I know some of you are confused by the Writer's Guild strike hoopla in Hollywood. So am I, my friends.

But alas, in this time of despair and confusion, an angel has come down to explain to us what the strike is all about.

Understanding the Strike
By now you may have heard that The Office has shut down production. This is true. They cleaned out my trailer and just delivered me 3 boxes of my stuff. It is pretty surreal. We cannot produce new episodes of The Office until the Writer's Guild strike is over.

You might be confused about the issues of the strike and I'm hoping that this blog can make it a bit clearer. (I should probably tell you that I support my head writer/producer Greg Daniels and the writing staff of The Office in their decision to strike.)

The big issue in this negotiation involves the Internet. If you go to NBC.com right now, you can watch an episode The Office for free. The network runs advertisements while you're watching it, which gives them an extra source of revenue. The actors, writers, producers and director, the people who created the content you are watching, are not compensated in any way for this.

The Writer's Guild has taken the position that the writers should receive residuals if the show re-airs on the Internet just like they receive residuals if it re-airs on television since in both cases the studios are making money. The issue is a huge deal, because the Internet is clearly where the future of entertainment lies.

Right now, a number of successful shows (like Lost for one) have stopped showing repeat episodes on TV at all, and have replaced them with ad-supported streaming video on their websites. If you're a Lost writer, or actor, or director, or a teamster that's no residuals at all for that show, and that's a big pay cut. We all count on the extra income that residuals provide as it can help us through a slump in our career when we aren't working as regularly. It is our safety net. In 10 years I may need those residual checks to cover my electric bill. You never know. Hollywood is a fickle town. If in 10 years, everything is rerun on the Internet, the current union contracts say the studios don't have to pay us a dime. And, I'll be sitting in the dark.

I hope that helped to explain things a little. For more…

Here is a video of our awesome writers on the picket line. They are funny even on strike:

Oh...there are only 2 unaired original episodes of The Office left. And, I'm sad to say the one we were getting ready to shoot was going to be the funniest of the year. I'm sure of it. They've been pitching this particular story idea for over 2 years…it involves Pam and Jim being in Michael's home but that's all I'll say. I hope we get to shoot it soon. Let's all stay strong and hope that the strike can end soon.

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In a comment on the blog, someone asked: "Will the Writer's Guild include other industry workers when negotiating with executives?"
Jenna responded: "The Writers Guild only negotiates for writers. However, they are the first union contract to be up with the studios. The Actor's Guild contract is up in June 2008 and you can bet we will be fighting for the same residuals. It is important to support the writer's strike because the results of this strike will trickle down to the other union contracts...just like how a court ruling effects future rulings."
There you have it. Beauty, charisma, intelligence and an explanation about the Writer's Guild strike all embodied in Jenna Fischer. Thanks, Jenna. You are still my #1 MySpace friend.