Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike
In 2007 the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the screenwriters union, hit an impasse in their contract negotiations with the Studios. At the center of the dispute was jurisdiction over the Internet. Unable to make progress, the WGA called a strike which brought Hollywood film and television production to a halt for 100 Days.
Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike chronicles the events leading up to the writers decision to strike, events that occurred during the strike, and the impact the strike has had on the entertainment industry even today.
A blend of ground level strike footage, one-on-one interviews with key industry figures, and historical Hollywood footage, the film not only explores the historical components surrounding the decision to grind Hollywood to a 100 day standstill, but also examines the issues in terms of the relevance for today's entertainment workers and those coming into the industry in the future.
Those interviewed for the film include: Actors Alan Rosenberg and Justine Bateman; Writers Patric Verrone, John Bowman, Harlan Ellison, Howard Rodman, Christopher Knopf, Ken LaZebnik, Jonathan Fernandez, Kai Bowe, Jason Ross, and Peter Hankoff; Metropolitatn Agency President Christopher Barret, Strike TV Founder Peter Hyoguchi; Industry historian and Emerson College Professor Dr. Miranda Banks; as well as noted entertainment commentators Cynthia Littleton (editor of Variety) and Jonathan Handel (The Hollywood Reporter).
Apple TV and downloads from the iTunes Store, Amazon Prime Streaming Videos, Hulu and Hulu Plus, Google Play, Netflix, Roku, even gaming consoles, the avenues available for content viewing are growing exponentially. We have coined the term "New Media" to address this emerging form of content presentation. At its core, Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike tackles the all important question regarding this new frontier of entertainment accessibility: what is the industry business model for the internet?
As writer Jonathan Fernandez pointedly comments in the film, "strike is a miserable, miserable, thing". This strike and its issues were not products of frivolity or privelege unchecked; the issues were real and impacting and the decision to strike was made by hard-working groups literally putting everything on the line to frame and define the emerging world of New Media. Someone has to write the internet...right?
We all go to a movie, watch a television show, see a play, to watch the wonderful stories woven and crafted by a gifted group of storytellers simply known to us as "writers". Pencils Down! The 100 Days of the Writers Guild Strike is their story. Enjoy.