Harry Potter Maven on Strike: Writers Guild HogPro All-Pro Janet Batchler

I finally met Janet Batchler early last summer after a few years of correspondence and almost daily exchanges on the old HogPro boards. New Wave Entertainment had asked the two of us and Lexicon Steve to come to Burbank, CA, to be interviewed for an A&E Special, “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter.” I thought Janet, because of her beauty, clarity of expression, and command of canon (I hope you bought and read her What Will Harry Do? Payoffs and Possibilities in Book 7 before Deathly Hallows), was the best part of that show. In June, we met again at Sonorus 2007 in the desert above Los Angeles, where she, Steve, and I did a group Q&A with some of the most thoughtful and insightful members of Fandom I spoke with before Deathly Hallows made the scene. Janet was a hit there, too, and I looked forward to seeing her in Toronto at Prophecy 2007.

But there seems to have been a curse on the folks who were interviewed for “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter.” Steve Vander Ark’s drama is being played out on the world stage as his efforts to publish the Lexicon have been challenged by Ms. Rowling in court. I have moved twice in four months, if, by your prayers, that has been the extent of the curse’s touch on me. Janet Batchler has not been so lucky.

Janet, with husband Lee Batchler, is a Screen Writer. If you watched Batman Forever, you know the quality of their work. If you’re like me, you probably assumed that as Screen Writers they make money like counterfeiters and take baths in Dom Perignon.

Like most things we assume about people and crafts and businesses we know nothing about, I was wrong in believing this. Janet’s among the best at what she does — she teaches screen writing at Act One and the University of Southern California — but this is a feast or famine trade, where the famines can be very long. Now that the Screen Writers have gone on strike, the Batchler family’s fast has become an open-ended one.

I don’t watch television and don’t know more about movies than my youngest sons (I know my older children know significantly more than I do about shots, pacing, camera angles and the like — the art of film making). Except for Janet being on the picket line, I confess this would interest me less than the Chilean earthquakes. As it is, I’ve been reading her blog and have learned a bunch about why the Screen Writers are on strike and what it’s like to walk a picket line in California outside major studios. I urge you to drop by Quoth The Maven, and, if you have a moment, to drop her a line of encouragement. She is a very special woman in Harry Potter Fandom and I hope this strike ends soon.

Is there a “Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter” jinx? Maybe. We’ve all heard that witch doctors used to reproduce photographs of their enemies because they believed the influx of their images would dissipate their foe’s identity. Psychologists trying to explain the infamous Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx call this “”a failure to efficiently metabolize heightened expectations,” which probably means something like “fame shock.” I’m told by friends in the UK and Holland that the teevee show is now on the Order of the Phoenix DVD as an extra. Here’s hoping when it is released in the States this December that the Warner Brothers lawyers gunning for Steve Vander Ark don’t hire one of those witch doctors to ratchet up the curse via the kazillion copies of the movie being made.


  1. Ahh, yes, the HP jinx! The one that says do what is right and not what is easy.

    I remember my Dad being on strike in the mid=1960’s for a penny more an hour.

    Certainly seems that the studios should reimburse the writers for the product delivered over the “net if the studio is profiting from it. Same for DVDs and other formats. Reimburse the worker. Now there’s a Pauline thought!

  2. I sympathize with her. I was on strike myself from right after Labor Day until the middle of October, and today I finally get the first paycheck in two months.

  3. “…I’m told by friends in the UK and Holland that the teevee show is now on the Order of the Phoenix DVD as an extra….”

    Its true! I have watched your and Steve’s performance several times already… :O)

  4. Travis Prinzi says

    Janet’s still blogging! Unbelievable…her blog accidentally got deleted from my blog aggregator, and here I’ve thought she just wasn’t posting lately.

    Travis, off to catch up at Quoth the Maven

  5. I am apparently in 37% of the american public who is not quite ready to join the picket lines in a show of solidarity for the writers (according to some poll, 63% of the respondents said they support the writers strike).

    I guess I just don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for people who get paid (anything) to do what they love.

    As an “artist” myself (actor, writer, piano-player), the whole concept of making a living doing any of that has always struck me as kind of strange.

    In any case… I do have an honest question that hopefully someone can help me with….

    The propaganda coming from the Producers says that these writers are, indeed, just rich and greedy.

    The propganda coming from the WGA makes it sound like the vast majority of it’s writers are poor, starving, “middle class”, paycheck-to-paycheck (or script-to-script?) folks who are just looking to get their fair share in order to make ends meet.

