This "blog" or "webblog" or "internetwebblog" or "interwebblognetwebblog"
will feature the thoughts and observations of Late Show writers Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel, Bill Scheft, Steve Young, Matt
Roberts, Tom Ruprecht, Jeremy Weiner, Lee Ellenberg, Joe Grossman and Bob Borden regarding the current writers strike.
There is a lot at stake with this strike and these are serious issues. The Late
Show writers are on the picket lines every day they are scheduled. We are not making light of this situation. One way to get
people to pay attention to the strike and its issues is through humor. Best, THE LATE SHOW WRITERS
I haven’t posted anything to the website since before the holidays. To be honest, I wasn’t
sure how to cover the strike without looking like a jerk. How am I going to write about being on the picket line when
I’m not on the picket line anymore? I think about my WGA brothers and sisters everyday and hope this strike ends
soon. That said; how about a little story? It was December 20th, 2007. I was done picketing for the week
and had two full days before I drove back to Ohio for Christmas. Those two days were SO lonely. No job, my friends
were away or working and I’m not the type to pass the time by going to the gym. After a day and a half of watching
“The King of Queens” reruns (which I love), I thought, how can I help bring this strike to an end sooner?
I don’t have the money to take out an ad in the trades. And I’m not a celebrity; I can’t get the attention
of the local news cameras. So, I decided to call WGA-East President Michael Winship and ask for his advice. After
a two-hour heart to heart, he came up with the idea of getting a personalized license plate. Genius! I hung up
the phone and got to work. It turns out, the New Jersey DMV website allows you check personalized license plate availability
online. I tried hundreds of combinations and settled on “NOAMPTP.” Just as I was about to make my
final click, I thought, what if my career takes off someday and I become a member of the AMPTP. I’m just starting
out; I don’t want to be blackballed because of a silly personalized license plate. And, if the strike ends, I’m
stuck with a very dumb plate. So, I compromised:
OK, I didn’t compromise. How fucking cool is that license plate?! Solidarity!
The deals between the WGA and the various film and TV production companies are starting to pay off in a big way.
Lionsgate has announced that it's developing a feature project about the negotiations that led to the Weinstein Company's
decision to greenlight a script about United Artists moving forward with a film about the side deal between the WGA and Worldwide
The film is scheduled for a July 4 2009 release. -Steve Young
This is big.We’ve been told by
several Hollywood insiders that another creative union has agreed to early negotiations with the AMPTP.If
a deal can be made quickly, it may be the key to resolving the WGA strike.Next Monday the AMPTP will start
bargaining with the GMTGWP—the Guild of Movie and Television Guys With Ponytails.
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Earlier this week, LateShowWritersOnStrike.com incorrectly posted that "Twilight Zone" creator and television
icon ROD SERLING had elected to go financial core and remain a WGA member in name and dues only. We did not mean Rod
Serling, who several readers pointed out died in 1975. We meant PADDY CHAYEFSKY. LateShowWritersOnStrike.com regrets
Directors Guild, studios reach contract deal Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:48pm ES
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Hollywood directors' union reached a contract deal with major film and television
studios on Thursday -- a move likely to turn up pressure to settle a 10-week-old strike by screenwriters.
three-year labor pact between the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was
announced five days after the two sides opened formal talks.
The Directors Guild's existing contract covering
13,000 members, including directors, assistant directors and unit production managers, expires on June 30.
Directors Guild has a history of reaching swift labor pacts with the studios, but the latest deal has drawn unusually intense
scrutiny because of its implications for ending a strike by the Writers Guild of America.
Some 10,500 Writers Guild
members walked off the job on November 5, shattering 20 years of Hollywood labor peace, in a dispute that has centered on
how writers are paid for work distributed over the Internet.
The Directors Guild deal contains a number of points
addressing how directors should be compensated for work in new media, including provisions that essentially double the rate
currently paid for Internet downloads, the union said.
It also establishes new "residual" fees to directors
for the reuse of material in the form of advertising-supported online streaming and video clips, the union said.
With the announcement of the directors' deal, attention shifted to the possibility of restarting talks between the studios
and striking writers that collapsed in acrimony on December 7.
Since then, much of U.S. television production has
ground to a halt, major film projects have been derailed and year-end Hollywood award ceremonies have been scaled back or
canceled. Even the fate of the Oscars show next month, which Cates is producing, is in doubt.
