DAY 1 ON THE PICKET LINE

Last Updated: November 5, 2007By

(By Ali Naderzad, SCREEN COMMENT) About 200 scribes assembled in a picket line today organized by the Writers Guild of America just outside Rockefeller Plaza, where some of the big media companies are concentrated. The atmosphere, as expected on Day 1 of any strike, was upbeat. Drivers stuck in traffic limping along honked to signal their support, sending cheers through the crowd. Even double-decker tour buses roused the picketliners as tourists, cameras aloft to capture the sights of Rockefeller Plaza, stood up to cheer the striking writers. A giant inflatable rat, the ubiquitous symbol of New York’s labor fight, sat squarely at the head of the picket line, staring out into the distance. Julien Sheppard, from the Writers Guild of America East. got there around 2pm today and walked the picket line until 5pm. I’ll go again tomorrow and I’ll go again Wednesday,” he told me. ‘We don’t know anything about how long we’re going to be here, but we’ll be here as long as it takes to get a proper deal,’ sounding off a popular refrain. What are the issues on the table: DVD shares and internet downloads. Writers get four cents from every DVD that is sold. If that DVD is Titanic, then four cents is not so measly after a while. Most DVD sales, however, average well below what numbers the Cameron film enjoyed. A writers’ strike may not immediately cause the kind of disruption its organizers hope for but, given today’s enthusiasm, America’s entertainment scribes seem poised to stand the picket line a while.

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