11/11/2007

Friday Fox Rally Recap

For those of you who missed the Friday rally at Fox, I can tell you it was a very powerful and invigorating morning. Also: churros.

We'd all been isolated at our respective studio pickets for four days, and the rally was a chance to come together and see the scope of our numbers. WGA officials say the rally was the largest event in Guild history. The estimates of attendance are north of 4,000 people, and I'm told the LAPD estimate was 5,000. The energy was positive, the speeches stirring, the picket signs creative, the mini-set acoustic.

A brief timeline based on my notes:
10:12 AM -- I spot Simpsons writer George Meyer surveying the massive crowd and sighing with what looks like pure delight. Or maybe he is thinking about fried dough coated in cinnamon and sugar.
10:27 AM -- Tom Morello takes the stage. Mini-set commences.
10:32 AM -- Zack de la Rocha, Tom's bandmate from Rage Against the Machine makes a surprise appearance. He alters the words to a few union/protest songs to reflect the writers' situation. Favorite quote: "I like the reality shows and all that shit, but what we need is reality wages." Amen.
10:37 AM -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson brings his fiery enthusiasm to the podium. A man next to me says, "I never thought I'd find myself in a situation where Jesse Jackson was rallying me. But here we are." And that is an interesting point I've heard other captains mention: This is the first time many WGA members have had to confront being "labor." Keep in mind, two thirds of the current membership wasn't around for 1988. This is the first time many writers have understood how interconnected our fates are with SAG, the Teamsters, IATSE and the other unions that make Hollywood's immense profits possible. "But here we are," and now we're standing together.
BIG THANKS to all the DGA, SAG, AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters who showed up!
10:47 AM -- John Bowman makes a very funny speech telling Nick Counter, "It's all my fault." It's a shame the WGA underestimated the crowd size and didn't have a sound system powerful enough to cover the whole crowd. People in the back have a particularly hard time hearing Bowman, who can't quite raise his voice enough. "Come on, guys," he responds when the crowd yells for him to speak up. "I'm a writer."
10:52 AM -- David Young: "We are winning this strike!" Crowd: Whew!
10:57 AM -- Alan Rosenberg, president of SAG, takes the stage, and he tears that shit up. This guy's a dynamo. I'd follow him into hell. Or into the theaters in the Beverly Center, which are actually worse.
11:02 AM -- Seth MacFarlane of "Family Guy" explains his own awakening to the importance of the WGA and emphasizes the stakes of the strike. He's hilarious, easily the highlight of the program for me. Video of his speech will be posted here ASAP. Once it's up, the "Family Guy" fans are going to go nuts. And the "American Dad" fan will too. (Sorry! Bad blogger, bad!) In the voice of Stewie, Seth concludes, "Victory will be ours!" Crowd goes wild.
11:12 AM -- TV legend Norman Lear closes us out. Best line: "I was there when we struck the Pharaoh."

I just realized I didn't write down any of our prexy Patric Verrone's many jokes. If MacFarlane doesn't punch me, Verrone will. Great.

After the rally, the crowd moved down Avenue of the Stars and picketed on Pico to the Motor Street gate. It felt a lot like a street party, except for whole "life turned upside down" part. There were probably about a dozen Fox employees by the fountains waving and calling out to their writer friends. My writing partner and I have people we like on the other side of that fountain, and we'd much rather be working with them right now. "But here we are." Let's hope that this rally got us a little bit closer to a contract.

Photography by Hamilton has posted an enormous photoset of the event on SmugMug. On Flickr, take a look at photos from slackmistress and k4kafka. Variety's Michael Jones posted a gallery of kids and dogs and one of creative picket signs.

7 comments:

Michael Flessas said...

Briefly, I just want to say that I stand 100 percent with the WGA. Of course, I hope-as does everyone else-the strike will conclude soon. However, the writers deserve more pay and more recognition for their work. Remember: No writers = no words = no show.

Pay the writers that for which they are asking!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

An excellent Flickr set of the rally, including photographic proof of an intimate moment between Tom Arnold and Jesse Jackson.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/erockappel/sets/72157603042599071/

Anonymous said...

I'm a mere fan, but I am behind the WGA 100%. Writers deserve to be paid for their work when it is distributed over the internet. This idea of calling it "promotional" is such corporate BS. Sounds like a fancy way of saying they are stealing your work.

I hope the strike is short. I hope the studios quickly decide to agree to fair compensation. But, however long you all need to strike, I support you.

Cassandra Complex said...

re: Jesse Jackson and being "labor," i was vehemently against NAFTA because i was standing in solidarity with my union brothers in the UAW and AFL-CIO and quite frankly i thought i was being noble... little did i know as a member of AFTRA and SAG that my job would be outsourced to canada. this is about politics too (politics = policy) after the dust settles on this lets hope we're all a little more educated on the power of the people and use our know-how to make changes all the way up the system...

Seaag said...

Let's see if I can write too. Get back to the negotiations tables- Everyone - and realize that, as the word says- negotiate. Seems both sides need to grab a dictionary. Negotiate means "To confer with another or others in order to come to terms or reach an agreement". You need to reach an agreement because this strike is not just hurting you but has stopped others from getting a paycheck. This, in itself, seems rather selfish and childish- I'm not getting my way so I'm taking my toys and going home.

As in all industies, technology is changing everything. Let's find a common ground and move forward.

boadicea said...

Seaag, such sagacity should be shared.

Be sure to drop the AMPTP a line with that little nugget. Because I'm sure they'll get a case of good faith when faced with the prospect of the suffering THEY ARE THE CAUSE OF by trying to keep a stranglehold on new media profits.