We’re many weeks deep into the Writer’s Strike that has put a few extra re-runs on TV and a few thousand (actually over 15,000) people out of work. Until very recently there seemed no end in sight the strike crippling Hollywood and denying Los Angeles about 1.5 million dollars in revenue every day.
But as we reported a few days ago, the DGA has reached an agreement with the AMPTP, setting down the guidelines that may very well end the strike – and soon. But this isn’t the only thing that will push the strike towards its ever nearing climax.
It may be the primary reason, however. The DGA has negotiated deals involving many of the digital rights issues that the WGA wanted addressed. The Director’s took a deal that guaranteed more than what they had, but less than what the WGA wants. That’s how negotiations often work. So now the AMPTP has this on their side. They can offer the same deal, which the WGA would be somewhat unwise to decline. The DGA has clearly made their stance on the issue known and probably would favor the WGA taking a similar deal and not fully endorse the WGA attempting to get their original demands.
This will lead to an eventual loss of support from those in the WGA camp, such as the Studio Actor’s Guild. Perhaps more importantly, they overwhelming popular support will fade away as the WGA stops looking like a champion of improved conditions, and more like a greedy school child who wants more pie.
Further, in the recent past, the WGA has been signing individual, temporary deals with different studios allowing some shows to return to work, as well as some movies. This showed something of a weakness on the WGA, as there is clearly not a 100% united front, with many people off of work, yet a few back at work. Additionally, this opened the door for several back lot deals to take place. With a handful of movie studios now able to freely write and produce movies, they are also free to make distributing and co-production deals with the “enemies” of the WGA. Tom Cruise’s United Artist Pictures could start development on a film and then bring in the aide of Paramount or Universal to produce and finance, or they could simply sell finished scripts to these studios. The WGA opened a gaping back door that the studios can, and will, exploit.
With these three issues on the surface, the WGA will have to settle for less than they demanded or face an intense backlash and scrutiny from the entire industry over the continued work-stoppage. Any rebellion is crushed once the popular support is taken away. And make no mistake, those below the line and out of work since before Christmas have long since stopped supporting the Writers. With all his additional fuel on the fire, the WGA would seem wise to come to a deal with AMPTP, much like the fair deal reached with the DGA, in a quick and timely fashion to begin damage control. They’ll still be able to claim something of a victory, and more importantly, save face.
This is just one reading into the events and prediction, though it seems likely that this current tide of events will result in the WGA strike coming to a close, with both sides satisfied and the rest of Hollywood happy to go back to work.