Business, Finance & Economics

Europe's take on Hollywood strike

European screenwriters sympathized with their American counterparts during the strike last spring, but they remain amazed at how much those writers actually earn. This Spanish writer says here unless you have a big name you often don't get paid at all. Even the most experienced writers say very few earn enough to live off their writing. The average salary is about $9,000 dollars a year, and it's not much better in France or Italy. This man helps write a popular kids show in Italy, and he says he has no right to demand better wages. He says European screenwriters haven't organized like in America so they're powerless to strike, and they have no collective bargaining agreement. The U.K. is the only exception, but English writers still make far less than their American counterparts. So what explains the gap? The problem is Europe has too many scribes for too few jobs, and America is partly to blame for that. European law does offer some protection against entertainment dumping, as half of what's shown on TV must be European-made. but that still hasn't helped much to improve wages.

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