Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day 4; Reality, Surreality, and yes, more Etiquette

So it's been another two days on the front lines since my last post. Didn't post yesterday because well -- I didn't have the energy. Little known fact -- picketing is a lot harder than it looks. Oh I'm not crying for sympathy here or anything, but frankly it's sort of tiring. My friend and esteemed colleague Nick, brought a pedometer to picketing the other day and we calculated that we walked about eight miles in our four hour shift! Which means we've walked 32 miles this week. Not too shabby if I don't say so myself. If one good thing is to come out of all this it'll be that my calves will be toned like never before.

As the week went on, my group spread out to other areas of the Culver Studios property. The front of the Studio Property is on a major street, so this was one of the areas we targeted the most, increasing our exposure to the public. Interestingly enough, the front of the Culver Studios is AKA Tara, from Gone with the Wind.



That's right -- I picketed in front of the residence where Scarlett O'Hara took her gentleman callers and Ashley and Rhett quarreled on the war of northern aggression. Oh Jesus...

We paced up and down the street, waving signs at passing cars and trying to get them to honk. The idea being that the more honking there was, the more the executives inside will be annoyed -- thereby hopefully inciting them to put pressure on their big studio bosses to end this strike ASAP.



I've always wanted to annoy someone to death. I've pitched the idea to a friend that we should just start bringing in boom boxes -- and continuously play two or three 80's tunes on loop. Maybe a little Rick Springfield -- and perhaps some Duran Duran. Let's see how well the suits can focus after eight hours straight of No No -- Notorious!

Today there were also some rabble rousers in the bunch -- which was actually good for our typically soft spoken group. We did some chants like "When I say Union, you say Power, Union: POWER, Union: POWER." Also I tried to start my own round of a little chant I came up with "The pen is mightier than the CEO." But mostly we focused on the car honking objective.

It's not everyday you see a sign like this...



Pretty surreal huh? I think so. I keep expecting Rod Serling to jump out of the bushes, saying something like: "Kalinda. You've travelled to another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A place. That is known. As the TWILIGHT ZONE." I'm still having trouble getting over the fact that last week I was in an office trying to figure out a story point for the next episode I'd be writing on, and now I'm pounding the pavement -- marching and chanting.

As for my picketing technique -- I think it still needs a little work. Lots of folk out on the line have a nice stroll. They sort of leisurely, languidly move forward. Me? I march. I'm a New Yorker, so I suppose it's in my DNA to push ahead, darting in between other pedestrians, staring at the ground and avoiding eye contact. However, this is apparently not proper picket etiquette (or picketiquette as a friend cleverly suggested earlier this week). All these damn friendly Californians and fellow picketers keep coming up to me -- "You can't walk alone!" they say. Or "Hey, you've got quite a stride there!" I know they are only trying to be affable and pleasant, being that we are all on the same team here -- but I still have to fight the New Yorker in me who just wants to smile slightly and keep moving --instead of slowing down and engaging in conversation. When you're on the subway, or walking down the street in New York you're sort of lost in your own world. Other people aren't really people, they're just another obstacle to walk around, like a lamp post or a fire hydrant. Your mind is usually occupied with other things. What you're going to do when you arrive at your destination. Why they put up such an ugly billboard in Times Square. Why the person across the street has on an afro clown wig. Maybe you've got your headphones on and you're letting your imagination run away a little. (I actually received several dirty looks when I brought out my Ipod today) It's not that you wish ill on these people -- or that you're this cold heartless egotist (that many people perceive New Yorkers to be). It's just that you're doing your own thing -- trying to get where you're going -- like anybody else. And for the most part people get that -- that's why there's no need to engage in small talk. I definitely need to work on my cocktail conversation muscles -- more so than my calves.

Tomorrow there's going to be a huge rally at FOX with all the picketers, so stay tuned for what are sure to be some great photos.

6 comments:

Levi said...

Hey, Kalinda. I saw the link to your blog on crazymonk and have been enjoying reading your blogposts. I'm surprised that you say Californians are much nicer than New Yorkers-- although I have not really spent much time in California.

What exactly are the profit-sharing demands of the guild? Is that public information?

Well, got to run! Stay hydrated out there!

John said...

You go, Kalinda. The days of long walks, and solemn naps are over...th e calm days of TUFTS are behind you, now.

Hang in there...My thoughts are with you and your WGA sibs...

JPK

Kalinda said...

Hey Levi -- well I don't believe it's necessarily a matter of "nicer" -- it's more about being friendly in an outgoing way. Believe me I still feel more comfortable in a room with New Yorkers. :)

The biggest issues the guild is fighting for at the moment have to do with profit sharing in the DVD and internet markets. The writers are asking for 2.5% of the profits for content created for the internet, and for streaming content on the internet which the studios make ad revenue from by selling segments to advertisers as part of these streaming presentations. The other issue has to go with DVD shares. Right now writers get about four cents per DVD sold of something they wrote. The guild is asking to raise it to eight cents. You can also read more about the guild's demands on www.wga.org.

Kalinda said...

Thanks for your support John.

Levi said...

Hey, Kalinda, thanks for the information. Is the raise from ~ 4 cents to 8 cents per DVD sold merely symbolic, or will it actually mean more money for writers? Even still it seems that it's pretty low pay to me for people who are so crucial to the creative energy behind something.

Kalinda said...

Actually the increase in DVD is meant to increase some profits -- though as you point out it's not as much as I think the writers would ideally like. But considering everything else that's on the table -- specifically the new media rate, I don't think they wanted to gamble too much on asking for a lofty dvd rate...