    Obviously the truth is somewhere in between.

    I tend to dismiss out of hand the idea that these writers are “Middle Class”. Or at least not “Middle Class” in the sense of my perspective.

    I consider myself to be pretty solidly Middle Class and, together, my wife and I pull in much less than $50 K a year. (Probably somewhere closer to almost $45 K… and that’s before taxes).

    So…. the question is: what are these supposedly “Middle Class” writers actually making?

  6. “But there seems to have been a curse on the folks who were interviewed for “The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter”.
    “Is there a “Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter” jinx? Maybe”.
    Though you and Lexicon Steve and Janet have or are facing coincidental
    trials and difficulties at this time, I would like to lend encouragement to you
    in reading Psalm 91:1-10. The power of this world and at times the “dark side” will try to discourage those who stand for the “light”. We press on, for we know His victory over all things is complete.



  7. John– Thank you for posting such a thoughtful and kind post….

    In answer to HallowsFan…

    Yes, there are a handful of very rich writers in Hollywood — probably in the neighborhood of 200 or so. That’s out of the appx 12,000 members of the Writers Guild.

    In any given year, 48% of the members of the WGA earn nothing from writing. My understanding is that the average annual earnings from writing are in the neighborhood of $38K a year. And given that the bulk of the membership live in L.A. or New York, where the cost of living is high, that barely counts as middle class.

    As for the idea that there’s something wrong with being paid to do a job you love… Wouldn’t that mean that we would only be allowed to work at jobs we hate? That doesn’t seem right.

    I am very blessed to do a job I love. But it is my job. Not my hobby. And therefore I should be paid. My kids’ teachers love *their* jobs. But I would never ask them to do it for free because of that.

    When I work, I make my employers a lot of money. A *lot* of money. They pay me for my work. Sometimes they pay me a lot. Sometimes not so much. But in all cases, part of my payment is deferred until my work is produced and starts earning money. The deferral of that payment allows the studio financing the movie to have more money available upfront to make the movie.

    That deferred payment comes back to me as a “residual” (hence the name — it’s the residual portion, or the rest, of my overall payment).

    19 years ago, the studios asked if, for the spanking new technology of home video, they could NOT pay us 80 cents of every dollar we earned on residuals. The idea was to help grow this new technology. They promised to go back to paying the entire amount as soon as the new technology (in this case, videocassettes) was proven.

    They never went back to paying the originally-agreed-upon amount. And that videocassette agreement applied to DVDs, and the 80% discount is still in effect.

    And now the same thing is happening with the Internet. Although in this case, the studios claim (to the writers) that there is no profit being made on the Internet, but also claim (to their shareholders) that they are making Billions (with a “b”) in profit.

    They’re lying to someone. Lying to the writers is unethical. Lying to their shareholders is a federal crime. These are smart guys, so we assume they are lying to us (the choice with the lesser bad consequences).

    The studios are currently paying nothing – zero, zilch — for work done for the Internet. Not just to the writers — to everyone involved. The actors, the crew, the director… everyone. Even though they’re making billions off it.

    And that’s why we’re on strike.

    Sorry for the long answer. But I hope it makes things a bit clearer.

    And thank you again, John, for the kind post!


  8. I appreciate the answer Janet!

    And I apologize if I came across as harsh or mean.

    And I do see your point about my offering that it “seemed weird” to get paid to create art.
    I did not mean to infer that people shouldn’t get paid for doing what they love.

    If 38K is the actual average, then I will concede that that would make most writers Middle Class (around here, one person making 38K would probably be mid to upper middle class…. but in LA, one person making 38K is probably just scraping by).

    I suppose I have an anti-union bias. I think in general, modern unions have outlived their usefulness and have become simply part of the problem. >.

    The idea of Unions in the creative arts makes me irrationally angry for some reason… so, I apologize.

    One of the big reasons I have decided to not pursue acting as a career is because I can’t stand the idea of being told what to do by Equity or SAG. I had a professor in college who decided it would be fun to take a break from directing and appear in a play alongside her students. But Equity said she couldn’t. She tried to find some loopholes and eventually ended up not teaching one class so she could act with us.

    Trading off independence and free-will for collective bargaining is just something I am not willing to do.

    In any case… I do wish you the best of luck… and I appreciate the writer’s side a little bit more than I did before.

