On the Strikes

I wrote a comment in an open thread and I am reproducing it here and building on it a bit…

On this writers’ and actors’ strike:

One actress, Frances Fisher (she was in Titanic and is the mother of one of Clint Eastwood’s daughters, Francesca), said that actors and actresses should get profit sharing. I was wondering if she thinks they should share in the losses too…

The better profit-sharing deals are those where the leads, who would be paid in the millions, feel that the production will be a real hit and they choose profit-sharing (gross over net is better) in lieu of their salary. So they are, in fact, investing in the production. If the production has no profits, they don’t get paid. If their share of the profits is less than what their salary would have been, they lose. They are betting that the production will make them more money than they would have earned on salary alone.

Lesser profit-sharing deals give tiny percentages of net profits, probably no more than the current “residuals” amounts, and absolutely nothing at all if there aren’t profits. So they’d actually be worse off. Plus, profits are reported at different periods than residuals. So the complaints about having to work other jobs because residuals are too small and don’t pay the bills would still be there when profit-sharing checks come in quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

Then there’s this executive producer (EP) who’s worked on Umbrella Academy, Daredevil, and One of Us is Lying as EP and writer and she’s currently a “strike captain” who thinks that they should have their “fair share of the wealth that we create for these billion dollar companies.”

When asked if she thought entertainment CEOs should take a pay cut, as Barry Diller recently suggested, she replied, “When I look at the numbers, I feel like that’s where you can make some cuts and reallocate some funds. If we are creating this much profit, this much revenue for your companies, why is it all going to the people at the top? Why is it all going to the shareholders who have not been the people creating that wealth for you?”

“Why is it all going to the shareholders…” Well, dear, they’re the people who have actually put money into these productions. So have the “billion dollar companies” that are risking the money they’re putting into these productions. And the CEOs who put out flop after flop? They get fired. The CEOs who back blockbusters? They get rewarded.

If you’re writing on a weekly show and you show up every day in the writers’ room and write and revise and earn a salary for that, that’s your compensation.

If you want more get it in YOUR contract. That’s one reason why these unions are crap. And all artificial minimums. Yes, some people would work “for free” just to get a credit on IMDb. But after that, they’d want compensation. And they could negotiate contracts for compensation.

Book writers get “residuals” on sales of their books from their publishers. The first sale. They don’t get them from used bookstore sales. They don’t get anything when people take their books out of the library. Or when Jennifer lends her copy of the book to Susan.

Streaming views should be treated like a DVD. One and done. Maybe figure “sales” as they did with Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Family Video, and Redbox for the one… Because once it’s at the library they’re not getting “residuals” for each loan…

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