Sunday, February 10, 2008

What I'll miss when the strike is over

Marching in the wind at 20th and being sprayed by the fountain along Pico for three hours a day.

Incessant honking. It was like driving in Mexico City.

That guy at 20th getting the cars to honk. I saw him at the Shrine and was surprised. I didn’t realize he was a writer. I just thought this was his job and that if Ralph’s markets go on strike he’ll be standing on Ventura Blvd. trying to get you to honk for that.

Reading Nikki Finke’s blog. Sure I could still read it, but now it’ll just be show biz news – Who got fired at New Line? Which agent is switching tenpercenteries? Who the fuck cares?

Those inspired videos from the LATE NIGHT writers. Why can’t LATE NIGHT be as funny?

Hanging out on line with my good buddy Elvis Costello. It was one of the greatest minutes of my life.

Getting into a fender bender with another writer. Exchanging insurance information and credits.

The actors’ support and show of solidarity, which is the only way any of us will ever get anything from these mega conglomerates.

Those idiots with the bullhorns trying to lead us in chants. They’d start out so enthusiastic. Then, after ten minutes of blank stares they’d say “fuck it” and go back to the car.

Being interviewed by the BBC. Disappointed that it was about the strike and not my views on the monarchy but still.

Seeing my neighbor for the first time in years. She had a pool put in? Really? Where was I?

Being asked by every person not in the business: “When is the strike going to end?” As if I knew.

I kept saying January. I was only off by a month (assuming we ratify the deal. If not, I was off by six months.).

Emailing members of the negotiating committee for updates and having them always promptly respond. Even if the news wasn’t good.

The plunge in TV ratings. AMERICAN GLADIATORS was not enough to save the entire industry.

Marching one day with each of my kids. Who needs to play catch with your son or treat your daughter to a Broadway show when you can stick picket signs in their hands and make them walk in circles with you for four hours?

Hosting a weekly radio show on KABC and knowing I was the highest paid writer in America.

Peeing at the Rancho Park clubhouse.

Free Alicia Keyes concerts.

Seeing people I hadn’t seen since the last strike. And aging better than at least two of them!

Having something to write about in my blog.

Members of the old guard. For four months these veterans of the industry --writers of many of your all-time favorite TV shows and movies and now unemployable – had a purpose. For four months they were just as important as Judd Apatow and Carlton Cuse. They marched in the rain and cold (and in New York – the snow) for benefits they’ll never see. I wish among all the standing ovations Saturday night at the Shrine there was one for these talented men and women to whom we owe so much.

It was fun to hear them tell stories. It was sort of like Radford Danny Rose.

Shutting down the Golden Globes.

And finally...

Marching with Richie, Katherine, Allan, Howard, Bob, Bobby, the Northwestern mafia, the staff of EARL, Andrea, Charlotte, the guys from FRASIER, Tom, Treva, David, David, David, David, David, and of course, Dave.


Luzid said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah! Any leftover sandwiches? ;)

Bitter Animator said...

So it really is over? Wow. That's great.

Roy Scheider died. That sucks.

By the way, I asked before so apologies if you read it but in case you missed it - would you be able to go into what your role as creative consultant was in Frasier?

Anonymous said...

Conan O'brien actually being funny again is on that list for me.

Jake Hollywood said...

Hell, Ken, it was a pleasure marching with you, too, even if you didn't know who the fuck I was and could've cared less.

But I knew your name and credits, that was special--it's not often you get to meet one of the legends of the industry.

Richard Cooper said...

You left out a David--and the most important one, too.

By Ken Levine said...

bitter animator,

I will do a whole post on what is a creative consultant, maybe even as early as tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Bitter Animator said...

Thanks Mr.L! Looking forward to it.

blogward said...

...and the monarchy before too long, please Ken!

Anonymous said...

"...for benefits they’ll never see."

Poignant. Those folks are golden.

Jake Hollywood said...

We got played. read today's LA Times business section carefully and you'll soon see that we settled for less than we could've gained.

Anonymous said...

I'll miss the $140,000 the strike cost me in weekly salary.
But I'm sure those internet downloads will more than make up for it.

Martin_B said...

Did you reflect contemporary political campaigns in your scripts? The following quote is from a letter to the NY Times:

"I am completely baffled by the rise of ****. It reminds me of an episode of Cheers, when a politician walked into Cheers spewing the same kind of **** platitudes much to the annoyance of Frasier. Frasier then to prove his point decided to run Woody against the politician. Woody who was not the brightest guy in the bar to the horror of Frasier won."

Anonymous said...

Can't your leadership committee at least get a Congressional Medal of Freedom for shutting down the Golden Globe Awards?

Anonymous said...

Ken, who are all these Daves you know?

Tallulah Morehead said...

"You left out a David--and the most important one, too."

Yes, and I could tell that the "David" you left out was David Isaacs too. For shame! And, almost as bad, David Lee mistakenly thought he was the David you omitted.

Well, leave him out and put in a windshield wiper instead. They won't all read the blog anyway.

I'm just chagrinned to realize that you are NOT the Ken Levine who wrote and directed the Australian movie BIOSHOCK! Oh my God. I've been reading the wrong blog for the last two years.


Anonymous said...

Shhhh, you'll jinx it!

Anonymous said...

Ken -
I was wondering if you could clarify what you meant about veteran writers being "unemployable?" Did you mean that they're seen as too old/out of touch, or something else?

Whatever it meant, that's pretty sad. Thanks in advance for your response.

By Ken Levine said...


I meant that since these talented experienced writers are not still being carded they're considered too old.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you have guys who know what they're doing from years of doing it competing with guys who are - let's say still learning what they're doing - it's unfair to the guys who don't yet know what they're doing, so the only fair thing to do is never to hire anyone qualified. It's the anti-meritocracy.

It's not as though old farts like Larry Gelbart or Carl Reiner are still funny. Could they have ever come up with YES DEAR or THE NANNY? I think not.

Anonymous said...

This is what I enjoy the most..the comments of man who even in the middle of the most demanding, contentious, at times utterly unpleasant situation, refuses to surrender his sense of humor.

Jack Ruttan said...

Carded? What's that? You mean they take away your union card?

(I was going to ask that other stupid question, but jen beat me to it.)

Anonymous said...

Ummm excuse me? I think you left someone off that list of people you'll miss striking with...

Anonymous said...

You know, I was asking a genuine question, but I guess I'm obviously missing something based on the sarcastic comments that followed.

Guess I'll go back to just reading the blog, and I'll keep my questions to myself.

By Ken Levine said...

Hey Jen,

I think the commenters were taking shots at my serious answer to your good question.