It's not the sort of conflict you see on the big screen with summertime action cinema -- but it is the sort of conflict that may determine if there are, in fact, action films on the big screen in summers to come. The Los Angeles Times has a piece summarizing the beginning of formal negotiations between the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) and, on the other side of the table, movie studios and TV networks. The current contract between the WGA and the studios ends on October 31st (Scary!) , and the LAT profile devotes considerable column inches to profiling chief negotiator David Young. Young's coming to the table with the position that writers aren't being compensated properly for DVD sales; writers earn, on average, a nickel off of each DVD sold under current contractual agreements. Studios, meanwhile, fearing a slump in the once-hot sales of DVDs, are reluctant to cede any further cash -- claiming that DVD revenues are vital to offsetting the production and marketing costs of new films.

One of the more interesting facts in the piece is how Young isn't a Hollywood veteran but, rather, an experienced labor organizer, who's previously led garment workers, construction laborers and carpenters in union contract negotiations. WGA President Patric M. Verrone implies this is actually an asset, suggesting Young is " ... less easily impressed by the glamor of show business and the seduction of Hollywood." On the other hand, the head negotiator for the studios, J. Nicholas Counter III, has complained publicly of Young's "blue-collar tactics" -- including suing the producers of shows for violating California labor law. Already, studios have been greenlighting scripts at a faster-than-usual rate, trying to stockpile scripts against the possibility of a strike ... and only time will tell if the WGA and the studios can hammer out a new agreement before the current contract expires on Oct. 31st. ...