This morning was a day of firsts on the picket line. For starters, it was my first day of rain picketing. A clear plastic garbage bag protects the sign, so beyond needing to occasionally wipe off my glasses, it wasn’t a big difference. It was warmer than most mornings, so I’ll gladly take some rain.
Today was the first time all the WGA pickets were consolidated at Paramount, so it was weird to see four times as many picketers at six in the morning. While we started out at our normal gates, pretty soon we gathered in big groups to walk around the entire lot.
Paramount is seven blocks wide and four blocks deep, but it backs up against the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, so there’s no way to circle it without including the cemetery, a few strip malls, and the WIC center. So for any confused observers (there were a few), the WGA is not anti-corpse, anti-doughnut, or anti-women-infants-and-children.
Google Maps shows one lap equalling 1.7 miles. I’m surprised; it doesn’t feel that long. As I noted on Day 1 of the strike, the sidewalks on the west side of Paramount are ridiculously unusable: 2 feet wide with a light pole in the middle.
So if you’re tempted to head out for one of the later picketing shifts today, by all means go. It’s a very nice change to be able to walk forward without interruption.
Some writers from WB Gate 2 are starting an off-the-cuff program called Teaching Thursdays. Priya Hamilton-Wilkes wrote in:
A few of us came up with an idea of “Teaching Thursdays,” where writers of various TV and feature genres would join us on Thursdays, making themselves available to discuss story, structure and everything in between to aspiring writers. Medical drama day will be Thursday, January 24th, from 9-12 at Gate 2 at Warner Bros.
It’s a great idea. One of the frustrating things about picketing is that so often, you feel like you’re not doing anything constructive. That’s why I’ve been happy to have so many readers come out to Paramount. I suspect the WB Gate 2 crew will get at least as much out of it as the aspiring writers who come out to learn.
The elephant in the room
At 6:09 this morning, I was interviewed by a KTLA news crew about my opinions on the DGA deal and what it meant for the informal WGA talks which are now beginning. (The reporter didn’t pick me specifically. The group I was walking with shoved me in front.)
So while I’ve refrained from weighing in officially on the blog for fear of undercutting the off-stage discussions, I can at least repeat what I told the reporter.
I’ve been “cautiously optimistic” too many times during the strike, so I officially refuse to link emotion and prediction. I won’t predict, period.
That said, everyone on every side recognizes why this would be a very good time to get the strike resolved. There are important issues which are unique to writers, ones that don’t really have any equivalent in the DGA deal, so those are going to take careful action to address.
While I won’t predict whether a deal will be reached soon, do I think a deal can be reached? Absolutely.
Tomorrow will be back to normal, with picketing at the Van Ness gate at Paramount starting at 5:45 a.m.