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WGA Writer's Strike Podcast Chad Darnell

Inside the Writer’s Strike with Special Guest Chad Darnell

allegedly with Bo and Ryan | Season 2 Episode 8

Allegedly… with Bo and Ryan Podcast S2E8| Transcript


Ryan: [00:00:00] Welcome to Allegedly with Bo and Ryan, the only entertainment and law podcast that brings you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth …


Bo: [00:00:09] Allegedly. I’m Bo Bowen.


Ryan: [00:00:11] And I’m Ryan Schmidt.


Bo: [00:00:13] And you’re listening to allegedly with Bo and Ryan. We’re coming to you from our law offices in beautiful, historic Savannah, Georgia, where we’ll be chatting about pop culture, hot legal topics in the news, and doing our best to change the way people think about the law and lawyers. But first, a little about us. It’s been said that Inuits, native Alaskans, have over 50 words for snow, but they have over 1000 words for Ryan’s mustache.


Ryan: [00:00:41] And Bo once flirted with danger but had to stop because danger got too clingy. Together with Savannah’s consummate renegade legal titans,


Bo: [00:00:49] And the only corporate and entertainment lawyers in the free world who have never lost a single case …


Ryan: [00:00:55] Allegedly.


Bo: [00:00:56] Welcome to Allegedly with Bo and Ryan. Now, as you know, Ryan, one topic has been dominating our conversations with our entertainment clients over the past few weeks, and I think we need to dive directly into it today. I’m talking about, of course, how weird it is that Tom Holland has a British accent in real life.


Ryan: [00:01:19] Nice. I’m pretty sure that’s just what everybody’s been talking about.


Bo: [00:01:22] Well, it’s what we’ve been talking about, but okay, fair enough. Obviously, I’m talking about the writers strike Now. On May 2nd, the Writers Guild of America went on strike nationwide. Now, there are a ton of moving parts here and there’s a lot of uncertainty about exactly what that means for the entertainment industry.


Ryan: [00:01:42] Oh, for sure. And I’m really excited that we’re going to be joined today by a Hollywood writer to help us break it all down.


Bo: [00:01:48] Absolutely. And one of my best friends at that. So why don’t you introduce our guest today, Ryan?


Ryan: [00:01:55] Absolutely. Today, we’re excited to be talking with writer, actor, director, author, casting agent and general bad ass Chad Darnell from appearing in Magic Mike to writing his hilarious novel, Buying the Farm, I’m quite convinced that there is nothing this man does not excel in. And as Bo mentioned, he’s a longtime friend and supporter of the Bowen Law Group and the Savannah Film Alliance and is here to drop some knowledge on us about the writers strike. Chad Darnell, thank you for joining us today.


Chad: [00:02:22] Thank you. That was super sweet. Thank you.


Bo: [00:02:25] Well, Chad, you are definitely. A true renaissance man. I mean, when you’re meeting people for the first time, how do you even describe what you do for a living?


Chad: [00:02:34] I feel sorry for them because it’s like there’s you can’t really say like one thing. It’s like I’m a writer, producer, director, actor. And they’re like, okay, whatever that means. And so or, you know, depending on … [I’ll just say] I’m a casting director or I’m a writer. Yeah.


Ryan: [00:02:49] So do you find that you change your answer depending on the room that you’re in?


Chad: [00:02:54] Totally. Yeah. I was doing press last week for the writers strike and they were like, So, so what is your title? I’m like, Oh God, do you want me as a casting director or do you want me as a writer? Like, yeah, every every person I meet, it’s like a different kind of way they see me.


Ryan: [00:03:08] Let’s talk about the writer portion of what you do. What’s one thing that people seem to misunderstand about what you do well?


Chad: [00:03:17] I think the biggest thing, and not just me, but in general, a lot of people just don’t understand what a day-to-day writing experience is like. Because if you’re on a on a TV show as a staff writer, a lot of time can be spent around a pool table in the writers room and they’re just playing pool. But then they start casually talking about ideas. You can be sitting on your couch and working and … Just like staring at a wall and your your brain is processing and the creative juices are flowing. So I think that’s probably the biggest misconception.


Bo: [00:03:51] Well, let me let me ask you this, Chad, before we actually start talking about the writers strike. You know, as a gay writer, I know you’ve played an important role in promoting increased representation of the LGBTQIA+ communities. How do you think Hollywood can be more inclusive of these stories and do you see it headed that direction?


