Monday Picket Party and Holiday Toy Drive

Writer and actress Nia Vardalos is sponsoring a toy drive at Raleigh Studios on Monday, November 26th. The event will take place from 10am-1pm at the Van Ness gate (south of Melrose Avenue). All WGA, SAG, Teamsters, AFTRA, other unions and supporters are welcome.

"We’ve walked the picketing shifts, seeing old friends, exchanging re-write stories, shivering in the cold, sweating in the heat, and comparing not-sexy T-shirt tans," writes Vardalos in the flyer for the drive. "People took care of our community. They donated food, drinks and our morale was boosted by honking cars. We can’t ever repay these people."

"But we can show our appreciation by helping another community - the underprivileged and sick kids of LA County."

Ms. Vardalos will be providing the food and drink. Those attending are asked to bring a new, un-gift wrapped toy (drop-offs also welcome!).

In addition on Monday, a food drive will be taking place at all picket locations. Food will be going to SOVA, a division of Jewish Family Services. SOVA serves the entire community - all races, religions and backgrounds. Among SOVA's clients are homeless families, homeless singles and the elderly. Those wishing to help are asked to bring a non-perishable food time. SOVA vans will collect the food toward the end of the day.

Please join us for these very worthy causes.


Captain Obvious said...

Alright, now it's time for some unimaginative member of the Anonymous set to come figure out a way (Who knows how...) this is a bad thing and spin it into a message that bashes writers...

Cue the Final Jeopardy Theme...

todd vodka said...

These comments sections should be bizerk with ideas and input. Come on people, blogging is all about writing and these are fellow writers in need. Let's help them earn a fair wage so they can feed their families. That is not just the province of studio executives.

David Pearson said...

It stands to reason....

Artists, wiriters, backing artists, producers, and the guy that makes the coffee all get a cut from music CD sales so why not the film and TV writers????

When I heard they didn't I was amazed. Come on Hollywood get a grip and pay the guys what they are worth.

Anonymous said...

A quote from an LA Times article about Marc Cherry (creator of Desperate Housewives):

"What sustained him in the fallow years, before his desperation inspired ABC's 2004 hit "Desperate Housewives," were the little green envelopes that showed up in his mailbox. Reruns of "The Golden Girls," which got a second life on the Lifetime cable channel, brought residual checks that one year totaled $75,000.....Without residuals, Cherry said, he might have been forced to "get a real job.""

Cry me a river, Marc Cherry. We should all be so lucky to get $75,000 a year from our old jobs and not be forced to "get a real job."

I don't know who does PR for the Writers' Guild, but I don't think talking heads like Marc Cherry are going to be garnering any sympathy.
Take a look at this
#13 posted by OM Author Profile Page, October 22, 2007 6:43 PM

Anonymous said...

Oh, anon 11:56....is that it? Is that all you got? So sad...so very sad. So his residuals one year totaled $75,000 = all years totaled $75,000 too? I have been hearing a version of this "rich writers" nonsense since Nov 5th. Your talking points are sounding tired. Maybe you should get out of PR yourself.

Chris Carmichael said...

There are always exceptions ($75k in residuals); most of the folks do not. It's pennies from heaven and I'd pay ten cents more per DVD. Don't be a scrooge studios, let 'em come back to work.

I don't want to end up like Todd Bridges and watch reruns for the rest of the decade!

MaryAn Batchellor said...

For those not in the LA area but who might still want to participate in a food drive, http://www.secondharvest.org is a good place to find a food pantry near you. All you do is enter your zip code. Food banks across America are experiencing shortages for many reasons, one of which is the amount of disaster related assistance they've provided in recent months.

Faheem said...

well said

Captain Obvious said...

Point is, Anonymous @ 11:56 PM, if he didn't get those checks he would not have been able to continue to write. Getting a "real job" would have been equivalent to "not coming up with Desperate Housewives" ...or anything else.

Captain Obvious said...

...and I love how the content creators are being vilified for making any amount of money but there's never any talk from these Anonymous dingle berries about studio exec earnings. You can add a few zeros to Marc Cherry's residual check and call it a banner year for a studio exec but in that case it's: "Pay no attention to the dollar figures behind the curtain..."

I'm sorry but the story starts on the page. The writer gives birth to a movie or TV show. They deserve proper credit, appropriate compensation, and some modicum of common courtesy and respect; or you'll never watch anything decent again in your life.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:56 must really get pissed when he hears that the damn Rolling Stones are still making money off a song they wrote 40 years ago. Or some author is still getting a dime or whatever each time one of their old books sell.

Shouldn't they be out getting real jobs and letting all that money go to the music companies and book publishers who are the true creators of such stuff?

Anonymous said...

