Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ron Moore on the Strike - From IGN

This in from IGN:

Battlestar Galactica Producer Talks Strike
Ron Moore on why he's striking and how Battlestar's final season is affected.
Eric Goldman

November 7, 2007 - In the midst of the Writers Guild
strike, Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ron Moore walked the picket line outside
the Walt Disney Studios today, alongside a large assemblage of showrunners from
other series. I spoke to him for several minutes for a candid conversation about
the issues surrounding the strike and how the situation is affecting Galactica,
which is currently filming its fourth and final season. For Moore,
"Fundamentally this is about the internet, and this is about whether writers get
paid for material that is made for the internet or if they're paid for material
that is broadcast on the internet that was developed for TV or movies." Moore
shared a story to illustrate the scenario, saying "I had a situation last year
on Battlestar Galactica where we were asked by Universal to do webisodes [Note:
Moore is referring to The Resistance webisodes which ran before Season 3
premiered], which at that point were very new and 'Oooh, webisodes! What does
that mean?' It was all very new stuff. And it was very eye opening, because the
studio's position was 'Oh, we're not going to pay anybody to do this. You have
to do this, because you work on the show. And we're not going to pay you to
write it. We're not going to pay the director, and we're not going to pay the
actors.' At which point we said 'No thanks, we won't do it.'" "We got in this
long, protracted thing and eventually they agreed to pay everybody involved. But
then, as we got deeper into it, they said 'But we're not going to put any
credits on it. You're not going to be credited for this work. And we can use it
later, in any fashion that we want.' At which point I said 'Well, then we're
done and I'm not going to deliver the webisodes to you.' And they came and they
took them out of the editing room anyway -- which they have every right to do.
They own the material -- But it was that experience that really showed me that
that's what this is all about. If there's not an agreement with the studios
about the internet, that specifically says 'This is covered material, you have
to pay us a formula - whatever that formula turns out to be - for use of the
material and how it's all done,' the studios will simply rape and pillage."

Battlestar Galactica producer Ron Moore on the picket line

Moore, like most of his fellow writers, was extremely bothered by the
studios attempting to designate content shown on the web as "promotional," even
when that content has sponsors and advertisers. "Their position continues to be
that this is 'promotional.' That they can have it promotional material, free of
charge and they can make you do the work and they don't have to compensate you
for it and they don't have to credit you for it. It's undercutting everything
that the writers have built up in other media. The notion that just because it's
on your computer as opposed to your television set is absurd. It's an absurd
position for them to take, but, you know, if they can pull it off, they're at
the moment of a watershed change of how your media is delivered to you. Your
television and your computer are going to become the same device within the
foreseeable future. That reality is staring us in the face."

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