Friday, November 16, 2007

On the Picket Line With the Writers Guild

Friday morning in the 2nd week of the Writers Guild strike against the multi-media corporations I joined them to picket at the Bronson Gate of Paramount. To me the strike is very simple. The huge multi-media corporations are putting TV shows online and making money from this but not giving the writers any money at all as if writers should work for free. In an online video "Sara Silverman Strikes" she said if the producers give the writers money for TV shows repeated online the multi-media corporations still will be fabulously wealthy. All the writers want is to be paid for their work.

Many years ago I was interviewing novelists in Los Angeles, and I interviewed novelist -screenwriter Daniel Fuchs who wrote the wonderful novel triology of novels about poor Jews during the Depression in the Williamsburg neighbrohood of Brooklyn and was also a Hollywood screenwriter for decades starting in the mid-1930s. Fuchs told me that in the late 1930s he wrote a screenplay but the producer took Fuchs name off it and put his family member's name on it; the screenplay won the academy award. Fuchs said the screenwriters were trying to organize a union but it was too weak to protect the writers making sure they got credit for their work.

Later in the early 1950s Fuchs wrote the screenplay for Love Me or Leave, a big Hollywood film starring Doris Day. He said the Writers Guild was much stronger then and protected writers, making sure they got credits for their work. His screenplay for Love Me or Leave Me did win the academy award, so finally he got the award that his brilliant writing deserved. So Fuchs taught me how necessary the Writers Guild is for the protection of writers. Every artists and writer should, I think, walk the picket line with the Writers Guild.

I had been watching youtube videos made by the striking screenwriters all week, and for some good videos see

http://www.youtube.com/user/wgaamerica

I live six blocks from Paramount, so I walked over down Melrose to the Bronson Gate where about eight writers were picketing, said, "I'm a writer who lives in the neighborhood, and I've come to support you. "They said, "Get a picket sign at the Windsor Gate," so I walked 1/2 block more to the Windsor Gate where 30 pickets were, got my sign, and walked back to the Bronson Gate. So round and round we went. Lots of cars honked in support. Workers on a waste disposal truck honked in support. Some cars crossed are picket line driving onto the studio.

The screenwriters said they had pickets there from 6:00 am to 10:00 and from 10:00 - 2:00, will be picketing Monday and will have a march/rally on Tuesday on Hollywood Boulevard. My small platoon was high spirited and had shakers and clappers to make noise as we picketed. Sometimes the writers danced, sometimes made jokes, or discussed restaurants in the neighborhood. I said the general public is supporting the writers, not the producers, and one writer agreed, but said the producers haven't made any new offers by the second week of the strike. Somebody brought donuts for our group. All in all it was fun, and I'm going to join them again next Monday on the picket line.

1 comment:

Anne Bradshaw said...

I'm also a writer and have to admit it does get tedious being at the bottom of the pile when it comes to payment. Book royalties are such a tiny percent of the whole, and too many others take too many slices. People seem to forget that without us, there'd be no books, magazines, movies, and videos.