    I think that both the writers and the producers need to realize, though, that their first priority is to their customer (i.e. the viewing public). Neither side seems willing to understand that. I’ve got a bad feeling that this strike will end up backfiring on everyone. In my humble opinion, strikes are no longer effective (being a 20th century institution, they–like unions–have outlived their usefulness). Call me naive, but I’ve got to believe there are better ways.

    For your sake… I do hope you get what you want! (and recieve the pay that you deserve). I will be praying that a resolution agreeable to all parties (the producers, the writers, and us) is reached forthwith!

    p.s.— Batman Forever is by far the best in the original series of movies. Kudos to you. (Though Joel Schumacher came close to ruining it with his ultra-campiness, the strength of your writing saved the day!!!)

    p.p.s.— is it possible for someone to write for fun (i.e. on the side) or do you have to be a “professional full-time writer” in order to sell anything?

  9. Arabella Figg says

    HallowsFan, your first comment irritated me, but I’m assuaged by your more understanding comment to Janet’s great post. I feel, though, that a worker’s first priority is being able to support himself/herself as a contributing member of society.

    Janet, you go! Power to the writers and unsung heroes who put in long, long days! The laborer is worthy of his/her hire. Hollywood writers, except for a few high-profilers, are underappreciated as a class by most of the public, although the public enjoys their work, often without noticing their names in small print credits. Writers are critical to a project’s success and they deserve just compensation (and credit).

    Having lived in Orange County until ’85, I can assure you that a 38K paycheck is really lower middle class, if that. “Scraping by” is an underestimation for some areas. Buying a house is beyond a single person in that price range unless they want to expensively and time-wastingly commute from a single-wide in some boonie high desert berg.

    As a writer/artist, I’m amused by the lofty idea that art should be somehow “pure” and untainted by such mundane realities as compensation (this same argument is used about teachers, incredibly undervalued for their work and influence). How else does someone in a creative profession eat and pay their bills? I’m sure there are days they absolutely don’t love what they do. And it must be galling at times for writers to see some pampered actor command 20 million for interpreting/ruining work over which they have slaved, while they struggle to get by. The inequity is disturbing.

    What have we loved or groaned over in the HP films? The construction and the writing. “She/he didn’t/wouldn’t say that!” But I loved some of Trelawney’s lines in PoA, which weren’t in the book. The writer(s)’ labor to sensibly condense the books into short films, I’m in awe, even if not always pleased by the results.

    Yes, it’s possible to write for fun and get paid. My husband and I are paid freelance correspondents “on the side” for our local paper. Writing is a passion and it’s nice to receive remuneration for our work.

    Kitties have nothing but lofty ideas of themselves…

  10. Arabella… sorry to have irritated you. 😉

    Though I still stand by the assertion that every worker’s first priority is to their customer.

    If what you are doing is not supporting your family, then, yes…it is one’s responsibility to supplement their earnings by doing something else in addition.

    The business of the creative arts is really the Ultimate Service Industry. So, there again, the customers must come first. In any case… I’ll stop now so I don’t irritate more people with my free market, pro-capitalist, anti-union views…hehe.

  11. Janet, you have certainly been in my thoughts daily. (Now I’m glad I bought “WWHD?” a month *after* the release of DH.)

    What is so confusing is, for example, the “open letter” in yesterday’s LA Times, in which the producers claimed a quarter of a billion dollars, I think, was paid last year to writers for internet residuals. So either the producers are lying to the public, or the union is lying to you. (I have every reason to believe, Janet, that you are telling as much truth as has been given to you.) I suppose a third possibility is that both sides are telling the truth, but at least one is telling it in a highly misleading way.

    The other thing that I wonder about is how many different groups are all fighting for slices of the same pie. Four cents out of 12 dollars sounds like a pittance, but if 33 other groups are all fighting for their own four cents, soon it’s not so trivial. And I suspect certain major players, like high profile actors, may want more than just four cents.

    This is all a world so different from the one I live in. And yet somehow, Janet, you manage to live in both of them. My hat is off, though I regret it won’t feed your family.

  12. CIGAR95 —

    Thanks for the shoutout… And I wouldn’t mind a few prayers, if you’ve got ’em…

    As to the “open letter” in the Times: Lies. Lots and lots of blatant lies.

    Here’s a humorous response to that letter from Phil Alden Robinson, screenwriter of “Field of Dreams,” “Sneakers,” and others.


    It may be a little “inside baseball” (it’s written in the voice of a studio exec giving notes to Nick Counter, chief negotiator of the AMPTP, on that very “open letter,” and pointing out some of the more blatant lies.