Chad: [00:04:13] It’s definitely more inclusive. And … one of the things going forward with Best Picture is going to be the inclusivity of minorities and minority groups moving forward in the Best Picture nomination.


Ryan: [00:04:29] Oh, that’s right. I saw it. Didn’t Richard Dreyfuss just get in trouble for being mad about that?


Chad: [00:04:33] Yeah, like because he’s he’s he’s pissed off that he can’t play a black man and he doesn’t want he doesn’t understand why he can’t play a black man. It’s like somebody come get your grandpa.


Bo: [00:04:43] Oh, boy.


Chad: [00:04:44] I mean, baby.


Bo: [00:04:47] Well, why don’t we go ahead and just kind of jump in on this writers strike issue at a real basic level. So, you know, generally: So the contract between the Writers Guild of America, which obviously represents writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, which basically represents the Hollywood studios, it expired on May 1st. The two sides were unable to negotiate a new contract. I think, you know, everyone kind of generally understands that the writers are striking due to unfair compensation, but can you give us your take, Chad, on kind of the primary issues at play here?


Chad: [00:05:28] Like you said, it is. It is primarily the residual issues that how how writers are compensated. And apparently, when you look at what came out on the last day, the the money portion of the negotiation, they were pretty close to locking that down. But the two nonstarters for the AMPTP was the writers rooms and AI. They just didn’t even look at a at a proposal for it. And that’s really disappointing. And you have their one comment about I was “well we can do like yearly meetings about it if we we need to be able to move forward with a contract right now and discuss it.” And I do think, I mean it’s, AI is something we we do need to look at once a year. We still need to have that conversation. But we also need to be compensated for whatever work is involved in AI and making sure that guild members are involved in those scripts. And then with the writers rooms, the big issue on that is that they want more time in the writers rooms before they start writing their scripts. So like a broadcast show, like NCIS, they’ll have 22 to 24 episodes a season. They’ll go in in the summer, and they will begin breaking stories for 2 to 3 months before the crew ever shows up to start shooting the first episode of that season. So they’re breaking stories. They have a giant whiteboard. They’ve got character names down one side of the whiteboard and episode numbers across the top. And then you’re going to take those characters and plot out their path and their arcs and their characters for the entire season. That way, when the when they all split up and all the writers go back to their own individual offices. If Ashley is writing episode four, she knows what the characters are doing from episode three because of that whiteboard. And so the writers do need that time break story when you’re talking about 20 to 24 episodes. That’s. That’s a lot of work. And of course, they’ll still continue to meet over the course of the of the season. But also like studio notes going in like “this is what we’re doing with the season this year,” all of that has to be planned out in the beginning. And so when you have a broadcast show that has 22 to 24 episodes, you need more time. Now they’re trying to force writers into–you’ll see it in the in the paper–mini rooms, meaning it’s just a couple of writers, not all of the writers breaking the story. And those rooms are not a couple of months. It’s a couple of weeks. And then once that show is done and the editor is cutting it and editing it together, then they have to go back in and write additional dialogue or ADR for anything that they may need to cover or give more context to a scene.


Bo: [00:08:17] Right. Well, you know, it’s interesting you talk about the AI part of it, and it really does highlight one of the challenges of trying to reach a long term deal because of the way that burgeoning technology can just suddenly change things. Because you think about even with this WGA negotiation, if, let’s say, the contract had expired six months previously before Chatgpt hit the scene, that probably would not even have been an issue being negotiated.


Chad: [00:08:47] Exactly. Yeah. And it seems like whenever we’re up against a strike, right after that contract has been signed, then the next thing comes out. So like in 2007, 2008, it was Hulu. And at the time no one really knew what Hulu was. It was kind of this thing on the Internet that like had a couple of shows and it was NBC based. So they had several NBC shows that were on there. And it wasn’t until like 2010, 2011 when they did their own first scripted web series.


Bo: [00:09:19] Right.


