As you can see, it was a bit of a gloomy day in Toluca Lake yesterday. This is a side view of the Big Boy sign from across the street.
I walked in after a 2 1/2 week absence (the morning regulars hadn’t seen me on Monday with Mom) and opened my laptop and got started.
Waiter D came by just before his shift started at 6:00 a.m. and said, with a smile in his eye, “You’re writing? You’re writing again?”
“Yep! Back at it.” All proud of myself for finally showing up after so many days of not really concentrating on anything.
“What about the writer’s strike? You’d better be careful!” he said, sliding a tray of glasses into its slot beneath the wait-station sink.
“Oh– It’s not that kind of writing. I don’t write scripts. I’m not in the Guild.”
“Still, watch it. There was a guy came in here yesterday asking how far our security cameras reach. He was from Universal. He had some kind of argument about the strike out there, and the other guy tried to strangle him!” D demonstrated two hands around an imaginary neck. “It’s getting crazy already.”
Wow. No kidding.
Later, on my way out, I stopped to talk with the 3 Musketeers who were curious whether I’d been laid off or what. They are two older guys who own a printing business and one younger guy who I found out today owns a gas station. They are more regular regulars than I, hardly ever missing a weekday.
The younger guy asked if I know a location scout.
“No, but I might be able to find one. Why?”
Turns out that a location scout asked about using his gas station as a location and asked what he’d want for compensation. I told him what I’ve heard from people whose houses have been used. That they usually get the amount per day of their monthly mortgage payment.
He seemed happy about that. I said that he should probably also take into consideration what it might cost him in lost business.
“So?” one of the older guys asked, “Is $5,000 enough for the inconvenience to your customers?”
“Are you kidding?” The other one said, talking to me now, “For $5,000 he’d stay there all night serving coffee and donuts!”
We also talked about the strike. The previously funny one said, “The way to end it? Dissolve the union.”
“Oh no,” I said, “I’m not with you on that. And what they’re asking for…” All stuff you’ve heard me say here.
The two older guys have heavy Russian accents. Now I wish I’d told them that I’m practically a socialist. I’d have liked to have seen their reactions. I sure wouldn’t want to work for them. They always seem to think their employees take advantage of them simply by asking for a paycheck, let alone vacations. I try to tell myself it’s just blowhardiness.
While we were talking about the strike the 5 or 6 big burly men at the next table kept glancing over at us. Probably teamsters. Truck drivers who have a real moral dilemma at hand.
They don’t want to cross picket lines, but have reportedly been told by the studios that they are free to strike, of course. But if they do, they will be replaced and if the new hires don’t volunteer to leave after the strike, they won’t be let go. Aha. Very nice.
Cool Thing: an unofficial, but very interesting WGA strike blog called United Hollywood, which has great tales of real-life experiences on the picket lines, etc.
Cool Thing #2!: you really should take a minute and thirty-one seconds to watch this funny strike video submitted to YouTube by Daily Show writer Rob Kutner.
[Thanks to The American for keeping me abreast of all the latest news, and passing along great links like the ones above.]