Shrivering in the frigid blast of the Los Angeles winter.

Anonymous said...

The whine of the writers is getting tired. Good to hear that they are trying to help people who are actually in need. It's the holiday season so we should think of actual people in need - not writers who are getting $100,000 and want $120,000. Remember, no one forced you into this profession - you could have gotten jobs in professions with study paychecks. Oh, but then you would have nothing to whine about. Congrats though on the toy drive - greed must be nipping at their collective conscious.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the writers should be a part of the labor force before they participate in the labor movement. I'm an IATSE member working on a very successful television series on a major network. Of the 16 writers on our staff, 15 are listed as producers or executive producers. This strike is akin to the board of directors of GM going on strike against the stock holders while the entire workforce gets laid off. As usual its the little guys who get hurt the most while the wealthy fight over their piece of pie. It disgusts me.

chardkerm said...

Hey, Anonymous, are you aware that IATSE's health and pension are directly tied into the WGA's residual numbers? If our residuals are drastically cut (as they will be by 80-90% if we accept the last AMPTP offer on internet downloads) then not only will our health and pension be ultimately washed away, SO WILL YOURS. And if that happens, your union and ours follows. Of course it sucks that you're laid off, but we're taking a bullet for each other so that we're not both driven out of this business forever.

If you're not aware of this, then I'm speechless. Both literally and text-wise.

English Dave said...

'Perhaps the writers should be a part of the labor force before they participate in the labor movement. I'm an IATSE member working on a very successful television series on a major network'

Good job someone wrote a show you could work on. Just sayin'

Captain Obvious said...


Hallow by thy NBC, CBS, and ABC.

...and tentacles for as far as the eye can see.

Thy profits come.

Thy media be given life.

So I can stop sitting on this screenplay.

And start rewarding my wife.

- Captain Obvious
a writer

Captain Obvious said...

Oh noes I misspelled something!

No rewrites for the foreseeable future, sorry.

Captain Obvious said...

Anon @ 3:35 PM good for you. It took you 24 hours from the time of my first post.

Anonymous said...

the point of the Marc Cherry story is that residuals helped him to continue writing even when he wasn't on a series. he wrote 'Desperate Housewives' on spec (meaning that no one hired him to do it, he just wrote it in the hopes that it would sell).

'Housewives' then became a MONSTER hit for ABC. they will make 100's of millions off that one series alone. the system works. writers get to keep writing and generate huge hits for the networks. it's a very good trade-off.

Captain Obvious said...

Exactly. I intend to work on several other writing projects after the strike is over and this script of mine gets some traction.

Without residuals writing would become too generic and offer further entrance barriers for beginning writers than what already exist in the industry today.

Captain Obvious said...

The result? Total mediocrity. For those of you that would argue that TV is already terrible all I can say is: Your self-fulfilling prophecy if you abuse and debase the writing community will be far worse than you could ever imagine.

Anonymous said...

"Good job someone wrote a show you could work on. Just sayin'"

This is exactly the kind of elitist bullsh*t that makes below the line labor hate the writers. Maybe if you felt less entitled and were more aware of the effect you had on everyone in town you would get more sympathy from the labor unions.

The IA pention and health plan residual contributions are not negotiated by the wga. Don't kidd yourself. Our contract was negotiated, voted on, and approved last year.

The wga is quick to point out that additional contributions can be made to the IA if they sign a contract, but any additional contributions are insignificant if thousands of members loose their health care in the event the strike goes on for several months. Trust me, the IA's long term p&w system is not at risk in this strike.

Where was the WGA when the producers took our mandatory staffing away? Did you know camera operators are no longer required on the set? Oh thats right, as writers, you probably don't know what camera operators do. Did you know it takes people to make your script into a television show. People with families.

Why don't you try picketing 12 hours a day instead of 9-5. If you want my support work my hours.
Maybe we should go back to the old system. One writer, one producer. Imagine that, what a concept.

How many of you picked up your gift baskets from the longshorman. Was if fun to pretend that you were part of the working class. Did it give you some script ideas? Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

I don't want any food or drink. I do want the ten bucks I spent seeing My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Who will be the next bad actress to jump on the publicity bandwagon for a good cause?

Anonymous said...

I love how people are starting to see through the writers disingeniousness and greed. As a member of IATSE, I do not support the writers and there is a growing resentment among our members. The AMPTP doesn't have to plant shills on here to do their bidding - pissed off members of the IATSE are now making their voices heard and speaking out on what a sham this strike is.

BKLA said...

I was in arbitration with New Line for four years about residuals and profit participation.

They stalled, refused to supply any financial records, stated that they were not a signatory to the guilds and therefore did not have to supply any information or participate in arbitration (Even though they are owned by Warner Brothers), arbitrarily assigned a value based upon what they determined should be my share of the residuals. They stalled in every way possible to avoid full payment.

