Heard on the Picket Line

Let's lead with this lovely report from Peter Leftcourt:
"This morning, I picketed with an 86 year writer, who wrote for 'Mr. Ed.' He said, 'It pisses me off that that fucking horse wound up speaking Italian, Polish and Rumanian, and I never made more than a nickel.'"
-Peter Leftcourt

PARAMOUNT 1: SAG Solidarity Leads to "Lost" Joke
"William Mapother, aka "Ethan Rom" from "Lost," walked the picket line Wednesday... BUT HE WASN'T ON THE MANIFEST!!!"

PARAMOUNT 2: This Guy Gets It, Why Can't the AMPTP?

On Wednesday this man was holding his own, rather loud, protest. Then, he stopped shouting and asked what we picketers were protesting about. After hearing about the strike, he started a new chant: "Moses was a writer! Moses was a writer!"
-both of the above from Mike Colton

"One guy from our group got hassled by some stockbroker-looking dude who was screaming 'Get back to work! I don't want 24 to be cancelled!' He was serious."
-Dyna Moe

DISNEY: Of Mice and Morale Boosts
A woman exiting the lot "revealed she had just punched out and quit her job in support of us. Tim told me today that striking is fun. And a security guard told a group of us to keep strong, we're fighting for a lot of people.
We are."
-Rodney Vance

UNIVERSAL: Well, in a Nutshell...
"Every day after picketing, I come home and work on my long, elegant essay articulating why we're on strike. It's meant for the general public and attempts to summarize the issues. But today, I overheard something that took care of my essay in one fell swoop.

Guy (into cell phone): The writers are on strike out here.


Guy (into cell phone): Because the corporations are dicks.
I don't need to finish my essay. Instead, I can rest up for picketing tomorrow.
-Irving Belateche


steph said...

I love great television - and I can wait to watch it if I have to.

Keep up the good fight; I'm not going anywhere.

Jeff said...

With the substance and quality of most of what comes from this country’s entertainment industry on a daily basis, I for one hope that the writers strike remains permanent.

Have a nice day Hollywood.

Ducky said...

Ah, even the Religious guy was picketing. I wonder if he's friends with the Jesus Saves guy who's at every protest here in Boston? Keep up the good work and stay on the lookout for raining frogs.

Deb said...

I don't care about the characters because of the producers. I care about the character because the WRITERS made them human and flawed and worthy of my emotional investment.

Here's hoping you get what you deserve. I've already written the major studios and networks (snail mail) expressing my support for the writers.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

So, the complete nutjobs are picketing with the writers... and you guys think that's a good thing that's going to somehow help build public support for your position.

Wow, you guys really are completely clueless about how the public thinks. Quick, maybe you can get the telemarketer union's support too!

Megan said...

My family, friends and I LOVE to quote movies and tv shows. It's something that brings us all together and adds humor to our everyday lives. Without the writer's I wouldn't be able to say "Get off my plane!" my someone sits in my seat. Or "What's in the box?!" when I get a package in the mail.

To all the writers out there...you complete me

Jeff said...

He Megan, if you need to be "completed" by a Hollywood writer then something is seriously wrong.

Please get a life.

Sean said...

To "Anonymous" up there:

1. Not having the courage to sign your name to your post makes you Serious Business. We will all take your words very gravely now.

2. Point Number 1 is what writers call "sarcasm". Look it up before you pat yourself on the back.

3. We, the public and the fans, know pretty well how we feel about this strike. We don't need you or anyone else to tell us.

4. If your tactics were any more transparent, you could do a guest shot on "Heroes". Oh, wait, you'd need a writer to help you with that.


Jara aka Blah Blah said...

As much as I'm addicted to TV and scared that you all won't be going back to work for awhile, KEEP FIGHTING!!! You deserve every penny you're asking for. I don't even watch TV on my TV anymore. It's still your creation, whether it's online, DVD, etc. [sarcasm] I would like to see what kind of shows the producers write. [/sarcasm].

