‘Imagine A World With No New Movies.’

Some observers have mocked the writers as pampered and greedy, but Bowman, who began his writing career 20 years ago on Saturday Night Live, said Writers Guild members’ average annual income over a five-year period was $69,000. At any one time, half are unemployed – or rather, they say, working full-time on new projects and pitches without being paid. One such writer, Linda Burstyn, said she had been paid only one year in the last five, giving her an average income of $20,000. ‘Soon everything will be shown on the internet and, if we have no control, people like me will take a 50-70 per cent pay cut with no health insurance and no pension,’ she said. ‘I work for CBS now, but if I got hired by CBS.com and they showed the programme first, I could get paid a much smaller residual.’

Celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch, who has tentatively started work for the Oscars, said the strike would make itself felt more and more widely. ‘Right now it affects you but doesn’t paralyse you: it’s not like the garbage not being collected or the subway [trains] going on strike. But it could go on a very long time. Imagine a world with no new movies. Then people would notice.

From “LA Faces Meltdown” at the Guardian UK online.

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