All investigations by the WGA residuals department showed that they made money. Estimated to be at least a 1000% profit. They have never paid one penny of the 7.5 points that were negotiated. My residuals for the last few years amount to about $4,000. which is a fraction of what is owed.

Since they failed to appear at the arbitration, the matter was closed. The matter wasn't even heard by the arbitration panel, because New Line would have refused to honor any decision.

The financial funny business was huge. One of the worst they have ever seen at the investigating department of the Guild. But, since they are locked down tight, not much to do, unless I want to spend $30,000 of my own money to file a private lawsuit. And although I might, after years and years, see my money, the odds are slim.

I am tired of people using the extreme cases of the very few rich writers and show runners to justify their slams on writers being greedy. Most TV writers are in a different position.

The studios have on-going relationships with them. They have to pay residuals or have weekly revolts. More members of the guild are not super-high paid film writers and TV writers. More of them are like me.

Once the Studios take what a writer of an original movie has created, usually on their own time and with blood sweat and tears - they have what they need. These are the writers who are really getting ripped off.

And I am so glad that ALL the members of the WGA are standing together. They know that they are only as strong as the weakest link. And that each of them at one time or another has been there. And that is what the WGA is fighting for.

I was a bit disillusioned with the WGA for a bit. But now, having walked the line with writers big and small, I am proud to be a member of the WGA and The Labor Movement at large.

chardkerm said...

ANONYMOUS(whichever) Your act of generalizing writers as not giving a shit about crew members is getting old, whiny and bitter. And mostly, total bullshit. Maybe you can come up with a fresher scenario one day. But I doubt it. And you're wrong about WGA residuals not funding IATSE health and pension. Read below. Or not. But for others who would like to see it in writing...enjoy.


Captain Obvious said...

I love the talk about writers "thinking they're entitled" being fanciful.

They ARE entitled.

Just like a musician is entitled to the rights (and a portion of the benefits) when they write or perform music or lyrics or some combination of the two.

IATSEluvsyou said...

I'm an IATSE member, and I fully support the writers. I am a financially responsible person who realizes that there can be all kinds of disruptions in my chosen field, including strikes. So I don't overspend, and I make sure I have some money in reserve. It was easy to plan for this, since we had at least a year of warning that it could happen. You could strike to get a dozen roses every time you took a pitch meeting, for all I care. It's your union, your lives, your decision, and your right. Anyone who stands up for themselves has my respect. Don't worry about the paranoid people who think their problems can always be blamed on someone else.

IATSE Lamp Operator said...

Fight your fight, see what you can get. People will suffer, crew members will suffer, but we all knew it was coming. I would hope the writers would be reasonable, and stop parading around like the picket line is a party. Its not, its a sad, sad thing. Be cautious, people are angry, people in a far more precarious financial position are angry. Not all crew members are capable of saving the way many of you are. Please be sensitive.

Please, I beg your, don't confuse this argument with the labor movement. Writers are not laborers. The men and women who carry the cable and the camera cases, build sets, and tear them down, they are the laborers. The painters, plasterers, prop makers, grips. These men and women are laborers. How dare you call yourselves labor. Most writers have never picked up a piece of cable or a hammer in their careers. Which is fine. I respect your craft. I'm often impressed. But don't sit in that directors chair, flirting with actors, directors, and producers while calling yourselves laborers. How dare you. Don't breeze in at 9am with a coffee on your way to the writers room and call yourselves labor. Respect our craft and our livelihood, and we will respect yours.

chardkerm said...


You're really a pisser, man. The same guy who cheap shots writers because they don't lift a hammer or a cable and "breeze" in at 9 a.m. and complains that writers don't even know what crew guys do, has no idea the kind of hours writers work. While you're "breezing" home at 6 p.m. to have dinner with your family, writers are in a lot of cases working past midnight and into morning. Who do you think are turning out those new colored pages every day, effing elves?

You're the same guy who if the WGA accepted the .003 that the AMPTP is offering for internet downloads, would be crying that we folded and aren't pulling in enough residuals to help support your health and pension plan.

How about growing a pair and attacking the people who really wanted this strike so that they can force majeure half their overhead away? But, I guess it's easier to blame the people who "breeze" in at 9 and never carry a cable.

Don't tell us how you respect us out of one side your mouth, while bashing us out of the other.

Thank God there are some people in your union posting here who know the score.

IATSE Lamp Operator said...

