14 November, 2007

Damon Lindeloff, "Lost", on the strike

New York Times:

" My show, “Lost,” has been streamed hundreds of millions of times since it was made available on ABC’s Web site. The downloads require the viewer to first watch an advertisement, from which the network obviously generates some income. The writers of the episodes get nothing. We’re also a hit on iTunes (where shows are sold for $1.99 each). Again, we get nothing.

If this strike lasts longer than three months, an entire season of television will end this December. No dramas. No comedies. The strike will also prevent any pilots from being shot in the spring, so even if the strike is settled by then, you won’t see any new shows until the following January. As in 2009. Both the guild and the studios we are negotiating with do agree on one thing: this situation would be brutal.

I will probably be dragged through the streets and burned in effigy if fans have to wait another year for “Lost” to come back. And who could blame them? Public sentiment may have swung toward the guild for now, but once the viewing audience has spent a month or so subsisting on “America’s Next Hottest Cop” and “Celebrity Eating Contest,” I have little doubt that the tide will turn against us. Which brings me to the second stage of grief: anger.

I am angry because I am accused of being greedy by studios that are being greedy. I am angry because my greed is fair and reasonable: if money is made off of my product through the Internet, then I am entitled to a small piece. The studios’ greed, on the other hand, is hidden behind cynical, disingenuous claims that they make nothing on the Web — that the streaming and downloading of our shows is purely “promotional.” Seriously?

Most of all, I’m angry that I’m not working. Not working means not getting paid. My weekly salary is considerably more than the small percentage of Internet gains we are hoping to make in this negotiation and if I’m on the picket line for just three months, I will never recoup those losses, no matter what deal gets made. "

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