If you watched the video I just posted, you might have a better idea of why the writers are on strike. But I also watched a video, titled “Writers are Greedy” (since disappeared from Youtube), wherein some shirtless, cross-eyed genius talked for a whole minute about how writers should leave the union and besides, they’re moneygrubbers because they “make as much as doctors”.
The average writer – that’s including screenwriters and television writers – makes $200,000 a year, but that’s assuming he or she works all the time, which almost never happens. According to the WGA (which I’ll admit might not be an unbiased source, but I somehow doubt they’re making up numbers any fool could research anyway), over any given five years, said average writer makes about $62,000 a year. That average writer also lives in Los Angeles, where the median home price is around $570,000. By comparison, the median home price in my hometown is around $150,000. According to bestplaces.net, which calculates cost of living based on everything from mortgage to food, it costs 89.1% more to live in the Los Angeles area than it does to live in Appleton, and 33.6% more to live in LA than in Chicago. Writers aren’t getting rich – they’re making enough money to live comfortably middle-class.
Not only that, 48% of guild members are unemployed at any time. Not because they’re “lazy” – for some reason, the guy in this video seemed to think that writers should go “get a job.” Writing IS a job – you try writing 120 pages of good movie and tell me it’s not work. It’s just as legitimate a profession as doctor or teacher or construction worker, and way more legitimate than half-naked Youtube video maker. No, writers have to make work and then convince people to buy it. It’s not like you go in for an interview with your résumé in hand – you have to work on the off chance someone will buy that work from you.
Finally, you’re missing the writers’ main point: their salaries have been falling since about 1980, and will keep falling as TV gives way to the internet. Do some research before you complain about things you don’t understand.