never been a bitch so I don't act bitchy

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Day 3: When Showrunners Attack!

Okay. So granted, writers are pretty lazy and out-of-shape folks, but I really don't think walking in a fucking circle for 4 hours is supposed to hurt this much. I'm sore as hell. I feel like I just got jumped into a gang.

So today was the big United Showrunners demonstration. All the showrunners met at 9am at the Disney Alameda gate and held signs with their show's name on it and marched. And I'm telling you, every show was represented. It was amazing (thanks in no small part to Shawn Ryan's awesome/guilt-mongering letter of a few days ago). From Network to pay cable to basic cable, the shows were all there. Midseason replacements. Animation. Nickelodeon and Lifetime and The N and many others. We were trying to think of a show not represented by its showrunner or at least a high-level executive (in cases where the show shoots in New York and, like, Tina Fey couldn't fly out).

The press was out in droves as the showrunners walked back and forth across the street leading into the lot. Actors like Eddie Izzard and Marc Curry drove past honking. The ubiquitous Jay Leno came by in some British-y steering-wheel-on-the-wrong-side car. Sally Field came out and talked to the press. The most vocal and highest profile showrunners spent a lot of time talking to the media, like Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff from LOST, Shawn Ryan of The Shield, Marc Cherry of Desperate Housewives, and Bill Lawrence from Scrubs. (Some in the press were hysterical, completely unaware who Marc Cherry or Shawn Ryan were and could we point them out.) Patrick Verrone spent a lot of time there, as did former WGA Prez John Wells.

After a while we felt a little bit like losers not having a showrunners' placard or hat. We eventually came up with fake shows and were going to steal signs and write the name of those shows on them. Mine was to be Morning Wood, a sitcom that takes place in a small environmental lobbying office run by rougish young former oil money sire named Sam Wood, who woke up one day with a hangover and a conscience about the environment (but not about sleeping around or cracking wise!) Frank's was a teen soap called Monrovia. But in the end we thought better of it. We did make fun of the showrunners who drew on their signs, though. The Family Guy dude drew Stewie. The October Road guy drew a road. (But not "October".) A woman from Women's Murder Club had handwriting like she'd had a stroke it was so messy, and the According to Jim guy wrote on the other side, "No, it hasn't been cancelled." Carlton Cuse wittily wrote, "Don't you want to know what the island is?" And Greg Berlanti's sign looked super show-offy with all 3 of his shows written on it. (Suck on that Josh Schwartz with only 2!) Matthew Weiner from Mad Men was rather militant, rallying us to illegally block traffic, while the dude from Criminal Minds was tireless and awesome, but seemed a bit grouchy -- though he was almost hit by a car, so he has reason.

It was an amazing atmosphere. The 200 strikers and showrunners crawled across the street in a giant happy pile as cars on Alameda honked non-stop and cops watched from across the street. People brought donuts and coffee. A taco stand rolled up and served free Mexican food. Someone brought sandwiches. A girl walked up with oranges and granola bars just because she was "a fan." The generous crazies from Joss Whedon's universe brought grub and stalked around in Firefly shirts. Pam's showrunner Don Todd told me in detail how much damage we were doing to our bodies walking on unforgiving cement all day. Anna Beth came out from her PA Writers' Assistant job on Eli Stone to say hi. The amazingly supportive Justine Bateman banged a tambourine. I got to tell the showrunner of My Boys how much I liked her show. And I almost beheaded Carlton Cuse with my sign.

It was a superb day and I'm going to take a giant nap now.

Photos and video below...

Weeds. SVU. Ellen. Aliens in America.

The excellent Bill Lawrence.

The generous Joss Whedon fans posted up a sign full of creepy Latin or something. closed.


This showrunner was giving this LA Times reporter a piece of her mind for innaccurate reporting. It was kind of tough to watch. And awesome.

"Seriously, Josh, when Oliver went psycho, I was sooo watching through my fingers."
"The O.C. was cancelled, Carlton. I have two new shows on the air."
"Right right. But O.M.G., when Marissa all flipped out and threw the chaise lounge into the swimming pool...!"

Army Wives. Leno. Dexter. The Big Bang Theory. Family Guy. According To Jim.

For once, the numbers he's discussing aren't 4, 8, 15, 16...

For five points: which Criminal Minds actor biked up to the strike wearing a Criminal Minds spandex biking outfit?

Carlton's sign.

Luckily the Disney lot isn't in a Crips neighborhood.

Some video footage. (With bonus Sally Field!):


Blogger Anna Beth said...


7:50 PM

Blogger pave said...

So, how would someone with no participation in the industry, who lives on the other coast, show support to the writers' cause? 'cos it makes me cry to think all the writers I rely on for my entertainment are getting the shaft when I can't resist buying the DVD, or when I sit through the interminable commercials on the NBC website.

I'm completely serious: How can we help, out here in viewership-land? I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one wondering - nor am I the only one that's been thinking of you and Pam with concern after lurking for years.

6:20 AM

Blogger Anna Beth said...

Also, the Whedonesque people's sign -- the Latin part, it's just a bunch of Lorem Ipsum, which is what web designers use as placeholder text for mock-ups. Which makes it super gay.

Fight the power!

8:55 PM

Blogger David Grenier said...

"That HBO Show With All The Fucking, The Name Of Which I'm Blanking On But It's Totally Depressing."

I'm pretty sure you mean Not Necessarily The News.

9:22 PM

Blogger Diane said...

(chuckle) anna beth said what I was about to. You can even download Lorem Ipsum text to order for use in graphic projects.

Cousins on the line, stay strong!!

8:17 AM

Blogger LK said...

Lorem Ipsum was used by journalist and ad copy writers before the interweb. Its an old Cicero speech (in Latin, obviously) that weirdly enough mimics English writing patterns in terms of word lengths and the like.

I didn't know that Whedonesque existed before this strike, but I think its pretty witty to use.

9:57 AM

Blogger Jenny Deiker said...

Thanks for the comments, Stee. I dunno about you, but I've been having a good time out there walking. Not that my good time is what it's about. Christ. I'm probably not doing it right.

10:06 AM

Blogger VDOVault said...

You can find out more about different fan organizations mobilizing to support writers by going here:

WGA_Supporters LiveJournal Community (it's a multi-authored blog representing many fandoms with about 1900 members at this writing)

Fans For The WGA (which covers more than different TV show fandoms at this writing)

PS We CI fans heart Neal Baer, SVU's showrunner!

10:04 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home