(…refresh for latest posting) Part I is here.
Inevitably, the first Craigslist strike reference, posted under “Missed Connection”:
“Nerdy, Neurotic Writer Picketing Outside the Studio! “Hi! You were the neurotic, quiet and nerdy writer picketing outside the studio this morning! Did you write that sign yourself? That was so clever. I was the Big, Bad Studio Monster that paid you exorbitant amounts of money up front, then denied you a piece of the back end. Then I ignored all your requests to negotiate and tried to bully you into a deal! Can we kiss and make up? Please? I think we can work some magic together if we both just put our egos aside. Who cares about the Below the Line people? We’re above it for a REASON!!!”
First Obama. Now Clinton and Edwards. All released statements today supporting the WGA strikers — even though nearly all the Hollywood moguls have hosted major fundraisers for each of them.
–>Hillary Clinton: “I support the Writers Guild’s pursuit of a fair contract that pays them for their work in all mediums. I hope the producers and writers will return to the bargaining table to work out an equitable contract that keeps our entertainment industry strong and recognizes the contributions writers make to the success of the industry.”
–>John Edwards: “The striking Writers Guild members are fighting an important battle to protect their creative rights. These writers deserve to be compensated fairly for their work, and I commend their courage in standing up to big media conglomerates. As someone who has walked picket lines with workers all across America and as a strong believer in collective bargaining, I hope that both sides are able to quickly reach a just settlement.”
–>Barack Obama: I already reported his statement here.
Below is a photo of actor Robert Patrick picketing CBS on Fairfax Avenue this afternoon with The Unit writers.
At the Raleigh Hollywood Studios, where they film Ugly Betty, picketers were near the end of their shift at around 4:40 pm when actress Vanessa Williams from the show came out with a bowl of candy for them.
Actress Meg Ryan came to a WGAE picket location in NYC and visited some friends in line.
UPDATE: From a Fox studio lot worker bee claiming to be on the side of the writers: “I don’t mean to rain on the WGA’s parade but I work in the building closest to the Pico gate, building 89. It’s where the House production offices are. I was there from 9am to 6pm and didn’t hear a thing from inside the building. And when I walked outside for a break, I heard some horns honking from time to time but nothing too over the top.”
The WGAE strikers have such a wildly different experience walking the picket lines than do the WGAW’ers mostly because there’s sidewalk action. That’s right, they actually come into contact with pedestrians who often talk back. I think John Robin Baitz posts a very evocative account of the NYC picketing here on The Huffington Post. I like his title for the WGAE walkers: March of the Schleppers.
Stories coming in to me of strikers moonwalking, doing mime, and performing cheerleader routines on the picket line for the benefit of the cars passing by. Are we certain these walkers are writers and not carnies?
The above photo is from picketing at Fox. I was told that strikers were gauging how they were able to tie up lines of cars trying to get in and out of one of the studio’s garages there, especially around lunchtime, by focusing on just one entryway. Then again, the picketers also realized that the folks who park there aren’t the studio CEOs and top execs who all come in the Pico entrance.
Picketing at Universal today was boisterous not to mention noisy: trucks and cars loudly honked in support. Several members of SAG joined WGA lines including Frances Fisher, Justine Bateman and Marg Helgenberger and walked for many hours. Showrunners like Desperate Housewives‘s Marc Cherry, Frasier creator Peter Casey, Drew Carey creator Bruce Helford and CSI‘s Carol Mendelsohn were out there, too. Ahmet Zappa drove by and dropped off dozens of coffee drinks. Gifts of dozens of pizzas came from Joss Whedon fans and CSI production offices. Also, Patric Verrone and David Young made stops on the Uni picket lines giving strikers updates on the negotiations.
