looking at my title for basename…

Posted by on Nov 28, 2007 · No Comments

okay MT geniuses: i changed my basename to accept 100 characters, but this doesn’t seem to make a difference in the archives or in linking entries (even when i publish each page by hand). How do I tell the index and the archive page to understand that these entries are no longer called “inbox_part_t” but is now “index_part_two” and “Index_part_three”? Even going to those pages manually pulls up a “Not Found,” even though I can see them in my MT admin page. It still only uses 12 characters to create links/archives on individual entries, and index files. Is there another template I need to change?

Thanks for all of your (free) advice.

[EDITED TO ADD: Success! I found the setting where the entry archives weren't updating with the correct basename. The archives page works now, but until I figure out how to change the category settings so that the "previous" and "next" links point to the correct archives instead of the categorized archives, which I think will only work if I republish all of them individually by hand...zzzzzzz, I know. Ignore me. Anyway, thanks to those of you who sent in such fantastic suggestions.]

week four.

Posted by on Nov 28, 2007 · No Comments

First: does anybody know why Moveable Type now hates me? It seems to be unable to understand that “inbox, part four” and “inbox, part five,” are not the same entry. Same with “Marathon, part one” and “marathon, part two.” Trying to rename the old entries doesn’t seem to help, as it doesn’t change them in the archives. The entries are there, but the database can’t seem to understand how to link to them in the archives. Also, because the archives can’t seem to understand the titles, trying to go “previous” and “next” will sometimes jump you a year or so in time. I can’t believe how much I miss hand-coding when faced with the confusion that is Moveable Type. See those ugly links on the side? That’s because our old Amazon plug-in no longer works with this version of Moveable Type, which we have to use in order to be able to update this website with the database my web hosting company uses.

Please, please. Someone help AB and me. We are tired of not knowing things.

I’ve never been more popular with my friends than right now, because Jane Espenson linked to me. Their reaction is as if they found a tabloid photo of Matt Damon and me making out in a stairwell. Thanks, Jane! You are a rockstar. (And I love the term “clamshells.” Latest strike-clam sent in, by M Giant: “I could write for you, but then I’d have to kill you.”)

Sweet, Melissa! We miss you, too!

inbox, part seven.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2007 · No Comments

Pamie,

My friend Joanne has been reading your blog for years, and when she saw you were doing a comedy show she made her fiance and I attend it. It was the one where you sang a song about M. Night Shya-ma-ly-i-an and then revealed spoilers for various movies. (The Prestige was ruined for Joanne’s fiancé Matt.) We said hi to you after the show but you had black makeup smeared over your eyes so I am not sure how
much you could see.

I work at The Lot with Joanne, making money while I try to figure out what I want to do in the industry. Having worked at this post production facility had made me sure it is not for me. When the writer’s strike began it solidified my vague career ambitions and made me realize that I would be happiest if I was screenwriting. (I have actually known since elementary school that I wanted to be a writer or an astronaut, so I don’t know WHY it has taken me this long to concretely pursue it after the whole NASA astrobiology thing didn’t pan out.)

I’m sorry, I have a propensity to ramble. The point I was trying to get to was that when I decided I wanted to write, Joanne and I agreed that I should show support for the WGA strikers by joining the picket lines myself. I won’t have anything good and substantial written for at least a year, but I support the WGA whether or not I do actually end up writing. Plus, I don’t usually have to be at work until 3 pm so I have most mornings free anyway.

Does any particular location need picketers? I have no idea what place needs support. Where are you picketing? I would check your blog that Joanne gave me a link to but it is currently not opening for me. Is it ABC? Joanne said you work for “Samantha Who,” so that would make sense.

And really, I would feel more comfortable giving this preemptive e-mail “hi” before I accost you in person. It’s always nice to meet a fellow Longhorn out here since they’re so rare. (I think that’s a joke.) I see Longhorn hats and shirts, but I haven’t actually met anyone from Austin. The closest I came was with the guy in the ticket booth at the movie theater who recognized my “HI, HOW ARE YOU” Daniel Johnson t-shirt. And that’s a rather sad story.

