The Writers Guild of America has been on strike for about 10 days now. It’s the first time in almost 16 years. For many of them, they are fighting for better residuals of the shows on the streaming services they write for. Sadly, some haven’t even got much for their efforts. If someone gets a paycheck to write an episode, shouldn’t that be enough to pay for them? Well, not exactly.
Streaming services are using the strength of these shows to sell memberships. Netflix recently hit paydirt with Beef. Disney-Plus has The Mandalorian at is base show. And HBO has Succession, Euphoria and who knows what else. People are switching from cable/satellite to streaming services so they can watch whenver they feel like it. I was talking with an older man the other day who was excited he was going to marathon watch the latest season of Mandalorian with his nephews.
People write these shows and should be paid accordingly for the strength of their shows brining in new members. I’ve stayed away from Yellowstone, because I couldn’t get into it. Now, that it’s ending, I think I’ll watch it. I’m currently watching the last season of Snowfall on Hulu but it aired on FX. Shouldn’t writers get a slice of the profits for people getting Hulu memberships?
Well, apparently, David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery that owns HBO Max, soon to be just Max, says no. And he reportedly has been making $250 million a year, even though he’s only been in the position about two years now. CEOs come and go. They’re there to get as much as they can before they can leave a few years later. But for many writers, they may only get one or two episodes a year produced. If they’re lucky, they’ll be brought in to work on a script. But unlike Jon Favreau or Tyler Perry, it’s not a one-person show most of the time in the writing room.
While Zaslav thinks people will grow tired of picketing and go back to work, he apparently hasn’t been keeping up on current events. Everyone is still trying to act like it’s 2019 when that time is long gone. No way are people working for shitty paychecks and being treated like garbage by someone who does absolutely nothing. One thing remote work proved during the pandemic was just how useless managers and supervisors were.
My grandfather, may he rest in peace, was missing both his ring and pinkie finger along with half of his middle finger, as the result of an accident working at a carpet mill. When he tried to work on getting disability, someone said that even though he couldn’t work on the line, he could tell people what to do. And as my mom later told me, who wants to have that job and who is going to listen to them?
Zaslav may just be one of the most worthless CEOs I’ve ever seen. He makes Michael Eisner look like Mister Rogers. And that guy who was chair and CEO of Disney, forced daycare centers in Hallendale, Fla. to paint over and remove murals depicting likenesses of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy. But on a recent CBS Sunday Morning, a man said the workplace shift in the last few decades has focused on more managerial needs rather than employees. The thing is you have too many generals and not enough soldiers.
One thing the Covid pandemic and remote working proved was just how worthless managers and supervisors are. With no one constantly coming by your work station or area to check up on things, people were able to work easier. Since something could be sent in an email rather than an hour meeting, people were able to get their work done faster. Believe it or not, people can manage their time efficiently on their own.
When I left the newspaper business, I began to feel like an Editor-in-Name-Only. I had three supervisors. I had four just a year and a half before when there was an executive editor. But you have a managing editor and then a publisher who is also executive vice-president of the company and then there’s the President/CEO above him. There was really no one underneath me with the exception of the customer service representative who had to answer to the classifieds managers, the advertising manager, and so on. It was like the scene in Office Space where one employee has eight different bosses.
And what do these bosses really do? Even the graphic designers got a better salary than I did as a news editor and their supervisor thought they could tell me what to do. People don’t quit jobs. They quit managers. And I’m sure all those writers would gladly go back to the writing rooms tomorrow if the price is right.
Last month, Andi Owen, CEO of MillerKnot came under fire for a leaked Zoom call where she tells people they shouldn’t be asking about their bonus and help her company make more money, more or less. Clearlink CEO James Clarke praised an employee whose family got rid of the family dog to focus more on work.
It’s mainly how right-to-work destroyed union jobs which in turn destroyed employment. I won’t say who it was, but one of the higher supervisors at my former company had someone else doing most of their work. No union reps to report to so you either take it or leave it, but the worker was gullible enough to let it slip to the publisher who ended up letting the supervisor go.
Some people want to work but they don’t want the responsibilities that come with a managerial/supervisory job. That doesn’t mean they still want to be paid chickenfeed for their work. You can’t entice people with “titles” if they’re totally useless. It’s like the episode of Cheers where Rebecca tries to sell Sam and Woody on “titles” instead of raises. But yet, they’re expecting people to do more work without a raise.
Mostly, I blame the Baby Boomers for all this. They’re whole motto was “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” They wanted to be leaders that they encouraged their kids to have the same mentality. The people who don’t want to work are the ones who refuse to work with the rest of the people. They hired undocumented workers so they could reap the profits. They fired employees and consolidated job duties so they would have to pay extra. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, most Boomers wouldn’t work any of the jobs they heavily criticize people for working at.
They say, “There’s no shame in flipping burgers.” Then, they shame people for flipping burgers.
While no one wants to think of the 2024 election just yet, Millennials and Gen Zers will make changes. And they’ve been continuing to make changes in the workplace with the Great Resignation. The only trickle-down-economics they got was being treated badly by the higher-ups who felt they deserve more. What goes up must come down and it’s fallen hard on so many people.
And even though I support the WGA strike, the entertainment industry has a long way to go. Celebrities, artists and performers often support equal rights and fairness in other areas, but don’t practice what they preach. All you hear is how actors and crew members work long days and six day weeks. They don’t pay much. They even film in states that are right-to-work to get around union workforces.
Richard Dreyfus said he’s mad because the Academy Awards is actually considering excluding movies that exclude people. He went on to stick his foot further in his mouth by saying since Sir Laurence Olivier was wearing blackface, it was okay. And blackface is used in stunt work. Actors still chase the Simple Jack roles and ableism is still a huge problem. While I agreed with the casting of Brendan Fraser in The Whale, there are other times when a fat suit is unneccessary and just disgusting if the purpose is to show the person as disgusting.
I’ve known several skinny people who didn’t take showers nor brushed their teeth on a regular basis. People like Dreyfus are mad because audiences are changing and he can go work in a Todd Phillips movie where they tell gay jokes and make fun of non-white people.
They should lead by example rather than be hypocrites.
What do you think? Please comment.