My very cool WGAE card came in the mail a few weeks ago, followed four days later by a strike authorization form. So just when the golden doors of promise had miraculously swung open for me, I will be spending my time marching in a little circle in the midst of a November cold snap, waving a placard on behalf of a guild I've officially belonged to for less than a month.
This really wasn't how it was supposed to go.
At a time when other, more experienced writers are debating the finer points of residual arrangements or cannily using "IMDB" as a verb, I'm still struggling to understand some of the most basic elements of this strange new world: Why are writers in TV so much more powerful than writers on movies? Which part of the MBA covers what I do? What does "story by" even mean and does it really matter?
But will I strike? You bet I will.
I'll strike because as a new writer (but hardly a young one) I understand that the best way to insure the viability of this exciting profession over the long haul is to insure that revenue streams continue to trickle even in times of drought. I'll strike because as someone who already watches most of my television as streaming video, I don't think it's fair that the internet shouldn't count, I'll strike because I don't find it unreasonable to demand four more cents on the sale of a 20 dollar DVD, and I'll strike because from what I've seen so far, the AMPTP's antics feel like a bad episode of Greedy Capitalist Girls Gone Wild and who, besides Alex P. Keaton (thank you, Gary David Goldberg) would be turned on by that?
From everything I've seen so far, ours is a cool little fraternity -- filled with clever people who have a great way with words, and it's already clear to me that writing for television has the potential to be a fun life and a great profession. But it's up to all of us to insure that it's viable -- as a genuine life choice for the brand new members like me, but far more importantly for the writers of the future -- the people who stand where I did less than a year ago: outside, looking in at the magnificent party that can be a life as a guild writer.
Read more thoughts about the strike on Huffington Post's writers' strike opinion page.