Monday, November 12, 2007

Week two begins...early

We were out there picketing 20th Century Fox this morning at 6. By “we” I mean the Writers Guild. I showed up a little later. But it was during the heat of the day so hey, I suffered!

With Monday being a school holiday, it was “Bring Your Kids Day”. If you didn’t have a kid, that’s okay because the major agencies were out there distributing them along with bagels and Subway sandwiches.

Very few reporters were on hand. Those that were interviewed the kids.

Tuesday I believe is “Bring an Actor Day”. I have a call into Beyonce. Hey, don’t laugh. I know her. We almost got hepatitis together at the SI swimsuit party.

Meanwhile, I will personally give $100 to the writer who shows up with Ellen DeGeneres.

Will there be prizes for the writer who brings with the biggest actor, the prettiest actor, the actor with the most award nominations, the actor with the most rehab stints? Extra points if your celebrity is not wearing underwear.

No rah-rah guys were on hand to lead chants. Probably a wise move. You don’t want airhorns around with that many small children.

I got a call from an LA TIMES reporter from the Style Section asking about “Picket Line Etiquette”. First of all, this must the first time a Style Section person ever called a TV writer. She asked what I thought of young wannabes marching along in the hopes of networking and meeting established writers. Did I think that was bad form? I said, no, I would actually give the young hopefuls points for resourcefulness. But if one of them offered me a spec, became too pushy, or had notes of my SIMPSONS parody I would just point to someone at random and say, “Hey, there’s the showrunner of LOST” and wave goodbye as he took off after that unsuspecting victim.

Observed at the Sony picket line: Two young writers kept checking their Blackberrys to see if the strike had been settled. While they’re at it, check to see if the Iraq War had been called off.

Overheard by me: A writer calling his agent while on line being told the agent would have to call him back. He was busy. Writer: “Busy? With WHAT?

There was a guy on a skateboard who held a little dog on a platter. After trudging around Fox for a couple of hours I envied that dog.

But I’ll be out there again tomorrow. Hopefully with Beyonce but more likely with Elvis the alligator from MIAMI VICE.


Richard Cooper said...

You writers are being way, way too polite to management in this strike. Go get some burly, unionized longshoremen or coal miners to train you in the black art of labor unrest. Show off your tattoos. Crush beer cans on your foreheads. Throw appropriate and inappropriate catcalls and wolf-whistles at Ellen DeGeneres and Portia Derossi whenever they cross your picket line.

Unfortunately, at four cents per DVD, you can't afford to buy bricks to toss at the boss's limousine as he eats your lunch on the way to the bank. So maybe you can shame the studios into settling by getting Jesse Jackson to lend his gravitas to the fray... oh, that didn't work, did it?

The festive nature of this strike is strictly Rated G, and that's just obscene. Turn up the heat! Burn Michael "This strike is stupid" Eisner in effigy and tip over his golfcart. Paint graffiti on the Paramount gate. Get your kids in front of the cameras to beg for more gruel, sir. Make us want to watch.

And why is the WGA EAST telling Ellen DeGeneres she's not welcome in New York? Doesn't she work in L.A.? The WGA WEST should follow suit and ban that New Yorker Barbara Walters from Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, the apparent sponsor of the strike thus far.

So, writers - take heart in the immortal word of Dan Rather: Courage!!

Anonymous said...

"But if one of them offered me a spec, became too pushy, or had notes of my SIMPSONS parody I would just point to someone at random"

Now that is funny. :-)

Glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humor.

As a way to show my support for the WGA, I too am going to walk around aimlessly for four hours tomorrow. Of course I'll be on a golf course, but in my heart it will be as if I was right there with you on the picket line.

Fore! Uhhh.. I mean Honk!

Anonymous said...

Who is this Ellen Degenerate? Why is she so morally corrupt? People don't call you degenerate without reason...



Rob said...

A writing professor I had used to joke that part of the problem with the Writers Guild was that a bunch of pasty white guys holding pencils doesn't pose much of a threat to management.

