Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Writers Strike: Who you gonna believe? Internet Aliased Trolls or Real People on Video?

Since the beginning of this strike, a lot of sentiment has been played out on internet blogs and message boards. Some of them public, some private for WGA members. is a public blog run by WGA writers. Every time they make a good case for the WGA the AMPTP trolls reply with all kinds of anti-writers comments. They seek to split union members, cause infighting, and push the AMPTP ideals - like slavery.

The problem is that writers generally don't want to get into these politics, and they don't want to make a bad name for themselves with future employers. So they tend to keep their statements simple, usually to a few words that make nice chants on the picket lines. Things like 'fair deal', 'piece of the pie', 'as long as it takes'. And it is really very simple. It's the AMPTP who make it more complicated than it is. It's simply about getting the 2.5% residual rate they want on new media. That's the main issue that the AMPTP will not even consider, will not even sit down to discuss.


Two Sides to Every Story: The Truth...and Everything Else

As the strike continues and things heat up around the DGA negotiations, apparently the multi-national media mega-corps and their $100K a month crisis management flaks are ramping up their online psy-ops and misinformation campaigns. Deadline Hollywood Daily, in a post detailing a range of less than savory actions taken by AMPTP members against WGA supporters, reported that "AMPTP staffers, consultants and members (especially corporate publicity departments) are busily posting comments on WGA-friendly websites and blogs that Hollywood visits regularly and filling them with hate-filled rants against the WGA leadership, the A-list actors, and the companies who've made WGA side deals. The goal is to turn off readers and drive traffic away and in the process spread pro-AMPTP propaganda and make it look as if the strike is breaking apart." Well, we at can certainly confirm the hate-filled rants. How bad has it gotten? Well, what are the most vile things you can imagine? Did you include references to Hitler, comparisons to the 9/11 terrorists, the "C-word" and every conceivable variation of the F-bomb? Okay, now imagine someone posting that, oh... 40 or 50 times a day, sometimes 10 times in the span of 10 minutes. In fact, it's that kind of stuff - not the obvious trolls - that caused us to turn on comment moderation. And now we can add a new tactic: pretending to be WGA members in online comment sections.

and then we have the writers speaking out for themselves on video where we can verify who thaey are:


For the past month we've been filming interviews with writers, directors, actors, futurists, DPs, and people on the picket line, asking them to talk about the strike. Oliver Stone looked back at his years in the business, remembering how it used to be before the corporations' greed overwhelmed the movie business. Maria Maggenti told us about the importance of residuals to her career. Tony Gilroy talked about fairness. Adam Brooks about fighting for the future. The picketers outside Fox just before the holidays, called for "Action!" We've heard these ideas before, but, for us, the interviews personalized the issues of the strike. Voices4Action is also a place where we'll be talking about the future of story-telling in the new digital marketplaces. The congloms say they don't know how the internet will work, if there is, in fact, any money to be made on-line. Putting aside their disingenuousness, there is an honest fact that can't be denied. The internet is evolving and changing in ways difficult to predict.

So who you gonna believe?

If you want to do something simple and easy to help the writers get this strike over sooner, go out and post your support for the writers and what you believe to be real. If you do I would hope you'd have the guts to use your real name instead of hiding behind a non-credible alias. Writers do it, actors do it, you can do it.

And complaining about WGA tactics ain't gonna do it, especially if you're not in the WGA. That's not your concern anymore than your family bank account is the WGA's concern.

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