At least not anymore. The fact that television producers think of webisodes and other streaming content as "promotional" and don't want to pay a fair share to the writers who produce the material is extremely bothersome to me. If you charge to place ads within the content, it isn't promotional -- it's a show. The internet is the future of visual home entertainment. With services like iTunes, Xbox Live, and Joost, not to mention the network websites and MySpace, there is an abundance of visual entertainment I can access whenever I want and without leaving my couch. These services, and others like them, are only going to continue to grow. That is unless we as consumers stop using them, and that's what I'm doing.
I will not visit a network website, or link to one, until the Writer's strike is over. I will not download any episodes from iTunes. I will not purchase a DVD. I will not watch any reruns, or reality TV, that the network runs during the strike.
I will support the writers, without whom I would not have the visual entertainment I enjoy.
Writers are some of the hardest working people in Hollywood, and they receive the least credit. Like Joss Whedon, I was appalled when I read the description, provided by Joss, of the striking writers in the NY Times. They described the writers as:
“All the trappings of a union protest were there… …But instead of hard hats and work boots, those at the barricades wore arty glasses and fancy scarves.”
I've met a couple of writers, one of whom I interviewed on Monday, and I've yet to see one in "arty classes and fancy scarves." I think the writer was mistaking a memory of Tom Baker as Dr. Who for the writer's strike.
For a look at what the writers really look like, here's a video of the writers of The Office as they spell out their complaints. Watch the video and visit UnitedHollywood.com.
If you want even more information about the strike, you can play or download my interview with writer/producer Rob Long below.