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The True Cost of a Strike

April 28, 2001

Re "A Strike? The Script Is Out of Their Hands" (by Rachel Abramowitz, April 20):

Topper Lilien hit the nail on the head with his comment, "Maybe it's time to read a book." The movie industry is pathetic. It exists simply because of the insatiable desire of Americans to be entertained, often badly. In a world in which new technologies are emerging, Hollywood continues to bring us unoriginality, retread plots, boring sequels and totally predictable premises.

Hopefully, there will be a strike or, in true Hollywood fashion, a sequel to the 1988 work stoppage. Then and only then can the industry free itself from people whose primary skill set is the ability to operate a phone and a Rolodex simultaneously. The average writer's salary of $84,000 is identical to the average amount of money a lifetime moviegoer will waste on their poor-quality product.

DOUG HALL

Culver City

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No one really wins in a strike. Jobs "run away" and the movies and TV shows get dumber every time there is a strike. In a free society, do we really want to watch game and reality shows because they are cheap to make and are made outside "the system"? Are we not smarter to look beyond the "bottom line" no matter what that "line" is for each of us?

The technology for mass-market storytelling is getting more accessible all the time, and the "leaders" of government, labor and industry should all keep this in mind. The next hit show, song, etc., could be on a Web site and totally outside all "normal" markets. It is better to work together than to not work at all.

WILLIAM MITCHELL

Sun Valley

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Like George W. Bush, the producers truly have compassion only for one class of people, the rich. The studios got wealthy off the creative work of writers, actors and directors. And now they're willing to force a strike that will cost the California economy half a billion dollars a week so that they can save something like $100 million a year on residuals to writers?

That's about the cost of two medium-sized studio movies or one year of stock options for Michael Eisner.

DAVID WYLES

Venice

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