~Rick

Rick, you can always find out what locations we’re picketing (and they all need bodies, so don’t worry about which one), and the times we’re picketing here. Thank you! (And the team of Samantha Who? writers picket CBS Radford, where our show was shot. (“Was.” Oooh, that word hurt.))

Dear Pamie:

I am rooting for you and admiring all your hard work during the strike.

Unfortunately, I am right smack in that internet demographic, and it’s the result of a couple of things, namely, not having the $$$ or will to have tv-tempting me all the time, so I’ve been watching things online. But that stops now that I realize that these “promotions” aren’t paying out fairly. It needs to be worked out. This is the way that my generation is entertaining themselves. They’re not beholden to tvs or movie theaters. They don’t mind living off the computer screens.

I’m a writer as well. I freelance for several organizations, mostly newspapers. And if you think the internet is fucking with your career, well, have a seat by me! I can’t get an entry level job, and in fact, I’m quite wary of trying, to be honest with you. I recently got an email mentioning that a new “platform” of one of my outlets is being launched, presumably with advertising, but because of that, if they decide to reprint our work, we won’t get paid.

I couldn’t help but wonder… whether that meant that this internet squeeze is hitting creatives all-around. I say it is. And while I’m at a tenuous position, figuring out whether I want to be beholden to a dying industry that can’t figure out how to function in this technological age, I’m cheering you guys on. I hope you get $$$ from the fat cats, because this wave is bigger than you, and it’s bigger than me, and it has to be dealt with fairly. Writers should get paid! Writing is difficult and wonderful! We tell ourselves stories in order to live, after all!

As a struggling freelance writer, I remain,
anonymously yours!

It’s not like this is a contest, or I need to declare a winner, but man, check out this letter:

Pamie,

My dad is in his 80s. His long ago SAG insurance paid for all 3 kids in my family to be born, and for my sister to have some really advanced surgery right after her birth, nearly 40 years ago. He was acting to pay for grad school and he promptly joined the teachers union – we are all about a strike in my dad’s family. His father was a coalminer, and both his brothers were teamsters in NJ. As children, we struck against doing chores. Last night he asked me didn’t I know anyone on strike in LA or NY right now, and I said no, but I did read your blog. He asked me to read you something from it (not to up the pathos to a repellent level here, but he’s blind) and I read to him about when AB put the goldfish under the tires of Vince’s car while y’all are on the phone.

After we stopped laughing, there was a long silence, and he said “those girls won’t get paid for that? if they don’t put an ad up there, they will not see a red cent for that?” and I explained that wasn’t what the strike was about, really, and he said he knew that, but that if you and AB were that funny in your down time, it was not going to be possible to overpay you on the job. and then he said, “baby, a strike is always about the same thing: people getting used and shat on and sick of it and standing up for themselves and their families. just because these girls can entertain themselves doesn’t mean they aren’t scared and desperate. write that girl. tell her an old man says she’s smart and funny and good and doing right. it’ll come right for her, I know. tell her. tell her hang in there and to take care of herself and to remember to be kind to the people she loves and let them be kind to her, because a strike is hard business for everyone.”

So I’m telling you. Best wishes to you and yours, Pamie. Take care.

Annie

Annie, please tell your father that his words mean so much to me. You invoked memories of my own family by mentioning “Mama Crazy,” as that’s the entry my mother and sister often ask me to resend them so that they can laugh and share that story again with their friends.

Tell him thank you, from one girl in Los Angeles who really needs her dad these days. It feels good to have some fatherly advice.

…. especially because I’m pretty sure I just heard a gunshot outside, and it couldn’t have been too far away. (Mom, please don’t read that last sentence. I’m fine! Los Angeles is great! Yay!)

Hey Pamie,

I just wanted to say that I have truly dug your blog on so many levels for so long, and I’m glad you’re keeping us up to speed with what’s going on in the writers’ strike. (And as a total aside, thanks for the piece about Jollibee. A Filipino restaurant opened up two blocks from here, and their hamburgers look, uh, sweet, too.)

