Originally Posted by luckytwn
Not to be harsh but you don't understand how TV shows are developed. For one thing, most shows are developed on spec and then sold to networks/production companies. That, in effect, is the writer putting up their own time (and money) to develop the show.
This is a good point, but there is a flaw in the system. The creator of a show, say a Shonda Rhimes, David Kelly, Brian Fuller, Mathew Weiner, or Joss Whedon, develops their ideas on spec. They spend months or years working on a story premise and characters that would be engaging in an ongoing series. And for that effort, creating a franchise that makes a lot of money for a studio, they absolutely deserve some kind of residuals to share in the success. Without their initial efforts, the show wouldn't exist.
Where the system breaks down, I think, is that once a show is established, you have a room full of writers, all getting paid a very nice weekly salary (the minimum is more than $3,000/week), bouncing ideas off of each other. But the residual scale is the same for the episodes they write as for the creator of the show. At that point, I'm not sure the 8th writer in the room is really contributing more to the show than, say, the camera operator, production designer, wardrobe supervisor, gaffer, key grip, and construction foreman, none of whom make residuals, and get paid a lot less each week.
The same goes for features. Absolutely, the original creator of the Transformers should be cashing in on residuals for the success of that franchise over 20 years. But, should the guy who wrote the most recent version of that movie get the same residuals scale as the creator? That's a tough call. The characters and their motivations already existed. Plus, nobody went to see that movie for the script. The story was universally panned. What people went to see and made the movie a huge hit was giant transforming robots in a live action movie, and none of the animators and effects artists who brought those characters to life gets a dime after their weekly salary.
The whole residual issue, I think, needs a rethink. It's hard to imagine that the 2nd AD should get residuals, but not the heads of most departments. Likewise, it is tough to believe the director of a pilot episode should collect residuals on every episode filmed thereafter, whether he was involved after the pilot or not. I think there is room for discussion about who, and when, people are elligible and for how much as the industry evolves. It's just not the same business it was 50, or even 20 years ago. So why assume the same business model is automatically valid?
I generally support the writers, and I wish them well. But I think there are merits to both arguments, and the issue is too complex to just automatically assume that the writers are 100% right on every issue because they are on strike against big corporations. These guys need to talk to each other about where the business is going in the 21st century, and come up with a new model that works for everyone.