Joss Whedon Joins Picketers, Writes an Open Letter

Posted on November 8, 2007

Joss Whedon, writer and creator of such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly wrote an open letter about the writers' strike. Although he's really sick, he grabbed his thermos of chicken soup and headed out to the picket lines where he hobbled along with the other strikers.

Whedon says in his open letter published in Variety that his actor friends "understand that the issues at hand affect the future of the entire creative community here, and that the writers, by virtue of being first, will set a precedent that affects all the guilds." He says, "That is why we writers have to be firm, intractable and absolute in our dedication to getting a fair deal. And that's all we're talking about: a fair deal. For us, and for generations of artists to come."

Whedon also writes about how things are changing so fast and the industry and the DVD could go the way of the eight-track tape within a decade:
We're not just talking about an unfair deal, we're talking about no deal at all. Four cents from the sale of a DVD (the standing WGA deal) sounds exactly as paltry as it is, but in a decade DVD may have gone the way of the eight-track. We have to protect the rights of the people who tell the stories, however they're told.

*****

This is an era of change, and for the giant conglomo-tainment empires, it will either be the Renaissance or the Ice Age. Because we will not stand down. Writers can be replaced, as we are constantly reminded. But so can companies. Power is on the move, and though in this town it's been hoarded by very few, there are other companies with newer ideas about how to make money off of - or possibly, wonderfully, with - the story-tellers. Personally, I like things almost the way they are. I truly hope the executives negotiating for the AMPTP make the few simple concessions that will allow us to work with them again. I want to work. I have this idea, for a show about a girl... I even have the actress for it. And if we strike effectively, maybe she won't have to.
Joss is referring to his new SF television series starring Eliza Dushku called Dollhouse. The series sounds great, but it's on Fox so of course everything is on hold right now because of the strike. Joss seems to be hinting that if the giant conglomerates don't want to pay the writers to write great shows, then new companies will emerge which will pay the storytellers fairly. And where the great storytellers go, so go the viewers. And the ad dollars.