Entertainment

Hosts unite against duty to return to production – The Hollywood Reporter


Hosts packed the WGA Theater on Saturday in Beverly Hills for an hour-long assembly designed to update the television industry’s senior producers and writers on the state of life. WGA strike against the Union of Film and Television Producers.

The meeting comes after the first week of the strike and when studios including Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount, among others, sent letters last week asking showrunners to continue non-scripting production duties, in some cases in potentially transgressive ways. term. stake wire. Disney’s letter, for example, told program participants that in this capacity, they “may… be required” to perform a so-called “(a) to (h) service,” performance. This service is prohibited under WGA strike rules.

“Everyone is very connected and united [across the board],” said a longtime presenter who attended the meeting, who noted during the 2007-08 WGA strike the question of returning to work as a producer created a lot of many conflicts and arguments among guild members. “It’s very different from ’07.”

WGA negotiating committee co-chair Chris Keyser once again took center stage on Saturday, reiterating remarks from Wednesday’s rally outlining how talks with the AMPTP had broken down before. when moving on to a larger discussion of why showrunners shouldn’t perform non-written production services or promote their show during the strike.

“It’s as simple as we’re at war with the studios,” one host recounted Keyser’s remarks. “We cannot have a war one day and be their partner the next day. If we are coming to a consideration of you [Emmy] events, we are their partner. It is impossible to separate your producer brain from your writer brain. Everything is really writing, especially when you’re the host.”

Ann Farriday, WGA’s senior director of membership organization, emailed program participants Friday, urging them to meet with clan leaders on Saturday to discuss “where we are” where, how did we get here and where do we go from here.” Sources describe the scene as resembling a packed house and “bigger than anything” similar to the last 100-day WGA strike in 2007-08. According to the venue’s website, its seating capacity was just under 500, and attendees described turnout as overwhelming if not excessive.

Saturday’s attendees included Damon Lindelof (Peacock’s Mrs. Davis), David E. Kelley (of ABC big sky, maximum Love & DeathNetflix Attorney Lincoln), Bill Lawrence (by Apple Ted Lasso, miniature), Alex Kurtzman (who interstellar travel franchise at Paramount+) and Shawn Ryan (Netflix’s .) shadow agent). During breakfast burritos, several senior writers in attendance said they were encouraged by union officials to share different opinions about non-writing work.

“The fact that dissent was encouraged by Keyser and David Goodman [WGA negotiating committee co-chair] It’s a big change,” said one of the attendees. “As someone who used to be one of the dissidents [during the guild’s battle with agencies over packaging fees], that is not recommended in the ATA campaign. “It’s a different world without David Young in charge.”

Ryan, a five-time member of the WGA’s negotiating committee, who is sitting out this round, spoke to the audience about why in 2007 he changed his mind and chose not to make the services. production services for film studios. He described the situation as “a never-ending series of ethical dilemmas that could never be resolved before declaring that it would be better to stop production,” according to one panelist. attend.

During the meeting, program participants gave various instructions they received from representatives and employers when it came to their production duties. “Everybody has a different representation, and they’re working for different studios, who have varying degrees of difficulty in that regard. It’s tough when you get a ‘scary letter’, that’s what they call it,” said one attendee. WGA encouraged program participants to reach out to address their individual situations not in the group setting of the meeting but one-on-one.

On Friday, the association responded to reports of studio letters by specifically Disney’s. “The Rules prohibit hyphens (members employed in dual capacity) from performing any writing services, including functions ‘(a) through (h)’,” union stated about its strike rules, which put presenters and writers-producers in a quandary as they navigate the varying demands of employers and unions.

“(A) to (h) shows up a lot,” the same meeting attendee, a veteran presenter, admitted he didn’t know what those duties included, as he was only a novice. heard about them recently. “They remind us that we can’t do it [those duties]. The problem is that it is very difficult to determine where writing ends and where else begins.”

Other WGA leaders on stage include Ellen Stutzman, the WGA’s lead negotiator, who took up the role after the union’s western branch chief executive, David Young, took a leave of absence at the end of the month. 2, co-chair of the negotiating committee David Goodman, treasurer and union secretary Betsy Thomas and president Meredith Stiehm. Stutzman echoed her Wednesday comments about the WGA getting support from other unions, pointing to the Teamsters on Saturday. Stutzman noted that this strike is different from 2007-08 because of a number of core issues specific to writers, making it difficult for the WGA to accept the same agreement offered to the American Association of Directors. During the final strike, the DGA reached an agreement with the writers to provide the template for WGA’s final compromise with the studios.

“What Ellen Are not say don’t expect a repeat of 2007 when the DGA came in and made a deal and we made their deal – because even if they negotiated the best deal in the world, that deal won’t solve the problems of small rooms, distance protection, and minimal work of writers,” said another observer.

Hollywood Reporter contacted a WGA representative for comment.

The WGA strike began on May 2 after the WGA and AMPTP were unable to reach an agreement and the guild’s current Minimum Basic Agreement expired. During Wednesday’s protests in LA and New York, the WGA showed solidarity with other associations – including the American Association of Directors and SAG-AFTRA, which have separate contracts with the firms. the film expires on June 30. Members of various associations joined writers on this select line last week to show solidarity and support in the fight with AMPTP over issues Focus topics include higher floor wages, transparency of data from streamers, regulation of small rooms, and the use of artificial intelligence. Negotiations between the DGA and AMPTP will begin next week.

Summary of another veteran presenter: “Any questions [Saturday] is about, how can i continue the best cause? Everyone is doing the right thing.”

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