Chad: [00:09:19] And so that was the first show that was on Hulu. That was a show on the Internet. And essentially what we were fighting for in 2007, 2008 was trying to negotiate new media and how everyone was saying at the time, “well, we don’t know what new media is, so we can’t very well negotiate it.” And at the time, the writers on a TV show, if you went to your favorite show’s website–and like at the time I was working on the TV show Crossing Jordan–so if you went to\CrossingJordan we had a little thing on there called Nigel’s Room. Steve Valentine, who played the character Nigel, he had his own [room]. It was a little set on the soundstage and he would go over [and examine] these deceased bodies, because we took place in the coroner’s office. So he was he’d have like a couple of different investigations that he was doing [in Nigel’s Room]. Well, somebody had to write that. And so a writer or staff writer had to write that material. Steve and a skeleton crew shot it and then it went on the Internet. That wasn’t negotiated at the time. And the AMPTP was kind of like saying, “No, that’s just part of your job.”


Bo: [00:10:29] Right. I mean, it. You know, you think back to that 2007, 2008 strike. There was no such thing as streaming services.


Chad: [00:10:35] Right. Yeah.


Bo: [00:10:36] I mean, how so now that we’re striking in the post-streaming service era, it really is uncharted territory.


Chad: [00:10:45] Yeah.


Bo: [00:10:46] Do you have any idea I mean, I know it’s changing every day, but where are we right now? Where are the two sides sitting as we’re, you know, recording today?


Chad: [00:10:55] Yeah, as of today. Right now, because it’s changing every single day. There is more and more support with all the various unions. And especially in New York and LA, there are crews and actors not crossing the picket line, so they’re shutting down the episode and either for the day or some shows have just shut down altogether until the strike is over with. So it is being effective, it is being disruptive and affecting that. Of course, all the the prime time late night shows have been shut down. And so it’s starting to affect change. The big issue right now is the fact that sure, you’re disrupting some of these shows but with your broadcast television–this week is the upfronts in New York–so with your broadcast shows there’s they’re trying to sell all their shows to the advertisers this week. And which is great because NBC’s going today and they’re talking about their new comedies and their new shows. But if this strike goes on much longer, there’s not going to be a fall season. Fall season will become a midseason replacement in January. And those shows without without advertisers, without a timeline to shoot will not happen in the fall. And the streamers don’t care because they have all the content that they need. So right now there is a big divide in the AMPTP amongst the broadcasters and the people that are just streamers like Hulu and Disney and Apple because they have their content, they can go whenever. And they’re subscription based for the most part. I think you’ll probably see more advertisers start to pop up on all the various platforms soon. But primarily for these broadcasters who also have a piece of the pie, like in the platforms like Paramount+ and Hulu and uh, uh Discovery Plus which or HBO, Max or whatever it’s called this week. They keep consuming each other,


Ryan: [00:12:58] Right?


Bo: [00:12:59] It’s Max, I think.


Chad: [00:12:59] Yeah. Max, it’s Max now. Yeah. Sorry.


Ryan: [00:13:02] Now, Hulu is getting a new name.


Chad: [00:13:04] Yeah. Is it really?


Ryan: [00:13:05] Yeah. They’re merging into Disney Plus.


Chad: [00:13:07] Yeah. So that’s where we’re at right now, is the two sides within the AMPTP have got to figure out how they’re going to negotiate this contract.


Ryan: [00:13:15] Well, it’s really it’s really interesting. And, you know, it makes me think from a practical standpoint on the writer side of it, what are the rules that these writers have to follow right now?


Chad: [00:13:26] Oh, it’s bad. I mean, like it’s like we’re not supposed to be taking any meetings. Every writer had to, as a formality, call or write their agents and say, You cannot negotiate for me at this time while I’m on strike. And they can’t take any meetings. They can’t take any jobs for writing. Sure, they can sit at home and work on a novel or work on a spec script, but nothing that can be shown at this time. And that’s like one of the things that like my book, “Buying the Farm,” we we have it as a pilot and now would be a great time to get it out and show it to people. But I would be scabbing if I did that. And so I can’t I can’t take meetings or discuss my my script with anybody.


Bo: [00:14:11] Well, that’s kind of an interesting point. So you can you can write a novel and publish it now, but you can’t write a script and disseminate it.


Chad: [00:14:18] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Like if I if I were to write a horror script and and be done with it, you know, by Friday, I can’t send that script out because I have to support the strike and I have to support the the Guild.


