to the next level. But because actors & directors only HELP to realize the vision of the writer, they’re entitled to more fame, money & glory? And what exactly are producers paid so much for? For simply hiring a writer or buying the writer’s screenplay?

Again, without writers and scripts, Hollywood and the entertainment industry would be infinitely more barren, depressing and vapid than it already is. But they continue to get the short end of the stick. Yeah, it’s the way of the world, and it sucks, but it sure ain’t fair, by any stretch of the imagination.

No writers = no content.

Unless you go for that “reality” crap, which is less like reality than a lot of fiction, and often less insightful or entertaining.

You know the old saying about government? The same goes for culture. You get what you deserve.

There are plenty of people who “deserve” to be paid commensurately for their contributions. The writers are entitled to this. The directors are entitled to this… the producers are entitled to this.


There are dozens if not hundreds of others who also “Deserve” the contribution they make to the “intellectual property” that they create. Artists and craftsmen (I count myself among them) contribute daily to the look and appeal of these projects. When the Toy companies come around to grab the various items from a production to make next year’s hot selling toy line, they don’t grab the script. They grab the Production Designs and Illustrations that have been generated. Folks like me have never seen a dime from this ancillary market that is created from their hard work. Never. We create and contribute a substantial amount to the overall “package” that the studios make money from. Storyboard artists routinely “fill in” ideas into action scripts where the writer has flippantly typed “…and a dynamic high speed chase ensues” creating story beats and action that audiences enjoy and come back for.

I’m not saying these things to put down the writers and their struggle. Just want people to know that there are others in the industry who contribute a great deal to the multi billion dollar entertainment industry who have never received commensurate compensation, residuals, or up front consideration for any of their contributions to this very collaborative industry.

I fully support the writers strike… and I hope they succeed. I just want them to realize that their perception of their place being “at the bottom floor” of the creative structure are in reality at the lower penthouse floor, while other equally creative people are looking up at them from the ground.

Soap box disengaged. Resume program.

#27 SPB – very good point.

That video was not only hilarious, but also very good commentary on the writers behalf. The ……….(censored) ……..running the studios are a greedy bunch of no-talent, bean counting …………..(censored again).

Oh, just a note to say that the wonderful Christopher Guest films, “Waiting for Guffman”, “Best in Show”, “A Mighty Wind” and of course, Rob Reiner’s “Spinal Tap” are all unscripted. Granted, there are outlines for the actors, and all of the performers are gifted improv artists… but I just wanted to point that out.


31 – yes, they were technically unscripted. But the final products in all these cases where selected from 10-16 hours+ of shot usable material, shot over several months. It’s a process that could never be usefull in producing weekly television. At least not without bankrupting the producers.

The interesting point to all this is in looking at the tech field. Many many engineers develope new pattents for their company and get a one time incentive or bonus, but the company can then take and use that patent in any way they like and if they come up with a new way of using that patent, they do not have to give a percentage cut to the original designer. And lets face it, the many engineering fields out there that operate under this system greatly outnumbers the writting industry in hollywood. There is president to not pay a portion of internet profits. however, the counter argument is that engineers, in general, have a much stabler employment environment, where as a writer is a fiscal transient, moving from job to job in an uncertain field and therefore have more right to profit share.

its hollywood so its all messed up anyway. maybe they do deserve more, but the actors probably deserve less, so if they just share the cash around a bit, everyone will be better off…

All a big fuss though – writing, in any form, tv, film, book, play, poetry…its never a full-time career for anyone but a select few, just as painting, singing, acting, etc…all creative arts are the same, so there’s nothing new here, just the unions doing what unions do best (the singular good thing Margaret Thatcher did over here was get rid of them all!)


Where you get the idea that I think everyone else working in the industry shouldn’t receive similar compensation is beyond me.That’s not even remotely close to what my post was about. And I thought I could be self-righteous around these parts sometime.

The point I was clumsily making had nothing to do with everyone else who gets shafted by the system and everything to do with what that system produces for the public when it chooses to play it cheap – which is one of the primary reasons why reality TV became such a draw for networks and studios in the first place.

Instead of compelling drama, you get Survivor. Instead of wit and insight you get Cribs, or American Idol, or Jackass. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of bad, written stories out there too, but from where I’m sitting at least, shows like Stewart and Colbert, Heroes, Lost, etc. do more good for the collective psyche of many than, say, The Apprentice. More scripted material broadcast means greater likelihood of something solid eventually coming along and capturing an audience’s imagination. More reality TV means more disposable garbage we can forget when the next distractor comes out next month.

If the industry wants to continue to play it cheap we’ll simply be seeing more of those reality-type programs in lieu of things like stories with characters and plots and insightful reflections of human reality. As infrequently as stuff like that seems to come along now, they could become even fewer and further between if networks simply don’t want to pay for them.

The Christopher Guest movies are among the brilliant exceptions that prove the rule.

I’m just saying if you want quality in your entertainment, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to NOT support the writers in this instance, as they provide the basic blueprint for the collaborative process that then employs just about everybody else in the pipeline. The fact that the artists and craftsmen who actually create the designs that get turned into toys and such are getting left in the dust even worse than the writers isn’t right at all, either, but they’re just not the ones who are on strike at the moment. If that were the case, I’d be defending them from the odd anti-union comment as well.

Believe me, as a freelance editor in New York, I’d like me some rights to some of the “intellectual property” I’ve had a hand in helping to create too. I’m no stranger to feeling used and abused by companies and employers. But, beyond the economics of it, that’s a different matter than the quality of what gets put on the airwaves, which was the thrust of what I was trying to say.

