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The Power of the WGA’s Strike Video: Why We Fight

We’ve talked before (here) about Columbia University Professor Charles Tilly’s work on reason giving “Why?” (also see Malcolm Gladwell’s article on Tilly’s work here)

Reading Tilly is one of those events that forever changes the way we look at the world — in this case — why we too often seem to be talking past one another.

The reason Tilly’s book is so important to negotiators should be obvious.  As negotiators, we need to persuade, cajole, influence, seduce, tempt, hustle and sell not only the principled basis for our bargaining position, but also why our interests, needs and desires should make a difference to our negotiation partner.

So it is with the Writers’ Guild, still on strike one full month after they exchanged keyboards for picket signs and paychecks for craft services at the front gates of Warners, CBS, Paramount and the like.

Recently, we posted the WGA’s YouTube ad for the strike, “Why We Fight:  the Writers’ Strike” on both our Negotiation and IP ADR Blogs.

At 3 minutes and 50 seconds, this video is a textbook example of powerfully persuasive techniques that negotiators, litigators and trial attorneys can all use to “win” the negotiation, the oral argument, or the jury verdict.


Why We Fight:  Wrapping it Up in the Flag

The video’s title “Why We Fight” is taken from a series of seven documentary films made for the U.S. government by the revered director Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).  Capra’s documentaries — all entitled Why We Fight — were instrumental in gaining and maintaining the support of a wary American public for our participation in the Second Wold War.  The last “good war.”

Before the viewer presses “play” on this video, its producers have already managed to wrap their short documentary up in the American flag — carried by Capra — a Hollywood figure more associated with can-do, hard-working, honest American “manhood” than anyone to walk off a Hollywood movie set since Ronald Reagan first strolled into public life.

Back to Tilly and the Documentary’s “Reason Giving”

Although the Writers Guild of America is apparently still winning the PR war with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, opinion can swifty shift as related businesses begin to feel the ill-effects of an entire industry at stand-still.  This little video should stand them in good stead for quite some time and Tilly can tell us why.

Continue Reading…


Victoria Pynchon

Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all… MORE >

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