I’m a writer too, it’s just that right now I have suspended my morals and creative dreams to work for big dirty companies, creating their superfluous and little-read marketing material and brochures. So the Internet has saved my financial bacon, but I think it’s a new frontier that’s a shitty deal for writers on so many levels. I and many of the writers I know are incredibly glad to see you guys standing up for your rights.

I don’t know what one little freelancer in Canada can do for you. Just let me know. Cookies? Maple syrup? $1.08?

I hope you guys win, and I hope you can soon go back to having three of my dream jobs. Someone has got to have them! It might as well be you.

Cheers, and good luck!
Fiona

PS Also – that thing about Andy Gordon and the clam….oh my God. I am so happy to finally have a word to describe the most embarrassing corporate video I ever worked on. It’s a five-minute clam. I want to curl up and die every time I think about it. Eight years later.

Sabrina sent in the following clam suggestion: “Striking. Seriously.”

And Sara keeps reminding me that I forgot to put her favorite one up here: “I don’t want to be all Strikey McStrikerson over here, but…”

Hi Pamie,

Just wanted to say there’s quite a few of us in digital who are supporting you guys down here in Australia. Broadcasting is changing (for the better) to an online format and the giants are going to take a tumble.

Australian broadcasters are also criminal in the percentages and ownership requirements. Many of us coming in the biz here feel a change is coming, and I feel what the WAG members are doing is brave but also necessary, as the first step globally towards a fairer system in a online world.

With support,

Sera Prince

Hi Pamie,

Congratulations on Samantha Who, and best of luck in your strike efforts. I’m a long time reader of yours, and I have much respect and admiration for all that you have accomplished.

When I was eight years old, my dad, who was a teacher, went out on strike. At some point, the school board fired all the striking teachers. My cousins and I piled into the back of my grandfather’s pickup, and my grandpa drove us around our small Illinois town as us kids shouted “we want our teachers back”. I still can’t believe that our parents didn’t kill us (and my grandpa) for that little excursion! But I think that proves that if I have to, I will borrow my grandpa’s truck and head out to Hollywood. We want our writers back!

Good luck and hang in there,
Tracey

Hi, Pamie –

I’m a longtime reader (I think the first entry I read was the one where Lillith died), and I wanted to let you know that my team blog, Pop Goes the Library, has been following the WGA strike with considerable interest.

Intrepid fellow blogger Liz Burns held & posted an interview with Jeff Gottesfeld, who writes for The Young & The Restless, here.

Thought you might be interested.

I’m glad to hear the WGA & TPTB are heading back to the table after Thanksgiving, and I really hope things work out in favor of the writers. Best of luck!

Sophie
Teen Librarian, Trainer, and Blogger
Library Journal Mover & Shaker

Dear Pamie,

I’ve been a fan of your blog for years now. You rock! What you are doing now is important and it matters. When I read that the Teamsters were supporting you I got all teary eyed. My Dad was a Teamster. Later today I’m going to suggest to my book club that we buy your books to support you and the strike. We are not watching TV or online shows in support of you and the other writers. Best of luck!!

Kelly Lawrence
Teamsters Daughter

Amy and I were talking about you last night and wondering how you are doing with the strike. I see from your website that you are helping to lead the strikers, I wouldn’t have expected anything else. Hope all is well and let us know if we can do anything to help you out.

Kevin

Dear Pamie,

I’ve been following the news of the strike, through your posts and other sources, and I have to say that I’m proud of you and all your fellow strikers for standing up. I’ve reposted a few of your video links in my blog, and I’ve had some interesting discussions with my friends on the subject, but I didn’t feel like I was doing more than lip service. So I decided to take action.

On Friday, I came to a decision, and along with it I wrote this letter to the AMPTP in support of the WGA strike. (Their comment form is at http://www.amptp.org/contactus.html — I wasn’t able to find an email address for an actual human being.)

To Whom It May Concern:
Until the members of the WGA receive fair and reasonable compensation for their efforts, the members of the AMPTP will not receive another penny from me. As of now, I am boycotting all screenwritten material released after November 1, 2007. Until this strike ends, I will neither watch network TV, nor purchase DVDs, nor go to movie theaters.