Casey said...


I am a lawyer who wants to be a full time writer and I appreciate what you are doing. So, I went and bought 40 pocket warmers for the strikers in NYC and handed them out at the News Corp. building this morning.

One of the strikers asked me where I got them. I bought them at Rite Aid in Hoboken where the docks are. Walgreen might have them as well. Once again, thank you strikers.

Very Best Regards,
Casey Jason Jr.

Anonymous said...

I work in the business, and quite frankly I think you all should put down your wooden sticks and go back to work.

It's no one else's fault but your own that your technology deficient, and didn't see this coming. It was pretty obvious. In the end the internet will screw Hollywood over completely.

Im on a job and I will be headed into fox today, I am going to work, I will cross your line.

Mnemosyne said...

Psst. It's Peter Lefcourt. No "t."

And am I the only one who sees the irony of trolls who can't spell or punctuate complaining about how awful writers are?

Roberta said...

I for one really enjoyed this post... and if strike is your only option, well I say go for it... :)

Terri said...

Good luck to you. I hope the trolls on this board aren't representative of the public's attitude.

This isn't just a Hollywood issue. I think a lot of people are coming to grips with the fact that Corporate America doesn't give a sh*t about workers as long as they make a profit. It's time for all of us to fight back.

Anonymous said...

Ha, I love the "Lost" joke!

boadicea said...

I like Irving's guy.

Someone should hire him when the strike is over...

Beth said...

The 86 year old writer who worked on Mr. Ed has made me chuckle all morning.

My husband was co-writer of one of the biggest grossing animated films of all time. Add in the 2nd and 3rd (which only succeeded because of the first) and the money the studio made is in the billions. He hasn't received any residuals. We got one copy of the DVD and had to buy any others we needed. The amount of money due to us is staggering - yet a pittance compared to what the studio made.

Elaine said...

All of these "do the job you're paid for" people are completely missing the point. The writers would LOVE to do a job FOR WHICH THEY ARE PAID. As it is now, networks and studios are making millions of dollars using the writers' work AND THEY AREN'T PAYING THEM. DVDs, video iPods and streaming internet video didn't exist the last time they negotiated. The contract is up, it's time to renegotiate, and it's only fair for the writers to get paid for their work.

stephen_bowie said...

I believe the "Mr. Ed" writer is Ben Starr, who was also a president of the Radio Writers Guild in the '50s. I interviewed him once and I'm glad he's still well and fighting the good fight.

I'm also told another veteran TV writer I know slightly, who's 90 and a survivor of the McCarthy-era blacklist, has been out picketing in his wheelchair this week....

Dorian said...

Fight the good fight - every worker deserves a fair wage for the job they do.

Most of America has forgotten(or never learned) the good things we owe the unions for and only remember the bad. I, for one, say thank you every weekend ; )


Anonymous said...

i finally got a job in television and now i'm worried about ending on the chopping block because of this strike. you writers are being incredibly selfish. this industry is full of people like me without contracts that can be cut at anytime and you've put us all in precarious situations. ALL THIS so that you can continued to get paid residuals when you're unemployed? we, "The Others", of the entertainment industry who aren't on the forefront like writers and actors and top execs should form our own damn union. We don't get royalties or residuals or multi-million dollar contracts or even unions, yet we go to work everyday and participate in bringing content and entertainment to the masses. So writers and overpaid actors, stop being so selfish and get back on set.

David Grenier said...

"The Others", of the entertainment industry who aren't on the forefront like writers and actors and top execs should form our own damn union.

Damn right you should. And I'll bet the Teamsters or IATSE or almost any other union would be glad to help you. Just like the Writers Guild was glad to try to help folks working on reality shows organize.

But it starts with you and your fellow workers deciding to organize rather than bitch.

dJake said...

Normally I hear about a union organizing a strike and I get a little ticked off over how people expect business to pay more off of the same revenue stream and not to essentially force a company to not find ways to cut costs in it's workforce.

