Given the hype about the battle for the digital future, it's apt that the current Hollywood writers' strike appears to hinge on the old chestnut of DVD payments.

No-one should be too surprised. The argument about DVD, and indeed television rights is simply for a fair share of existing revenue. In fact, it's pretty much the same argument as when the previous contract was signed.

The broader debate about digital transformation, though, is there in the background. The reason the DVD debate is still hot is that with 20-20 hindsight, writers feel they could have got a better deal last time around.

In a sense, they may be accelerating the future, too. If they win, they may find they are merely speeding DVD, which is already in the doldrums, to an earlier grave; whatever deal they strike will have to be matched for actors and directors next year.

For most writers outside Hollywood, it's all a little other-worldy, even if there's general support for the strikers' cause, particularly if it highlights what many see as under-recognition of the work they do in the wider industry.

Anything tangible would be great for many of those toiling away more in hope than expectation in independent cinema, knowing that the credit and the riches will attach themselves to directors and actors, even if they succeed.

But screenwriters theoretically have much to gain in a shuffling of the business as it enters the digital years. That's dependent of course on whether they are willing to see beyond their role as solely writers.

As Bill Nicholson, writer of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, puts it: 'If you want power over your work, be prepared to take the risks and pay the money.'

The writer-producer who takes an active interest in distribution may become a far more regular feature of the business in future years. For the writer, then, perhaps nothing is written. But the assumption that the current dispute will be followed in 2008 by a Hollywood actors' strike throws up some interesting questions.

Leaving aside new media, it's possible to see forces at play that are already undermining the position of the actor. Celebrity culture has become a corrosive global phenomenon and the international market offers no escape from home troubles for US stars as it once did. In fact, it has served to magnify any domestic problems. The US newspapers are positively supine compared with the British tabloids or the European paparazzi.

Knowledge of their personal lives and the sheer ubiquity of coverage makes it difficult for an actor to credibly spread his or her wings in different roles. And of course the potential for sliding down the celebrity snake with one ill-advised outburst is very high.

There's nothing new in this, of course. Stars were frequently forced into becoming cliches of themselves in the so-called golden years of Hollywood. But now cellulite, relationship problems or the slightest hint of hubris quickly become public property. This is not an academic issue - it's serious business and one that will play a role when actors follow writers in trying to claim their piece of the new world.

Stars, like sequels, remakes and adaptations are in vogue because they are recognisable to markets around the world but it's a double-edged sword. From prime asset to liability may just be an internet click away these days.

As with writers, the trick in these changed times will be to see beyond acting to take a share of risks as well as rewards. Tom Cruise may be the prime example of an actor whose stock dropped as a fickle press turned on him. But he's also the best example of A-list talent facing the reality of the digital future: if you are serious about taking control of your own destiny, be the boss.