a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Walking The Line

So today I went over to Warner Brothers, and joined the picketers.

I chose WB because two of my production company clients have offices there, I've been on the lot probably a hundred times, and so it felt appropriate.

I started out at gate 2, grabbed a sign, and joined the mass of protestors there. I soon bumped into a friend who was heading back from moving her car (the one downside, since one can only park on area streets for two hours), and joined her as she moved to her regular post at the next gate down, clockwise.

The group there was smaller (fluctuating from between 15-30 people) and very friendly. I spent 4 hours holding up a sign, getting passing drivers to honk (which a very large number did) while also chatting with the writers there.

And the community is definitely supporting the strike. In the period of time I was there at this one, small, almost-negligible gate (we had some luxury cars go in, but no trucks at all), a restaurant brought over five bags of food (sandwiches, chips, salads), Taco Bell dropped off several bags, someone dropped off a half-dozen pizzas. A guy in a pickup truck dropped off food. There were snacks sent by TV fans, and people bringing by water and candy.

The writers there are definitely determined, but they weren't starving, though all the food was much appreciated.

The vibe there was good, too. Some groups chanted, others waved signs or crossed back and forth across the street. Spirits were high. Friendships were made.

No one gave us the finger, at least that I saw.

There were even a few celebrity sightings. Legendary long-lost blogger Josh Friedman (who finally posted a blog entry today, after 10 months of nada) was holding court in one corner of the sidewalk, though I didn't get a chance to talk with him.

Justine Bateman came out later and was picketing for a while, with no entourage whatsoever. I exchanged the briefest strike-related chitchat with her, and managed not to blurt out a confession of the crush I once had on her.

There were a lot of SAG members out on the picket lines today in general.

People appreciated that I was there despite not being in any of the unions, though no one seemed to know what to do with the news that I'm actually a reader.

Tomorrow all the picketers are supposed to picket the Fox Studio en masse. I think I'll skip that, but I plan to return to the WB picket line on Monday. Anyone who wants to join me, go for it; your presence will be appreciated.

Unless the strike is settled this weekend. Which would be better.


At 5:47 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Great post, Scott. The American people are, for the most part, EXTEAMELY generous. Still, it makes me smile knowing that people are bring the strikers food.

Glad to hear people are intermingling and making friends. Glad to hear you and Justine hit it off, but hey, aren't you married? Why don't you put in a good word for me?!

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Joe Valdez said...

I was down at Paramount today having lunch with my sister, so I got to inspect a WGA picket up close.

The objective of the picketing writers seemed to be to get people to honk their horn. I'm not sure what this was supposed to accomplish.

As you pointed out, Scott, all the real people in the city support the union already. Is someone counting honks to gauge public support? Will 1,000 honks a day mean another day of striking, or will 10 honks a day mean the writers are going to give up? It was all confusing to me.

I had a thought that a picket line would be a great place to meet women, but all that honking and diesel fumes is not really conducive to romance.

I could never come down on the side of management over any type of labor union, but this whole business of honking seemed a bizarre, like striking with an L.A. twist.

I think I saw Annabelle Gurwitch picketing.

At 1:36 AM, Anonymous Blair said...

Honking annoys the hell out of those in (and, unfortunately, around) the studios.

I have a friend working over at Disney on Buena Vista -- she says the honking is driving many kinda crazy. You get similar reports on blogs all around.

So the honking is two-fold -- it shows support, while simultaneously getting the sound-sensitive within the studio walls to rip their own ears out.

Further, honking while picketing is certainly not exclusive to the WGA. I've seen other labor unions do it, and picketers in general (pro-lifers outside abortion clinics use the same tactics). I see it all around during election season as well ("Honk for Democratic Candidate John Doe!")

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

While it's nice to believe that "all the real people in the city support the union already", the truth is a lot more ambiguous.

This strike is putting a lot of people out of work, not only in the movie and TV industries, but in the businesses near the studios as well.

So as the picketers walk the line day after day, needing to keep up their belief that what they are doing is supported by many of those being affected, it gives a lot of energy when people honk while going by.

If it disrupts production, or makes the people in the studio more uncomfortable (or serves as a constant aural reminder that the pickets are out there) all the better.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

So just show up and wear a red shirt?

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Just show up. Red shirts are nice, but I don't own one, so I wore green.

(Though I may buy a red shirt over the weekend).

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Emily Blake said...

Thus far I've been a honker.

I'll be at the WB picket on Monday as well. I'm bringing black bean spirals to share and wearing my red UTLA shirt so you can have some representation from the teachers' union.


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