It’s official – Hollywood’s writer strike is over. 100 days after the Writer’s Guild of America threw their picket signs up in frustration against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’s stance on DVD residuals and compensation for “new media,” on Tuesday the two parties came to an agreement.
Los Angeles economists estimate that it caused the loss of $733 million in production spending and another $1.3 billion in ancillary services (caterers, florists, valets, restaurant workers, etc.). But despite the devastating financial impact, it generated some fantastic online videos.
In between protests, with no films or television shows to pen, writers created content for the same medium they were fighting to get a piece of. In between not crossing picket lines, with no films or television shows to star in, actors looked to the web as an outlet for creative expression. And, in between not watching their favorite shows on television, new media stars weighed in on the process.
With such easy access to the means of production and distribution, technologically speaking, it was a great time to be a strike. Here’s a look at some of the best videos that cropped up while the cogs that keep Hollywood turning were at an standstill:
WGA – Why We Fight
First, a primer. The WGA explains why they’re fighting, who they’re fighting, and what they’re fighting for. Educational, not entertaining, but a good a starting point for those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the situation and lends to a greater appreciation of the following vids.
###Ask a Ninja – Special Delivery Writer’s Strike
Wielding his characteristic sharp-witted metaphors, the Ninja gives the writers advice in their battle against AMPTP – “a giant behemoth in a really nice suit that eats prophets profits.”
The Daily Show Writers – Not The Daily Show, With Some Writer
Jason Ross, one of 14 scribes on The Daly Show writing staff does a DIY version of the program that would make Bre Pettis proud. A makeshift set and poster board accent Ross’ spot-on delivery and beg the question, “Why don’t these guys start their own show?”
oren film – WGA Strike Gets Violent!
Created by Oren Kaplan and commissioned by a “top Hollywood writer,” this short depicts a Gestapo-like Writer’s Guild Police, patrolling coffee shops filled with possible pen pushers in a Hollywood where everyone’s secretly writing something.
Alex Perez – Hollywood Scab Writer
During the 1994 Major League Baseball Strike, there were a few dozen players who crossed picket lines for their cup of coffee in the Big Leagues. In the 2007-2008 Writers Guild Strike, there was Alex Perez. Walking the fine, funny line of hoax and legitimacy, Perez appeals to studio execs that he’s just the right scab for the job.
Residuals Video – How I Spent My Digital Download Residuals
Studio execs claim that there’s a lot of money in new media and that writers are currently getting a cut. Here, striking writers show you exactly what they’re buying with all that cash.
Fed Armisen – Thunder Ant
Wainy Days – The Pickup
David Wain told the New York Times that the strike has made actors a lot more willing and accessible to participate in his MyDamnChannel online series, Wainy Days. When he needed someone to portray a lothario of Mystery proportions, Paul Rudd was peacocking and neging skirts in no time.
Irving Brecher – Same Old Story
Irving Brecher is 94 years old. He wrote Meet Me in St. Louis in 1944 and Bye Bye Birdie in 1963. He refers to the 2007 WGA strike as “the strike of aught seven.” He joined the Radio Writer’s Guild (a WGA predecessor) in 1938, and he’s been pissed off ever since.
Jerry O’Connel – the parody video Tom Cruise WANTS you to see!
Nick Denton gave the finger to the Church of Scientology’s army of lawyers when he posted this video of Tom Cruise waxing crazy on the religion. Jerry O’Connell, looking for something to do while production for ABC sitcom Carpoolers was on hiatus, ended any past/present/future working relationship with the silver screen’s L. Ron Hubbard in this picture perfect mockery of the cackling star.
Ze Frank also came out of hiding and dirctor/writer George Hickenlooper and write Alan Serebof showed us a Hollywood without words. Over the past 100 days it’s been interesting to see so many creative talents express their discontent and fill up their free time with online video. Some liked it so much they might be even be setting up shop in cyberspace.