Bo: [00:14:32] Well, you know, I mean, the way you describe it, it feels like there’s a lot of pressure on the writers, especially the ones that, you know,  were already kind of making less than really well known writers and, you know, just kind of scraping by. So in any negotiation, as a lawyer, leverage always is going to play a huge role. So, you know, if we’re representing a blockbuster who’s considering casting an unknown actor, you know, that unknown actor doesn’t have the bargaining power to come in and start making huge demands because the production just go hire somebody else. But right on the other hand, you got a tiny independent films wanting to hire George Clooney. He can pretty much call all the shots. So yeah, you know who when you compare the two sides, you know who has the what’s the leverage each side has here?


Chad: [00:15:21] I mean, it’s again, it’s one of those things like each day it’s something different. It feels like without content, there’s no film. And without the money, there’s no film. And so that’s that’s always, like you said, the independent film and George Clooney, money talks and but without the content, without the actual script, without the story, without the world, you’re not going to get George Clooney. And right now it feels like they’re just going to kind of wait out the three months. The streamers will continue. And, at like a streamer like Netflix, they shoot a lot of their stuff outside of the country anyway, and they also have access to foreign catalogs. So they’re not worried about having to find new content. Sure. Your next season of Outer Banks might get delayed for a while, but they’ve got plenty of other shows. So it’s unfortunate on both sides.


Bo: [00:16:22] Well how would you categorize the most serious risks for each side for the writers and for the producers.


Chad: [00:16:31] Here’s the thing. The DGA and SAG are also watching what’s going on right now with AMPTP, because whatever is negotiated with the Writers Guild, the other two unions will be looking at that for their upcoming contract negotiations as well. And since the AMPTP has walked away from the table at this point with the writers, they are starting to negotiate with the Director’s Guild because their contract comes up at the end of next month, and then the actors are right after them. I was talking to a good friend of ours over the weekend who’s in the Directors Guild and he said, “I’m not worried about the directors. He said the longest their strike was ever was five minutes. They were back to work after lunch.” So the directors may may tie up their negotiation pretty quickly. But it’s the actors. If the actors don’t get what they want, and they are real upset about this AI stuff, and if the AMPTP doesn’t come forward with a a very strong contract against AI, that strike could go on for a very long time because you’re talking about basically using their likeness forever and that that’s going to be bad.


Ryan: [00:17:39] Yeah, that’s a good that’s a good point about about the AI. You know we think about it from ChatGPT and writers, but just how good deepfakes have gotten and the ability to manipulate somebody’s own likeness and create new roles. I mean, that’s got to be a real concern.


Chad: [00:17:53] There was some story this morning about a young woman who had found a way to create her own AI. And I think for like $5 a minute on her onlyfans, you can interact with it. And it’s not even I mean, it’s it’s just her AI, it’s not her. And that’s terrifying. You know, that’s, um, and for the actors, I mean, they’re going to have to fairly negotiate that or the actors will just shut down.


Bo: [00:18:23] Well, let me ask you, you’re talking about the DGA and SAG coming up. I mean, do you feel like it’s adding any extra pressure to the WGA to negotiate and stand firm and make sure you get a better deal in place because of the precedent any deal like that may set?


Chad: [00:18:42] Definitely standing firm. And also the fact that you have all these actors that are out in LA and New York that are protesting alongside the writers. I think that they they understand they have to stand firm on this. But also, like the AMPTP didn’t even give them a decent rebuttal for AI and for the writers rooms. And and they’re going to have to. And  it’s as if they just planned on letting this thing wait out for three months and not have to pay people. Um, and especially when the, the heads of the AMPTP are making millions and millions and millions of dollars a year and which is a fraction of what they’re asking for in the contract.


Bo: [00:19:22] Yeah, I was kind of entertained by an interview with the CEO of Warner Brothers in which, you know, he was bragging about the record profits in the streaming space. I imagine that’s probably not playing real well with WGA members right now.


Chad: [00:19:36] No, that’s not something you should say in the middle of a strike.


Bo: [00:19:39] So, you know, I think. I think as part of it, he said, well, I believe the two sides are going to come together for the love of the business. I mean, that sounds like somebody that may be a little out of touch with the actual ground game there.


Chad: [00:19:52] Yeah, totally. Totally.


Bo: [00:19:55] So, well, do you in a worst case scenario, could we be looking down the road at a situation where the WGA, the DGA and SAG are all on strike at once?


