R. Stevens: Genius ~OR~ Insensitive?

As the first webcomic talk I’ve felt compelled to write about in nearly two months, I felt it prudent to bring this up for discussion.

Via R. Stevens, via the PvP blog, Scott Kurtz found this little nugget dropped by Diesel Sweeties creator and well-rounded merchandiser, R. Stevens, on twitter.

As someone who writes, draws, makes a website, answers customers and helps pack merch … I don’t have much sympathy for striking writers. Want real royalties and freedom? LEAVE the studio system!

As a conversation starter that hopefully will not degenerate into the usual “You’re the bitch!/No, your mom is the bitch!” type webcomics arguments, I’m interested to see where those of you who fill the same shoes as Stevens (or more) fall on this debate. Do you side with the majority of the country in saying the writers deserve what they’re asking for, or is Stevens right in calling the writers out for wanting something they’re not entirely entitled to?

Discuss.

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6 thoughts on “R. Stevens: Genius ~OR~ Insensitive?

  1. This is a very good point to bring up. The fact of the matter is there are millions of people out there who are equally or more talented as any member of the WGA East or West who are just dying for that kind of job, and are out here on the internet putting out content of an equal or better caliber for free. The studios are the ones who take all the financial risk, and so the studios are rightfully entitled to be oppressive to the dime a dozen “creative talent” whose product may or may not fare well at market. As such they are very wisely holding out to maintain their profit margin on dvd and so-called “new media” sales. The sun has set on the era of unions protecting the working man. If public transportation or some other services attempts a strike the hammer comes down, hard. This writer’s strike is the epitome of capitalist excess, and amounts to nothing more than an obscene parody of a real strike. The people who are really suffering here are the minimum-wage earning gaffers and grips and best boys and what have you that are out of work right now, while these writers sit around playing victim and living on the royalties they say they aren’t getting.

  2. Webcartoonists are blessed in that they don’t need a studio to produce their work – as long as they can write and draw they can publish their work and potentially make a living. There are many affordable, one-person solutions available. Even so, the *vast* majority of webcartoonists don’t earn enough to make a living.

    But Television writers need the resources which only a studio can offer. They can’t just walk out and go independent, not if they want to pay the bills, so the studios are in a commanding position and the writers end up being used and abused.

    Just because a handful of writers become incredibly successfully on their own, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen for everyone. Most people are not as lucky as Mr Stevens.

  3. I don’t think he was calling them out. He’s just thinking. And I don’t think he’s WRONG, this might actually lead to more “net” based, independent sitcoms and shows. Already I’ve seen some videoblogs pop up from writers from latenight shows, so maybe this is the spark they needed. There ARE more viewers on the internet. Look at a place like funnyordie.com

    So I think he has a good point. Nobody is mentioning the consumers here either. We pay our cable bills for a reason– and with no new entertainment of the highest rates shows, why bother?? That’s not on the writers heads either, but their strike is going to have a backlash if they keep it up– when they go back to their jobs, they might not have as many enthusiastic viewers. The Late Night guys are coming back without them… that should be the writing on the wall for the strike.

  4. I have to call “apples and oranges” on this one.

    Just because Webcartoonists are lucky to operate with little to no overhead or oversight, we forget that those are the realities at play in the infinitely more expensive and complex entertainment world outside our happy little independent internet bubble.

    These writers are on strike because anyone willing to get plowed over in their or most industries will be roadkill in no time.

  5. This is a very good point to bring up. The fact of the matter is there are millions of people out there who, like Stevens, are equally as talented as any member of the WGA East or West who are just dying for that kind of job, and are out here on the internet putting out content of an equal or better caliber for free. The studios are the ones who take all the financial risk on the product of the dime-a-dozen “creative talent and they are the ones who lose out when it doesn’t fare well at market. As such they are very wisely holding out to maintain their profit margin on dvd and so-called “new media” sales. The sun has set on the era of unions protecting the working man. If public transportation or some other services attempts a strike the hammer comes down, hard. This writer’s strike is the epitome of capitalist excess, and amounts to nothing more than an obscene parody of a real strike. The people who are actually suffering here are the minimum wage earning gaffers and grips and bestboys and what have you that are out of work right now, while the writers play victim and live on the royalties they say they aren’t getting.

  6. I a really not trying to be polemic here (especially with my first post) but I think it’s a shame how the Writer’s Guild strike is being taken up as a liberal cause. But I think you sum up their foolishness very eloquently in your post. The fact of the matter is there are millions of people out there who, like yourself, are equally as talented as any member of the WGA East or West who are just dying for that kind of job, and are out here on the internet putting out content of an equal or better caliber for free. The studios are the ones who take all the financial risk, and as such they are very wisely holding out to maintain their profit margin on dvd and so-called “new media” sales. The sun has set on the era of unions protecting the working man. If public transportation or some other services attempts a strike the hammer comes down, hard. This writer’s strike is the epitome of capitalist excess, and amounts to nothing more than an obscene parody of a real strike.

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