Friday, November 09, 2007

Day 5

What a huge turnout on Friday for the strike rally at Fox. I had to park in the next area code. Are there any major studios across the street from Dodger Stadium?
Everyone was there. Including my buddy, Paul Haggis.
Avenue of the Stars became Avenue of the Scribes and a few Stars for about an hour. I understand Radiohead or Rage Against the Machine or Ronny & the Daytonas did a set. I didn’t hear them. I also understand there were speeches. Didn’t hear a word. Every so often people would cheer and I would too. I’m sure if I had heard what was being said I would’ve been enthusiastically supportive.

We were hardly what you would call an unruly mob. CAA assistants circulated with trays of churros. You hear stories of how assistants in talent agency mailrooms are forced to do the most humiliating degrading things but serving churros to writers? Oh the horror! The humanity!
I said hi to at least twenty-five former colleagues who had no idea who I was.

My policy was to not show pictures with celebrities but damn, Sharon Lawrence looks absolutely incredible! A couple of cast members from RENO 911 were there…in costume.

A street musician was playing the sax on Pico Blvd. I gave him a dollar. My agency took a dime out of the cup.

As we all moved towards Pico to begin the picketing portion of the day it looked like the start of a marathon with the most out of shape runners in history.
The rah-rah guys were given a weapon more dangerous than guns – airhorns. They tried to lead us in some inspirational chants. Of course no one went along. However, when the police announced they were closing Pico Blvd. for us a huge spontaneous cheer of “LAPD! LAPD!” arose. These are the same people that 40 years ago were yelling “PIGS! PIGS!”

What we really should be chanting is “SHOWRUNNERS! SHOWRUNNERS!” Their courage in standing up to the networks and studios is nothing short of heroic.

Thanks to Howard Hoffman and Tom Straw for the photos.

Now I must get out of the way before I’m trampled by a news camera crew trying to get to Kelsey Grammer.

Tomorrow: My SIMPSONS parody on the strike.

24 comments :

Dhppy said...

I parked just south of Wilshire in Beverly Hills, then walked from there. I don't own a red shirt (not a flattering color for me), so I wore a complimentary green, which did nothing to help me fit in. I have to buy a red shirt. Maybe one of the ones the Gap forced young slave children in New Delhi to make for AIDS stricken Africans.

I heard Jesse Jackson revving up the crowd. I also heard McFarlane's "Yippee Ki-yay, Motherfuckers" ode to the Die Hard building. Unfortunately, I was standing right next to a rather enthusiastic drummer. It was fine when she was on a drum roll, but the occasional silence-pounding, silence-pounding, rattled my skull.

Highlight, I saw Marc Cherry eating a churro. "Churro, Cherry. Cherry, churro." You know, this Oscar material doesn't write itself.

Shawn said...

The turnout was fantastic - I have some great pics of the throng on Ave. of the Stars.

And just a small correction: it was Rage Against the Machine (well, half of them), not Radiohead.

Diogo said...

Sharon Lawrence IS gorgeous (even with Ken standing beside her ;)) Probably one of the few women who can pull off any colour of hair in the universe, and it always enhences her eyes. Did the cops really close the street for you? that is so cool! When that happens here you can be sure there's a raid about to begin. Did Kelsey Grammer really walk the picket line with you? classy guy, as one would expect. What about negotiations? any news on that front? all I heard was that FOX and CBS already sent their showrunners letters about them being absent from work this week, and whithelding their pay. They say if it becomes more serious it could lead to massive firings. Sure the turnout has been great, but, so far, the effects have been kind of zero. I keep hearing there are less and less episodes of original material, but, truth be told, this week, all prime time tv series aired new episodes, as if nothing is going on. Looks like management is stretching it, to see who breaks first.

Paul said...

Thank you for giving my friend with the saxophone a dollar. He's not a street musician, he's an assistant on MadTV who actually got fired yesterday for picketing his own show. No joke. Pretty ballsy guy.

Johanna said...

Revolution and sarcasm? Best. Strike blog. Ever.

I don't know how much you lot on the front lines are hearing from the public, but you've got serious support for the long haul in places with no real ties to the industry. From Kalamazoo to Bismark, folks're angry and support you 100%.

Thanks for fighting, for all of us. We understand the stakes and are behind every last man, woman, and child on those lines.

VP81955 said...

I fully concur with johanna. As Bob Marley once said, "Stand up for your rights...don't give up the fight."

The Crutnacker said...

Guys, you better get this strike settled quickly. My understanding is that the studios are thinking of outsourcing the writing to Bangalore.

