Shawn Ryan Pens a Letter to the Editor About a 'Big Agent'
The legendary show creator responds to remarks made about writers in one of Richard Rushfield's Exit Interviews
Shawn Ryan is the creator and showrunner of The Shield and the upcoming The Night Agent on Netflix (among many other credits), and has served on the WGA Board of Directors and five different WGA Negotiating Committees, including as co-chair of the 2020 Committee. After reading our year-end Exit Interviews series that ran last week, Ryan felt compelled to respond to some of the assertions made by the Big Agent about writers in general and descriptions of past negotiations in particular.
Ryan’s comments, printed with his permission, feature excerpts from the original interview with the Big Agent, and Ryan’s responses. As a potential strike looms, we hope you agree it is valuable for our audience to hear where the different parties sit.
I’m an Ankler subscriber (and WGA member who has been on the previous five Negotiating Committees) who felt compelled to respond to some things from your interview with a “Big Agent.”
My comments are below his relevant quotes.
When you look ahead to the year, how are you thinking about the possibilities a strike or a real economic downturn? I'm pessimistic. I think all the unions are nonsense in our business and I always did. Has anyone ever done an analysis of what is gained and what is lost by shutting down these businesses? What was the fight in 2008? DVD royalties? That was really some visionary leadership.
Shawn Ryan: He (and I’m assuming this is a “he”, it sounds like a “he”, but forgive me if I’m wrong) is free to hate unions as much as he wants, but he’s too knowledgeable in other parts of the interview to really believe that the 2007-2008 strike was over “DVD Royalties.” It only takes a minimum amount of effort and research to learn that the strike was over WGA jurisdiction over the internet (what we now call streaming). Without concessions from the studios due to our strike they would still have the right to stream original shows without paying