W.G.A. Writers Facing ‘Faceless’ Enemy?

In past writers’ strikes, there were clear villians. It was a studio head: Walt Disney or Lew Wasserman (of MCA). But today, the writers strike itself (and follow-up clashes) are being fueled not by studios making movies or TV shows, but by the money and power of the corporate “congloms” (The Walt Disney Co., News Corp., Time Warner Inc. and Viacom Inc.) and by their potential stranglehold over future technologies, according to Variety.

All this carries a degree of culture shock for the town’s older writers and artisans. They can remember when Hollywood was a town built around its Dream Factories. Film was its economic base and, despite ties to New York bankers, its management base was in Hollywood.

Today, as the events of ’07 remind us, Hollywood is a mere plaything of the international congloms, and Hollywood product represents a relatively minor sector of the product line. Today’s managers are a far cry from the Louis B. Mayers or Lew Wassermans of old. Indeed, to a growing degree, they don’t even want to be part of the scene.