    Other lies the AMPTP have been promulgating include the concept that the average WGA writer makes $200K a year. A friend of mine is the chief number cruncher for the WGA (and an elder at my church), and he thinks they simply made up that number out of thin air.

    And here’s a couple of videos showing just how public some of the studio/network lies are. The first is informational, and makes the point I made above — that the producers are lying to *someone* — either to the writers, or to their shareholders. (Scroll down through the article till you come to the embedded video.)


    And here’s one that’s been getting an enormous amount of viewing — “The Heartbreaking Voices of Uncertainty.”


    Sorry I didn’t put the actual links in — I’ve never figured out how to do that on this site.

    It’s sort of shocking to me to see how blatant the lies are. But hey, it *is* Hollywood, after all….

    And HALLOWSFAN — thanks for your subsequent emails. You’re absolutely right about our first priority as workers (even as creative workers) being to serve the customer. For us, the dilemma is always who our customer is: Our audience (the ultimate consumer of our work) vs. the studio (who pays us for our work). This tension is *always* present, and occupies our minds greatly when we’re not on strike….

    Anyway, thanks to all for your kind remarks. Pray for an end to the strike. Please…..

  13. Cigar brings an interesting point (about who many different groups are fighting for their own 4 cents).

    Perhaps the underpaid writer’s real beef needs to be with the overpaid actors and directors who are so willing to join the picket lines for a photo op, but would never think about maing less so that you all could make more.

    Also… these may be part of the 200 or so “rich writers” Janet mentioned, but in looking for info on the strike over the last couple weeks, one particular item from deadlinehollywooddaily.comstuck out: hmmm… I can’t seem to find it now, but I swear I read it the other day… anyway, it was a throwaway paragraph that talked about the tension between the kids of this ultra-expensive, exclusive private school where half came from Producer parents and the other half from writer parents. Point being…those particular writers certainly aren’t hurting if they are sending their kids to the same schools as the producers.

    In any case… it looks like there are rumors that talks will resume after Thanksgiving. For Janet’s sake, I do hope it all works out!

    Still… I can’t resist saying that unions are generally the problem… not the solution. The market will always correct itself. But anyway, this particular Capitalist Pig Dog will sign off for now. 😉

  14. HallowsFan–

    I love it that you’re reading Nikki Finke on the strike!…

    Yes, I saw that article about the private schools, too. As a matter of fact, my kids go to a couple of those schools. But remember, this is L.A. Public schools here suck. There are those of us who are not megarich, who apply for scholarships to private schools, who drive older cars (we have a ’97 and a ’98), who don’t go on vacation, to be able to send our kids to a decent school.

    When my son was moving to junior high this year, we looked at a couple of highly regarded public schools. In every academic subject, my son had already completed the work for the grade he was supposed to be going into, and in fact was 2 grades ahead in some cases. The average class had 36 students. The schools were filthy — rotting food on the hallway floors in one case. And we were warned at one school (in a very nice neighborhood) that my son had better be very careful because smart kids like him get beaten up every day.

    And these were magnet schools. Very highly regarded.

    So we scrape up the money (and fill out the scholarship applications) to go to private school because education is our highest priority for our kids (both of whom are way too smart for their own good). Were our kids incredible athletes (ha!), our choices would be very different.

    And by the way, you’re right about one thing — There are two other writers (that I know) at my daughter’s school, and they are both showrunners (so both in that set of 200 “rich writers”). We’re the exception.

    And besides, the “producers” aren’t our opponents in this. In fact, the Producers Guild of America (which is not a union but just an organization; they’re not allowed to be a union because they’re officially “management”) has released press releases disassociating themselves from the mega-corporations which comprise the AMPTP, and who really aren’t “producers” in the traditional sense of the word. So the idea of wearing one’s strike t-shirt to school to brass off the producers was really a foolish one, anyway.

    Btw, here’s a way anyone can support the writers and make a statement as a fan (even as a fan of a specific TV show) for only $1:


    It’s based on something the fans of the show “Jericho” did last year that kept it on the air…. And now I will sign off as the voice of the writers to the Harry Potter community.

  15. wow. I’ll be thinking about and praying for you folks. This really is awful– no one should be treated unfairly like you all are. shame on the production companies.



