Walking the Picket Line in a Blackout

Something's very different on the picket line.

Since Thanksgiving, the energy on the picket lines has fallen off. One picketer was even seen reading a book while he walked the picket line.

It seems like only yesterday that we were chanting to stop trucks from crossing the picket line or "2-4-6-8, Why won't they negotiate." The turnout and the energy paid off. The AMPTP rejoined us at the negotiating table and that was great.

But now....we wait....in a news blackout.

Getting the agreement to restart the negotiations felt climactic, because so much energy had to be expended to get the AMPTP to do the right thing, but "restarting" the talks didn't mean "concluding" them.

Monday Nikki Finke raised our hopes: a deal's been worked out. Tuesday she lowered our expectations: time at the table didn't mean moving forward.

Nikki, like everyone else, is trying to read the tea leaves. And we want something to happen. We'd like to think it's all been worked out; they're just withholding the good news so they can surprise us for the holidays.

On the picket lines, the dark stuff comes out.

"The AMPTP didn't want to restart the negotiations. Their bad polling numbers forced them to sit down again. They aren't really serious about the negotiations. All they're really doing is running out the clock, stalling until all the force majeure money drops into their pockets."

And that leads to the really dark stuff.

"The 'news blackout' and then the hopeful press about a deal's-already-done sucks off the good energy we had going before Thanksgiving. The AMPTP doesn't want us to get daily updates because then we'll see how they aren't willing to give us a fair deal. Flip it the other way: if we think we already have a deal--that's really Machiavellian--why fight when you think you've already won?"

A lot of tea leaf-reading.

But there's no question that we know a couple of things, for sure. We all want a deal, because we'd rather go back to work. But there isn't a deal yet. And, most importantly, we haven't won so we have to keep doing what we've been doing.

We're still in a fight. That's the only news flash we'll get in a news blackout.

So now what?

If you were picketing or blogging or posting videos on YouTube or talking with fans or working with other unions, you have to keep doing it--all that is part of the process, just as much as the work our negotiating committee does in rooms in unnamed hotels.

And they can't do their work if we don't do ours.

We need to be on the picket lines with as many people as possible, with as much energy as before, making it clear that the strike is important, that we know we're fighting for our future, that it's not over yet, that we'll do whatever we have to, and that "We Matter".


Anonymous said...

maybe if your "speechless" videos had a good editor...

Anonymous said...

This is so disappointing to hear. I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

--"maybe if your "speechless" videos had a good editor..."--

Or a writer... ;-)

Pat said...

I think it'd be hard for people to deny that this year was one of, if not the greatest year for movies ever. This being the sheer amount of great films that came out this year to the point where little more than 2 weeks could go by without a great film coming out this year. The summer schedule was probably the strongest ever for a year in my opinion.

That being said, I don't think the studios want to end this strike anytime soon simply because of that fact. A massive amount of the great films this year didn't necessarily make a lot in theaters, but they were critically accepted. That in turns pushes forward DVD and new media traffic.

The studios don't want to negotiate immediately, because they don't want to give away a piece of the most potentially lucrative summer in movie history. They'll wait until all the summer movies have made it to DVD and especially until after the Christmas season to protect this gold mine that is about to erupt. Once that money is shoveled in by them, they'll politely sit down with the WGA and say, alright we're ready to share...on everything after this.

Captain Obvious said...

That's when I think my response would have to be:

"Enjoy your writers from Bangalore and crew from Guadalajara, me and my friends are striking (no pun intended) out on our own..."

Huntress said...

Keep up the good fight, have faith, the initial strike fueled by anger and frustration created alot of "noise"...

But no one can maintain that level for long periods of time...you need to collectively re energize for a few days, and then come back renewed and ready to create alot of noise...
But during this renergizing time..you still need to keep making your voices heard..so maybe now would be good time to chant together quietly yet powerfully

I envision something like this:

"All we are saying...is give us a our share" Or "All we are saying is we want our fair share"

You all are more talented than I at coming up with a better "slogan", but I think you get the idea.

Shut out the dark stuff. Its all rumour, fear and speculation.

Focus on the facts:

What you are asking for is fair.
It is for the greater good of those "creatives" in the industry - the writers directors actors, crew and support staff.

The future is the NET, you have a right to your fair share.
You have a right to turn your intellectual property into intellectual capital!

You have the support of the public aka the viewing audiences, and othernon entertainment industry unions, and you will continue to have that support.


On a personal note to Laeta Kalogridis: I was and remain a fan of "Birds of Prey". I loved the goth look, and this "incarnation" of Huntress.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there writers!!

Keep pushin, we fans support ya'll!! Specially us LO SVU fans!!

Jeff said...

I thought Nikki did a respectable job of keeping expectations low on Monday, myself.

cort said...

With downbeat posts like this already popping up we can expect to see the writers urging a settlement sooner rather than later. Excellent!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Cort: no matter how low our energy might seem, we are still out there in great numbers, and we are not going to accept a lousy deal no matter how long we have to stay out. Every WGA member I've talked to agrees with this: we'll walk till June if we have to.

Cort said...

June is a looooong way off. I wager no longer than March. Writers don't have the intestinal fortitude the average blue collar striker has.

