That's pretty interesting, in and of itself. "Hey, writers, WGA leadership here. Um--man, there isn't much work out there. What should we do?" Here's what you shouldn't do. Strike again. That's pretty high on the list of bad ideas. Also, how about not striking and not shutting the biz down for 18 months on the advent of a recession? How about that? Thanks.
Other than that, though...
If you want to know why there isn't a lot of work in film and TV--take a look around. The film business has taken their budgets, moved toward tent pole summer blockbusters, and cut film production by at least 66% (my own rough calculation) over the past 15-20 years. They have also significantly cut staff. It's not just writers who are out of work. It's executives, as well. Less movies that are more expensive = less projects = less writers hired, less need for development and production executives, accountants, everything. Pretty simple math. We're all getting laid off.
TV? Well, there have been less and and less advertising dollars coming our way in the industry for a long time as well. That affects free television quite adversely. Also, since less people even have cable these days because of the economy, that has affected HBO and Showtime, et al, as well. Again, less money, less projects, less need for manpower.
Less money = less projects = less work.
Anything else you need me to figure out for you, WGA?
Here's the solution. How do we make television and film production more cost effective, and also, of higher quality (so there are less misses and more hits). How do we get studios to make $100-200 million dollar films of the same quality for half the price? Or, even a third of the price? That would free up a lot of money for the smaller films that used to sustain the industry. How do we make films less expensive to produce? Better--how do we help studios do that?
Because otherwise, this is it, really. The model will have permanently changed. There will be no more entertainment business. There will only be an entertainment niche.
The first thing the WGA can do is start a program for out of work writers to embark on a career change. I'm talking about subsidies for graduate school, computer/IT training, accounting, nursing, teacher's certificates--you name it. How about we start there? How about helping writers transition into something else? Something where they can actually make a living?
Because holding out hope that the entertainment industry was/is going to change is how we got into this mess.
Oh, and digital media? Forget it. If that was happening, it would have made it here by now.
Hollywood has the same problems where digital media is concerned as well. They simply do not know how to produce something of quality at a buck. Either they don't, or they don't want to.
Does it really matter?
So, say it with me WGA--transition programs.
You want to find writers work? Get them the hell out of this God forsaken business, and into something where they can actually make a living and support their families coming out of this recession.
How about we start there?