    Let me start by thanking Janet for her informative comments. I
    don’t have any position on the strike: I think that a fair amount for
    the residuals is whatever a writer knowledgeably negotiates. As long
    as a writer doesn’t try to prevent another writer from negotiating a
    different rate, well, that’s all fine with me. And . . . I’m not much
    of a movie-goer (my most recent was the latest Harry Potter
    movie!) or TV watcher, so I have even less of a stake in this.

    What I do find interesting is how statistics are being used.
    Obviously people on either side of the controversy will spin the
    numbers differently: that’s no problem. Let’s look at the figures

    • Total number of Writers Guild (WGA) members: ~12,000
    • Percent who earn nothing from writing: ~48%
    • Average income from writing (not including other income): $38,000/year

    What does this mean? Well, first off, we can see that almost half of
    the membership—or more—do not make a living from writing,
    either because they’re new at the game or it truly is only a

    • Non-earning WGA members = 12,000 x 48% = 5,760
    • Therefore, earning WGA members = ~6,240

    The total income from writing of all members combined can also be
    calculated as
      12,000 members x $38,000/writer/year = $456,000,000/year

    Therefore, of the WGA members earning money, the average
    annual income from writing is
      $456,000,000/year ÷ 6,240 members = ~$73,000

    That looks a bit better, but does that tell the whole story? Well,
    no, but it does help analyze the situation by showing that the
    $38,000/year figure is pretty meaningless.

    We are told that perhaps 200 WGA members are “rich”. Let’s suppose
    that means that they each earn ~$500,000/year from writing. Let’s
    also suppose that there are about 200 WGA members who really don’t
    earn much (say $2,000 each), either because they’re just starting, or
    are dilettante’s, or whatever. Call the remaining 5,840 WGA members
    the “middle income” group.

    • Total earned by “rich”: 200 x $500,000 = $100,000,000
    • Total earned by “lows”: 200 x $2,000 = $400,000
    • Total earned by “middles”: $456,000,000 – $100,000,000 – $400,000
      = $355,600,000.
    • Average earned by “middles” from writing: $355,600,000/year
      ÷ 5,840 = ~$61,000/year.

    Three different “averages”, each quite different. The original
    “average” is almost meaningless compared to the other two. So you
    see, an “average” can be quite misleading. (That is one reason why
    statistical reports are often broken into quintiles or percentiles:
    it shows more about the distribution of values.)

    So, what’s my point? Well, several.

    • Numbers often mean less than what we are supposed to think they mean.
    • One needs to think about what the numbers actually mean. An
      “average” often doesn’t indicate much.
    • Sometimes a bit of arithmetic is called for. Innumeracy is as bad
      as illiteracy—maybe worse.
    • Usually data is lacking or not given.
    • One should always try to put the numbers in context.

    Again, I am not involved in this disagreement: I’ll go to see what I
    think may be a good movie, but most of the time I’d rather read. I
    respect those who like movies, and an glad that there are many
    “average” movies that suit them, and that there are people who can
    make a living entertaining them. (I also admit to some gratification
    that several recent movies have tanked; it would bother me not a whit
    if those involved feel a large financial loss for their propaganda
    efforts.) “The laborer is worthy of his hire”; the dispute is (at
    least in part) on what the hire is worth.

  17. Arabella Figg says

    Janet, you write to HallowsFan: “You’re absolutely right about our first priority as workers (even as creative workers) being to serve the customer. For us, the dilemma is always who our customer is: Our audience (the ultimate consumer of our work) vs. the studio (who pays us for our work). This tension is *always* present…”

    I agree that you’re in a service job in which the priority is the customer. What I meant by first priority being a self-supporting member of society was really the *base* meaning of why we all have jobs.

    I also agree that in a creative service job, it can be a real dance trying to best serve several factions. As a graphic artist for a number of years, I can attest that being middleman is sometimes like dancing on a razorblade. And the tension “is always present,” which is why I no longer work in that field.

    As I wrote earlier, I feel a real scandal is the disproportionate distribution of bucks in favor of actors. I loved that Jay Leno basically said he couldn’t be funny because he had no one to write his jokes. It’s true that actors/frontmen carry the emotional weight to the audience, but it’s the writers who put that emotional weight in their mouths.

    A prayer for you (and yes, I absolutely understand about the schools–ah, SoCal).

    On your behalf, the kitties won’t watch Fancy Feast commercials…

    P.S. HallowsFan, I don’t stay irritated long, cats don’t allow it.

  18. JohnABaptist says

    Just to second CBI’s statement above: “Sometimes a bit of arithmetic is called for. Innumeracy is as bad
    as illiteracy—maybe worse.”

