The Power of Writers

November 8, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Posted in Current Events, Movies, TV | Leave a comment
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It’s now Day 3 of the ongoing writers’ strike in the US involving the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. From what I’ve seen in the news, it seems like it won’t be over soon.

Members of the Writers Guild of America — a union that represents TV and film writers in the US — walked out and started picketing last November 1 after their contract with the said alliance expired. According to reports, the writers (some of which are actors themselves like Tina Fey) are demanding shares of revenues from DVD sales and Internet downloading of the TV shows and movies that they’ve written scripts for.

In my opinion, these writers deserve to receive additional revenues for profits made from DVDs and the Internet. As a writer myself, I can empathize with what they are going through. In fact I’m amazed how very well writers are represented in the US. They can easily cause an uproar among TV executives and producers and put a stop to productions of major TV shows. Just last night, I saw Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the news picketing outside an ongoing shooting of Desperate Housewives. And The Tonight Show with Jay Leno didn’t show a fresh episode this week and instead showed a rerun.

Watching these writers picketing outside studio lots made me think how different things go for writers here in the Philippines. How I wish Filipino writers are also well represented and protected by such organizations. Generally speaking, as far as Filipino writers are concerned, we have always been underpaid and at times underappreciated for our efforts, especially when it comes to writing for magazine and book publications (as I have no idea if Filipino screenwriters are paid well). It’s a fairly common story among magazine writers that there are times when we don’t get paid for the articles we write. If we ever get paid, we would receive a very minimal fee. Most payments are even delayed for several months.

In certain cases, when a magazine publication decided not to publish the article, writers are not even paid a kill fee. Or if there is ever a kill fee, it’s a very small amount. It’s really unfair how writers are sometimes treated by these big magazine publications. And sometimes the editors themselves are such pain in the ass. They don’t treat their writers very well and don’t care if they get paid or not. Writers are a major force in this industry. Without us, there would be no magazines and books out there. And the entertainment industry would be nothing without the screenwriters. If only there is such a union for writers here…

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