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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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 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.