In case you'd not heard, there's a little strike thing going on out in Hollywood.
I offer that bit of "news" because in the last few days I have been genuinely stunned to see a lot of aspriring screenwriters re-posting weeks-old strike news and information with the sort of shortness of breath usually seen only in recent arrivals to a cause. They are sharing links to update sites that have been running for weeks, repeating factoids which have been well-known for months, lamenting about situations which have been lamentable for years.
Here's the thing, kids: I'm not going to sort and cull into "those who know" versus "those who don't" and then try to offer some sort of judgment. The facts of the matter are simple: if you have any serious desire, intention, or hope to become a working professional screenwriter for features or TV (or that fangled newly "inter-net" I hear the cool kids whispering about...), then it behooves you (look it up) to freakin' get with the program.
There is a battle raging out there, and if you do not know the players, know the terrain, and understand the interests and goals of both sides, then you are a child playing in the middle of a busy street.
Do you check Nikki Fenke's Deadline Hollywood site at least once per day (more is better)? If not, why not.
Do you read the posts from United Hollywood every day? If not, why not?
Have you checked out the amazing "Speechless" video series done by name actors to show support and solidarity for the WGA strike? If not, why not?
Have you researched online to get the real news of the strike from independent and less-biased sources than the networks... who are the major entities being struck? Are you aware, for example, that thousands of writers have been picketing for weeks around major studios in LA nd New York? That entire city blocks have been brought to a standstill by huge rallies featuring speakers from all major labor unions? That political leaders and candidates on both sides of the political divide are increasingly concerned and interested with the way the writers are being screwed over here? If not, why not?
Have you been soaking up the various viewpoints offered from within the screenwriting camp from a slew of intelligent (and often brazen) folks posting in the comments areas to posts on Craig Mazin's Artful Writer site? If not, why not?
Do you understand that the numbers being presented by the AMPTP ("the Alliance"), the organized studio and network force, are intentionally skewed to make it seem as if "screenwriters" are some monolithic block of overpaid wealthy rich guys driving Lambos to the strike sites? Do you know th truth about how many writers are unemployed at any given moment? How little the typical screenwriter makes in any given year? How life-and-death critical those residuals and health care benefits are? If not, why not?
If you are reading this, chances are very good that you either are a professional screenwriter, are working to become one, or know one or more a close personal level.
Talk to them. Ask what's really going on. Learn why this fight must be fought, and must be fought here and now. Discover the truth of the events and circumstances which have brought us to this point. Think about what's really at stake, and what the future would look like if the proposals and preferences of the Alliance were to take root in not only the screenwriting industry, but then were used as a model top break unions in all industries in this country.
As I said, there's a battle raging right now, and the outcome of this battle will define the terrain of the world in which screenwriters will be working for the next generation. If you have any interest in that field, or in the people involved in that field, you need to get informed, get engaged, and get involved.
But you already knew that, right? If not, why not?