Sunday, August 24, 2008

Guilds, Strikes, and Falling Wages

Peter Bart, current editor of Variety and former studio exec, echoes talking points I heard from IA President Tom Short before he rode off into the retirement sunset:.

Six months after the end of the 100-day writers strike, the condition of the writing community is far more dire than it was before the strike.

Indeed, the net effect of the strike has been to exacerbate and accelerate all the ominous trends that already were looming over the writing trade.

Talk to writers, agents or company dealmakers and you learn that pay levels are declining, jobs are dwindling and overall deals are on the endangered list ...

The question Bart asks: Did the WGA strike cause the declines ... or were the declines going to happen anyway?

I believe that rollbacks were destined to occur in any event, because the cutbacks were already happening in a lot of areas of the entertainment business ... long before the Writers Guild strike. In our small neck of the woods, the big studios are paying less in salaries wherever they believe they can.

I've seen a number of deals, and the majors are paying mid-level employees as close to scale as possible. Artists and animators have called to complain about it. A few have turned down job offers because of the lower pay.

Anecdotal evidence? Sure. But it's definitely not 1995 anymore.

What's going on is, the congloms know that business models are changing, driven by the internet but also other things, and they're not prepared to spend a penny more than they believe they have to. Money has definitely ceased to flow like a Sierra waterfall, and while there are a goodly number of jobs, big salaries are not attached to most of them.


Anonymous said...


Steve Hulett said...

Hey, it's nice that somebody is getting rich.

I guess.

Anonymous said...

Charlie needs the loot. Ex-wives and crack are expensive.

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