Lest you dismiss this as a toothless threat from a non-consumer, consider that my DVD library numbers somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 titles. My household buys 6-10 DVDs in the average month, and at least twice that many during the holidays. And I have books, a library card, and a now-available chunk of disposable income; I can outlast you.

It’s time for the studios to stop exploiting their employees for the sake of greed. The onus is upon you to stop the petty bickering and accept the extremely reasonable demands of the WGA. In the meantime, I’ll be supporting my favorite screenwriters by buying their books instead. And I’ll be encouraging my friends and colleagues to do the same.

Sincerely,
[my name]
Angry Consumer

I don’t really expect a response, but I had to do something — too many of my friends and loved ones are or aspire to be writers. Heck, I’m not even doing NaNoWriMo this year — pencils down means pencils down, as far as I’m concerned.

Keep up the good work, Pamie. We’re proud of you.

–Loree

Woo! Thanks, Loree. That’s awesome.

Hey, Pamie. I’ve been a big fan of your stuff FOREVER (from Television Without Pity and Pamie.com), and I was watching Samantha Who tonight, and I got all excited to see your name. Sorry, lots of ands. I’m happy for your success, and that makes me ever more in awe of your courage and awesomeness during this strike. Thanks for the explanation on your web site of your job, and of what the strike means. I’ve read several news reports, but no outside perspective can be as real and engaging as one coming from those who are involved.

Take care,
Nicole

I’m halfway through SW, loving it, backed up to the beginning to see who wrote it. Then over to your blog to read about how weird it is to be on strike when one’s very well-written SW comes on, discovering of course your post about how weird that is. Broke my heart. And don’t worry about answering this email, obviously. You’ve got a lot going on. If there’s anything I can do, let me know, because I haven’t thought of anything I’m uniquely positioned to do, beyond the fan stuff. Stay strong; you’re still my hero.

Jacob

Hello! I stumbled upon your blog from another site and just wanted to send my support to you and all the writers that are affected by the strike. Unfortunately, I’m on the opposite coast otherwise I would have been happy to show my support. Though I did sign the petition for what it’s worth.

Reading your blog, I had NO idea that the studios literally cleaned out your offices completely! Good grief! I signed my petition comment as ‘the show cannot go on without the creativity it originates from’. I *get* that. I’m not a writer (clearly), but I am a creator, just in another form. I wish you all the best and hope you can return to doing the job you love!

Kind regards,
Gina
A Touch of Whimsy Designs

Hi Pamie,

I remember you from TWoP, so I almost feel as if I know you. And I just wanted to tell you that I love Samantha Who? I crack up over it while watching and later while talking about it with friends. You’ve got good actors into whose mouths to put words, but they’re great words! (Still giggling to myself about Sam’s mother’s review of Sam as “Annie”—”When you try to be adorable, you come off as snide”!)

Take care, and good luck with strike—ideally, reaching a fair resolution or, not ideally, managing it.

Best,
Melissa Weintraub

NON-STRIKE MESSAGE!

I’m so excited that 826LA is opening an East side location in Echo Park. This week I get to go to the release party of the book that the incredible students of John Marshall High put together this past winter (The Elotes Man Will Soon Be Gone), and I can’t wait to see them all again and tell them how proud I am of their hard work. If you’re looking for something to spread a little holiday cheer (while we’re still working on getting the newest Dewey location off the ground), may I suggest 826? You can help fund supplies, field trips, classes and workshops. It helps thousands of students in Los Angeles become better writers and start them on the path toward making their dreams come true. (And if you are looking for a cool new shirt that does a lot of good for East Side students, may I suggest the Echo Park Time Travel Mart t-shirt?)

Pamie:

Long-time lurker/reader, first-time emailer. (Does that count as a clam, or just a stupid intro?)

Anyway, I’ve been a longtime fan of yours, from TWOP recaps to your blog to SamWho.

