This is, I think it's safe to say, where successful but not mega-rich people in the entertainment industry live. The below the line folks who are doing well on a week to week basis, or, for the sake of arguments, animation show runners who have been doing animation show running for nearly a decade.
I like it here. I could use a few more decent restaurants, but the "Claim Jumper Buffalo Chicken Tenders" are pretty good.
But... I am outnumbered here - more above the line than below, more IATSE than WGA, more people affected by the strike than people striking.
There are a couple of places I hang out, and invariably, when somebody hears I am a writer, the discussion goes one of two ways:
Sometimes it's: "How are you handling the strike?" And I have to be honest, that aside from the time I put in striking with, or working with, the WGA... it's not hitting me. I work in animation, and animation writers are not on strike... at least the ones who aren't covered by the WGA. Our shows continue, if we're not prime time.
But mostly it's: We don't like you. You're killing us." And this is the reaction I get more than not. And I always - ALWAYS - engage those people in a discussion. Because yes - to the hair stylist and the production person that I talked to over the past week - I get it. You're jobs are either on the bubble or drying up, and your life is on the line. And I don't think there's a single writer on the face of the Earth that isn't sorry for that.
But also invariably, when I talk to them, I point out that for every penny the WGA negotiates for, the other unions also get. IATSE, for example, will make 4.5 cents for every penny the WGA manages to get. It's pattern bargaining. For the WGA's sacrifices, despite IATSE's lousy support, they win. As does every other union. We were the first union to have to fight the digital download battle. If it wasn't the WGA, it would have been SAG.
And if it wasn't the WGA, the DGA deal would have been a big, steaming pile of ass, as opposed to what seems to be a pretty good starting point for a renewing of talks.
And I get that writers are paid more than most. But that' s because - in prime time and in animation sometime - they created it. They created the show, or created the episode. It started with them.
When a person creates a new drug, or invents something like the artificial heart, nobody begrudges them getting a big cut of the profits. But because writing is considered a "fun" job, the fact that writers are fighting for what they believe is their fair share is considered greedy.
Nobody gets mad at the person who invented the cell phone because not anybody can invent a cell phone. But everybody - on some level - can write. Either a letter. Or a blog. Or a note. Consequently, it doesn't feel important.
As a writer - as somebody who tries to create things that become television shows - I get that I have a blessed life. I get that I'm one of a small group of people who will ever come up with an idea, get the chance to develop an idea, and then get it on the air. It's fun, but it's not easy.
But that idea - IF IT SELLS - employs people. It creates jobs. From producers, to writers, to actors, to caterers, to make up people, to electricians, and more. That is a fortunate byproduct to the fact that I'm trying to create something I'm passionate about.
Any writer that tells you they write to create jobs is a liar. But any writer that doesn't understand that their work is putting food on people's tables is a dick. This strike falls in the middle of those two concepts.
The pyramid STARTS with the creation of the idea, and it widens out to include hundreds of people. But then, the people making the most money off the show - the studios or networks - seemingly want to marginalize and be greedbags to the very people who started that employment train in the first place.
I explain that - and I take the time to point out that writers aren't looking for pity. All I'm saying is, they do not deserve scorn.