Roger L. Simon

Excerpting the Blacklist

This morning on PJ we are publishing a roughly 2000 word excerpt from the book I am writing for Encounter Books, which as yet has no title. The title of the chapter from which the excerpt is drawn is “The New Blacklist,” so that should give you a hint of the subject.

It’s ironic and a little sobering to be publishing something on this topic on the eve of what may be another Writers’ Strike in Hollywood. The last was in 1988. This one could be more serious because the issues are. We are at an historical point in media where the system is no longer holding. No one knows what to do.

With film and television increasingly Internet phenomena, the WGA wants a foothold there. This may be the nub of the disagreement between the producers (MPAA) and the writers. In the early nineties I could say more positively because I was the on the negotiating committee for the WGA. I’m far from that now, sitting on the other side of the fence as employer of writers at PJM. The manner is quite different from the entertainment industry as I knew. But still I could be accused of having dual loyalties now.

Of course, that’s a common problem for the Writers Guild where, particularly in television, writers have been employing writers for decades. Everyone says they are a “writer first,” but perhaps that’s only sentimental. In any case the lines between executive and staff are blurry to say the least.