Fans4writers.com, a website where fans show support for striking Hollywood writers, has made plans to use the occasion of the Tournament Of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day to have five planes “skytype” in support of the writers. In addition, a street team of fans will hand out flyers at the parade. To fund the effort, a silent auction and fundraising event is being held featuring some items donated by WGA members including scripts from the TV series Battlestar Galactica.
The plan is to have five separate “sky signs” bearing pro-WGA messages 10,000 feet above the Rose Parade beginning at 9 AM Pacific Time — each five miles long, and every letter the size of the Empire State Building. In essence, it’s skywriting but done like LED signs which can be seen for 15 miles in any direction or nearly 400 square miles. The content of these ads will be kept secret until they are revealed at the event.
Given that the parade will be broadcast on ABC, NBC, Univision, HGTV, Travel Channel, Discovery HD as well as KWHY and KTLA in the Los Angeles area, as well as more than 150 international territories, millions of people could see the messages. But it’s a big “if” whether the commentators and cameras for all these Big Media outlets, some of whom belong to the AMPTP which recently walked away from contract talks with the WGA, look up in the sky or even make reference to the messages. Still, it’s going to be hard to ignore the spectators craning necks to watch five airplanes “typing” up to 30 character messages by emitting biodegradable vapor “puffs” in a dot matrix pattern computerized to form the letters in the sky. Then again, stranger things have happened.
Previously, the fans have organized such events as sending pencils to Big Media CEOs. (See my previous, Pencils Down, More Pencils In The Mail… and Universal Calls Cops On Pencil Pushers.) So why are the fans going to this much trouble and expense in this new effort? “First of all, it is to express support for the writers, and the strike. It’s also that there will be a million people on the ground, and this is a way to reach them directly. People that may not know about ways to support the writer’s strike,” the website explains. “The more people we drum up, and bring over here, the more we can do to show support, and hopefully help send the message to the AMPTP that the writers are supported in the strike by the fans, and the public. Something like that helps give the AMPTP incentive to really start negotiating for a fair deal.”
An estimated 1M to 2M people on the ground watching the parade and in the vicinity should be able to see the sky typing which should last for 30 minutes. “With this one event we will be seen by more people than 1 ad in a national or trade paper. Since the people watching the parade and the parade itself will be representing people from all over the USA of high school and college age kids and their families we will be hitting a key demo that we need our message to get to. This is a way to get some attention from people who normally would never hear more than a 30 second blip on the news if they live outside of LA or NYC,” the website explains.
The fans seem to have thought of everything. If the weather is overcast, a back-up plan for the skytyping will be done over the actual Rose Bowl game. And if weather is even worse, the fans won’t be charged and all money collected will go into the WGA Solidarity Fund. Also, the event won’t conflict with FAA-approved temporary flight restrictions that will be in effect over the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl Game because the skytyping flights take place above the air ban.