Monday, November 19, 2007

More Strike Stuff

I've written a short piece about the WGA strike and the Democratic presidential candidates elsewhere. In response, one of my WGA friends sent the following email, with some interesting tidbits:

As one of the thousand or so writers who voted not to strike, I can't believe I'm going to [clarify] some of your stats that actually support your argument. While it's true that the Guild minimum is $100G or so for a big-budget script, there's also a fee of about half that for a low budget film; and a lot of writers agree to the lower figure even though they know they're writing a film that's going to be budgeted much higher than the stated budget. The big guys, of course, don't work for minimum, just as the DVD and download revenue streams are written into their contracts at rates far exceeding the minimum being demanded.

Further, the "average" of working writers may be $200G, as you say, but that figure is wildly [skewed], given that there are many, many writers working for several million per script and sometimes three-quarters of a million PER WEEK on uncredited punchups just before production--the kind that the movies that were canceled/postponed recently hadn't yet gotten. So in a guild of 12,000 members, those dozens and dozens of millions will wildly skew the averages.

Then, too, my guess is that no more than a thousand writers are working at any given time. So my estimate is that the average writer (if you throw out the high and low, as in Olympics scoring) earns about $60K--which you'd concur with, I think, if you saw the cars parked on the side streets around the picketing locations.

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