I remember the last WGA strike. It was sad. I had been in LA for a
couple of years, just getting my feet wet in the movie business after
working in TV for five years. The trickle down was incredible.
Restaurants, limousine companies, real estate brokers, clothing
retailers, travel agencies. The list went on and on. Not to mention all
of the direct impact on actors, directors, crews, office staff and
accounting, the studios and networks themselves, talent agencies and
managers, publicists and business managers. It was a disaster and it
was painful to witness.
However, as an actor who has worked in film and television since
1980, I have always been pretty clear about the fact that we are
nowhere without the writers in our industry. And that goes beyond the
scary concept of a world of unscripted reality TV. Television and film
writers are responsible for some of the greatest literature in the
history of our society. Go to one of my favorite websites, the Internet
Movie Script Database (IMSDb). You can pull up CITIZEN KANE, ALL ABOUT
EVE and SUNSET BOULEVARD. You can read, online, hundreds of the
greatest movie screenplays of all time. Members of the WGA wrote those
The studios and networks claim that their profits are eroding and
blame the cost of stars' salaries and expensive marketing campaigns.
One more thing the studios and networks ought to consider is how
overstaffed they are themselves. You've never seen a business where
more people are required to do the same job until you have worked at a
TV network or film studio. Actors don't put a gun to the studio
executive's head. They negotiate a price and the studio agrees, or
disagrees, to pay it. Sometimes, as an actor, the price you pay is a
pretty big number that you arrive at before you even open your mouth.
The not-so-secret truth is that everyone in show business, of
those who live "above-the-line," are overpaid. The only ones above-the-line
who usually are not are the writers. Let's hope there is no strike and
let's hope the writers get a good contract.
Read more thoughts about the strike on Huffington Post's writers' strike opinion page