Yesterday, I braved Actual Sunlight to speak at the Indie Gate gathering at Paramount. It was a great turnout, with a collection of writers expressing a range of opinions, from moderate (me) to far less than moderate (Harlan Ellison).
I’ll have a full recap of the day up later, but I wanted to post what I (more or less) said while I could still reconstruct it.
A few weeks ago, I got involved in a pretty heated discussion online, talking about one issue that screenwriters think about a lot. Namely, where would you go if Los Angeles were suddenly overrun by zombies?
There are many good options. If you can get to Angeles National Forest, great. The desert is another possibility. But if you’re stuck in the city itself, I’d propose a good choice would be one of the movie studios. They have big walls and defensible gates.
They’re really the castles of Los Angeles.
And to an outsider, seeing us here today, it might look like we’re villagers trying to storm these castles. Like this is a siege. But that’s not really accurate. We’re not trying to get in — we’ve been inside, and really, it’s not that nice. Rather, we’re here because we want those guys to come out. We’re not here to bring war. We’re here to make peace. And we can’t do it alone.
The theme behind today’s gate is “Independent Film.” But I think we all know that’s a misnomer. We might write our scripts independently, but shooting them requires the cooperation and hard work of a crew, producers, and financiers.
And over the last few years, companies like Paramount Vantage have taken a big interest in our movies. Yes, some of them make money, but more importantly, they make the studios look classy. It’s no accident that most of the movies “For Your Consideration” were first considered in our heads. First written with our hands.
If anything, we should be calling it “co-dependent film.” We’re good at making movies. They’re good at releasing movies. Yes, we have a fucked-up relationship — but it’s a relationship. And we’re here every day because we want to make it work.
I have a blog, and every day I’ve been writing up what happens on the picket lines. One of the things I never anticipated is how many non-WGA writers would be joining us. I like when they sign-in as “Future WGA.” Because they’re recognizing that what gets decided through this strike will be the contract they’re working under for the next 20 years. So I want to give a shout-out to them now. [cheers]
What they see — what we all need to remember — is that however long this strike goes, it’s nothing compared to the 20 years ahead. These studios, these castles, they’ll probably be here. We want to make sure writers are too.