Also, I haven't heard. Have Peter and Lois Griffin decided not to cross the picket lines? That bastard scab Stewie probably reported to work just like any other day.

SM Lochhead said...

What's a churro? Seriously. I thought it was a donkey. Is it breaded donkey tail? CAA is evil.

Tallulah Morehead said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul Atkinson said...

I love how everybody is smiling at the fact that they're not getting paid right now.

"Yay! I can't pay my kid's daycare this month! Debt is fun!"

For those without such problems, it looks like that was pretty... fun. A lot more fun than working, that's for sure. I'm surprised Paul Haggis was there. I thought Scientologists weren't allowed to get angry about things. Don't you have to be angry or upset to protest? Was he pretending the studios were psychiatrists?

I hope you guys get your settlement soon. It's such a small thing. "We want to be paid for our episodes on the internet". I don't see how that's so hard. And damn it, I NEED Lost. NEED.

Dwacon® said...

What day is the march past Winchell's?

Or, at least... the Apple Pan?

Allen L. said...

Ken,
Correct me if I am wrong. The cumulative amount of the increase among all writers wouldn't equal the salary of one of the Big Six CEOs. Is that right?

Am I correct in assuming that the amount the writers are asking for, over a ten year period, won't come close to the amount of revenue lost during the strike?

If I am right, this is ridiculously bad management.

Christina said...

Kind of funny how the strike is like a funeral - you see a bunch of people you haven't seen in years and have a good time catching up, even though the reason you're there in the first place is serious, not fun.

dougR said...

there was a sax guy on the NYC/Newscorp line yesterday too, AND a drummer, in the cold and drizzle. They both added a great deal to the spirit in the line, which seemed high. (Also I give special props to any woodwind player bringing a horn out in the rain.) I was there with a soggy SAG sign & my 802 hat, getting soaked along with Tim Robbins & Kevin Bacon & all you celebs who write my favorite shows. Funny how no matter what union you're in, it's always the same old crap with management, and the Bush years have only made them more arrogant. Local 1 (Stagehands) is out on strike as of this morning too, which means Broadway is mostly shut down and you can't move around midtown NYC without seeing picket signs. You guys rock. See ya on the line, & hopefully we'll get it done SOON.

Anonymous said...

So the Republicans get chastised for not supporting us, but when Jesse Jackson does he gets some ad hominem attacks and cruel jokes about his appearance.

And Ellen Degeneres expresses support for the writers, but you accuse her of not being able to write her own monologues. When she wrote her own material for, what, 20 years?

The agencies send food, but one slice is missing? What does that even mean?

And you seem not to be able to go a single paragraph without insulting your fellow writers. Or the press covering us. Or the celebrities supporting us.

With a friend like you, who needs enemies?

RAC said...

Dear sniping "Anonymous,"

It's called "parady" and "humor." You must write for the soaps, which understand neither, either.

Tim W. said...

Anonymous,

The joke about the piece of pizza missing...the agency took their 10%. You're a writer and you didn't get that joke?

Brian said...

Like anonymous, I am shocked - SHOCKED - that an Emmy winning comedy writer is making jokes. What is the world coming to.

With apologies to Harold Ramis, Dan Goldberg and Len Blum, lighten up, Anonymous.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

When has Sharon Lawrence not looked gorgeous? Imagibe waking up to that face every morning. The mind boggles.

Scientologists are assholes.

rob! said...

dear ken-

Frankenstein supports the WGA!

http://namtab29.blogspot.com/2007/11/even-undead-support-writers.html

Anonymous said...

The Los Angeles Times reported, yesterday, I think, that agencies are so worried about their clients not working (and the agents not getting their pieces of silver) that they're trying to convince one side to give in.

And who are they "reasoning" with? The writers.

Assholes (if that's true). I hope the writers keep this in mind during the next SAG, DGA, IATSE, etc. strike.

Paul Atkinson said...

Well, from the agents' point of view, writers are going to keep coming to Hollywood in droves. Studio execs are going to be the same people for a very long time.

In other words, writers are more easily replaced in the business sense, so they'd be the ones to turn on if you're a shark and you want to get paid. Because it is about money.

Even for the writers. If it wasn't, there wouldn't be a strike. Or a union.

Anonymous said...

I have to stick up for the other Anonymous (no relation). When people or groups support our cause, it should earn them at least a little time off from being the butt of clammy jokes.

As for the pizza joke, that is the clammiest ever.

joshm said...

Daily Show Correspondent and stand-up dude Demitri Martin is behind the Churro guy to the left. Poor Demetri--getting blog buzz only to be out-shined by some agency drone in a suit proffering fried, sugared dough.