I have to apologize for my long absence. I’ve been working, writing, and doing other things off-line. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting more regularly, and you’ll see shortly that I’ll have some pretty nifty things to share with all of you.
The topic on many people’s lips these days in our neck of the universe is the Writer’s Strike. Whether or not you agree with such a concept (and before you say…”Oh, those writers…”) I ask that you stop and think about this from another aspect.
If you look at the different work industries, there are really two major spheres of what people do. Either you “serve” someone, by providing a service, or you “make” something, by crafting something new for a variety of different purposes. Traditional manufacturing aside, writers, artists, actors, web developers, photographers, singers, and all other “artisan-based” activities are one of the few, true “crafts” we have left. We make books, jewelry, performances, websites, paintings, and clothes. How much is a handmade item worth to you?
Well, to a writer, payment can be a pretty large bone of contention. You see, many of the people we write for view writing to be a service, and not a craft. As such, the rules for payment have never really been standardized, to the point where only three to four percent live like King. Couple in the fact that those of us who freelance do so within limited time frames, freelancing (even screenwriting) is not for the faint-of-heart.
What I believe this strike to be about is not the disagreement over what has been paid, but the rights that we, as sole proprietors, need to think about and address whenever new ways for our media to be distributed. Similar to images and music, there are usually stipulations that follow when royalties should be paid. Anytime you hear music on the radio or download it from iTunes, you are listening to a “paid” broadcast of that tune. (The “Save netRadio” issue recently arose out of this concept the past, few years.)
The key here, is that this issue needed to be brought up. If it wasn’t, it would allow and open the door for other media distributions to occur without recognizing the creators. I, for one, fully support the Writer’s Strike not because I have a vested interest (I’m not part of the Guild), but because writers need to be validated for the work that they do (Do you know the names of all the writers for your favorite shows and movies?) by being rewarded financially for a show’s popularity. After all, if it wasn’t for the writers, we’d all be watching reruns of M*A*S*H indefinitely.
For more on this topic, visit the Wikipedia entry entitled, “2007 Writers Guild of America Strike.”