Chad: [00:20:07] Oh, yeah. Yeah. And that’s where it could get real tricky because right now there are shows that can continue to shoot. And, you know, part of it here in Georgia, there’s not that many union card carrying members of the Writers Guild here in Georgia. I think that there was a rumor that was like 30 members out of almost 20,000 writers in the Guild. Um, I think that was the number that I saw, 11,000 and 20,000. Like that’s that’s a pretty big discrepancy there. But there’s only about 30 that live in Georgia. And in order for there to be a picket, a union picket, one of those writers needs to organize and and do a gate here in Atlanta. And there is as of last week, there were a couple of writers that were like, yeah, we’re starting to organize and we’ll let you know when we do it. Um, but of course, like in Savannah, Clean Slate, the Norman Lear series with Laverne Cox, our showrunners, worked really diligently over the past few weeks before the strike to make sure that the scripts were done and locked so that the crew can finish off shooting. And so hopefully there’s no issue. I think they have an episode and a half to go and then they’ll they’ll wrap the season. Um, but the feature films, if if the actors strike, then “Juror #2” will not be filming in Savannah, Georgia this summer, you know, because there will be no actors. It doesn’t matter if the script is locked.


Bo: [00:21:33] Well, let me make sure I understand. So you’re talking about the impact of the strike in Georgia specifically and certainly here in Savannah. So if something’s already been written, it can continue to move forward. But if an actual member of the WGA sets up a picket line, it’s my understanding that many of the other unions will then honor it and shut things down. But that but that really hasn’t happened yet, has it?


Chad: [00:22:00] That’s correct. That’s correct. That’s absolutely correct. And there’s a couple of writers, because I reached out on Twitter, I was like, can somebody please let me know what’s going to happen here in Atlanta? And two writers reached out to me and they said, we’re we’re trying to get everything together, so we will. And if that’s the case, then a show here, both of them live in Atlanta. So they would probably, you know, do it here and, you know, shut down a a Tyler Perry studio or, you know, potentially something up at Trilith. So, uh. That’s that’s what we’re waiting for right now.


Ryan: [00:22:32] Well, that’s interesting that you’re talking about Twitter and trying to get some information with other other members. You know, how is the WGA itself communicating with its members during the strike and keeping them up to speed on developments?


Chad: [00:22:44] You know, not great. It’s not great. I mean, so much that we’re learning is coming out of like Deadline, Hollywood and Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. They say follow our Twitter account, but there’s really not enough updates. And also, they direct everybody to go to the Writers Guild website, But there’s not really a mouthpiece that’s giving out current information. I mean, we are getting information, but a lot of it feels like it’s rumors. And again, the reason that I thought this thing was going to get shut down was Carol Lombardi, who was one of the negotiators for the AMPTP during the IATSE strike, everybody was saying she’s never had a negotiation that ended up in a strike. And she wasn’t involved in 2007. So knowing that she was in there, I was like, oh, this is great. Like. There’s not going to be a strike. And also it was airtight. We didn’t hear any meetings about somebody walking away from the table. They were meeting every day. They were meeting on weekends. And there was absolutely no rumors coming out from behind closed doors. Whereas with IATSE, we were hearing everything, you know, left and right. And of course, that strike was averted, but everybody thought that strike was going to happen. I thought with this one, the night of the strike, I was like, I was I walked across the street and had a bite to eat and a drink. And I was like, I was going to watch the whole thing go down on my phone. And. Then they struck and I was like, Crap.


Bo: [00:24:23] Well, I’m curious because you mentioned IATSE. And of course, we have a lot of listeners, a lot of friends who are members of other unions and guilds in a DGA, SAG, Teamsters, IATSE you know, from the writer’s perspective, what’s the role that other union and guild members should be playing to support the writers strike?


Chad: [00:24:43] I think it’s just encouraging everybody to hold firm. I think that’s the big thing. And they have been very supportive and showing up at the gates in LA and New York and and continuing to post support. And a lot of the unions have Eric Hayward, who’s who’s a writer. And I think he might have been part of the guild negotiations or maybe he was just a strike organizer. He did a t-shirt that helped support the entertainment fund. So everybody’s just trying to support each other during this time. And it’s it’s at this point, it’s more emotional and physical support, like on the strike lines than than anything. And also, there’s a lot of people that are reporting call times for sets so that people can go and show up and picket at the at crew call. So it’s impossible for them to cross the line.


