Hollywood Writers Eye Startup Life

from the risky-business dept

The LA Times reports on ongoing negotiations between writers and venture capitalists to create Hollywood startups. Apparently "dozens" of Hollywood writers are looking to launch companies that would allow them to produce video content that would be distributed directly to fans on the web. We've noted that there are already a number of companies pursuing this strategy, and with thousands of talented writers sitting idle, this is an ideal time to start more of them. In the long run, these kinds of startups will ensure writers get compensated fairly because it will give writers who feel they're under-compensated an exit option. On the other hand, the LA Times makes clear that writers jumping into alternative business models may find that the reality of Hollywood startups to be a culture shock. A lot of successful online content outfits tend to be shoestring operations, and it's likely to take a few more years before the bulk of viewers make the switch to Internet-based sources of information. Writers used to the relatively large budgets and large audiences of Hollywood studios may find it difficult to adjust to being at a web startup that no one has (yet) heard of. This may explain why in a town with ten thousand writers, only "dozens" are looking at the startup option. On the other hand, those writers with an appetite for risk or a thirst for creative control may thrive in an environment where they call the shots and reap a much larger share of the rewards if they succeed.
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Filed Under: hollywood, startups, writers, writers' strike

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 18 Dec 2007 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re: The Lottery Fallacy

    This statement "we don't need to unionize because our options are plentiful" is an absurdly propagandistic fluffery - on a level (not exactly like, but comparable to, sigh) "We don't have unions here because the workers are so happy with management". In the US in general, unions are extremely disfavored by both the legal system and a lack of supportive civic structure, both of which have profound effects.

    Seth, come back when you actually understand what you're talking about. I have a degree in this stuff, and it's quite clear you don't know what you're talking about.

    The point is as a simple matter of mathematics, start-ups and similar cannot have a large impact because overall they cannot be of the level to match collective bargaining

    Seth. I am confused why you continue to bring up hypotheticals while ignoring the real world example I have pointed to over and over again. Silicon Valley shows that it does work.

    Why do you keep insisting it doesn't?

    You are simply wrong that it cannot match collective bargaining. It goes well past the power of collective bargaining. I know all too well about the power of collective bargaining, and when compared to Silicon Valley, workers here are MUCH better off.

    Writers: "Producers, if you do not pay us all royalties, we will all go on strike"

    Yeah, how's that been working? Oh, look, it hasn't!

    Writer: "Producer, if you do not pay me royalties, I will go join an Internet start-up".

    Yeah, that actually does work. Want proof? Go talk to anyone at Oracle or Yahoo. They're both BLEEDING people to other companies and they can't stop it. People want to go to hot startups and those companies are trying everything they can to keep them.

    Every day, that happens for someone. But it's statistically very rare, and the effect is very low on the whole.

    No. It's not at all rare. It's insanely common if there's enough competition.

    There are "hot" writers, just like there are "hot" programmers. But looking at these tiny slices and proclaiming them representative is highly misleading,

    It's not just about the "hot" ones. *Any* programmer from Oracle is in demand right now at Silicon Valley startups. Any programmer at Yahoo could get a job in less than a week around here.

    Again, this shouldn't be a difficult concept.

    Seth, the only person having trouble getting this appears to be you. You clearly know very little about US labor history or structure and you appear to have a near total and complete blind spot to what really is happening in Silicon Valley.

    I give up. If you want to live your life in near complete denial and ignorance, you are free to do so, but it's not my job to repeatedly explain why you are wrong, only to have you come back and ignore the reality I have explained to you.

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