Thursday, November 15, 2007

On the Line

Walking the WGA picket line on Lankershim brought back memories.

Like "Hey, this is exercise."

Like "I need more sunscreen."

It also came back to me how you bond with the people around you who also hold picket signs...

The strike captain's name was Kevin, and a veteran of the '88 WGA strike where he was also a captain.

We joked that he should by now be a strike Colonel. Or perhaps a Major.

He told me that this strike has a different feel than the one in '88. "Then, they were out to bust us. It was the Reagan era. Unions were under attack. But we held it together."

This time, he said, there was a lot more support from other unions. "The actors are out here with us. They know if we don't win this, then they're next."

All in all, it wasn't bad out on the line. It wasn't August. A woman came by with a bag of fish tacos and handed them out. The moods and conversations were buoyant.

I understand that over at Disney, the company has put up portable toilets. A shame the Big Mouse didn't do that for the animators during their strike of 1982. We could have used them.

But what the hell. You take whatever progress you can get.


Anonymous said...

Christ I can't wait for this f*cking strike to end if only so we can stop hearing all of the socialist self-righteous tub-thumping you union bureaucrats live to spew.

Steve Hulett said...

How brave you are, anon. How full of insight.

Thank God we live under a Truly Awesome President in the Land of the Free.

Anonymous said...

Those toilets are provided by Disney? I assumed the WGA had provided them.

Anonymous said...

Can I just say that I love someone complaining that a union blog is going on about the most fundmental of union events? Does this guy go to medical blogs and say "What's with all this cancer talk?"

By the way, it may just be wishful thinking but I do feel like Disney might be trying to not come off as jerky as the other studios during this thing. Which is something new for them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

""Christ I can't wait for this f*cking strike to end if only so we can stop hearing all of the socialist self-righteous tub-thumping you union bureaucrats live to spew.""

Yes, the big picture is that you are annoyed...really, what were we thinking by trying to better our lives, attempting to improve our futures for ourselves and our families...sorry, really, please forgive us.

Steve, in spite of ramblings of some, we really do appreciate the fact that you keeping us intelligently informed.

Signed, TAG/WGA UNION MEMBER...who by the way would love the strike to be over as well...just not for the same reasons as Mr. F-Bomb, above.

Anonymous said...

this strike was an ill conceived idea from the beginning. the WGA took advice from other powerful unions on "flexing its muscle", but failed to recognize that those other unions don't work in a town like Hollywood. you stuck your neck out too far by striking immediately, and most tragically - right before the holidays! of all the union claptrap i've heard, not once has someone uttered the sage advice that perhaps they could have held off the strike until later. perhaps the beginning of next year. perhaps... closer to SAG's looming strike to muster more muscle in the action.
you guys striked without any thought of anyone outside yourselves. i think its going to break your union. i could be wrong, but if i'm right i won;t be upset. you did it to yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I said this before about the guy above...

Like gay Republicans who rail against homosexuality only to get caught picking up guys in mens rooms, this organized labor-hating tool secretly wants to be an artist or writer in our union (but he doesn’t have the talent).

Anonymous said...

Unions are a placebo.
They don't do anything for you that you couldn't do yourself if you weren't so scared to control your own career.

Anonymous said...

The WGA represents a very narrow but organized segment of contracted studio workers who are struggling to retain their traditional creative identity and influence within the chain of the traditional Hollywood production model. Yet this model continues to de-evolve amidst the tidal wave of innovations in entertainment technologies. For all intensive purposes, the model died twenty-five years ago somewhere in Steve Jobs' garage, but for some reason, no one has told Hollywood writers yet.

Don't expect this kind of mass denial to suddenly become accommodating to organizations that represent members who traditionally work further down the creative food chain, memberships who have less stake in propping up what is going to crash and burn anyway, memberships who would rather find new opportunities within the change before us. BTW, I didn't have to purchase Final Draft to write this, or submit it through an agent.

Anonymous said...

have you all seen the insane number of people with "producer" titles at the front of any given tv show? none of them are really "producers" their writers who have been given that title because they have risen in the ranks. they are the ones who get residuals on everything. so it seems to me youve got to make allowances somewhere. if a show has 10 writers who all carry "producer" titles that means residuals have to be split 10 different ways. and now writers want the same deal? where do you draw the line? i watched a show last night that had one writer and eight "producers" on it. maybe there would be more money to spread around to the writers if they just did away with some of those so called producers. the fact is the title of "writer" makes you the low man on the totem pole and i dont see why thats so unfair.

Anonymous said...

"For all intensive purposes..."

i love that you said that. i always used to phrase it like that(because it makes sense that way), but i wanted to jump in and tell you before someone "corrects" you that it is in fact:
"for all intents and purposes"

i think...

Anonymous said...

Rufus out!

Anonymous said...

I saw this somewhere else and thought it was worth posting here since someone linked that video...

I thought it might be worth noting a couple of things from that pseudo-DailyShow video.
1: It's clear why Jon Stewart deserves so much more money than even the head writer of the show.
2: He fails to mention that Viacom OWNS these properties that they are suing YouTube and Google over as opposed to the writers who were HIRED to do a job and would like to get paid even after that job is finished (good deal if you can get it, eh?) and actually are still getting their mailbox money even now during the strike. In fact, even more so since more repeats will start to be shown that they will get residuals for. Kind of a 'win-win' for them.
3: Viacom surely doesn't expect to get 1 billion dollars from anyone. That number is intended to get some attention and a reaction to show how serious they are.
4: The writers refuse to believe anything the CEOs normally say and yet they're now willing to believe the typical boasting that they're doing on interview shows to help look good to their stockholders.
5: If this was REALLY a good DailyShow segment they would have compared this strike point for point to Bush's stupid war in Iraq. I'm expecting any day now for Dave Young to stand in front of NBC or Disney and declare Mission Accomplished.