Really, this strike is insanely stupid to let continue. Figure out a way to give you guys what you are due, and move on. I'll keep honking for you from here in Kentucky, at least until the guy in front of me pulls out his shotgun from the gunrack of his Ford F250.

Anonymous said...

Will there be prizes for the writer who brings the biggest actor, the prettiest actor... the writer who looks most like his actor?

Did the Style section writer ask who you’re wearing?

During the strike I'm picking up a little extra cash writing for Readers Digest. It's easy, all you have to do is cut an article out of another magazine and send it into them.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Levine - have you seen this video? ( It's pretty devastating to the management.

Josh said...

Favorite sight at Fox: The guy trying to sell Writer's Strike t-shirts to the striking writers. Now that's an entrepreneur.

Warren Fleece said...

If you want to put the fear factor into your picket line, try the Teamsters.

My station was on strike a while back and one memorable afternoon the Teamsters showed up in a mobile strike HQ semi-trailer to lend support.

30 big ass dudes pile out of this massive rig painted with a mural of Joe Pesci driving a chuckwagon pulled by satan's clydesdales.

You could hear the bricks hitting the floor inside the plant. Strike was over a week later.

Teamsters. Scaring the crap out of pencil neck MBAs since Christ was a cowboy.

Anonymous said...

Why do I keep reading here and on other blogs about Fox being picketed, and Murdoch in particular. Is anyone marching in front of any other studios?

By Ken Levine said...

We're striking all over town. I'm assigned to Fox.

Anonymous said...

If writers had been hiring Teamsters, bikers, ex-pro wrestlers and footballers as "fronts" the last few years, this thing would've been settled pretty quick. Imagine Counter and company sitting across the negotiations table from a couple dozen glowering, hulking roughnecks. The WGA would own this town.

Anonymous said...

I think the link pcinme was trying to post was this. And yes, it is devastating to managements' arguments.

for some reason the link url is too long for this site. Just go to and scroll down to:

AMPTP Dedicated To Feeding Delicious Content To Hungry Screens

The video is there.

Anonymous said...

I agree with rac, you all aren't coming done on Ellen DeGeneres hard enough. Why isn't there a good sized picket outside the audience entrance at WB?

No burning, though, remember, we live in drought country here.

A writer calling his agent while on line being told the agent would have to call him back. He was busy. Writer: “Busy? With WHAT?”

I'm dieing to hear what the assistant's response was. Any chance you were privy to that?

Battle On!!

David B.

Anonymous said...

JBryant: Skip the teamsters and just hire the Hell's Angels

Anonymous said...

I'm with RAC here. A G-rated picket line is not a REAL picket line. Punch it up a little. We rolled a fully-built locomotive over at the plant gate at the beginning of the '69 GE strike, just to keep the scabs out. And those that got in were driving yellow polka dot cars at the end of their shifts. And paint-filled light bulbs are more fun than water balloons. Decorated a few houses with those. And the gates without an overturned locomotive were blocked by broken beer and bourbon bottles (our welders sure liked their boilermakers). It was a cold cold winter on those lines. We had to burn not a few cars just to keep warm. Daily media coverage for over 3 months.

Anonymous said...

Totally Off Topic, but Ken has written about this recently...There's a feature in the Honolulu paper today on KHJ legend Ron Jacobs.


Funny, my verification word is nqaeleue, which sounds Hawaiian.

Roger Owen Green said...

When you have a really long URL, put it into,and make it shorter. For instance, I took and turned it into

Anonymous said...

Ellen's probably being boycotted in New York is because she's doing some shows there soon.

Plus, she might be traveling to the East for her travel segment thing.


Unknown said...

I understand why many writers are upset with Ellen. I wonder, though, what the general feel is towards other talk show hosts that may return without writers to prevent the rest of the staff from being laid off right before the holidays? I've read rumors that it may happen (like Carson did).

Anonymous said...

I just read this morning in the paper that Johnny Carson crossed the writers' picket line in 1988 and used non-union writers until the strike was over. It didn't seem to hurt him.