Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Writers Guild Strike: Take One

Our shows get harshy reviewed, our contracts may not get renewed, and now striking TV and motion picture writers are being attacked for the lame slogans being heard on the picket line.

“What do we want?”

“Contract!”

“When do we want it?”

“Now!”

It’s true the slogans aren't inspired, but the words for “Network” and “Chinatown” didn’t spill onto the page ready to be shot. The slogans should be seen as evidence that writing is not easy; it's all in the rewriting. This early stage of picketing is the equivalent of a first draft.

It was difficult for the writers to move in the narrow, enclosed bike lane near Rockefeller Center, far too small for the group in black, WGA-East shirts, not chic enough to wear to the New York Sports Club, let alone lunch at Michael’s Restaurant. We were as spirited, committed and collegial as any out-of-work group identified by the rubber rat, the mascot of a New York union strike.

Rumor is the networks are grateful for the strike as it frees them from continuing with lackluster programs. This suggests the guild will have no bargaining power unil business falls off at Michael’s and network executives are being served day-old crab cakes and wilted mesclun.

A IATSE member showing support at the picket line predicted, with lament, that a long strike will revise television, resulting in scripted shows being replaced by yet more reality shows so we writers might be voting ourselves off the island.

In response to the negative comments, I've come up with a few picket line slogans:

We can’t write
For Jay’s “Tonight”

Dave's top ten list
Does not exist

It's now dawk
At "30 Rock"

You’ll despair
Without Colbert

We earn less
Than Les Moonves

Feel free to submit your own ideas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course the slogans are less than catchy--the writers are on strike!

Here's a suggestion, recognizing that "strike-outs" are a primary tool in script editing: Lousy contract? STRIKE IT OUT!

In a pinch, you could recycle that old chestnut: Whadda ya do when your nose is on strike? -- Picket! [Ouch]

Hang in there! Love your blog, Sybil.

YNF