Some industry watchers
have said an early contract deal with the Directors Guild could hasten renewed talks between the writers and studios, perhaps
even providing a template for a Writers Guild settlement.
Writers Guild leaders, while saying they welcomed the
Directors Guild talks, have insisted they will resist any industry effort to force a deal on writers that they find unsatisfactory.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by John O'Callaghan)
As you know,
LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com has stepped up and taken over as the official site for breaking news about the WGA strike while
Nikki Finke is on hiatus.That’s all well and good, but in order for it to work, the anonymous sources
and insider contacts who regularly leak information to Nikki now need to leak information to us.In
the last five hours, the only “sources” we’ve heard from are some guy who once wrote a Shazam! spec
script and Jeff Zucker’s cousin, Mitch [and, frankly, he didn’t give us much].Let’s
go people! Start sending in those scoops.
Negotiations are continuing between
the AMPTP and the Directors Guild of America and rumor has it they are going well.
However, according to information given to LateShowWritersOnStrike.com there is one sticking
point. The Directors want it written in the agreement that they will never again have to direct films about a teacher with
an unorthodox style coming in to a troubled school system only to win over and inspire the students (see Stand and Deliver,
Lean On Me, Dangerous Minds, The Principal, Dead Poets Society, The Substitute and Summer School.)
The AMPTP has no problem with this, however, the DGA is also insisting this includes films
about ragtag sports teams which pull together to overcome great odds. (See The Bad News Bears, The Bead News Bears In Breaking
Training, The Bad News Bears Go To Japan, The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Coach Carter, D3: The Mighty Ducks, We Are
Marshall, Hoosiers, A League of Their Own, Kicking and Screaming, Remember The Titans, The Replacements, Necessary Roughness,
, The Kid From Left Field, Major League, Major League II, and Major League: Back To The Minors)
This information was leaked to us by someone directly involved in the negotiations between the DGA and the AMPTP.
Many hours were spent Saturday and Sunday at an undisclosed location in Encino, CA discussing/arguing DVD formulas.
The conversations from what we were told became quite heated at times. After almost 50 hours at the table, the only thing
both sides could agree on was "Them DVDs is hard to open!"
As I'm sure you all saw on the 65th annual Golden Globes Press Conference Award Show Announcement Extravaganza Winners
Special, LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com has won the best internet website award.
Since the ceremony was changed due to
the writers strike we were not able to accept the award in person, so we would like to say thank you to the Hollywood Foreign
Press Association and our fellow nominees for best internet website. It's an honor to be mentioned along with Google,
Hats.com and RoundAsses.net
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers isn’t just a trade organization—they’re
now in the toy business! Everyone will enjoy this amusing AMPTP novelty:
Simply ask the AMPTP 8-Ball any yes or no question, and turn it over to get one of twenty answers:
No No No Absolutely not No Out of the question Not
a chance Not going to happen No How dare you Impossible No Nope Not now, not ever We said no N-O What an outrageous question No No Okay, fine, yes, now leave us alone
The AMPTP 8 Ball is for amusement only and is not intended
for settling labor disputes.
The Writers Guild remains ready and willing
to negotiate, despite the precipitous walk-out by the AMPTP.Each day the WGA negotiators faithfully
show up at an undisclosed Los Angeles hotel conference room where they wait in vain for their AMPTP counterparts to return
to the table.The negotiating team provided this diary of a recent typical day:
9:56 a.m.: Arrival, so the AMPTP can’t claim “they weren’t
even ready to start at 10.”
10:00 a.m.: Loud cries of “AMPTP?Hello?AMPTP?” met with silence.
10:08 a.m.: WGA intern’s coffee delivery prompts
long discussion of the relative merits of wooden vs. plastic stirrers.
10:43 a.m: Negotiator who used to write for “Bonanza” gossips about the
disturbing habits of the late Dan Blocker.
11:00 a.m.: Negotiators snap off the tips of their pencils so they can kill some time sharpening them.
11:16 a.m.: Long silence, broken only by the occasional
soft whoosh of air from the AC ducts.
11:44 a.m.: “Early negotiations” about where to go for lunch.
Noon-2 p.m.: Lunch at nearby diner, with long discussion of the relative
merits of yellow vs. brown mustard.
p.m.: Back at the table, sheets torn from legal pads for origami competition.
