Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spooky Wednesday Next Week at Warner Bros.

The Thursday 9am-12pm picketing shift @ WB has been transmogrified into Teaching Thursdays, where writers from various genres of TV make themselves available for question-answering and general chatting. The events so far have been really fun and successful -- congrats to the organizers, Priya and Jennifer!

Today was sitcoms, last week was medical dramas.

Next week? -- note that it's WEDNESDAY not Thursday due to another WGA event -- spooooky shows, including mine. Come by and say hey! Or boo. Or don't come at all if the strike is over by then. Heh.

Teaching Thursdays at Warner Bros.

Writers of various genres join us each Thursday, making themselves available to discuss story, structure and everything in between to aspiring writers. All you have to do is come out and pick up a sign!

Warning: This Teaching Thursday might scare you to death! It's SPOOKY THURSDAY! Not sure you're witty enough to write Sam and Dean Winchester's dialogue? The writers from "Supernatural" can help! Want to know how to raise the stakes for a Vampire detective? Writers from "Moonlight" know! Worried that your spouse may be a cyborg? The writers from "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" probably won't be able to help (but they will be on hand for your other brilliant questions!). Yes, writers from these shows (plus a few surprise guests!) will be there to answers these questions and more...

The usual disclaimers:

If you're a writer for a genre drama (or have been one) and want to show up, please know:

No one will solicit you to read their brilliant spec script. No one will ask for your phone number or email address. No one will expect anything of you other than your ability to answer some story/structure/dialogue questions.

If you're an aspiring writer who wants to take advantage of getting some truly great advice from the folks who have lived, eaten, breathed it:

Definitely join us -- all you need to do is pick up a sign! What you should not do: solicit the writers to read your brilliant spec script. Do not ask for phone numbers or email addresses. Do expect brilliance, because that's what you'll get!

SPOOKY WEDNES(THURS)DAY: Wednesday February 6th, 9 AM-12 PM, Warner Bros Gate 2. Note, WEDNESDAY!

See you there!

As always, hoping that the writers get a fair deal...

Suggestions, questions and concerns can be directed to Priya at

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yo Quiero Fair Deal

This has got to be the weirdest strike-topical thing I've heard of yet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Strike Notes: Week 12


Tuesday - Everyone was at Paramount today for a MLK Jr. theme event. A miscalculation about traffic got me there late for my shift, but there was a massive turnout including news crews. I definitely wasn't missed. The idea for today's picket was that we march around the entire studio, in homage to the civil rights marches. An interesting idea in theory, but Paramount backs up against a bunch of other businesses so we end up walking past (and therefore appear to picket) a strip mall, a school, a string of car repair shops, and Hollywood Forever cemetery. A new plan emerges for doubling back once we reach non-Paramounty environs.

StrikeSnacks: None beyond the usual WGA-supplied nom noms that I could see.

Pedometer: Left it in the car again! Guessing about 2mi.

Wednesday - Felt under the weather today, so I stayed home.

Thursday - Bleah, feeling better but the cold, rainy weather doesn't help. I'm dressed for it in waterproof jacket and pants, which keep me dry even though I look like Stupid McSqueakypants. Today was the very successful kickoff of a new event at WB organized by gate 2 regulars Priya and Jennifer, called Teaching Thursdays. On the 9am-12pm shift, writers from different genres of shows make themselves available for questions and chatting. Today was medical drama day, featuring writers from GREY'S ANATOMY and ER. Carol Flint came. Very cool.

StrikeSnacks: Pizza, doughnuts from two different bakeries, bucket o' Red Vines. Yowza!

Pedometer: 2.2mi

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I've been catching up on my gaming during the strike, although it's a little tough to do that when you're trying to keep the ol' personal burn rate down.

I did spring for Portal on Steam (not The Orange Box), and add me to the long list of people who think it's fantastic.

It's got an intuitive, elegant game mechanic presented in one of the best learning curves I've seen in a game. Not to mention choice environmental puzzles, pitch-black funny writing, and hardly any friction getting in the way of a satisfying play experience. You can save anywhere, the lethal areas and objects are impossible to miss, and apart from those you're largely indestructible. No fussy hit points to manage or first-aid powerups to hunt down. Just sweet, sweet gaming goodness.

Oh, and as the cherry on the cake, the best. End. Credits. EVAR.

Portal. Buy it. Play it. Then watch this.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Strike Notes: Week 11


Monday - Everyone was directed to Warner Bros. today in solidarity with the employees who'd just been notified of upcoming layoffs. Huge turnout, including Jon Cryer. The WB regulars got a smile out of n00bs to the line who did things like forget to push the button at the crosswalk. Custom picket signs had been created for the day, including ones noting the astronomical salaries of top WB honchos. There were also two big signs: "1000+ FIRED BECAUSE WARNER WON'T DEAL" and "Which group are you in? STRIKING WRITERS = NOT GETTING PAID - STUDIO EMPLOYEES = NOT GETTING PAID - STUDIO CEOS = GETTING PAID."

