Rumor Patrol: Day 1

West coast picketers hit the streets this morning. And the moment we did, something very special happened: gossip!

As Kate alluded to earlier, during a strike, everyone affected is desperate for information. Sometimes hearsay is all that's available. So, at the suggestion of my friend and fellow captain Kit Boss, I'm setting up "Rumor Patrol" as a feature of United Hollywood. When you hear a rumor you want me to track down, email it to unitedhollywood [at] gmail [dot] com. I'll do my best to find out the truth. And when I can't do that, I'll speculate baselessly on your baseless speculation.

RUMOR: All the big-time showrunners are going to cross the lines and work anyway.
The showrunners, as a group, are among the key leaders of this strike. See Kate's post below from Shonda Rhimes. She's not even doing tasks for her show that she could do under the strike rules. Earlier, Nikki Finke's site ran the empassioned letter from Shawn Ryan. Shawn writes that there was a large meeting of showrunners on Saturday, and the sentiment expressed in the "Pencils Down" ad remains very strong.

RUMOR: John, seriously, don't be naïve. Didn't you hear about the showrunner on [PROMINENT NEW DRAMA] who attempted to cross the line and got detained by the writers on the way in?
Yes, I did hear about this. I have emails out to some people involved. If you know who I'm talking about, email unitedhollywood [at] gmail [dot] com. And don't try to get cute and settle some private grudge you've been nursing by naming names in the comments. We'll all see right through that.

RUMOR: Major film stock suppliers are telling the studios that their inventories are either dangerously low or entirely depleted. There’s no more film to sell, so the studios are now scrambling to buy or barter it off one another.
I heard a version of this concerning Kodak and one major network drama that is reportedly “out of film and can’t shoot finished scripts.” Supposedly, the studios stockpiled film in anticipation of a strike, and now it’s all gone. I placed a call to Kodak, and the woman who answered said she has seen no stockpiling.

Even if there had been massive stockpiling, it wouldn’t mean that there’s “no film.” It would mean that all the film is already in the hands of the people who want to use it. Maybe there is a significance to this that I’m missing. If so, please leave a comment. Or maybe this is the work of the villainous Filmfinger, who plans to start a panic and corner the market.

RUMOR: There will be lots of sweet picket-line perks like Frappuccino machines and backrubs.
Not going to happen. My wife promised to bake cookies for my team if we're still on the line by Thursday, but that's as luxe as it's getting. Sympathetic Teamsters and other union members might not cross a line of blended-coffee sippers, but they'd certainly laugh at it. I know that there was a Frappuccino machine at the America's Next Top Model protest, but that was just to lure models. Models subsist on blended coffee in the wild.

RUMOR: Nick Counter can mentally summon and command coyotes. He can turn himself into a cold mist to elude pursuers. He eats the dreams of sleeping children as he flies above their homes on the back of a giant talking raven named Stormhammer.

I invite everyone who has a stake in this strike to email me with what they're hearing out there. If you have a rumor, especially a weird one, send it to unitedhollywood [at] gmail [dot] com.

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