Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Strike Day 44

Well, last night at the big Guild get-together I fielded a complaint from a reader of this blog who said the white lettering on the black background made it difficult for his "old eyes" to read. So, in an effort to maintain readership, I have adjusted the look. Hopefully I won't lose any readers with "young eyes" who might find this new look too old fashioned and easy to read.


Well, it was a big day. Started out at 10:00 am over in Encino at the world HQ of the AMPTP, where the "Criminal Division" of the WGA issued an indictment against the companies for conspiring to commit grand larceny. It was excellent street theater, complete with a few big name actors from various TV crime shows. I saw a bunch of writers I know and one writer-producer from the staff of the first season of SLEEPER CELL, which was very cool. There was a very big turn-out, despite the rain, which the Guild came prepared for, bringing clear plastic trash bags to drape over the picket signs in order to protect them for future use, what with the chances being that the strike won't be ending any day soon.

My "Strike Buddy" and I (this is a new term which was brought to my attention only today but which does seem appropriate) then headed across town to attend the last LOCATION PICKET of the year, in Venice. It was at a Vince Vaugn/Reese Witherspoon movie called "FOUR CHRISTMASES" (sp?) which was shooting behind a car dealership on Abbott Kinney, a major street in the Venice area. The first thing was I couldn't believe there even was a car dealership on Abbott Kinney -- I haven't been down there for a while but it appears the neighborhood has gone through some changes, in the direction of gentrification. My Strike Buddy and I were the first two to arrive, except for the Location Picket Captain, who was waiting at the predetermined intersection. We hung around until about 20 of us had shown up, got a briefing on the proper location picketing protocol, then walked a couple of blocks to the location itself, where we picked up our picketing signs and started CHANTING REALLY, REALLY LOUD, in an effort to COMMUNICATE OUR POSITION to the cast and crew, as well as the community. If, in the course of doing so, we happened to makes it difficult for the production to record sound, well, that was just a side-effect of the communications strategy.

The WGA wanted an especially big turn-out for this picket because word is that REWRITES have been done while the strike has been on. This of course would require someone to be working as a SCAB WRITER. Maybe it's a WGA member or maybe it's an executive or a producer or who knows. Well, I'm sure a bunch of people do know but I'm not one of them so I'm not going to speculate.

We marched in a very tight circle, picketing and chanting and receiving a lot of SYMPATHY HONKS from passing traffic on the narrow street. Venice is known for being a very progressive neighborhood, so the fact that most of the locals were pretty vocal supporters of the union was not a surprise. There was one guy who came out and asked for us to stop making so much noise so that his 3 month old baby could sleep. We quieted down for a minute while the Location Captains spoke with him. Whatever they said seemed to convince him things would be okay and he went back home and we went back to chanting. A friend of mine from our kids' pre-school showed up with his younger son on his shoulders. Again, despite the on and off again rain, there was a heavy turnout, altogether I'd say at least 30 folks, maybe more. My Strike Buddy needed to leave early in order to pick his older child up from pre-school and since we had driven over together I had to leave early as well. But the guys in charge were doing a great job and the membership was out in force, so I didn't feel too bad about having to go.

All in all, a good day's strike-related activity -- I can't bring myself to say "work," since my work is to write movies and write and produce TV shows.

One other thing -- the other day I said something to the effect of "I don't support too many radicals, except maybe for a few 'radical' North Koreans I met in China, a long time ago." To CLARIFY, the point was I met some North Koreans who were living in China and who hated their own government back in North Korea with a passion, therefore making them -- in the view of the North Korean government -- "radicals."

Well, I won't be seeing anyone on the picket lines for a while -- except maybe back in NYC, if they are doing any picketing over the Holidays. So I'll just say, have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year -- and chances are I'll see you back on the Picket Lines in 2008... but you never know. Maybe -- just maybe -- the 8 week mark will hit and a semi-reasonable offer re: internet profit sharing will make itself known from the other side. That would certainly be nice. But I wouldn't count on it.

No comments: