Friday, December 28, 2007

AMPTP said the WGA in general and Patric Verrone specifically were behind the death of Bhutto. The WGA says it has documents proving the AMPTP helped former Illinois policeman Drew Peterson kill his wife and Nick Counter purchased a large blue container for her body and helped Peterson dispose of her. In addition, the guild says it has photographic evidence of Counter unlocking a door on the tiger exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo. None of this bodes well for a quick resolution.
David Letterman's company struck a deal his show is going back on the air with guild writers. That's great. Craig Ferguson's show is too.
A friend's son asked me how what the late show guys and Comedy Central guys are doing is different from what Ellen DeGeneres did. Kids...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I picketed today. Almost no one was there. Have we lost our resolve?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The lines were thinner at Warner Bros. last week. It's understandable given the holidays coming up and the fact that picketing is incredibly boring. It's just that it was starting to look less like picketing and more like loitering.
The producers are making a mistake to try to bad mouth union leadership or in any way divide members. Sure, we hate ourselves. And we hate most other writers. But we hate them much more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tenacious D (Jack Black and that other guy) play two or maybe three songs; it's hard to tell because the sound system was awful. However, I could make out Black singing the words "fuck," "Internet" and "pie." I'm guessing it had something to do with the strike--or maybe his plans for the rest of the day.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Real headline from Deadline Hollywood: "Carson Daly Almost Ran Me Over at NBC"--followed by: "Ellen Cries on TV as Authorities Take Away Two Writers Going Throuh Her Garbage," and "Barbara Walters Stabs, Fillets WGA Picketer as Joy Behar Looks on in Horror"
If successful, the guild promises special picketing locations for writers who are reasonably happily married but wouldn't mind a little action on the side, and women looking to commit emotional adultery.
An e-mail announces there will be a mixer of sorts for singles picketing, to be held at Paramount's Bronson gate, providing the stiffest competition yet for J-Date.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Caps on the picket line: Two New York Mets, one each of the following: "Without a Trace," "Cold Case," Superman (Smallville?), Cincinnati Reds, New Jersey Devils, some kind of weird looking dragon and Rubios, home of the fish taco.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Carson Daly is asking family and friends to send in material (he's assuming, I guess, that he must at least be related to or know someone funny)--and, to be honest, especially during the holiday season, is there anything sweeter than a son asking his mom to be a scab? Who knew that the one with morals and convictions in his most famous relationship would be Tara Reid?
Carson Daly announces he's going to cross the picket line. If I knew anyone who watched Daly's show, I'd ask him or her to boycott it.
I got one of those cool Soviet-era looking T-shirts with a clenched fist holding a pen. I probably could have taken two, along with a SAG shirt, but that didn't seem right.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I got a parking ticket near gate six at Warner Bros., and I think I'm developing bursitis in my hip.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

After seeing at least half a dozen writer-produced videos on YouTube, I've come to the conclusion that not all of them are in our best interests.
It's the night before the talks between the guild and producers resume. If all goes well tomorrow, I can take advantage of Black Friday sales that extend through Monday.
BANK OF AFRICA (BoA) (Downey Branch)

Dear respectful friend

I trust and hope with prayer that you are in good health as that is the important.

I am Sameul Isa and I write to you with tears in eyes and great honor as it is my privilege to respect you. I am the auditing manager of Bank of Africa (BofA). During auditing of bank I come across money of a deceased person who is dead and writer of situational comedies on television, who died tripping on ottoman ( His estate is enrichened by large residual check of 13 million lira (U.S.$7 dollar). His estate also receive additional more money of 8 million lira (U.S. $4.26 dollar) for DVD sale, and O lira for show on internet because all know that is for purpose of promotional only.

In due course of time I should immediately enlist your grateful help to put claims, since all of next of kin are deceased or at least not returning calls. I have set up an account in Downey in hopes of speeding up claim that is guaranteed by law to be yours as soon as you send grateful check and a baseball cap, preferably of popular show and not too gay like, say, “Ugly Betty.” In return, as bank laws insist, upon receivable of certified check for $15,000 and cap (“Cold Case” would be great, by the way), I will transfer money from residual account to you for us to divide according to law, with ten percent put aside for really cool set of Bose headphones.

This transaction is morever risk free, at least for me, and to prove so with great delight and privilege, out of a sign of respect, I am honored to demand you please forward to me original Social Security card (no copies, please!). Drivers license would be nice too. Please do so to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged. Upon receiving your check and cap, I will honor you with visit to country and home or at the very least go to Pinkberry. Irregardless, trust that I will not fail to bring notice of this transaction immediately so you should not entertain thought of fear. I await with delirium your response below.

Thank you. I hope you are blessed and not too bright. Good luck with the strike.

Yours faithfully,
Samuel Isa

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I may miss today's big strike rally; the babysitter called last night and canceled because she has an audition.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Writers discuss sports, reasons why producers suck, reasons why picketing sucks, rally, Thanksgiving plans and the veracity of Nikki Finke, columnist and bass player for Motley Crue.
News of talks between writers guild and producers next Monday spreads like a California wild fire. I purchase a Hitachi-Ultravision Director's Series 60" 1080p Flat-Panel Plasma HDTV; down payment on H3 will have to wait until outcome of meeting is known.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I drove right past Whole Foods and went to Ralphs again. I remain strong.
A group at Warner Bros. is singing, "We're not gonna take it." After much discussion, another striker and I decide it's a "Quiet Riot" song. I find out later it's "Twisted Sister." I should have checked my PDA when on line, but it seemed wrong.
Got into first ever discussion about comfortable shoes (Mephisto) and where to buy them ( Hoping the strike ends before I begin exchanging ideas about hair care products.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

First sign of hostility toward the rank and file: Near Warner Bros. gate four, a banged up late `90s Honda Civic slows and the man inside (Les Moonves? Barry Myer? Rupert Murdoch?) gives us the finger. Including the guy in the Ralph's parking lot Sunday (not strike-related), that makes twice in less than a week.
Day seven, Burbank. There is NO WAY this is good for my skin.
*Reminiscent of the offer of free "mani/pedis" given to the rank and file during the Augusta Textile Strike of 1866 and aroma therapy for union members in the Great Railroad Strike of 1922.
Taking a cue from stores that allowed union members to sleep in their doorway during the bitter Bituminous Coal Miners' Strike of 1894, a Silverlake yoga shop is offering WGA members 20% off normal fees for the duration of the strike.* We remain united--and limber.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I picketed with two screeen writers and they asked me about a late night talk show host I had worked for (hint: male, over 40, white). I told them he was a Mets fan, which they felt was great gossip because they thought I said "meth." I probably should have corrected them.
The group representing the producers and studios, the AMPTP, places newspaper ads stating, "Since the early 1900s, back before the television was even invented, TV has been a money losing proposition for studios and producers. In fact, in the more than 70 years that its been a commercial entity, the only ones to make a dime off of television have been the writers." (I'm paraphrasing.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The WGA sends an e-mail announcing tomorrow is "bring your children to strike" day. It's a tough sell to my five year old, even though I've told her there's an off chance she could meet a staff writer on "Carpoolers."
Maybe slogans aren't my strength.
All we want is our share of the money!/It's not our fault if it's not funny!
What do we want?/More Twizzlers!/When do we want them?/Now!
My strike captain sends an e-mail requesting, among other things, slogans. I'm up for it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

With the prospects for an early settlement to the strike dimming rapidly I decide this may be a good time to experiment with facial hair.

Friday, November 9, 2007

An e-mail from the WGA relays that a talent agency has picked up the lunch tab for show runners at the Smokehouse in Burbank, relieving the rank and file from worry about how the show runners were getting by.
I meet a very nice older writer (maybe even 50!); we have a pleasant discussion but I don’t want to stand too close to him and lead people to think I’m old too.
A former writers’ assistant on Ellen DeGeneres second sitcom blogs that the comedienne and actress isn’t always as nice as she appears to be when she’s in front of cameras, causing the entire Hollywood community to reassess its values.
Ellen DeGeneres crossed the picket line, earning the wrath or writers. Ex-pet Iggy stays put, doesn’t cross the line, earning, I hope, a treat from owner.
A guy wearing a cowboy hat introduces himself as we picket. He asks if I know who Michael Savage is because everything he says has come true. I say I like Savage and think he’s really funny. Then I realize I have confused gay-hating right winger Michael Savage with gay advice columnist Dan Savage.
About an hour into picketing, a WGA worker approaches the group and hands out a sheet of chants, telling us we should be more vocal. Three of us look at the chants and decide against doing them, believing that picketing is awkward enough.
I curse myself for driving around for half an hour to find a place to park close to the sign in-table. It costs me a red WGA T-shirt.
A writer mentions Fey’s pictures in the Times, and tells me that his show “kicks her [show’s] ass!”
I see three pictures of Tina Fey protesting in The New York Times. She’s got some serious heat on her. Plus, she’s cute.
At 12:01 Monday morning/Sunday night, it’s a done deal.
I tell my wife a writers’ strike is not a done deal.
I get home and see AP is reporting there’s a writers’ strike and three or four writers are quoted.
We leave united! Oh, no. I see another person I can't stand.
The guild leaders come across as a sane, rational group who acquit themselves well by being articulate and forgoing baseball caps. We are told to avoid the media and that there is no strike at this point. An announcement will be made tomorrow.
A crazy British guy says something about the strike turning “neighbor against neighbor.” This does not resonate with me because I already hate my neighbor for putting up a basketball court that’s practically in my backyard.
Someone in the meeting invokes the name of Dalton Tumbo (creator of “Rhoda” and “Bosom Buddies”), saying that Trumbo was jailed for his support of the WGA. I’m pretty sure it was for Tumbo’s refusal to testify before HUAC. Still, I’m moved to tears.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I see a sign for Writers Guild members and a sign for Writers Guild members, VIP only. Samuel Gompers would be proud.
I see two writers I can't stand. Both come up to me.
Over the course of the next half hour I see about a dozen or so people I worked with and was friendly with. I consider going up to them and saying hi but think better of it.
A short guy with a beard approaches me awkwardly. Best case scenarios: He thinks I'm gay and hits on me or asks me to come to a meeting to hear about the unlimited possibilities as an Amway distributor. Worst case scenario: He asks me to be a strike captain. He asks me to be a strike captain.
There is a large sign-in area; it's a mostly male crowd that breaks up into smaller groups. It begins to look like a 40 something version of a middle school dance.
Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007. I got to the L.A. Convention Center before 7:00, the first time I had been downtown since I couldn't get out of jury duty two years ago. The parking lot was clean, well-lit and full of BMWs, Mercedes and various SUVs, unlike the parking area for jury duty. I stood in the back and watched as hundreds of fellow writers came up the escalators and stairs. For the most part, we are not an attractive group of people.