So, point of business first. This is no longer "My Strike Diary." It's "The Strike Diary." I've put out the word to about three dozen people I know across America in -- and not so in -- all aspects of entertainment and media. It's my intention to include their thoughts, stories, anecdotes and travails in this diary. We've got a lot of partisans doling out their opinions on what's happening, but the reality is; this is not my strike or your strike. It's OUR strike, and I would like this space to reflect OUR experience -- one exec, who's a friend outside of work, seriously wondered if it were legal for us to talk at all. A writer told me he was going to base his decision where to picket on which location was closest to his favorite bar (now that's a writer!) -- as well as the facts.
But there are facts of the new normal to be dealt with. Facts that affect the actual (once) working membership of the guild.
Facts like Strike Rule #8, or as it is euphemistically referred to: The Script Validation Program.
Yah know, seriously, I don't care what side of the divide you're on -- the Script Validation Program is just a tad Orwellian.
However, like many of the working membership of the WGA, I got a pleasant, nicely worded but very legalistic letter from a production company I have a deal with -- CC'ed to my lawyer - reminding me the scripts I'm working on are the property of that company and cannot be disseminated to a third party without the company's prior permission.
Strike Rule #8, or the Script Validation Program run by the WGA, "requires" all writers to "submit copies of all literary material (written for a struck company) to the Guild at the outset of a strike." Just exactly when and how the SVP is to be implemented is to be outlined in future Guild communications. I suppose the legal precedent from such seizure will be outlined at the same time.
As it's the weekend, I haven't had a chance to speak with lawyers on this one. However, such a call will be among the first I make on my suddenly wide-open Monday and will relay my findings.
I believe whatever else happens with this work stoppage, Strike Rule #8 is going to be a point of interest as it nexuses around the eternal question of who owns intellectual property: the production entity which pays for it, or the guild which takes it upon itself to protect the writer.
What's most interesting to me is that neither side seems to feel the writer as an individual can protect their own creative property when it is in their possession.
A copy of The Fountainhead for both sides, please.
See you on the picket lines. And, yes, I will be picketing.
Read more thoughts about the strike on Huffington Post's writers' strike opinion page.