The contract for the Writers Guild of America, the organization to which most writers for television and film belong, expires on Oct. 31, prompting fears of a strike. What are the sticking points in the negotiations?

WRITERS' DEMANDS

Not to be held responsible when pencils stuck to ceiling finally fall

Writing credits to appear at the beginning, end, and randomly throughout the middle of every show

Writers over the age of 35 must be eligible for retirement

Insist on more people who tell them what a great a job they do all the time

PRODUCERS' DEMANDS

30% increase in each writer's daily quota of zingers, comebacks, and catchphrases

Reserve right to add talking animal and/or Cuba Gooding, Jr. to any screenplay

More scripts with multimedia and cross-marketing possibilities, even if they don't know what those things mean

More scripts like that one where the guy plays 15 characters, one of them extremely fat