Byte Me

Arise, ye writers from your

slumber. Arise, ye prisoners of want.

For reason in revolt now thunders

or at least it does according to the trades and the major news media who scream

in one voice: Strike! That word's not

coming from us (printer) ink-stained wretches.

I'm

on the contract negotiating committee. I'm not there because of my great

understanding of labor law, or my Machiavellian negotiating skills. I volunteered, something I almost never do;

I'm a hopeless procrastinator who has no time for anything except what I should

have done yesterday.

I

hope I represent my fellow writers who feel that our business is being

transformed and that ‘They' are currently making lots of money, ‘They' are

going to make even more in the future.

What I know from experience is that ‘They' don't like to share it

out. And ‘They' aren't just studios

anymore. Now ‘They' are the biggest

corporations in the world and they've figured out there are big, big bucks in

communication. These companies and their soul mates in big banking, hedge funds

and other money pits are buying up any medium you can use to communicate.

But

here's the rub – these guys don't communicate. They buy and sell things. Their

new thing is our communication, you and me, the members of this noble guild who

think up the funny, surprising, lyrical, sad or inspiring words and images that

get turned into bytes that people want to hear and see and feel.

This

is a defining time in the history of communication. And we, the communicators,

the bedrock of this revolution are determined to get a fair piece of the pie.

Let's get real here. If ever there was

a group of people who didn't want to strike it's us writers. We live predominantly on the east and west

coasts, with east and west coast mortgages, rents, school fees. We might write

about anarchy and revolution, but we push strollers through parks and we like

our milk non-fat. We are as insecure as

the next guy, in fact more insecure.

You know that scene in "On The

Waterfront," the one where the boss picks out a few hungry workers standing

around a gate and sends the rest home.

That's us. We writers live in constant fear of being out of work.

However

– let's say that word again – However! The pie is getting sliced and we, the

composers of those bytes that are going to make everyone rich, want our fair

share. None of us know where this great

communication revolution will go or end but this much I know: Soon you'll connect to someone's cell phone

voicemail and hear De Niro ask "Are You Talking to Me." I, and my fellow members of your

negotiating team, want to make sure Paul Schrader gets his piece of the action.


Terry GeorgeTERRY GEORGE serves on the 2007 Writers Guild MBA Negotiating Committee. He is the writer/director of Hotel

Rwanda. He received Academy Awardâ and BAFTA nominations for

his first produced screenplay, In the

Name of the Father. George also adapted and directed the

acclaimed HBO movie based on Neil Sheehan's Pulitzer Prize-winning Vietnam War

tale, A Bright and Shining Lie. The feature was honored with Emmy and Golden

Globe nominations. George's other writing credits include the

Sheridan-directed drama The Boxer

starring Daniel Day Lewis, and Hart's War

starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell.

He created and produced the CBS drama series The District. George lives in Ireland and New York.