23 November, 2007

Broadcast and the Writers Strike

James has blogged about Emily Bell's outrageous article attacking the writers. I had already sent a reply to her directly to her email address which bounced back but James mentioned sending it to the editor so I sent a copy to both the editor and the deputy ed.

On Tuesday the deputy ed emailed me asking if she could print it. It wasn't meant for publication so I had to rewrite it extensively very quickly as it was sloppy and shaming.

I am chuffed that the letter's page in today's edition is devoted to replies to Bell by Peter Lloyd (TV writer), Tom Green, (editor of the WGGB mag and blog), Piers and myself.

This is my letter:

"Emily Bell’s rant against the Writers Guild of America
and the strike completely misses the point.

Writers are entitled to money from download sales just
as they are for DVD sales. Will we also expect a
similar rant against actors, directors and musicians
who also earn residuals?

Presumably, should a publisher decide to print Emily
Bell’s brilliant Broadcast columns in a book and the
book sold millions, she would expect no additional

20 years ago the producers asked writers to take a
temporary 80% pay cut from home video sales as it was
an unsure market. Now DVD earns billions in profit the
producers have refused to honour the deal made then.

And now they are using the same trick for the Internet
saying it’s a new and unsure market and writers should get
nothing for a few years to see how things go.

I have heard Bell’s "the writers are bottom of the
pile but are living in a gilded cage" line a few times
now. The real question is why are screenwriters who
the work in the first place at the bottom of the pile?

Not every WGA member is a big earner, far from
it, that myth was put about by the studios.
But even if that were the case, it shouldn't negate
fair treatment.


Tom said...

Excellent. Well done. I didn't end up retrying to send an email to them about it which is probably a Good Thing as I was considerably more acerbic.

Lucy said...

Nice one Robin, don't let her get away with it. Journalism like that makes my blood boil and not because I think she's wrong not be on the side of the writers, and not even 'cos I think it reveals her as a harpy (tho that hardly helps), but because as you say, SHE TOTALLY MISSES THE POINT IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE thus making her look totally incompetent IMHO.

Robin Kelly said...


far away said...

Good one Robin

Robin Kelly said...

Thanks, far. I think everyone writing in, whether it was published or not, might have contributed to a change of attitude at the magazine.

It wasn't that long ago that, when you registered with Broadcast, every possible TV trade was listed to tick but you had to put 'writer' under 'other'.

annabel said...

Three cheers for you!

Piers said...

Never fear.

Robin and I shall use our letter-writing powers only for good.

AnneofCleves said...

Fantastic letter.

James Moran said...

Nice! Glad they published the letters, hopefully that means they're getting the message. Very well done, sirs.