I seriously support all of the WGA and the strike, and wish you the best during this difficult time.

thanks-
emily

Hi Pamie,

You don’t know me, the same way I reckon you don’t know many of the people who send you e-mails. Also like many of those people, I’m a long time reader of your little corner of the e-world. I became hooked on Samantha Who [thank you], I am the proud owner of both of your books [thank you x 2], and I drop the phrase “wonder killer” like it were a pop culture reference on the level of a Friends episode. This can be confusing because not everyone knows about you, and that makes me a little sad because I think that everyone should. But I digress.

I know you must be busy right now. Insanely busy. And tired. And because of all of that, I thank you for carving out a minute from your day to read this here e-mail. I also wanted to thank you for your general awesomeness. If I were to cite people who have influenced what I consider to be the better parts of who I am, you would be up there. This is not just because you write well and you’re damn funny, but also because you support things that I think are important and you do it in a manner that makes the quieter people [like me] want to do something to help. I linked people to Dewey [I know that a bunch of us sent books], I linked people to Project Safe so we could send journals, and now I’ll be linking people to send pencils.

It’s only a little bit, but I know that when you’re trying to fight for something you believe in every little bit can help. For what it’s worth, I’ll be boycotting any online streaming or purchasing of TV DVD series until the situation for y’all has been rectified [my roommates have already gotten an earful from me]. And not only that, but I’ll be voicing that I’m doing it and telling people why. It’s a ways from VA to CA, but know that you’ve got a fair share or supporters out here by the nation’s capital. Keep it up. Thank you for doing what you’re doing. Truly.

-Heather

Hi Pamie,

I’ve been following your strike coverage and just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experiences with your readers. I don’t watch a lot of TV, so it’s probably an issue that would’ve mostly passed me by if you hadn’t written about it. I’m looking forward to the next time you have the urge and energy to write. Keep up the good work on the picket line!

I also thought you might be interested in this post about the strike from an Australian film writer and blogger. I was glad to read that international writers are supporting the strike, too.

~Jennine

Week Four begins very soon, and to use a phrase pretty common in this industry, I’m “cautiously optimistic” about the negotiations beginning tomorrow. Thanks to everybody for supporting, for sharing your stories, and for spreading the word. I wouldn’t be where I am without you, and I never forget that.

…Which is why I’m supposed to be working on the new novel right now, so I’m going to try to be better about navigating around my strike duties and my novel duties. Hey, that means I get another paycheck! (… due to arrive sometime after June of 2008, after I write an entire novel.)

Five hours of email posts! Wow!

inbox, part six.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2007 · No Comments

inbox, part five.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2007 · No Comments

Oh, man, do I love that first moment when people realize they’re on “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” Those women go batshit. It makes me laugh my ass off every single year.

Pamie,

I’m just a tv fan, not involved in the industry, and I have to admit, I was really confused about the entire concept of the strike. To my lower middle class suburban self, Hollywood writers make bank. Certainly compared to my economic situation. My scorn was similar to the scorn I feel for professional athletes. Because they’ll never convince me that those guys are somehow worth millions of dollars a year. However, in reading pamie.com, I realized that the issue isn’t how much you guys make regularly – it’s that no matter what show you’re on, your income is inherently irregular. You could lose your job at any time, through no fault of your own. Thus, it now makes sense to me that writers make more than the average everyday person’s salary. You might get a very good paycheck for months, and then suddenly, it’s all gone and you have to figure out how to live during the downtimes. So thank you for clarifying everything, and much love and support to all of you out there who provide me with my entertainment. I appreciate it more than you know.

Thanks,
Jaeda

Dear Pam,

Someday I’m just going to expect you to find new ways of being impressive. Then I won’t have to be re-impressed every time. But — check it out, you’re a strike captain! You faced down the CBS Radford security guards, and they blinked first! If that’s not badass, I don’t know what is.

