Negotiations between the studios
and the Writers Guild are set to resume today, and the two sides are exchanging
pointed words. The WGA contract expires
on October 31st, but its members will likely continue to work. The Guild has not ruled out a strike,
however. One contentious issue is a
proposed change in the residuals structure – writers would be paid only after
producers recoup their basic costs.
WGA West president Patric Verrone says that’s "not
a serious proposal," and because of studio accounting practices – movies
and TV programs could be made to look as though they’d never turned a profit
– writers wouldn’t see any residuals at
all. "Hollywood accounting
is a fantasy designed to pay talent as little as possible," he said. Still, he added, "I am optimistic that
the companies will see the light of day and agree to a deal by November 1st."
The last major strike was in 1988
and according to the LA Economic Development Corporation, it resulted in an income loss of $3 billion in 1988 dollars.