United Hollywood

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TV On Strike by Cynthia Littleton tells a narrative of how the writers strike began and the processes many people and collective groups took to promote change. The introduction spells out the beginnings of the unfair compensation and incorporation of writers in the change from airing shows on television to the new modes of distribution on the Internet.

In the chapter, “United Showrunners”, Littleon follows to the journey of the evolution United Hollywood, a blog started in 2007 to advocate for the writers and people in the television. Littleton mentions that it was a hard time especially for young writers who were just starting to get their shows on the air and getting recognition for their new works. The community of writers were able to communicate effectively and “eloquently” (being the group of nuanced writers that they were). They found themselves working out ways to have more people take their side and join the strike.

What I found most interesting is the way writers and non writers came together to advocate for themselves online as an addition to the physical strike taking place in Hollywood. The introduction for the blog on the United Hollywood Blogspot reads, “Who are you people? United Hollywood advocates for working people in the entertainment industry facing the digital revolution. We are not an official site of any guild or union, so our opinions are our own. Founded by a group of WGA strike captains, our contributors are both writers and non-writers. If you’ve got any questions or stories we should know about, email us at unitedhollywood[at] gmail [dot] com”. The blog goes beyond just discussing the issues that caused the strike and the issues that were within the strike, but goes further and discusses “Post-Strike” realities. This community wants to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. They want to make progressive movements towards United Hollywood being a group of people that advocate for support and for one another.

An article posted on March 7th, 2008 highlights the WGA contract being refined and the ending of the writers strike. The article is a reflection of how the strike can be a lesson for further learning and how a collective group of people working for the same cause, were able to produce change.

There is also a YouTube channel that is apart of the WGA and they posted videos to get their point across. The Why We Fight Video, posted by the WGA YouTube Channel is below.

The video explains the reason why the writers are on strike and why they feel they have been unfairly treated and how the rise of the Internet has done them a disservice. The video explains the breakdown of pay for what writers use to receive when television shows were being aired on television. Now that illegal downloading and streaming sites are popular, the writers were wondering how they would be fairly compensated for their work. They want to increase the percentage that they make from DVDs so that they are making more for what they actually work for. Why We Fight was a helpful visual and audio addition to Littleton’s reading that complimented my understanding of the writers strike in Hollywood.

Littleton, Cynthia. TV on Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2013. Print.

Images from Creative Commons.

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