So. Thank you for standing up for your people. For our people. For crazy writer people, for people who appreciate health care and support fair compensation. And thank you especially for bringing up the boycott of TV downloads. I’d like to think I’d have figured that one out by myself, but my brain is so full of Puritan literature right now, the synapses only fire when I’m pondering 17th-century Massachusetts. (Gah, midterm papers.) I’d have gone to Amazon for this week’s House without thinking twice. Are there other types of products I should take care not to buy? Is there a list on the WGA site somewhere? Because I want to help, but the my brain’s idea of advice is, “Plant maize.” Um, thanks, brain.

I hope the strike ends soon and you get a fair contract. Good luck.

WOOOO!
Lauren

Lauren,

Here you go. And if you’re looking for where to send your letters:

Heads of Companies

NBC
Jeffrey Zucker
Chairman/CEO
NBC Universal
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Ben Silverman
President
NBC Entertainment
3000 W. Alameda Ave
Burbank, CA 91523

CBS
Les Moonves
Chairman/CEO
CBS Entertainment
7800 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

ABC
Stephen McPherson
President
ABC Entertainment
500 South Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521

Robert Iger
President
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521

Fox
Peter Chernin
President
News Corporation
10201 Pico Blvd., Bldg. 128
Los Angeles, CA 90035

VIACOM
Phillipe Dauman
President/CEO Viacom
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

Warner Bros.
Barry M. Meyer
President/CEO
Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522

Don’t forget to wish them a happy holiday!

Hey Pamie,

I know what you’re going through though I didn’t have time yet to read all your reports. You’re writing A LOT for someone whose pencil/keyboard is down by the way… just teasing. I know how important it is to tell people what’s going on your side as well as I know the pressure on your shoulders when you’re on strike. There’s always someone to pretend you’re ‘killing’ something : a TV Show, a series, the film industry or entertainment for you, writers, and ‘you’re killing patients!’ even said some surgeon when me and my fellow nurses where on strike few years ago… Well you have to have strong nerves to fight for what you think is right.

A big (and unpopular, this time…) strike is scheduled on 11/14 in France. To sum it up agents working in the public transports will protest against the reform of their pension system. (Sorry if my translation is not clear…)

Anyway, you know me, I would always share a musical link if I think my correspondant might enjoy it. So here it is, thanks to la Blogothèque and Pitchfork: [was a link to a radiohead webcast]

Voilà. Hope you’ll get what you ask for.

Delphine

Okay, that car crash story freaked me out. Oh my God. I can’t believe you could still remember your name, much less your WGA talking points after that. So once again, best of luck with the strike and now also best of luck finding a new car. Hope both of those can get resolved for you soon. But seriously: freak me out. Why must you traumatize me with your tales of vehicular woe?

Best of everything,

Joe

Hi Pamie -

I’m a longtime member of TWoP, which is where I first “met” you. I’m a longtime fan of Buffalo Bill, too. I think you’re awesome! All sycophancy aside, though, I wanted to write and let you know that I support you and all the WGA writers 1000%. As an avid consumer of TV, I hate seeing the strike happen (I want my scripted TV!), but I believe it is absolutely necessary. The new terms you guys are asking for are STILL a mere pittance, and it burns me up that the megagiant corporations don’t want you to have even the barest slice of an awful big pie. This issue has really captured my attention and has galvanized me in a way that political issues don’t any more (burnout, I think).

Unlike a lot of your correspondents, I was raised to be anti-union. It’s a long story and one I won’t bore you with, but I was raised to believe that unions were greedy and that the people who worked in unions were looking for handouts that they didn’t deserve. I have liberalized considerably as I’ve gotten older, and I obviously no longer feel that unions are the handiwork of the devil. I’m so glad that you have the WGA getting your back and helping you negotiate fair(er) terms for you guys. (I still think what you’re asking isn’t fair enough to you guys. The percentages you’re asking for are way lower than they should be, in my opinion.)

I’m far enough away from either LA or NYC that I can’t practically come out and walk the line with you guys, or bring you cookies. I wish I was closer! Instead, I have signed the online petition on fans4writers.com – I hope it was the right one). I am waging a postcard campaign: I am writing to the networks and writing to the advertisers on the networks’ pages (the ones I can see without clicking on the online “promotional” content you guys have written but aren’t being paid for). I will be watching the remainders of the TV seasons and making note of the advertisers paying for time on the shows I watch, and I’ll write them as well. When the remaining scripts are done, I will refuse to watch scab programming, and I will be informing the advertisers of that, too.

