According to the Entertainment Weekly I was just reading in the bathroom, there is a big writers’ strike looming on Hollywood’s horizon. Like everyone else in America, the Writers of Great TV (Vanished. Twenty Good Years) do not believe they are properly compensated for their work. They are going to go on strike to show the Big Corporations how badly the Corporate Bottom Line will be affected by the loss of Great TV (Pirate Master. Six Degrees. The Nine.)
The article–which I tried to find on the Internet, but failed–talks about how much ground the Writers lost during their last big negotiation in 1988. But the really good part, the part that made me laugh out loud in the bathroom at 5:30 in the morning, was where this one dude said something along the lines of “now the Internet is here, and with YouTube revolutionising the distribution models we the writers no longer need Big Corporations to distribute our product.”
That’s extremely funny. Writer Dude, I can’t even find this news article online. The Internet is a big place. It’s a big place chock full of talented writers who are hoping and praying and typing their fingers to the nub that they even get looked at by an agent. There are not many–if any–writers out there pulling down big bucks by putting their homecrafted sitcoms on YouTube.
In fact, do you even get what YouTube is? It’s a bajillion videos of people’s cats playing on the curtains with purloined Dave Matthews music as the soundtrack. It’s a vast wasteland of copyright violation–a no-man’s land of stolen work product doled out piecemeal. All those “quality shows” you have been paid princely sums to write have their funniest three minutes aired for free on YouTube. The only people making any money out of the “YouTube Phenomenon” are the two guys whose idea it was. They sold that enterprise to Google for a sum approaching the net worth of the entire continent of South America. Google still hasn’t figured out how to make YouTube pay for itself. They certainly won’t give you piles of cash for your sitcom.
Here’s the thing. If you’ve been lucky and/or good enough to score a writing gig for Network Television, and the show you wrote is now being sold online at the Apple Store or Amazon UnBox, then by skippy you should get a portion of that revenue. Absolutely.
But please know that you look silly when you threaten to take your ball and go to the Internet for big writer money.