JMS on Usenet


Subject: Re: iTunes question for JMS
Date: 16 May 2007 16:54:43 -0700
From: "" 

On May 11, 5:23 pm, "John W. Kennedy"  wrote:
> swp wrote:

> The technical term for that is "pricing yourself out of the market". No
> one in 1992-8 could have pulled such a deal off.
> That's why the WGA exists, and that's why it looks like a strike.
> =C0 la lanterne touts les "suits"!

Here's the cored of it, and what people looking in need to

Basic stats:

Fifty percent, half the Writers Guild, is unemployed, at any given

The majority of WGA members sell maybe one or two TV scripts per year.

The same majority of WGA members earn less than 45K per year, less
than many grade school teachers.

Most WGA members have to work daytme jobs to supplement their writing

And the percentage of WGA members who earn six figures and up accounts
for less than 1% of all WGA members.

Those are not rosy stats.

Leaving out the aspect of deferred compensation...residuals exist to
help writers stay alive and available between assignments.  If you
only make one or two sales in a year, the residuals for what you sold
last year will help pay this year's bills and allow you to keep
writing.  Take that away, and the bulk of the writers working in TV
would have to drop out of the business.

Writers, directors and actors have, until recently, been able to get
residuals on the various venues through which their shows are seen
(broadcast and cable TV, overseas exhibitions and theatrical
distribution).  But virtually everybody in that group gets nothing out
of the distribution means that were not covered by those long-ago
contracts (the last real negotiation was in 1988).  DVDs, Xbox,
Itunes, bittorrent, most satellite systems, Joost and other internet
distribution systems do not pay anything to anyone in those three
categories.  In theory they should get something, the foundation is
there in the old contrats, but the formula used to determine residuals
based on VHS sales can be adjusted infinitely to ensure nobody gets

We're not talking here luxurious terms for luxurious circumstances;
we're talking about the basic necessities of life that will help
writers, especially newer, retired or struggling writers, keep their
homes and pay their bills.  Bread and butter issues.  If you're a
writer making six figures plus in sales per year, residuals aren't
that big a's everybody else, everybody who's just making
ends meet, who live or die depending on the small residuals check that
comes in from time to time, helping out when bills come.

Just so everyone's clear on the concept.