WGAW President Patric Verrone said tonight in a statement (excerpt):
“Let me now address an issue which I know is on the minds of many — our decision to remove DVD from the table, a decision which was met with significant disappointment and even anger from many of our members. The reason for that decision was strategic and followed several back-channel assurances that, if DVDs were dropped, we would be able to make sufficient progress in new media so that a strike could be averted. This offer, combined with our desire to do everything within our power to make a good deal without a strike (by removing management’s strike issue), as well as some small movement at the bargaining table early on Sunday, provoked our decision to make that move. Unfortunately, the response we got was not as promised and management broke off talks before our new media proposals were seriously addressed. Our new comprehensive proposal (including the DVD removal) was presented in an off-the-record session: our new proposal was then rejected. Based on what I saw and heard on the picket lines today, therefore, all bets are off and what we achieve in this negotiation will be a function of how much we are willing to fight to get our fair share of the residuals of the future, no matter how they are delivered.”
WGA has issued this picket count for the first strike day:
MONDAY PICKET COUNT
Location: Total # of Members on Picket Lines
CBS Radford 527
CBS Television City 195
Culver Studios 115
FOX Fox 520 + 25 SAG
Hollywood Center 93
NBC Burbank 121
Paramount/Raleigh 286 +10 SAG
Raleigh Mahn Bch 111
Sony 215 + 7 SAG
Sunset Gower 125
Universal 220 + 4 SAG
TOTAL: 3,029 MEMBERS
A WGAW strike captain sent this email to his picketers: “I heard from someone who works in Fox Television that the honking horns were driving all the executives crazy. They were screaming in the halls about it, and couldn’t get any work done. SO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!”
TV fans are contacting me for a way they can donate funds to the striking writers.
I can do more rumor-busting. Today urgent emails circulated claiming that Heroes hotshot Tim Kring was “fired” by NBC. A source close to him told me tonight Kring was “stunned” by this rumor. “Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Honestly.” The insider thinks the rumor came from Kring’s decision to honor the strike this week and walk the picket line. “Maybe somehow that came out as some kind of contention with his employers. It’s obviously not aimed at the people at the network and studio with whom he has such a wonderful working relationship. I know how it looks to be picketing your own network and show, but it’s really about making a stand with his fellow writers over what he believes are some very serious issues. Hope that clears it up for you.”
UPDATE: I have more Shonda Rhimes news. (See my previous posting here.) I and others have been sent an email from the creator and executive producer and writer of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice about her support for the strike. “I have to tell all of you that this email directly reflects the stance I came to over a very long night in New York. I absolutely believed that I would edit our episodes. Until a thought hit me: how can I walk a picket line and then continue to essentially work? How am I supposed to look at myself in the mirror or look at my child years from now and know that I did not have the courage of my convictions to stand up and put myself more at risk than anyone else? So I choose not to render my services as a producer. I choose to honor the strike. And I am proud that you all stand with me. Shonda”
The Daily Show’s John Oliver was walking the picket lines early this morning and gave an interview to NPR mentioning that Jon Stewart has promised to picket at some point this week. The WGAE line tomorrow is in Long Island City at Silvercup Studios.
Best chant of the day was at CBS Radford: “MORE MONEY – LESS MOONVES!”
At Raleigh Studio Manhattan Beach, I heard there was a strong turnout from the writing staffs of CSI: Miami, Medium, Boston Legal, and Psych. Patricia Arquette of Medium delivered Starbucks coffee and pastries to the writers on the picket lines. I heard Teamsters from CSI: Miami honored the picket line but some from Medium did not. One driver crossed the line with a busload of background extras.
Also at Raleigh Studios Manhattan Beach, picketers stationed at the main gate were approached by the manager of the lot and informed that they were not allowed to picket there because it wasn’t a “registered” gate. He explained that the main gate is not used by employees who work on the shows run by the studios protested, but only used by guests to the lot. They even put up a makeshift sign that stated that the employees of CBS Paramount, 20th Century Fox and several other studios do not use that gate. The picketers initially protested the request to leave because many have worked on that lot for the last few years and entered to work “every single day” through that gate. According to one of the strikers, “It wasn’t until we saw the manager of the facility talking to a Teamster from CSI: Miami that we realized that this was because the Teamsters wouldn’t cross our picket line, and CSI: Miami was scheduled to be on location for part of their day. Eventually we were forced to move when they threatened to involve the authorities. “