Vox Daily The Official Voices.com Blog

How is the WGA Strike Affecting You?

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

January 8, 2008

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After yesterday's post, I got an email from a concerned member of the union who would like to share his point of view.

On Strike Sign

Don Leslie emailed me today sharing his thoughts and feelings about how the strike has been covered on VOX Daily, specifically in the article published yesterday about Hulu.com.

I agreed to publish his thoughts here for you to read.

First, I'd like to make a clarification that Hulu.com does not employ voice actors (in case it was misinterpreted as such), nor was I suggesting that voice actors should go to the site to seek employment voicing ads from sponsors of the programming. The people I asserted who are making the money (players who are now benefiting) are the aggregators of the content (Hulu) through advertisers as noted such as Chevrolet, Cisco and Saturn (ads I've seen in programs so far on Hulu.com).

Second, in no way am I or Voices.com trying to alienate any members of any union or suggest how they should act or not act during the WGA strike.

Whew... a lot to say!

Thirdly, while based in Canada, it is true that my understanding of the breadth of the strike and strike history in the US is limited to recent events. I also apologize for not mentioning AFTRA while mentioning the support that SAG is offering to the WGA.

OK, one more thing: I think it is very important that you read what Don has to say.

His account also gives me an opportunity to share a side of the story with you that has not yet been heard. This is one of the key ingredients missing in this ongoing coverage. Don was one of the first to approach this topic and enlighten me as to how devastating this could become for voice actors as someone who is in support of the strike.

Now I'd like to share Don Leslie's comments as were submitted to me earlier today:

Hi,

I read your VOX today and I'm a little concerned. I realize you have not been the staunchest supporters of unions, but I am. You actively promoted Voices.com members to pursue work at "Hulu". The only conclusion to be drawn is that you are encouraging scabbing. You also did not include AFTRA's unyielding support for the WGA strike in addition to SAG's. This statement is incorrect and misleading:

"While some previously thought that there wouldn't be any money in webisodic content, it is now apparent that there is money to made in advertising during the viewing of said content, however, the players who are benefiting have changed."

It has been clear long before the strike that programming content on the web has been and will continue to be incredibly lucrative.

The "other side" certainly knows this to be true and they say it openly at news conferences and share holders meetings; I have seen several of them including Sumner Redstone of Viacom discuss the enormous potentials of web content. And even more obviously, there wouldn't be a strike if the giant six media conglomerates were unaware of the web's potential. Yet they constantly claim that their investments in web programming are still experimental... but will not permit union jurisdiction in this area to any of the performing unions.

This is the same tactic they used against the unions in the area of cable programming not so very long ago.

I realize you are in Canada and that may explain, in part, why you are not that knowledgeable about labor union history and politics here in America. This is an extremely difficult time for all Americans given the state of our economy and the strong possibility that a recession is just around the corner. Or perhaps already here. And it's especially arduous for the American performing community. Los Angeles, arguably still the capital of the entertainment industry, is being devastated by this strike. And the commercial sector has been crippled throughout the country.

So I would greatly appreciate it if you could treat the strike as something more than a nuisance that has taken away our favorite tv show. This is absolutely critical to all of our futures. Many of us already have, and thousands more of us will lose our jobs, our health insurance, and our homes.

Regards,

Don Leslie

~~

Do you have anything to add?

Best wishes,

Stephanie

©©©iStockphoto.com/tillsonburg

Related Topics: aftra, AFTRA, don leslie, industry, Los Angeles, sag, strike, support, TV, union, unions, wga, wga strike, writers guild of america


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