That being said, I'm with you the writers on this. Writers ultimately make television and film what it is. Without writers, actors would be doing horrible ad libbing of ideas and directors would have no clue of how to massage the ad libbing to achieve any form of entertainment. There is no quality entertainment without quality writing and the writers should get a piece of that pie. If studios want to quibble over 4 cents on a $10 dollar package and don't want to share any of their digital revenues with the writers who actually give them a source of digital revenues I will wait for all of the new episodes to play out, then I will cancel all of my TiVo Season Passes and stop watching shows online.

How long can the top execs justify making their $10's of million dollars worth of income if they can't get new material on the screen that I actually want to watch. I won't support any idiot executives who won't support the writers that are actually coming up with the stuff to make the material that I want to watch.

Stephanie said...

"Moses was a writer" - Love it!


Frank said...

Everyone hates greed. And no one is more greedy than network television executives.

Writers are the very soul of the shows that have made us laugh, think, and feel, and given Americans among the best communal experiences most of us will ever share. Whether it was MASH or Cheers or the Sopranos or Seinfeld, we all got together all around the country to experience your genius.

You deserve to be compensated for your art.


Ancient Clown said...


Are you aware that homeless people are denied their "RIGHTS & FREEDOMS" on a DAILY basis.
Such as being a writer to a feedback column in a newspaper, or letters to the editor, etc. because they do not have an address.
They are denied their 'freedom of expression' and 'freedom to the press'...just to name a few that are being denied them...such as the right to sleep.
Perhaps if this strike goes well for you, and you get all the money and everything you WANT, you can afford to "STRIKE in SOLIDARITY" for your homeless brothers and sisters that are being ABUSED daily and being denied what they NEED to live.
You know...really send them a message saying this kind of thing is unacceptable.
Remember BOTH Moses and Jesus were homeless as well.
your humble servant,

P.S. Here's a FACTUAL LIST of people I've been credited alongside...since Hollywood finds these things important.

Christy G said...

this post is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Last year the laborer was paid one penny for every dollar earned by the property owner. This year the laborer was paid two pennies for every $100 dollars earned by the property owner. Next year the laborer will be paid three pennies for every $1000 dollars earned by the property owner. And so on.

Labor unions are the last defense in a world of mega-conglomerates.

Hang in there, WGA.

A member of AFT Local 1828.

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

You people deserve all TV and theatrical content earn a residual payment of 5 % of the distributor’s gross for re-use on non-traditional media, including
the Internet, cellular technology and any other delivery system
not already covered in the MBA.

I say strike as long as you can, even if they give you what you want!

I don't want to see you guys back until "Reality TV" is dead!

- John Gordon

Donna said...

I've been a below the line worker for 25 years. Each year the contract gets worse. A line must be drawn the writers are just the first to throw down. Tom Short of the IATSE is the most anti-union labor leader I've ever heard so he would have just rolled over for the producers. The writers are standing up for all of us, if they don't get a piece of new media no one will. Residuals are what pays for our pension. It's why our pension is healthy. Give that away and you give away our future. I've lost my job, in three days we finish our show. I've walked the line with our writers at lunch every day and starting wednesday I'll be there longer.
We are all in this together.

Anonymous said...

The fans of television shows are behind you! You have our support!

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hahayouarefunny said...

Especially do not watch all the new reality shows!

Charlemagne said...

Up here in Canada we hardly notice that you writer guys/gals are on strike.That's because we have Parliament on every day and you could not script what they say.Just now a former Prime Minister is to appear to answer charges that he accepted money for influence while still Prime Minister.And a German millionaire who is awaiting extradition to Germany for crimes there is holding forth with Shakespearean wit while being questioned by members of Parlament who are real gas bags.So you see..we hardly notice you've gone picketing...in boring moments we get to watch a Hilary Clinton begin to sink ..it's loads!