StrikeSnacks: A SAG member brought around boxes of doughnuts, and there was random stuff like a box of cookies and a lone carton of Ferrero-Rocher candies. Best of all, a coffee truck (read, free lattes etc.) courtesy of Kathy McCormick (CROSSING JORDAN, THE PRACTICE). Thank you, Kathy!

Pedometer: 2.5mi

Tuesday - Quieter today with the WB numbers back to normal. A pleasant sunny day, perfect for picketing 'n' chatting, including congratulating the SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES writers on their debut. Great numbers for a great show, which everyone was glad to see.

StrikeSnacks: Nada. Back to normal WB life. Bye bye coffee truck!

Pedometer: 2.4mi

Wednesday - A spindly Brit bicycled past with a snarled, "Get back to work, you wankers!" Brave words from a guy in yellow spandex. Got introduced to a new game today, one that's actually the same as a Web-based one I produced back at Yahoo. The first person names an actor, then the next person names a movie that actor was in. The next person names another actor who was in that movie, the next person names another actor, and so on until someone gets stuck, and goes out. You can challenge the person before you, so you need to know at least two movies and two actors for everything you say. Fun and challenging. Drew a blank trying to drag Josh Hartnett's name out of my brain. But who hasn't?

StrikeSnacks: Doughnuts from picketer Pam

Pedometer: 2.1mi

Thursday - @ Fox today. I got there at about 7:45am for an 8am shift, and there was no one there. Did I miss the memo? No picketing today? Some rally somewhere? No, just me forgetting that the crack o' dawn shift at Fox had been eliminated, with 8am now being the first of the day. By the time I got the car turned around for a second pass to check, the van was there unloading. Whew! Uneventful picket, listened to music most of the time.

StrikeSnacks: Finally brought something myself, clementines. Also there were little packets of nuts and dried fruit.

Pedometer: 5.2mi. Might start going to Fox a little more often for the workout...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Strike Notes: Week 10


Monday - Good turnout as the WB crew returns after the holidays. No rain, although it threatened. I'm wearing my new red jacket and red scarf. They make me feel cozy and provide some psychic-solidarity protection when one asshat drives past flipping us off with both hands. A golden lab puppy arrives with its new owners for a few turns about the line. So, so cute.

StrikeSnacks: A banner day. Pizza from Fans4Writers! And the Tropical Smoothie Cafe lady was back again! It's like Week 2 all over again!

Pedometer: 2.8mi

Tuesday - Not much to report. Still meeting new people, even folks I've seen around since Week 1. It's never too late to introduce yourself or strike up (har) a new conversation.

StrikeSnacks: Box of Whole Foods muffins brought by, I think, two folks from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Or, as The Boyfriend and I call it, the Bleaf. The box was divided into little compartments, with a muffin in each one. It's like they were in muffin prison.

Pedometer: 2.7mi

Wednesday - Quiet today. Fair bit more anti-us yelling, probably in light of WB's handing out notices of pending layoffs. A fair bit of discussion on For Your Consideration screeners: who'd seen what, who hadn't received what, what people thought of what, which movies we wanted but weren't sent. This is my first year as a full WGA member, and the screener thing is excellent. Like Christmas all over again.

StrikeSnacks: A box of Drake's Devil Dogs, of unknown origin.

Pedometer: Left it in the car. Felt like a normal/light day, guessing 2.5mi.

Thursday - @ Fox today. Really strong showing! It turns out that's normal here, about 50-100 picketers the whole time I was there. Cold today, I'm wearing like 5 layers. More positive response from drivers passing by than at WB this week. Had fun with post-holiday catching up with peeps from my show and other friends. Did some walking with the iPod. Pretty high-powered picket line they have there @ Fox. Spotted Paul Haggis, for one. I wish I knew what more writers looked like.

StrikeSnacks: Bagels, clementines, and a big cake from MOONLIGHT fans, congratulating us on the PCA win. Thanks, Moonlighters! They ordered pizza too, but I clocked out before it arrived.

Pedometer: 5.7mi. You do get a workout at Fox!

WGA Strike FAQ

From the HuffPo, as concise, on point, and funny a treatment of the issues at hand as you're likely to see.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

And Then the Cat Scratched Her

Murder unscripted, featuring... a homicidal killer! Gasp!

The People Chose!

MOONLIGHT won the People's Choice Award for Best New Drama last night!

Thanks to everyone who voted, especially the army of Moonlighters out there. This award is all due to you fans; we truly appreciate the support.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Une Opening Weekend en Enfer

Teh awesomez.

Makes me wonder what Shepard Fairey, Banksy, et al think about their style being appropriate by marketing flacks.

THE WIRE Returns Sunday

Get that season pass now!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Strike Notes: Week 9


Not much to report here personally for this week. There was picketing at NBC as Jay Leno went back on the air, and some non-picketing informational actions, but me? I spent the remainder of the holidays recovering from a nasty cold. Happy New Year! Let's make a deal folks, and all get back to work.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Strike Notes: Week 8


Hope everyone is having as merry and peaceful a holiday as can be. For me, Christmas is about the people you spend it with and who you're thinking about even if they're far away, not about what's under the tree.