Since I can’t conceive of turning off my TV for the duration of the strike – heaven forbid I should read a book or get outside or something – any TV I watch once the networks have run out of produced TV will be DVDs, already purchased, that I am borrowing from friends. No new DVD purchases or rentals for me until the strike is over, and no iTunes or Unbox downloads. No online viewing of regular-length shows or extras from the networks. Period. (Is this the right approach for those of us who can’t cut the cord and tune out entirely? Watching DVDs previously purchased by private citizens doesn’t hurt you guys or support the producers, does it? I’ve seen this matter of how supportive but addicted consumers can support you without cutting the cord entirely voiced several places, so public clarification would be awesome, if you get a chance.) I have also noised this issue abroad as loudly and as clearly as I can, including pointing people who might not know what the strike is REALLY about to the YouTube videos and blogs and posts that explain why this is so important.

Is there anything else us non-local non-writers can do to support you guys?

Stand strong! Don’t give in to Goliath! I can’t imagine how terribly hard it must be to not be doing what you love to do, to be going without a paycheck, to be bullied by the producers/networks. But what you’re fighting for is important for writers both now and in the future, and I admire you for doing it. For all our sakes – you who want to work and those of us who are addicted to TV – I hope the strike is over soon. But not a moment before the writers’ (small) demands are met by the corporate giants who would knock down their own grandmothers for a penny on the sidewalk. Stay with it as long as you need to so that you’re paid fairly for what you do, and know that in the meantime, you are all supported and loved by those of us who voraciously consume the delightful creations you guys make.

(another) Pamela

P, I don’t see how there’s anything wrong with watching DVD’s already purchased. Man, I hope not. Because all I’ve got left are things I already own and my two-month old stack of Netflix DVD’s. (Finally, I will watch Brother’s Keeper!)

Hi Pam,

I don’t know if it’s because I’m ovulating or what, but reading about what you’ve been through in the past week has brought me to tears. You land a job you love only to see it threatened by a strike and THEN, you go and get your car all smashed? Simply put, that sucks. I wish there was something I could do to help you, like give you a ride to the picket line and maybe come over and cook for you, but I’m in New Jersey. Maybe if you email me with the number of your local pizza place, I’ll order dinner and have it sent to your place on my dime.

I think what you’re doing is a fantastic thing, and it can only help in the long run. Good luck, and I hope you get to go back to doing what you love so much very very soon.

Love
Rachel

Dear Pamie,

I’m a long-time reader and never written you anything, so here goes. I first heard of you on TwoP in your Gilmore Girls recaps, which I adored and was sad when you “retired” from recapping. Your site entries always have something clever to say, and you way of stringing words together to make something funny out of the seemingly mundane really showcases your writer’s talent.

I’m a freshman in college right now, majoring in journalism, and it is my dream to write a novel someday. You are one of the writers who has inspired me, I want you to know. I sincerely hope that the strike gets its writers everything they deserve. I wish you the absolute best.

Good luck,
Caitlin

Hi Pamie,

You may remember me from such dreams as: the one I had that you posted at the end of a Gilmore Girls recap years ago where we were having coffee and I told you Omar G got arrested for licking a bald guy’s head and giving him AIDS. (And honestly, I’d be really surprised if you do remember that, but it’s true, though I don’t have the energy to look through all the episodes to find it.) Like everyone else, I just wanted to let you know that I am so, so proud and inspired by you; I kind of always have been if you want to know the truth, and reading the events of the past week, it brings a tear to my eye and melts my heart.