    If I can share only one thing with this group from 40 years in the engineering and computational world it is this: If you are not an engineer, scientist or statistician with extensive post calculus training in statistics and probability theory, then all that you have been taught about statistical calculation–averages, means, standard deviations, etc.–only applies to uniform, normally distributed populations. If the population is distributed in any other fashion, other analytical means are required and they tend to get very complicated very quickly. This is a restriction we “hear” in school, but in my experience, we do not “learn” there. This leaves us wide open to exploitation by all manner of unscrupulous practitioners of “voodoo mathematics”.

    Specifically, if you plot whatever value you are talking about–in this case dollar earnings vs counts of people making each dollar amount–and you see a “bell curve” in the resulting graph, the statistical methods you were taught in high school and entry level college statistics courses are viable analytic tools.

    If you make the plot and see anything else, something that looks like a two-humped camel perhaps, or like the tracing of a basketball bouncing eight or nine times before coming to rest; you have a multi-modal distribution and neither the techniques you were taught nor the common sense applications that you “remember” have any validity at all. They will not illuminate the issue, they will in fact cloud the skies and lead to false conclusions more often than to true ones.

    I suspect that a graph of Writer’s Guild earnings vs Writer count would prove to be highly multi-modal (bouncing ball) with a group of people who head the big budget writing projects in one clump, their assistants in a second clump, the head and assistants of the “pot-boilers” in third and fourth clumps, and the low to no budget independents in yet another clump. I suspect also that the distance between each salary grouping would be substantial. If enough of these various clumps exist they might combine into an approximation of a uniform, normal distribution, but 12,000 total population is not, I suspect, a sufficiently large population for that to occur. The market forces pulling people into one or another of the groups, and the salary disparities between groups will probably prevail.

    Should that be the case, any discussion of average salary, mean salary, or standard deviation (sigma) are all totally and completely invalid, all are wasted breath. (Unless you can foist them off on the unknowing to further the “spin” of your particular case.)

    In our case we are better served by looking at individuals, and encouraging the one we know and (may) wish to cheer for.

    Cheers Janet, good luck! Not because of statistics, but because I like you.

  19. If John’s latest contribution to this thread continues, I think the path that we follow will be obvious:

    First, there will eventually be *seven* different calculations of something that purports to measure a “typical” WGA member’s writing income;

    Second, three of those seven will be obviously identified as the black, white, and red calculations;

    Third, the original $38k number will has already been identified as narrative misdirection;

    Fourth, two of the remaining calculations will be exposed as postmodern fallacies, having been arrived at via the use of “New Math”;

    Finally, the seventh figure will be determined to represent the hero’s journey. It will later be revealed that this figure is precisely the amount that Janet and her husband make as WGA members.

    Dangit, I left out one of the keys. John, help!


  20. JohnA–
    Thank you for the good wishes. And if you want, I can find out how the WGA stats look… the head stat guy at the guild is an old friend of mine and even though I don’t really understand what you’re talking about, he can make numbers sing and would totally get it… Let me know if you’re curious…

  21. colorless.blue.ideas says

    janet writes: “I can find out how the WGA stats look… the head stat guy at the guild is an old friend of mine and even though I don’t really understand what you’re talking about, he can make numbers sing and would totally get it… Let me know if you’re curious…”

    I am curious. Yes, please post the stats by quintile or decile, or whatever. 🙂 (Or off-list, if John prefers.)

    Again, I’m probably not a major customer (heh), but it’s been interesting to see how the various sides court public opinion. One blogger makes the point that, given the number of DVD units sold, the average annual income per member from DVD sales alone at the current rate would be ~$6K (or ~$12K per earning member). Of course, in response I would make the same critique concerning averages for these figures as in earlier posts.

    On the other hand, WGA member Douglas McGrath writes an article in Newsweek trying to justify the strike. It it, he take a gratuitous slap at people whom he disagrees with politically. One would expect less stupidity from a writer than to purposely alienate some of the people he’s trying to persuade. I reckon he’s one of the grossly overpaid ones—the “rich”—Janet has referred to: a Rita Skeeter of writers. (If he’s representative of the WGA, then fire the lot of them. If he’s not, then it would be nice to read some others countering his prejudices.)

    In any event, although it’s off topic for this list, I’d love to see JohnABaptist‘s analysis of the data. Perhaps that can be passed around off-list.

    Finally, Janet, best wishes for you and yours.

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