So Hollywood screenwriters are all up in arms about not getting enough dough from Web 2.0 and are calling a strike. Basically, they're fighting over residuals from new media and compensation over work distributed through mobile and online. They want their cut, and they want it now. The consequence is clear: If there's no settlement, the world will suddenly be devoid of those hokey scripts churned out daily out of LA that seem to keep this globe a-turnin'. Reality TV might take over for good. Reruns could rule the land.
Hmm. Ok, I get it. That could be serious. I think. But my question is: Do these copywriters know anything about Web 2.0 that they seem so adamant about collecting from it? I'm all for writers getting paid for their work, but part of me can't help but think this is just a bunch of entitled geeks gunning for the studios so they can keep pretending they're cool and influential or whatever.
My point is, if these Hollywood screenwriters understand new media so profusely, why aren't they using technology to their advantage, rallying troops online, using 2.0 to spread their word (content), and stirring up some support on the Web? And why, when things are down to the wire, haven't they been able to churn out an effective and realistic proposal to monetize their work online, aside from a percentage of DVD sales?
To me, this seems another case of old media realizing too late in the game that the Web is driving nails into their coffin; they're desperately vying to hold on to good days gone by. And producers are doing the impossible to prevent others from taking a dip in their revenue stream, whether it comes from online or off.
Old media can blow chunks, and will inevitably blow away like daffodils in a storm. Soon this will all just be a flash in the pan. Is it really that big a deal if prime time takes a hit? I don't think so. Bring on those reruns. Want to see where scriptwriting is headed? Click here for a sneak peek. It might not be award-winning work, but it evidences this much: The testing grounds for new entertainment--both from an artistic and a business standpoint--are being laid out on the pages of MySpace and YouTube, not on cable or network TV.
So what do you think? Are the screenwriters' demands totally called for, or is this just old media wriggling desperately to survive a changing landscape? Can the Internet somehow strip this strike of its intended impact?