Strike Is Actually Kind of Fun, Says Picketing Writer

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Writers Guild member Mike Johnson sends us the following dispatch from the Hollywood picket lines:

So, as even my mom knows, the Writers Guild of America has been on strike since Monday. We've been picketing the fourteen major studios and our numbers have grown from 3,000 to over 3,500 in the last few days. I've never been on strike before, but I must say that, as far as these things go, it's actually kind of fun. Every day, I'm surrounded by 50 smart-asses, comparing movie trivia and making each other laugh. You can see how this might not totally suck.

On Tuesday, the front page of the L.A. Times had a picture of Jay Leno handing out doughnuts to his writing staff, all of whom were on strike. At our little gate near the western entrance of Prospect Studios, my team of ten had been delivered at least five boxes of doughnuts by random well-wishers before noon. It made me wish Leno had been handing out smoothies instead, but the support from him and everyone else has been very sweet. One mother drove by with a bag of apples and rolled down her window so her 3-year old daughter could hand us a six-pack of raisins and give us a thumbs up. Solidarity!

Photo: Mike Johnson

Today, another little girl and her mom brought us these awesome cupcakes. If pastry quality continues to increase at the rate it has been, we'll be eating fondants within a week.

Yesterday, the cast of Grey's Anatomy joined our line, grabbing signs and chanting for an hour. Luckily, by the time the news crews showed up, one of the WGA organizers thought to ask the nearby gourmet-coffee truck to move out of sight — something about holding picket signs in one hand and iced blendeds in the other makes strikes look slightly less tough.

This, of course, doesn't take away from the seriousness of what we're doing, which I won't get into because I'm sure you've read about it elsewhere. It's just to say that we're all happy to be here, enjoying ourselves as much as we can in this situation. We're writers — we can sit out here for another year and just tell stories to one another. It's the studio guys who are going to get bored.
—Mike Johnson