Dear Chardkerm-
Find me an IATSE member who was hoping you would strike to resolve our P&W issues. Guess what, they dont exist. I'm tired of hearing this from writers. This issue is about writers, and writers only, hiding behind the labor force, trying to make it about the workers, and "the future" is cowardly. Stand up and say you want more money. There is no shame in that. Just be honest about it. Say you dont think your getting what you deserve and you want to fight for it. Just remember that when you walk out, we all walk out.

I was trying to bring my perspective to the table, hoping everyone here would take a moment to understand where my brothers and I are coming from. If the WGA had tried to appeal to the labor unions, explaining their issues and how they effect all of us perhaps you would have more support. But that never happened. Just be honest. Your willing to put all our homes at risk so you can get a few more residuals in the bank. We can take it. Its hollywood, people fuck people over all the time. I know how it works, I've lived here long enough. Just be ready when the crew is pissed off. Its not all roses, its not all a party like the picket line. These are real people, working class people who's lives your changing. Remember that. Please keep that in mind. Nobody offered me a turkey this thanksgiving and I probably have more in common with the longshoreman then you ever will.

Maybe this will lead to force mejeure. This should concern you, but don't expect any sympathy from the crew. Most network television shows are so top heavy that production managers are unable to properly staff the set. If you want to have a conversation as to why some shows need 20+ "producers" lets talk. I look forward to hearing your definition of producer.

BTW, the last time I was home from work by 6pm was 1998. A 12 hour day lasts 12 hours plus lunch. Try leaving work around 8pm on monday, 4 to 5am saturday. Lets avoid the work hours conversation shall we? Its silly and your hours don't compare. I guarantee it.

Lets get back to work please...

chardkerm said...

LAMPLIGHTER: It's as simple as this. The first re-runs are going to the Internet. And if the WGA accepts the .003 that's being jammed down our throats, our residuals will be cut by 80-90%. If that happens, we will not have enough dues to sustain our health and pension funds. If that happens, then the WGA will go under. Same with SAG. As a by-product of that, and I know you don't want to hear this, but it's true, your union will be negatively affected in a huge way.

So we're not only fighting to get what we deserve, we're fighting for our survival.

What would you suggest we do about this?

Again, you guys want to take shots, also take them at the people who are perpetrating this situation. AMPTP.

As far as working hours go...I'll put up the shows I've worked on vs. anybody in any union. And not because those hours were necessary. A lot of it was disorganization, a lot of it network and studio interference that had us working all night. I'm sure your hours have been influenced by the same things.

Both of our unions are on the same side and our fates are very much connected. Your President may have a grudge going vs. our President, but the reality is, the arrogance and greed of management is what forces us into a situation where we either survive together or go down together.

Anonymous said...

Question: Does the IA pay into the WGA health benefits?

IATSEluvsyou said...

Lamplighter wrote: "Stand up and say you want more money."

At first, you criticized the writers for that. So in an attempt to win you over, they explained that while they do want more money, there is actually more to it than that - and some things that may benefit the other unions. Now you are critical of that argument as well. I'd like you and other people who hold your opinions to be more clear about what exactly makes them specifically blame the writers and/or WGA for this strike. Do you think writers make too much money? If so, do you really know how much money they make? How do you decide how much is too much?

Do you think the studio heads make too much money as well? I sure do. Are you angry at them for any of this? Do you think they might have enough money to keep their loyal craftsmen on payroll for a little while, to show how much they care about you and your homes? After all, you've worked so hard for them for so many years.

Or do you feel like you're being played as a pawn? the studio is just giddy about laying you off - not only do they not have to pay you, but they get to blame it all on your colleagues and get you fighting with each other.

I'll bet you wouldn't like it if a coal miner said your job wasn't as physically demanding as theirs, and that your skills were overrated and you didn't deserve to make much money. How hard can it be to move some cables around? Or that they don't have a pension plan, therefore you don't deserve one.

You just can't compare these things. No one is happy that the strike is affecting people who have no real stake in the outcome. No one wants anyone to lose their home. All that is beside the point.

We work for unions. Unions are a check and balance system for capitalism. They handle negotiations by striking. The more people band together, the more power they have, and the faster the strike gets over with. So the unions aren't perfect - without them, we'd all be working crazy hours with no overtime, being told that if we don't like it, some kid fresh out of college would be happy to step in and do the job for free. , just for the "experience". (no offense to kids fresh out of college - hang in there, work hard, it will pay off) Support your fellow workers, and then we can all get back to our silly, overpaid jobs and worry about Lindsay Lohan again. Those were good times. (no offense to Lindsay Lohan)

Anonymous said...

I have some Chinese toys I'd originally bought for my kids that I suppose I don't have to throw away now. I mean, why let them go to waste, right?

Captain Obvious said...

Correction: It's not about "more" money, it's about a "rightful share" of money.

They're different concepts...