That being said, Santa brought me a soft red scarf, a water-resistant red jacket, and fleece-lined red Crocs to keep me cozy on the line as we head into the New Year.

Santa may look like management, but he's labor through and through.

Strike Notes: Week 7


Monday - Light turnout at WB as we wind down for the holidays. Today included a "Studio-a-Thon," where a moving throng of picketers visited all the Burbank studios: NBC, Disney, WB, Universal. I thought about going but figured regular turnout at the gate would be a little sparse and needing warm bodies, which it was and did. Sounds like the hike was fun, though.

StrikeSnacks: The Tropical Smoothie Cafe lady was back! Also, more raisins from Preferred Artists. Or perhaps they were the same ones from before.

Pedometer: 3.2mi

This evening was WGA meeting for the whole membership, the last before the holidays. Again, a good thing for the leadership to do, providing a forum for updates and Q&A. They answered every single question anyone had, and a goodly number of members stayed to the bitter end. Apart from the obvious, the AMPTP having walked away from the table, it wasn't so bitter-- a lot of positive initiatives are underway.

StrikeSnacks: Coffee, cider, tea, cookies and other treats

Tuesday - Today I went on my first location picket, outside the shoot of a Vince Vaugh/Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy in a Venice store. Lots of chanting, including custom ones ("Hey Vince! This is your fight too!" and "If you loop it, it looks stupid!"). We get two lines going, one in front of the store and one behind, and rally a lot of honks of support. We stay there a good three hours, even when it starts to rain. We thank the crew and other unions, and yell a parting "See you tomorrow!"

StrikeSnacks: None, but apparently Stroh's was offering free eats to picketers. Go Stroh's!

Pedometer: Unknown. I left it in the car. Would guess about 2.5mi

...and that's it for the holidays.

Strike Notes: Week 6


Monday -Tried the 2pm-5pm shift for a change. Brr, cold! Miscalculated on layers. Saw a bunch of new faces on this shift, as well as familiar ones from my class of the Warner Bros. TV Writers Workshop. We end the day heading back to gates 2/3 for a good showing behind the Channel 4 newsguy.

StrikeSnacks: Smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe. A little too cold today to fully appreciate them, but they were tasty! Doughnuts, box of trail mix bars

Pedometer: 3.4mi

Tuesday - Back to my usual WB shift of 8-11am. I believe today was Bring an Actor to Picket Day, although the SAG support has been so terrific that pretty much every day counts in that regard. However, the sightings today were choice, including Garret Dillahunt (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, DEADWOOD, JOHN FROM CINCINNATI) and swoonworthy Peter Krause (DIRTY SEXY MONEY, SIX FEET UNDER). Keen-eyed Kay also spotted Victor Garber stopped at the light, and we got him to smile and honk. It was teh awesomez. Jack Bristow gave us honks of support from his Prius! Guest picketers also included the Pink Hat Brigade, women sci fi writers who've been visiting different picket lines each week.

StrikeSnacks: Nothing beyond the usual WGA-supplied noshes.

Pedometer: 2.7mi

Wednesday - @ Fox today, ready for the 8am-cold-to-11am-sun with multiple layers. Started off at the Truck gate and met some great people courtesy of my friend Karine including showrunners Barbara Hall and Anne Kenney. There was a fender bender between one honking-in-support car and another-- did we cause that? Oops. Moved with a small contingent to the Galaxy gate, which was unstaffed. Finished my tour with the big line at the main gate, where I saw Matt Groening again. Also, saw Joss Whedon in the parking lot, on his way in for the 11am shift. Squee!

StrikeSnacks: Nothing beyond the usual here either. Welcome to Week 6 of the strike, folks.

Pedometer: 4.9mi

Thursday - Jeebus, it's been chilly. It's all about the LAYERS, people! Tried out a new parking spot courtesy of friend and WBTV Writers Workshop classmate Jim, another magic spot where you don't have to move every two hours but a mere block from the main gate. It's so sweet (and the spots so limited) that I'm undecided on whether to tell anyone else about it. Picketed and chatted awhile with some awesome MOONLIGHT fans. We also had another visit from a NegComm member, who gave updates and answered questions. This kind of info-sharing and support from the leadership has been very welcome; it's so important to keep this communication going.

StrikeSnacks: Bagels and cream cheese from aforementioned Moonlighters!

Pedometer: 2.0mi

Friday - No official picketing today, but I do drive to Burbank for a location picket, only to get an email and voicemail that it was cancelled at the last minute (thanks, BooM, sorry I was surly!). Will try again at the next opportunity...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hope y'all had a great holiday. I'm WAY behind on strike notes, and hope to get to those tomorrow.

In the meantime, a couple of lolcat wishes for 2008: