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Writers strike – best thing ever for making (and more?)

Bar Open-1
In the USA there’s a writers strike – what’s that? The Writers Guild of America is a labor union that represent over 12,000 film/tv/radio writers. The writers want DVD residuals, money from stuff that goes on the web and more – the details can be found here.

What does this have to do with making? Over the last few months I’ve seen more people start projects than ever before, many have told me their favorite shows aren’t on so they decided to dust off their tools and make something. Projects are flowing in to the MAKE submission form, new things in MAKE Flickr photo pool – it’s awesome.

Pictured above, a bar made from an old TV.

Seriously, think about it – the shows you once watched, they don’t seem so interesting once you tune out for a bit. I sorta liked Heros, but after there wasn’t much going on I stopped watching and now as I look back I don’t think I’ll watch it again. It’s just X-Men, I’d rather read a comic book, at least there’s good art to look at, sometimes. Besides, most of the good shows and movies are torrented so it’s not like a TV is really needed – sorry, it’s true – a gigantic number of people with a broadband connection are downloading TV shows and movies. I’ll watch Battlestar when it comes back, but that’s about it – I really want that show to end before it gets dumb.

What else? Friends who never cared about politics are getting (more) interested. There’s nothing on, but the news – and the news is pretty much the best comedy/drama you could ever imagine.

With the extra time away from the TV you can make something, get involved with politics – heck, even exercise. One of the things exercise does is -make time- you’ll get years more of life to do things you want to do… Like make stuff. People who have something to do usually seem live longer too. Maybe this is a call to be creative. I’ve never met anyone over 90 that said “Boy, I wish I watched more TV”. Usually they say they wish they traveled more and did more things with friends/family.

This strike will pass soon and all the shows and movies will return, but what an interesting opportunity to do something else – even if it’s just for a little while.

What do you think? Is the writers strike the best thing ever? Have you re-started hobbies during this time?

20 thoughts on “Writers strike – best thing ever for making (and more?)

  1. I spent the majority of my life without TV, so it’s hard to really gauge this. But I do know that everyone in my family is a maker. Not only does TV waste huge portions of leisure time and dull your mental acuity, it also is a vehicle for finely-tuned methods of getting you to crave and buy certain things. Turning off the TV saves you more money than just the power bill. Extra time, extra money, and a sharper mind? Why, you should be surprised if you *don’t* come up with something interesting.

    All that said, I love watching football and some of the Discovery Channel shows. A lot of the latter do feed back into the maker mindset.

  2. Get back to me when CLAMP goes on strike.
    In any case I’m always making even if there is something on TV (I made my own SageTV PVR and my my own video projectors).
    Making isn’t just a hobby for me, it’s a smart career move. I’m known as the MacGuyver of the company, and I bring more high tech tools from home than I have at work.
    Tonight I’m going to (hopefully) finish installing a Toucam 740 on my ASUS EEE so I can do astrophotography on my 90 and 127 mm Maksutov telescopes (while using the bluetooth telescope control to track). Thank goodness that it takes 30 days to die of sleep deprivation!

  3. I didn’t watch TV before, and I don’t now, so no change here. That said, I watch a ton of movies (and TV shows out on DVD) while making things in the evenings. But lets not talk about sleep dep, ok? That hits a little too close to home.

    I do hope the lack of TV has helped prod people into other activities.

  4. Thanks for this post! I feel much the same way, even though I *work* in TV. Your post here prompted me to write a whole cathartic post on my blog delineating just why I’m enjoying the writers’ strike:

    SitM: Writers’ Strike – Best Thing Ever?

    I don’t think I’d have written that without being prompted by this post, even though I’ve been thinking it for quite a long time.

  5. I have been using the opportunity to do more machining. I’m making good headway on the steam engine I’m building.

  6. Sadly because of the TV much of all science/ invention has suffered, back in the early 20th century scientist were the rock stars of their day, people looked up to them because of their intellect and unique ideas, their new discoveries would make news with out a problem. As for today the media has glorified movie and TV stars so much your lucky if a important science story gets on the last page or a 15 second mention in the news. Yet they always find time to do 10 to 20 minute sections on the latest star to become a train wreck.

    The scientist is for the most part dedicated to making discoveries that will effect and change all of man kind, where your movie star is mainly concerned with how much money their next movie will make them, and maybe host a charity event once a year or so just to make them feel like they are giving back. I don’t mean to be rude or anything as movie stars/TV stars and the movies/shows they make have their part in society to play, I just don’t think it should be as big as it is right now.

    So let this strike show us, life goes on with out TV but with out new discoveries we will be doomed to live the present forever instead of making the future.

    Damn that felt good to get off my back.

  7. The strike is the best thing ever!

    My favorite shows (Daily Show and Colbert Report) are both MUCH better without writers! I haven’t laughed so hard at the Daily Show for years.

  8. yes, yes & yes… It’s amazing how much energy sitting in front of a TV seems to steal. Not that I don’t love my craft shows, & the discovery channel… but instead of making myself, I watch the world go by, envious of their creativity & their ability to do.

    The TV up there (thank you so much Make, for putting it in this article!!), and other TV art that I make, is a result of this struggle. Balances between art, technology, entertainment, & just having the courage to do something for yourself.

    I used to challenge the kids I worked with, to do a “no TV week”… the reward was caving, or rock climbing. Many kids were happy to give it a shot (and did awesome!). Sadly, while some parents were really supportive, others were upset they “lost” their babysitter. So, yup… for now I’m all about the writers strike!! Lets go out there & DO.. & think about a new relationship with the square box with moving lights.

  9. Great post and great responses!
    I too have been thinking of dumping my cable since the strike, but my addiction to TV is deep rooted (sadly). I can say for sure though that I’m making an honest attempt to ween myself away from TV and along with reading, Maker projects is the best substitute for me now. I set up a small worktable in my small apartment so I can work on electronics projects and I’m so glad I did!

  10. I’m an American living abroad. We spent all our money getting over here, so we don’t have a TV. Aside from that we wouldn’t be able to have “American” TV anyway, so our “writers’ strike” began a few months before the real one.

    I was a TV addict in America. It was difficult at first, but I think being peeled away from the TV was the best thing that ever happened to me. My mind feels sharper, I read more, I think about life in general, and I just feel more productive.

    TV has been replaced by video podcasts that I watch on my morning commute. NBC Nightly News, TED talks, and a few others, mostly.

    Personally I think the writers’ strike may have saved humanity. Let’s just hope it goes on long enough to stick.

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