Anonymous said...

hey... not sure if you're aware, but striking is physically difficult. i don't need some P.E. teacher telling me to shout and smile and jump and be enthusiastic on top of it. i'm out there, okay?

Jake Hollywood said...

Now more than ever is the time to show unity and to keep the numbers up on the picket lines...

I've been on the picket line everyday since the strike began and I'm not even in the WGA yet (though I did have to films in development until the strike happened). And like most days I've walked with various actors who, like me, aren't actually WGA members.

If we can show our support then certainly every WGA member should be out on the front lines as well.

Regardless, until the WGA gets a fair deal from the AMPTP I'll be out there even if nobody else shows up. The stakes are that important.

Anonymous said...

"hey... not sure if you're aware, but striking is physically difficult. "

Wow, this is why writers will lose in the long term. Walking around in a circle, holding a sign for 20 hours a week (oops, I'm sorry, you guys couldn't hack it 20 hours a week so now your beloved leader has lessened it to 12) is "physically difficult"???

yeah, it is...when you're a bunch of lazy, out of shape writers who only have the engergy to "fight" a couple of weeks.

redblack said...

How uncreative are "anonymous-es" who give the writer's a hard time? They can't even make-up a fake name for themselves!?

Anonymous said...

lol...so let me get this straight...because you came up with the color "Red" and the color "Black" and combined them you are calling yourself creative. Wow, I am impressed. Let me guess, your last job was on "Yes, Dear"??? Am i close??

Please enlighten us into your creative process redblack? How does it work? What did you try that didn't work?? Greenyellow? Blueorange? It must have taken you hours until finally the creative breakthrough came to you with Redblack.

Yes, you are really making a strong case there dipshit.

Give this man some residual money!!

Captain Obvious said...

Don't you anonymous dingbats have other blogs to troll? Like the "I Was Never Loved As A Child" blog?

Anonymous said...

Ah, the naysayers….I missed you! How was your holiday? Now honestly, do you really think that an entire profession built around waiting for their ship to come in while working like dogs in the meantime is going to fold like cards? Because they have to wait? Please. Do you know how long a project can be in production before any film starts rolling? Years. Try surviving staffing season or getting out of development hell. Try writing a novel. This is nuthin’.

It is factually true that walking constantly in the sun or cold is hard physically as there is no rest. Ask a doctor, they will tell you the same. I doubt a blue collar striker would disagree, I will ask some of the teamsters that have joined the picket line.

Writers mostly were blue collar guys/gals before getting the chance to write professionally. Writer director James Cameron used to be a trucker, and there are plenty of former waiters, waitresses, cops, construction workers and the odd teamster in our ranks. Do they not give you trolls some sort of fact sheet? I think you might need to craft better talking points; these seem as if they are after their sell by date…a bit off.

Anonymous said...

Cort and co., please stop with the class struggle, blue collar vs overpaid writer, nonsense. It's an old argument and simply not pertinent to the strike issues. Work is work. The strike isn't about the type of work performed; it's about an unfair deal, and the fact that the WGA has no contract.

Striking is hard, no matter what color the collar. It’s easy to sit and type negative online comments.

kaysi said...

I'm still wishing/hoping for another Fan Day on the picket lines... One with more advance notice, preferably on a Friday, so I could take a long weekend to make the trip to LA to participate... Wouldn't that serve as some sort of a morale boost on picket lines? I think the fans are still strong behind this, maybe if we had an organized day to join together & show our support it would encourage everyone to keep on keepin' on...

In the meantime I'll keep praying!! HANG IN THERE, WRITERS!!

maria said...

I agree that a certain melancholic impatience has started on the picket lines but we HAVE to stick it out. There's just no way around this situation until we get exactly what we want and deserve. I've found one great way to keep up the energy is to gate-cruise...move from one gate to another, meet some new people, learn from other writers. We can't give up!!!

Anonymous said...

"It is factually true that walking constantly in the sun or cold is hard physically as there is no rest. Ask a doctor, they will tell you the same."

I'm sorry.."no rest"??? It was 4 hours a day and now it's less. Try telling a cashier at a grocery store, a waitress, a steel worker, a factory worker that you are physically exhausted by standing and walking for 4 hours a day and I doubt you will get much sympathy. Bottomline, when you are "working" you sit on your ass all day and eat the free food provided to you by the big bad studios.

And second to your comment that "Writers mostly were blue collar guys/gals before getting the chance to write professionally."

Not exactly sure where you are getting your "facts" from but I highly doubt the Harvard educated writing staffs of shows like Colbert, Daily Show, Lettermen and the majority of the sitcoms on the air have ever done a hard day of physically labor in their silver spoon life.

Obviously, people in every field come from all walks of life. But to make a sweeping statement saying that most writers come from blue collar backgrounds just isn't accurate. Yet, as is the standard on this and other blogs, writers have a distorted view of facts and if anyone dare disagree with the precious writer then they are immediately dismissed as a troll.

All of you hacks are convinced of this conspiracy by the studios to hire people to post comments on blogs like this...do you have proof?? Can you produce one piece of evidence that studios or any other entities do this??

Please tell me if you do...I'd love to see the evidence for myself,a non-troll who simply disagrees with your viewpoint

Anonymous said...

Is there picketing scheduled for tomorrow (Friday) morning at all the regular locations? Sorry, not a guild member, I'm out of the loop.