2:30 p.m.: Creator of the best origami swan awarded a WGA logo shoehorn.
2:40 p.m.: Another long silence.
3:19 p.m.: One negotiator finally goes mad, wrenches
hideous abstract painting off the conference room wall, tears it to pieces before being escorted out.
3:25 p.m.: Discussion about whether the WGA health
plan will cover psychotherapy treatments and/or medication for the painting destroyer.
3:50 p.m.: Medium length silence.
4:01 p.m.: Before anyone else can have a breakdown, chief negotiator
John Bowman suggests turning over conference room chairs, scrutinizing the labels for information on the make, model number,
and date and place of manufacture.
4:02 p.m.: Chair data compared and pondered.
4:34 p.m.: Obscene phone call to Nick Counter suggested, but since nobody has his number,
obscene call is eventually placed instead to Nick Lachey.
4:48 p.m.: Clock is watched.
5:00 p.m.: Negotiating session ends with no progress made, but the WGA team agrees: they’ll be
back tomorrow, and someone should bring Yahtzee.
I was hoping the strike would not last this long for many reasons, not the
least of which is one of the little known strike captain duties: Gathering New Year's resolutions from the men who serve
under me. I'm not absolutely sure I'm supposed to publish them, but just to be on the safe side, here they are:
STANGEL: Stop answering phone "What the fuck?"
ERIC STANGEL: Restrict 3:00 am feedings to
newborn daughter only.
STEVE YOUNG: File change of address form with ESPN, start cashing "other"
Steve Young's checks from NFL Countdown, split with fellow striking Late Show writers (minus 15 percent
JOE GROSSMAN: 1) Answer all 5000 fan letters from Austria by end of strike. 2) Avoid carbs
on picket line.
The calendar may read January, but the Christmas spirit still lives. Don’t
miss one last chance for the kids to make their Christmas requests!Tonight at Woodbridge Center Mall
in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the little ones can visit that jolly old elf himself, AMPTP president St. Nick Counter!Each child will be allowed to sit on St. Nick’s lap, tell him how good they’ve been and what they want,
then watch in stunned disappointment as Mr. Counter stalks off, snarling that he won’t return until they’ve withdrawn
ENJOY OUR SUPER COOL LATESHOWWRITERSONSTRIKE.COM VIDEOS
A message from Late Show writer Bill Scheft....
This letter originally was posted on the late show newsgroup
and the late show website.
I am the union rep for the show, and felt compelled to
bring you up to date on the writers strike. Our guys have been so much better represented on the picket line than all the
other NY shows. I am really proud of them.
lest you think we are a bunch of spoiled brats just looking for a raise, the big issue, money from original content shown
on the Internet and other new media, is our way of replacing the money we are losing over the disappearing residuals. Residuals
are not a bonus. They are the way writers live when they are between jobs. The standard writers contact is up for renewal
every 13 weeks. You can have a five- year contract, but they can let you go every 13 weeks without paying you any more as
long as they give you a month's notice. That is the deal we all enter into. There are 12,000 writers in the guild. You
need to make $30,000 a year in guild earnings to keep your health insurance. Last year, 6000 didn't reach that figure.
I have been lucky enough
to have a job for 16 years. That simply does not happen. So this is what we are fighting for. Believe me, we would love to
be in the office, writing fun facts, actives with Rupert, illegally doctoring footage or downloading porn, but this is the
frontline fight for all the other union contracts that come after us. The late night writers are the first ones affected by
a strike, and the ONLY ones who will never recoup the money we lose because we do 10 times as many new shows per year as any
drama or sitcom. But we go out in support of our fellow union members and pray this thing ends soon.
One more thing. To a man, all of the writers are deeply concerned
about the collateral damage if we stay out too long. We think of the 150 people who work at the Late Show whose fight this
is not and believe they will be taken care of. They are all embarrassingly supportive of us. No one any more so than Dave.
It is quite humbling.
Sorry to be so serious,
but this is serious business. I wanted to write you people because this site has loyally and relentlessly followed the show
since we came to CBS. I felt you were owed as much of an explanation as anyone outside the negotiation room can give.
Feel free to ask any questions and I will try to respond.
Be sure to get in touch so we know you're out there!
Strike Observations By The Late Show With David Letterman Writers