Monday, November 12, 2007

All solidaritized and nowhere to go

A few of you have noticed my red t-shirt.

I live just outside of Orlando, Florida, far from the studios and the chanting picketers. Far from the anger and the energy and the unity of the strike.

Since January of this year, I’ve been a full-time screenwriter. I spent a couple weeks on the set of my movie, AMERICAN SUMMER, but aside from that, I spend my days at home, writing. My time has been focused (when my time has been focused) on a spec called THE MIDDLE AGES, that’s made a fan of a producer (who has, likewise, made a fan of me).

If you’ve been following along at home, you know I recently had to file suit against the producers of my movie and that one of them, Seven Arts, then turned around and filed suit against my reps and me to the tune of ten meeellion dollars. (If you’re curious about my thoughts on that, see my post of October 29th.)

The bullshit leading up to my lawsuit occupied a lot of headspace since I got home from set and, as a result, this draft of THE MIDDLE AGES is taking longer than it should’ve to finish. In an example of übershitty timing, the script is now, finally, approaching great. Just in time for my way-cool manager to send it nowhere.

And that fucking sucks, but I’ll live. My hubby and daughters and I will continue to make ends meet until the strike ends and the market is ready for new specs.

Thing is, I’m acutely aware of all the people out of work due to the strike, people whose lives – unlike mine – are very different today than they were just a couple weeks ago: writers losing hard-earned feature deals or staff jobs; teamsters honoring our picket lines; television and film crews whose sets are now dark; showrunners abandoning baby shows before they’ve even had a chance to grow legs. Lots of out-of-work parents looking ahead to lean Hanukkahs and Christmases this year.

I ache knowing that the sacrifices these thousands of people are making will ultimately benefit me. Not just me, of course, but you get me, right?

I spent most of last week jumping around the internet (yeah, that new-fangled thing) soaking up every strike-related word, picture and video I could find. I joined every strike-oriented group I stumbled across and emailed articles and videos to everyone in my address book who isn’t already reading every frigging blog in the scribosphere.

But that’s all nothing. I want to DO something. I’m not DOING anything.

I’ve only just barely qualified for membership to the WGA, but my legal battle is kinda like a microcosm of the WGA / AMPTP war. Every picture or video I see of the picketers feels like they’re marching for me. But I’m doing nothing for them and that kills me.

That being the case, one day last week, here in my little Florida town, I decided to wear my red shirt, even if no one I saw knew what it meant. And I figured, long as I had the red shirt on, I might as well take a picture and use it online where the people hang out who do know why I’m wearing it. Then I added the text about supporting the WGA, ‘cause I know how forgetful people can be sometimes about stuff like that…

So, if you came for the shirt, that’s cool, but don’t forget the message, okay? ‘Cause we “schmucks with Underwoods” work hard and deserve to be paid fairly for that work. And we're done getting jerked around by assholes with God complexes.


Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

The whole thing sucks, and the thing is, in the end, is being out of work and having your family suffer worth the fight?

Um, no.

I honestly don't think it should have come to this. It's really dumb, for lack of a better term.

If the strike lasts a month and then everything gets back to normal, and the writers can support their familes again, then it was worth it, 1000%. If this thing last MONTHS? Then it's not worth it. It just isn't.

I mean, I KNOW screenwriters deserve more of a piece of the pie, it's only fair obviously, but if that means their families will suffer, then fuck the strike.

Family has to come first. Screenwriting pride, etc, is bullshit. My wife would kick my ass if I put my writing before family, and I'd kick my own ass, too.

Do screenwriters deserve more? Yes! OF COURSE!!! Is it worth it?

Hells, no.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Count me Insip(red) said...

It's not the shirt, it's what's inside that counts... ;-)

8:50 PM  
Blogger RAC said...

You had me at "red t-shirt."

In the immortal word of Dan Rather: Courage!!

11:38 PM  
Blogger Rhys said...

I get the frustration. I hate not being able to do anything. And I'm stuck in FL too. Weird!

It's especially frustrating when you aren't even in the group yet.

I hope everything works out great with your screenplay, congratulations!

Do you think you'll move out to L.A. eventually?

2:05 PM  
Blogger Rhys said...

Just a quick interruption to let you know you've been tagged with Inspiration Meme #2: Trailer Trash. Have fun! Details here:

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parens never looked so... round.


4:48 PM  
Blogger PJ McIlvaine said...

My t-shirt is bigger than yours!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Annabel said...

Did you see this?

You could be a one woman picket line! :)

7:55 PM  

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