(From Writer's Assistant, Ed Fowler)
Saturday I went to my mailbox and discovered a very plain envelope with the return address of NBC Universal. Inside it held a simple, single page letter. At the very top, centered in some kind of Helvetica or Ariel font (at least it wasn't Comic Sans) was the very business like heading of:
What followed after the “To:” heading contained the name to which I am so often referred:
The “From:” labeling was a tad more specific:
The body of the letter was nothing shocking or surprising, simply stating that due to the uncertainty that the recent WGA strike has created my "services are no longer needed, effective immediately." Okay, so I guess if you're working as a Writer's Assistant and the only way you're able to assist the writers is by standing alongside them in a picket line, this really comes as no surprise.
My point in this email is simply to give yet another example of who we are dealing with. These are people who don't have the decency to create a dismissal form letter that, at the very least, pretends to know who exactly they are dismissing. We are at war with people who take no time to personalize those they employ, they take no consideration of the lives they are affecting each and every day. Maybe it's a defense mechanism, maybe it's big business or maybe they didn't get enough hugs as children, but we should not be surprised nor shocked at the pompous, self-centered and delusional lies they spread about writers and this strike. Don't mistake me, I'm not the least offended by the methods they've employed to release me. What I am, is reminded (by their own hand) why this battle is one worth fighting. It is time they understood the power and value of the writer. Fair enough, I'm not in the guild, I'm not yet a working writer -- I'm easy to forget and easy to replace.
I get that.
What I really want, the reason "Why I fight", is for all of my friends who are working writers, or are soon to be, to get a fair deal and to not be taken advantage of by corporate goons who can't write an effective form letter more or less a screenplay. Ultimately, what I hope is that when the sun rises on a new, better contract for all writers I can look each one of you square in the eyes and quote the great Jack Burton at the end of Big Trouble In Little China and say, "We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn't we?"
See you on the battlefield.