Bo: [00:25:37] I understand from reading about, you know, past history that the other unions and guilds weren’t always on the same page with the WGA. But but from everything that I’ve seen, it appears to be a lot of solidarity this time.


Chad: [00:25:50] Yeah, it’s a lot of solidarity and there was a lot of solidarity in 2007. Towards the end it was like, “I’m going to lose my house.” There was a lot of that in Los Angeles because I was in LA at that point in 2007.


Bo: [00:26:01] Well, I mean, you talked about the financial implications and stresses as it went longer and longer. I mean, are we going to see the same thing this time or are we going to see, you know, WGA members really starting to feel that financial burden as the strike goes longer?


Chad: [00:26:18] Oh, yeah. And unfortunately, I think that it’s it’s going to be a long one. I think this will probably go another three months, 100 days. Allegedly–because we’ve not heard anything–but they’re currently not at the table so there’s been no counteroffers and no discussions with it. And often we do hear like they’ve gone back to the table. Like that was during the last strike. There were several times they got to the table and walked away again. Um, but I think right now that’s where we’re at.


Ryan: [00:26:51] Wow. So what is your personal belief on how you think this is ultimately going to play out?


Chad: [00:26:56] I think that they already know exactly how they’re going to end this thing. And I think that I honestly feel like it’s just their way of making everybody sweat. Obviously, they have to consider AI and they have to consider the writers rooms. It’s BS that they didn’t negotiate that already. You got the biggest issue out of the way with with the financials, the residuals and with the bringing up some of the staffing fees for like the lower level writers. That’s usually the hard part is just trying to get the money discussed. So for them to walk away on two very important things that have to be addressed, and from the sounds of things that wasn’t even discussed that much in the meeting behind closed doors with AI and the writers rooms, that’s ridiculous. They have to know that that’s that will have to be negotiated. So the guild is not just going to be like, okay, well, we’ll just take two weeks and write an entire season.


Bo: [00:27:55] So is your thought that the reason it will go on that long is just because of that added pressure and maybe the AMPTP then can, you know, just get a little bit of a concession on those issues?


Chad: [00:28:08] Yeah, I think it’ll be just a little bit. And. But yeah, I think that and a lot of people that I’ve been reading online, everybody kind of feels like they know exactly where they will bend and why they are not meeting right now, devastating people’s lives. And again, like writers today, are making less money than they made in 2007 because now there are so many streamers, there’s so many different platforms. A contracted salary on a streamer is a lot less money than a contracted salary or script or weekly on a broadcast show. And that was another thing that they were fighting for on on this round.


Ryan: [00:28:48] And a series is so much shorter too. I mean, you got like eight episodes in a series.


Chad: [00:28:52] Exactly. People who worked on TV shows in 2007, 2008 on the broadcasters. They had nice homes, you know, in Santa Monica. They all had nice homes in the hills. And now if you’re a co-executive producer on a show in on a streamer on a Hollywood show, you can barely afford to pay rent. I mean, there was a story about the one of the writers on that show, “The Bear” at the Emmys. She didn’t have enough money to buy her dress. And it’s just the it’s basically they’re turning writing into a gig economy. You’re a writer and a TV show and having to drive for Uber.


Bo: [00:29:32] Right? Well, let me set the scene, Chad.


Chad: [00:29:34] uh oh.


Bo: [00:29:36] Okay, We’re at the climactic scene At the end of the movie, the AMPTP leadership is huddled in a room trying to decide what to do. And Chad Darnell bursts in to deliver the final impassioned speech. You can say anything you want. Give them any message you want. What do you say, Chad?


Chad: [00:29:56] See, I’m really probably the bad person to ask this question because I do believe–and I don’t know how you do this, I’m not a lawyer–but I honestly do believe because they were saying like each year we should look at this AI thing. I get that. And that was the AMPTP saying that however, we have to negotiate something right now. So I don’t know if that’s done as an amendment. I don’t know how you do that. But like for this period of time, this is what we’re going to be compensated on, because every time that we sign a contract after it’s been negotiated, like I said, something else comes out. Suddenly there’s this thing called Hulu. Suddenly there’s an entire series on the Internet. So I think that for us to have a concession of like, okay, this is exactly what we’re going to do for I over the next few years for this contract. I think that’s a mistake. And I’m sure that there are many people in the Writers Guild who who believe that as well. Um, and then as far as the writers rooms go, we absolutely have to have the time. They know exactly where they’re going to bend as far as how many weeks they’re actually going to give them. But also like, I mean, not to be greedy, but like Mike White, who wrote and created the show White Lotus, he writes every episode himself. I’d like that, too. I’d like to write my own show. Sorry, other writers, I don’t want you in my room. I want to write my own damn show. There’s a reason why I don’t have a writing partner, you know. So on my feature films. So I’m probably the I’m probably not the best person to go and negotiate, because I’m bitter and selfish [Laughter].


