Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ron Moore & Battlestar writers striking

Ron Moore and the rest of the Battlestar writing staff (members of the WGA) are currently on strike. According to The Watcher, Moore is striking not only as a writer, but as a producer--performing no duties whatsoever for the show. On Sunday, Moore posted this note on the Sci-Fi BSG message board:

"Some tense times as we head into the strike tomorrow. Just wanted to take a moment and express my thanks to those of you who've made clear your support of the writers and of our staff in particular. There will still be a Galactica to finish when this is all over, and I'll be back to talk to you more then. Thanks again and I'll see you on the other side of the Jump."

WGA Member since 1989
Two Battlestar scribes are blogging about the strike:
Check their blogs and the excellent Galactica Sitrep for the latest Battlestar-specific updates.

If you're wondering how this will affect Battlestar, production has already been completed on Razor (airing November 24) and the 10 Season 4 episodes due to begin airing next April. So for the viewer, the reality is that it probably won't, but that's not true of the cast and the crew. Latest word from the set is that they're filming episode 12 now, but will likely shut down production soon. This will leave cast and crew out of work.

If you're wondering why the writers are striking, the clearest explanation I've seen is over at the WGA group blog, United Hollywood.
What's the biggest issue?

Internet and New Media.

What are we asking for in Internet and New Media?

Two things:

1. Residuals for reuse of content (like replaying tv shows) on the internet.

We're asking for residuals of 2.5% of revenue -- that means for every dollar they get paid, we'd get 2 and a half cents. It's a flat percentage, so if they're right and they're never ever going to make a penny, well then, we won't either. No harm, no foul.

Since 2.5% is our starting point, in any normal negotiation we'd end up somewhere between what they want to pay (.3%) and what we're asking for (2.5%). I'd guess 1 to 1.5 %.

2. Coverage and protections for original content (new stuff we create for the internet.)

We're asking for basic protections so that when we write original stuff for the internet, we have rights -- health and pension, minimum amounts, credits and separated rights (so if we make some amazing character or show, we get the right to share in its success.)

We're just asking for the same protections we already have for writing in tv or film. Nothing new or weird. Just the basics.
Talks between the writers and producers broke down on Sunday, when the writers made the huge concession of not asking for increased DVD residuals (they currently only make .04 cents per DVD) and the producers responded by... walking out.

For general strike news, see these sites:
I won't blog more about the strike unless there's a big Battlestar-related happening or Tahmoh says something about it. For the latest, be sure to check out the linked sites above!

ETA: Ron Moore talks. Read IGN's exclusive interview.

The "Battlestar Fans support the writers" icon is by lexigeek. The other two are by crazyvictoria. Please let them know if you snag them!

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