Monday, February 11, 2008

What SAG should learn from the Writer's Strike

In just a few months, the SAG contract expires and a strike vote could be authorized. Hopefully the experiences from the writers strike will impact those discussions and how it should proceed. The writers strike most likely cost everyone but the producers more income than they could ever possibly recoup from their agreement. In lost wages, the elimination of projects, the cuts in new productions, and the limited revenue from new media. Unlike the DGA, the writers chose this path rather than try to negotiate months ahead of the expiration of the contract. SAG should follow the path of the DGA and start now to discuss their agreement and agree that as a course of action, a strike vote is not the best course of action. The entertainment landscape has changed and a strike cannot produce a greater victory.

The real shame is as the producers place more emphasis on reducing costs than enhancing the creative quality of the medium, cheaper shows will become the norm. That means less numbers of writers per project, lesser stars attached to projects; cheaper labor, lower budgets, and more monetization push. Networks will turn to more branded entertainment, ie the Texaco Theatre, and heavier product placement in the scripts of each show to make these projects more worthwhile. Change is inevitable; the writers strike hastened it and a SAG strike could just kill it once and for all.