Anonymous said...

its idiotic the way they make it seem as tho their not getting paid. they got paid. if the network isnt paying you enough for your efforts then quit. but stop making it sound like you didnt get paid.
and writers should stop trying to sound so noble for entertaining us poor nobodies. with a handfull of exceptions most tv writing is crap. its no wonder reality tv is so popular.
get over yourselves writers. your paid what your worth.

Anonymous said...

Can we all bask in the glow of anti-writer rants that read as if scrawled by a pissy 3rd grader?

Anonymous said...

I agree, "Pissy Anti-writer Guy" writes..."your paid what your worth."

Uh, that would be... YOU'RE paid what YOU'RE worth. Someone needs a writer to do their writing;)

Anonymous said...

Clearly, you haven't read any scripts lately. Most of them read as if the writers couldn't figure out the simplest spell or grammer check functions.

Anonymous said...

There's irony, Anon.

It's spelled "grammar."

Anonymous said...

never said I was a writer - did I? I don't get paid that well.

Anonymous said...

Ha! This thread is too funny. So, if Anti-writer guy's theory is correct..."you're paid what you're worth", (spelling correction free of charge), and "I don't get paid that well"...he must not be very good at what he does...or, is he underpaid...? Wouldn't that be ironic? Join us brother!

Anonymous said...

>>It's spelled "grammar."

Again, you fail to see how your skills have been replaced by spell check. The bottom line is that your job description is going to have to include more than TYPING.

For example, the very talented comedy actor/writers who wrote, directed, and acted out their sketch comedy in front of the NY picket line and placed it on Youtube for free. It was fresh and hilarious. Obviously, they are much more than “writers.“ Yesterday, I had no clue who these talents were. Today I do. I assume that many people from around the globe with financing and an interest in investing in entertainment know who they are now, too. Ta-da! See how the world works now? Pretty neat, huh!

Now I’m sure that Jon Stewart will be sorry to lose them, but creative freedom trumps steady pay for the young and eager every time. Best of luck with your keyboard acrobatics!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I failed to mention the additional treat for the animation industry after this thing is done! There will certainly be a glut of tv writers trolling for development deals and work-for-hire under every rock in town, for there are good odds that at least one primetime animated television show is not going live past this thing. Wee! Hopefully by that time, enough of those who were laid off in the interim will be employed again to help to fend off the onslaught.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Re: ">>It's spelled "grammar."

" Again, you fail to see how your skills have been replaced by spell check. The bottom line is that your job description is going to have to include more than TYPING."

Yeah, just to be clear, there are a number of writers posting on this topic. (trust me I didn't catch the mis-spell on grammar).

I for one, only took a shot at the "writer hater" (your, you're), because he was so overtly attacking writers. Personally, I couldn't care less about spelling and grammar/grammer, etc. And I might add, I have near sloth-like typing skills.

Point of reference, I started my career as a sketch comedy writer/performer and climbed in to the "bigs" the very way you described the John Stewart guys are rising with-in the biz. Much of what I write still comes from that exact same process. Nothing hits the computer until it's been "riffed-out"....sometimes even put on it's feet and "performed"

Additionally, I don't write for I'm not real clear what you're talking about. I write feature films...a lot of them...I'm not rich, but I do, do better than most in the WGA....lucky, blessed...and thankfully, at times, much funnier than this post.

But, I do have a lot at stake in this strike, as do most of us in show business. I enjoy reading this TAG Blog, even though I'm in the minority, in that, I'm not a story board artist or animator. I enjoy this site because I am blown away at the level of talent involved in making animated product...seriously, just humbled by much of it.

But, what seems to be a pretty consistent POV here, is the open disdain for writers...both screen and TV. So, when attacked, (especially during the biggest strike of my career), yeah, I'm gonna get a little defensive. But, I come to this site willingly. My hope is, some day, I'll be able to find consistent support for all artists in this industry. There are good and bad and mediocre, in all aspects of this's funny, my experience with almost everyone I've been involved with, from directors, story board artists, animators, everybody, top to bottom, has been great...amazing, actually. Then, when I drop by this site, I'm typically surprised to find such bitter and pointedly nasty reactions to writers. Odd.

I should confess, this little response, took me over forty-five minutes to "hunt and peck" another five to look up words.

So, in closing, please I'm begging you, don't rip on writers again, tonight...the "keyboard acrobatics" are kicking my butt:)
Best, Mr. Keyboard

Anonymous said...

To the anon writer above, I just wanted to say (as an animator) that I believe that, by far, most artists in the animation industry support you guys on strike. There will always be a vocal minority of those who don't, but by and large, from the conversations I've had and heard, you are largely supported.

Personally, I know that I certainly appreciate good writing, animation or otherwise. It's damn hard, and the muse is a fickle taskmaster. Yeah, there are always going to be hacks, but they are there in every profession. But as we all (should) know, story is everything, and a good writer makes all the difference.

Keep up the good fight! The studios are in the wrong on this one.

Anonymous said...

To, the anon writer above, from the anon writer above, above...

I really appreciate the response...nice to know fellow artists like you, (and others) are out there.

Have a great weekend,

a writer

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