my best birthday present
Well my best birthday present —
Besides the gold, diamonds, and large quantities of cash —
The strike is over.
Every writer in town has been unable to accept writing work since November 5, 2007. And that goes on down the line, if the writers are not working, no one else works either. So there are a lot of people who have been out of work, or who work at or run or own businesses dependent on the motion picture and television industries that have been out of work or hurting. It will probably be a long time before things are anything approaching normal in Hollywood.
Though normal is maybe not something we should wish to return to.
Normal was not a good situation. “Normal” meant a few corporate personalities could reduce writers to a slave labor force, forced to take less and less each year, cut after cut in benefits and pay, and be glad to get it. That “normal” was not working. That “normal” was wrong.
And we will hopefully never return to that “normal” again.
SAG negotiations are on the horizon too. [That is the actors guild.] Their contract comes due in June. SAG supported the writer’s union so hard and strong during this strike. So did the Teamsters. So did unions across the country. Across the world. If the AMPTP tries to dick SAG around, there will be another fight.
I hope the AMPTP is not that stupid. I hope they lick their wounds from this fight, play their proud press spins, and smarten up and are nicer with the actors than they were with the writers. It would be a bad idea to force another fight.
[Also I am so glad in retrospect when I returned to Los Angeles and things were crazy with grocery store and transportation strikes I never crossed a picket line or entered a union business being struck against — at the time, I knew what those strikes meant on an intellectual level, I now know what they mean on a personal level.]
A lot of people deserve credit for bringing in a fair contract for writers and bringing this strike to a close: Patric M. Verrone, President WGAw; Michael Winslip, President WGAe; David Young, WGAw Executive Director & Chief Negotiator; John Bowman, WGA Negotiating Committee Chair and every member on the WGA Negotiating Committee who held steady in spite of attacks, slurs, retaliation and accusations of child pornography.
[Wow they do not even get that ugly in presidential debates.]
[On to more people to thank.]
Nikki Finke who has provided updates and information throughout the duration of the strike in spite of being in bed with pneumonia — and who is probably the only accurate reliable source of information available at any time throughout the strike besides the unions themselves.
[Los Angeles Times, blow me.]
Members of United Hollywood who kept providing not only information, but humor and solidarity. Guilds in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and the world who stood up in support of U.S. writers. Every writer who manned a picket line. Every writer who wrote disseminating information that made the situation clearer and more discernible to people outside the industry. Every writer who held steady in spite of continuous rumors and attacks devised to split the membership.
Every driver who turned around and refused to cross a picket line. Every union member across the country who supported fellow union members.
David Letterman and Tom Cruise, the first motion picture entities to say “enough is enough” and turn their backs on the AMPTP and sign fair contracts with writers, the Weinsteins who were right behind them, and the many more company leaders who followed suit saying “We are here to make movies and television shows, not to inflate your already over-inflated personal and million dollar “smash the writer” bonuses — our writers deserve fair pay.”
Every actor and actress who refused to cross the line to pick up an award no matter how impressive the honor or the award.
So many many people.
Probably I am forgetting someone. I am a writer not a producer, we make mistakes when the awards come due, we get nervous. If I have forgotten to mention you I apologize. The WGA is only 12,000 bodies strong. But the solidarity of people backing writers during this fight for a fair contract made writers number many many more bodies than just 12,000 — and allowed us to bring home the first fair contract for writers since 1988.
Thank you to every person who supported writers. You know who you are. You make me proud. You are my best birthday present.
*i did forget someone, all the businesses that made discounts available to guild members during the strike to help out, thank you
*also my friend dog who brought me strike soup thank you dog