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Monday, November 5, 2007

You Say You Want a Revolution...

By Margaux Froley Outhred

Well, Rouge Wavers, the revolution has arrived. And today, it arrived at the corner of my street. Yes, the WGA writers are striking as I type this. And at the end of my block a bevy of red-shirted soldiers are striking in front of Paramount studios. Right now I can hear car horns blaring as they drive past and a megaphone voice is shouting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, where did our residuals go?” News vans have taken up precious parking spaces on my street. I’ve offered up my bathroom to nearby strikers who can’t hold it for their entire four-hour picket shift. It’s Strikeland USA, folks.

I was nervous about reporting to work at a studio lot this morning, so I choose to spend the day working from home. But with these sights and sounds nearby I took it one step further. I joined the picketing writers and walked the line this afternoon with them.

I’m not a member of the Writers Guild of America, yet, but I hope to be one day sooner than later. History is happening right now and I can’t just be comfortable watching it from my front steps. What these writers are fighting for are contract issues that will affect me one day. I don’t just hope the writers get their New Media residuals….I need them to. I hope to write for a TV show someday (hopefully in the coming season), and when my network replays an episode that I wrote on the Internet for “promotional” purposes, yet they still profit from running commercials during online replays….I expect to see a payment from that. And when DVDs are gone the way of the VHS tape and movies are directly ordered to my television set (which is happening sooner than you think, people), my friends who write those movies should be paid for that.

It was a thrill to walk with these writers. These aren’t writers who are already out of work and figure a strike might be an entertaining way to pass the time, most of the folks I met today are working writers. The people next to me and other writers I’ve been reading about are sacrificing pay, job security, and the ability to be involved with the physical production of their words. We all know how what you write can become your baby; imagine walking away from that and hoping your story gets told properly? That might not seem as dire to some of you as say, getting behind in your house mortgage, but the point is the same. These writers don’t want to strike; but they do want fair contracts.

I won’t pull out my soapbox and give you too much to swallow, but I think for Rouge Wavers, whether we are WGA or not, it’s important to support these writers any way we can. Honk your horn when you drive by, donate extra sunscreen, or a few hours of your time to walk the picket lines. Make the writers some cookies; bring them water. Don’t scab work; this is not a time for new writers to break into Hollywood. Support your guild. Whatever you do, let them know their sacrifice is appreciated. We will all benefit from the sweat off of these writers backs.

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IM Anonymous said...

Though we work in words, it's action that matters. Thanks for the support.

Fun Joel said...

Good for you Margaux! I hope to join a line in the next few days.

Chris said...

hey margaux,

how does it work, practically, to join the picket line? did you just walk up and tell them you wanted to join up?? do you have to be a writer at all? i share your concern about winning the new media fight for my own future (hopefully). i didn't know if it would come off as amateurish or presumptuous to put myself on the line with other guild members, however.

IM Anonymous said...

Chris: pick your location, sign in, and join the line. It's that simple. You'll be welcome.

Margaux Outhred said...

Exactly. Anyone can show up and support the writers. Help them keep their numbers up in the lines, or any other thing you can think of to show your support. You don't need to be a guild member, just a believer.