Tag Archives: david letterman

No Strike Waivers For TV Yet But Web Start Ups Tempt Writers


Variety’s Dave McNary reported that the WGA rejected requests for strike waivers by the Golden Globes and Oscar telecasts today. While the Guild granted waivers during the strike in 1988, I doubt they will now- even to Letterman and Leno -until and unless meaningful negotiations resume for two reasons. Awards shows present a high profile opportunity to make an adverse and very public impact on the quality of these telecasts. Secondly, any waiver now, absent meaningful negotiations and in the face of mounting holiday debts for WGA members, may erode the widespread support of Guild members to the cause.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The LA Times ran a story that striking writers are in talks with venture capitalists to finance and launch Internet start-up companies. “Silicon Valley investors historically have been averse to backing entertainment start-ups, believing that such efforts were less likely to generate huge paydays than technology companies.” There’s been a change in that perspective, albeit a limited one, after the success of Youtube. I’ve been involved in several of these deals. One started just before the strike and was in production as late as last week. They’re interesting opportunities on the cutting edge of where the entertainment business appears to be headed. However, without the right business model, these ventures will – if they go anywhere – lead to cross-over deals for TV programming rather than a big pay day for an Internet venture. It reminds me of Web 1.0’s icebox.com or my stint with Film Roman’s Level 13 back in the day. Despite the risks, more and more of my clients are migrating to the Internet, if not for the potential payoff then for a chance to broaden their experience and marketability down the road.



Although I have had a profile on Ryze and Linkedin for a while, I have no real interest in social networks like My Space and Facebook. Linkedin and Ryze are business networking sites while My Space and Facebook tend to appeal more to the young and the single than to the older married crowd for obvious reasons. Young people generally are “early adopters” who, given their marital status, actively seek out meeting new people. Older, married people not so much. However, given the latest marketing push for my law practice and on the advice of various law blogs, I plan on signing up for profiles on these sites. Most importantly, my daughter is heading into adolescence and I want to know more about the sites she surfs on despite family prohibitions.

I have been playing with the latest incarnation of the social networking site, Twitter, for the past month or so after reading about it on Fred Wilson’s blog. As NPR describes it, Twitter “imposes a limit of 140 characters for messages. In addition to appearing on the Web, Twitter entries pop up on the instant-messaging (IM) systems and cell phones of the user’s personal contact list.” Twitter seems destined to be the next big thing; marrying the multi-zillion dollar text messaging business on cell phones with a social networking website.

After signing up, I emailed a bunch of my more Web-savvy friends and clients to join me. The narcissistic charge I get from thinking that anyone might really care about what I was doing at any given moment became quite addictive. To my dismay, most of the people I invited tended to be more old (aka traditional) media than new despite their chronological age (i.e., they were mostly young). Apparently, they were NOT as web-savvy as me. With Twitter updates like “blowing my nose” and “making pancakes with the kids” as part of my Twitter-reportage, my audience was less than thrilled. Both my 20-something assistant and intern snickered at me and my newly found web hipness. They simply didn’t get it.

I must admit here that I really don’t get it either. But with fellow Twitterers like Barack Obama and David Letterman, clearly I am on to something. I quickly added Letterman and Barack to my Twitter friends list so that I could instantly receive the latest top 10 list entry or Obama campaign bromide texted to my cell phone. With access to Redsox play by play (the Mets and Yankees next please!) and possible “Twittersodes” of the “L Word,” Twitter is at the crossroads of integrating television programming, the ‘net and text messaging (if the cell carriers are willing to reduce the costs). I am going to continue to play with the service and I’ll keep you posted – on Twitter, of course.