Bo: [00:31:34] Well, I would argue with you, Chad, but I know you.


Chad: [00:31:37] Exactly.


Bo: [00:31:39] So, Well. All right. Listen, as far as you know, people like us, listeners that aren’t union members, what can we do to support the writers during the strike?


Chad: [00:31:49] Well, one thing that I, I did not fully understand, [but] one thing you should not do is start canceling all your subscriptions. That sounds like a really good idea. Like if everybody cancels their subscriptions, then there will be no platforms. But the fact is not everybody’s going to do that. And also the streamers, the AMPTP, they’re going to look at them and say, look, see, this is what happened. We don’t have the money now. So that’s that’s one of the things the Writer’s Guild has actually asked people to do is not go around saying boycott streamers. That’s one of the big things. And I mean, that’s really at this point, you know, as a fan of the show, that’s really all we can do is just support and not complain about the fact that … Send love to your writer friends and actor friends and directors because anybody in the film industry, crew, craft service, the people who do background because everybody’s lives are affected by everybody’s lives are affected by this because of the greed of the studios, period.


Ryan: [00:32:55] Absolutely. And I mean, you know, the ins and outs of what’s going on far better than we do. Are there any other facts or issues you think people should know about to better understand what exactly is happening right now?


Chad: [00:33:06] No, I think that I think that’s for the most part, that’s it. And like I said, this changes every single day. I think that it’s going to be interesting by the end of the week to see. How the strike affected the buyers at the upfronts this week. Um, and it’s going to be interesting to see because there is talent that have shot pilots that have not been picked up yet, that they’re on what’s called “on the bubble.” And so they could be tied up until this time next year because if there’s not a fall season, but they pick up your pilot they’re not they probably won’t make it in January of next year because whatever was supposed to go in the fall will go in January. So it’s just it’s just disruptive for everybody. Greed. It’s just it’s disrupting everybody’s lives.


Bo: [00:34:00] Yeah. It’s interesting right now with one of the productions I’m representing, I’m negotiating the contract with one of the actors who’s on a very well known network television show. And his representation is saying, “well, we’ve got to have a firm out by this date because that’s when he’s got to go back to work on this show.” And I’m thinking, Hmm, are you sure? Yeah. Not so fast. But, well, anyway, Chad, I just want you to know personally that we appreciate you. We admire you so much. I mean, not just for coming on Allegedly and chatting with us, but. But for what you do. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I mean, obviously, every job is crucial. I mean, particularly entertainment lawyers, obviously. But but come on. Seriously. I mean, there are no stories and there are no shows or movies without writers. And you definitely are one of the best. So thanks. We had so much fun chatting with you today and we appreciate all the great information. Anything that that you’re involved in right now or you have coming up that you want to share with everybody?


Chad: [00:35:03] No, that’s the saddest thing on the planet. I got nothing. Till the damn strike is over with. I know. I’m just I I’m working. I’m currently working on the sequel to “Buying the Farm,” but I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve kind of gone through some crap recently in my life and I kind of like lost my desire to write and direct period. And so I’m looking for like a career pivot right now. And I am finally I finally got back into it and I’m working on the sequel to my little book, “Buying the Farm,” and I’m hoping to have that done by the end of the summer. And the other thing is, like once the strike is over with and we can take “Buying the Farm” back out as a series, um, uh, that book would become season two, so.


Bo: [00:35:50] Well, I will tell everyone: if they have not bought a copy of “Buying the Farm,” they need to do it right now because it is easily one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.


Chad: [00:36:00] Thank you. Thank you. So I’m excited.


Ryan: [00:36:04] Well, is there any other place where people can find you online and find out what you’re doing?


Chad: [00:36:08] No, I’m pretty much @ChadDarnell everywhere, and my website is because apparently when I let my domain name lapse, it became worth $100,000. Very popular


Ryan: [00:36:20] Good Lord, yeah.