Apologies if I rankled any feathers, no offense intended.

I think if quality were rewarded in the marketplace, we wouldn’t be having this discussion… and things would be a lot better. But the sad part is, it doesn’t MATTER anymore to the studios if what they produce is of any quality… because they’re just going for that first weekend gross…. before any word of mouth starts to shut it down. That is the real reason for the really tight security around these big blockbuster movies… not to preserve enjoyment for the audience, but to keep the big secret as to how bad the films turn out to be.

And no offense was taken, by the way. Discussion is always good.

re: 18. Mark Lynch

I am not attacking the actors. Not at all. I am attacking the idea of having different actors cast in these roles. The term “fake actors” is simply that…a term implying they are not the originals…not a judgement of their acting abilities or personalities.
As for IDIC, I think you can be a fan of Star Trek without “embracing” IDIC, which was not introduced until the 3rd season, and then mostly as a marketing ploy to sell medallions.

Please answer the following simple question for me:

Why doesn’t Hollywood crank out more supremely entertaining epics? It seems that the majority of films being produced lately are either empty-headed drivel or, at best, mindless action flicks for the teenage crowd.

If Hollywood is such a “well-oiled machine” shouldn’t there be…oh, say….maybe 6 or 7 classics being churned out each year? What the hell is going on with Tinseltown???

Is it because the town is run by beancounters (individuals totally bereft of any imagination)?

#37 “IDIC..was..introduced..3rd season..mostly as a marketing ploy to sell medallions”

Stanky, I love the cynical tone! I feel the same way, but try to keep that aspect of my nature to myself (hard to believe, eh?).

Sometimes you put into words what the rest of us are only thinking! Keep up the good work! :)

11. Stanky McFibberich – November 27, 2007
“I can’t imagine any lines, old or new, that will make me accept the fake actors as those characters.”

37. Stanky McFibberich – November 27, 2007
I am attacking the idea of having different actors cast in these roles.

We got it… several times now. You don’t like the thought, concept or notion of a new TOS-based film minus the original cast. You won’t be seeing it and if you do, please warn the people sitting around you that they may see rolling of eyes, laughter and groans. They will appreciate your consideration.


They still look like real actors to me… but I’m not an expert. How can you tell real ones from fakes?

re: 40 Xai

Mr. X, I know I might have mentioned it before, but I was responding to a specific post in this instance. And I’m hardly the only individual around here to repeat certain ideas ad nauseum. In that regard, I think I am behind quite a number of people.

I also like to keep it out there for the uninitiated to enjoy. :)

If you and I are still frequenting this site after the movie opens, it will be interesting to see your thoughts on it, since you don’t want to judge anything until you have seen it. And, I suppose there is the slightest chance that after I see it, I will have positive things to say about it.

These optimists are always criticizing us pessimists and they will never stop…and they keep drinking from my half empty glass. :(

re: 41 see #37

Re: #42

Many Apologies, I didn’t see your post #37


Yeah, you’re totally right about the studios not really caring, I think. And it should be no secret that the whole opening box office game is little more than a take-the-money-and-run tactic in many cases, especially if the film in question is really an overhyped turkey. I’m sure we all have our favorite examples of such a phenomenon.

Not having spent any time working in LA, I don’t have any first hand experience with the kind of secrecy you cite, but this does not surprise me at all.

Again, apologies if I came across a bit harsh at times, in both my previous posts. Cheers, and thanks for the reply!

“As for IDIC, I think you can be a fan of Star Trek without “embracing” IDIC, which was not introduced until the 3rd season, and then mostly as a marketing ploy to sell medallions.”

Really? Well, in the spirit of IDIC to each his own, I suppose, but even though the concept wasn’t directly verbalized (and the ready-to-market tchochkes revealed) until the third season, I think it’s obvious that the Trek philosophy of embracing differences was apparent from “The Cage” onwards, and that if the series had anything resembling a core philosophy, that was it. I think I can better understand now why you’re so resistant to the notion of the TOS roles being recast, though.

27 SPB. Waiters and janitors etc.I understand your argument there,menial laborers).What about more qualified people like salaried reseach scientists who develop life saving drugs for multibillion dollar drug co.s. They still just get salary,not a percentage of gross.Another example; A salaried car design team who designs a hit design which drives up sales of an auto giant who,in turn ,employs thousands of people.That’s more like what I meant.Everyday salaried people who contribute creatively to large corps. (just like writers)who aren’t striking for gross percentage points.Seeems to me if your sucessfull in any field,including writing,you’ll be sought out and paid according to your talent and the demand for it.

Um–the research scientists and design engineers you cite are salaried employees who can look forward to the security of a regular paycheck. (And yes, many of them DO get profit-sharing, performance bonuses and other inducements for fattening their company’s bottom line.) Since (as Gene Roddenberry discovered himself before he got into producing) writing scripts or teleplays is essentially piecework with no security for the writer or his family, most freelancers could use these residuals to them over between sales, just as actors using residuals to help pay the bills between projects. And the studios can certainly afford it.

I finally figure it out. “Stanky McFibberich” is a Paramount studio plant designed to elicit (due to the consistent negativity) a counter-reaction of positive feelings for the movie. But I will not be manipulated by this cynical Paramount ploy.
Nice try though, Paramount.

The writers from the Daily Show aren’t salaried employees who get bonuses and inducements?I guess there are levels of success in every profession.

re: 48
Dang. I thought we had you all buffaloed.