Back from the front lines at 20th Century Fox.
Day One of David vs. Goliath-Warner-corps-com-inc-ney:
Good turnout and well-organized. Picket signs aplenty, many new, bottled water, and even printed lyrics to custom protest chants.
Lots of cars and trucks honked in support. Even a cement mixer, whose driver probably has three upcoming pool constructions now in jeopardy.
Since it was the first day the media was there in full force. It was fun watching these reporters scouring the writers looking for a familiar face -- ANY familiar face. And then the scowls of disappointment when there was nobody "famous" enough for them. Sorry, guys, Tina Fey is in New York.
Any writer who brought a kid got interviewed.
Camera crews filmed us all marching. If they use more than four seconds of it I will be floored.
Face it, we're not a pretty union. We'll never be mistaken for SAG.
At one point I was walking with Jim Brooks and Allan Burns (two of my absolute IDOLS) and a reporter approached Jim. Once she confirmed he was involved with The Simpsons, she asked this multi Oscar and Emmy winner "are you also a writer?"
Meanwhile, another Simpsons scribe, Mike Scully was marching...on crutches. There's got to be some WGA award he can win for that, right?
There was a union guy with a megaphone trying to rally the troops. We're not used to that. He tried to lead us all in a rousing chant of "We are the writers, the mighty, mighty writers!" and the only reaction he got was snickering. Note to anyone with a megaphone: We're just not a real rah rah bunch.
It was fun to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen in awhile (i.e. the last strike).
You also see a lot of people on the line you haven't seen in awhile and can't remember who they are or how you know them. Overheard a LOT: "Hey, man/babe/dude/guy, how are ya? You're looking great."
Also overheard every six seconds: "What WERE you working on?"
Unfortunately, you also see every writer who ever fucked you over in your career, got the job you coveted, beat you in an arbitration, stole your girl, or beaned you in an industry softball game. And you pass by them again...and again...and again...and again...
Actor David Clennon was on the line marching. He's not even in the WGA. Our sincere thanks to everyone not in the guild who is supporting our cause. Just 'cause we're the "mighty mighty writers" doesn't mean we don't really appreciate your help.
At 1:00 when the first shift was over I bet Junior's deli was PACKED. Not everyone will suffer from this strike.
No cameras, no reporters. A motorist stopping to give us candy. Hopefully by next week they won't be throwing it at us.
A different rah-rah guy, same result. Trust me, if they want us to chant, get the Laker Girls to lead it.
At one point we stopped marching counter-clockwise and started marching clockwise. Twenty minutes later we went back to the original direction. I guess it didn't have the effect of shutting down the town like they had hoped.
The big question was why would our negotiating committee give up DVDs? It made no sense. And then we learned the truth: the producers pulled the old Charlie Brown and the football, leading the WGA to believe if they gave up DVDs they'd offer some internet formula for residuals. And then did no such thing.
There's no need for the rah-rah people. The producers themselves have managed to galvanize the union into such a state that to a man writers will fight this contract to the end of time.
And to that end -- Day Three coming up.
You can read more from Ken at kenlevine.blogspot.com
Read more thoughts about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.