Bo: [00:36:25] As owners of TheBowenLaw we can appreciate that.


Ryan: [00:36:30] Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today, Chad.


Speaker3: [00:36:35] Of course. Thank you. Yeah.


Bo: [00:36:37] That was great. Thank you so much. So, well, Chad is obviously the best. We will definitely keep a close eye on developments with the strike and make sure to keep our listeners in the know.


Ryan: [00:36:49] Kind of like how we keep all The Bowen Law Group’s clients in the know on exactly how to win each and every case.


Bo: [00:36:53] Exactly Ryan. Which is why we are the most successful lawyers in the history of human jurisprudence, … Allegedly.


Ryan: [00:37:02] Well, that’s our show for today. Thanks for listening to the legal mastery of the highly intelligent and easily most attractive, true legal out-lawyers in Savannah. And remember the only lawyers in the free world who have never lost a single case … allegedly. To continue to receive free legal anecdotes. Mind blowing takes on hot topics in a general master class In the awesomeness, please head over to and see …


Bo: [00:37:23] Dude, I can’t resist. I let you finish one week. That was enough. Just hit. Subscribe already.

about the hosts

Bo Bowen

Charles “Bo” Bowen is Savannah’s preeminent corporate and entertainment attorney. Bo’s clients range from dozens of well-known movies and television shows to small local businesses to large multinational corporations. When asked if it’s true he can draft corporate resolutions and partnership agreements in his sleep, Bo cracks a sly smile and responds, “In fairness, there’s really no other way to do it.”

It’s that quick wit that has helped catapult Bo to the top of his profession. Clients love him because he’s confident, fast, and entirely entertaining. According to Bob Cesca, a national political commentator, writer, and radio host, Bob had hired lawyers all over the country but had never met one like Bo. “From the first moment I met him, it felt like we had been lifelong friends. When I reached out to Bo, I was very upset over a legal issue that had been plaguing me for months. He instantly made me laugh, but he also made me feel calm, safe, and protected,” said Bob. “And then he literally picked up his phone and resolved the entire case with one call.”

Bo takes great pride in righting wrongs, no matter the opponent. So lest you believe his ready smile and quick laugh are in any way representative of his skill, a few minutes in the courtroom will quickly disabuse you of that notion. He is a highly skilled and ruthless psychopathic assassin, metaphorically speaking. His fearlessness and success in the courtroom against all foes, no matter how powerful or seemingly invincible, has inspired fierce loyalty from his clients and earned him nicknames such as “giant killer” and “dragon slayer.”

Bo came to the conclusion early in his career that being a lawyer is not much fun, so he started The Bowen Law Group with the modestly-stated ambition of completely changing the way law is practiced. By all accounts, he has succeeded.

When asked how he would describe Bo, Bob Cesca thought for a moment. “Bo combines the swagger and charm of George Clooney with the quick wit of Mark Twain and the legal ability of Perry Mason,” Bob finally responded. “I’ll put it this way: Bo is the lawyer that God would have invented if He had thought that at all a good idea.”

Ryan Schmidt

Originally hailing from New Hampshire, Georgia transplant Ryan Schmidt is an Attorney at The Bowen Law Group. A lawyer passionate about protecting the rights of creatives and business owners, Ryan’s law practice focuses on entertainment and music law, business formation, contract disputes, non-compete litigation, and creditor’s rights. 

Ryan, who toured extensively as a singer/songwriter prior to law school has been featured on the NBC’s “The Voice” and Apple iTunes’ “New Music Page” and was named “Critics’ Choice” at the Starbucks Music Makers Competition. As a professional musician, he experienced firsthand the cutthroat nature of the business and the restrictive contracts creatives are too often asked to sign. Answering the call to be a fighter for his fellow artists,  content creators, and influencers, Ryan knew he needed to pursue a career in law. And so, Ryan attended Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, where he graduated at the top of his class, summa cum laude, after serving as Executive Officer for both Belmont’s Law Review and Federalist Society.

Before moving to Savannah, Ryan clerked for a Nashville-based law firm representing clients in the music industry, fine arts, and digital media. Since joining The Bowen Law Group in 2018, he has represented countless clients in various business and entertainment matters.

For Ryan, being an advocate is not only his duty but also his privilege. As a lawyer, he stands in between what is and what should be. Each day is another opportunity to narrow that gap.