When I read about it being your 7th anniversary on the day of the strike, your (much deserved!) successful show, and then the car crash, I felt for you in way I would feel for a close friend, and having read your journal (I REFUSE to use the word “blog”, we were before all that bullshit) for 8 years now I’m almost forced to call you that though I don’t know you in any traditional sense. Reading the events of the past week of your life, as heart breaking and unpredictable and completely fucked up as they are I thought to myself, “This is the plight of a writer, because you can’t write this shit, that’s why it happens to us.” I really believe it’s the blessing and the curse of a pen holder; we just have to look at it like, “Well if it’s going to happen to anyone at least it’s happening to me because damn, you can’t write this shit, all I can do is retell it somewhere.”

The best stories happen to us, and no good stories are without struggle and strife.

That’s how I know you guys will prevail; y’all are a part of something so powerful right now, it’s affects will be felt for generations and completely reshape the whole system forever. I couldn’t be more behind your cause, I’m in no place to picket (Minnesota? Not really.) but I signed a petition, and I plan on donating what I can to the online foundations being set up right now to help support you.

The only other good thing to come out of this so far is that you have more time to update your journal, and if I may speak for all your readers we’re very pleased to see more words from you and we’re all behind you 100 percent. So just know I’m there with you in spirit, red shirt and all; your strength and struggle is for not just the present but the benefit of the entire future. And the future is as close as tomorrow.

LYLAS,

Kehla

P.S. I totally had another dream with you in it the other night: we were posing undercover as prostitutes in a mall, and as funny as that sounds it was an awful dream that ended with me having to drive us home on a flat tire; it was not awesome. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Kehla, just two nights ago, Sara and I were wondering just how long we’d have to strike before we’d turn to prostitution to make ends meet. We both decided we’d start by working the pole, and then have another talk before we did anything that involved fluids.

(Did you watch this week’s House? Did you love Sara’s episode? How cool is it that we both wrote the episodes this week and we’ll both end up in the top Neilsen ratings lists? I know this strike stuff is crazy, but I never forget how lucky I am.)

Hello Pamela,

My name is Heidi Chambers and I’m the webmaster for the recently launched SamanthaWho.org. (I’ve also been GilmoreGirls.org’s webmaster for the last seven years.)

I would like to congratulate you on Samantha Who?’s success. I’m sure it feels amazing to be part of the most-watched new comedy of the fall. And if I had to guess, it’s probably very bittersweet to have the show start off so well, get a full-season pickup, and then end up having to strike all in a few short weeks.

Again, congrats on the success and as a lifelong fan of good television I support you all the way.

~Heidi Chambers

Hi Pamie,

I fully support you guys, and wish I could come out and strike too. I joined the lj community you posted earlier and am going to write letters this week.

The cover story Entertainment Weekly ran on the strike got me pretty upset, so I sent them the following letter. I doubt they will print it, but at least you all know I tried. I hope you post pictures of yourself beating up Perez Hilton soon too. Woo!

“I’m disgusted with your coverage of the WGA strike in your cover article. The cover image casts actors as hostages, which is unfair since the photos accompanying the store oddly seem to only feature actors – where are the writers? Most actors support the strike and those who don’t do so at their own peril since they soon face the same contract negotiations.

Digital media is the future and writers just want their fair share of that, not the 0% that they currently receive when entire episodes are viewed online. I’m boycotting online downloads during the strike and I’ll cancel my subscription to EW if it remains so unsympathetic – I can read it all for free online anyway.”

Carly

Rock on, Carly.

Pamie,

I just wanted to add my support to all your other readers and let you know how much I admire your hard work and passion in fighting to help TV and film writers get your fair share of DVD and online profits. I am going to join the boycott of DVD and online downloads until the strike is settled – and as someone who owns over 20 DVD sets from various TV shows, I’m the kind of impulse buyer that the studios rely on to make money from these DVD collections.

I’ve enjoyed the episodes of Samantha Who that have aired so far and am looking forward to your episode airing next week. Hopefully, the strike is settled soon so you and your co-workers can go back and keep building on the show’s early success.

Finally, I was glad to read you survived your scary car accident unharmed – maybe this is a sign you will survive the strike unscathed as well.

Take care,
Michael

Hi Pam,

I’ve been a little busy these past few weeks, but I’ve certainly been thinking of you and all the writers as you prepared to strike and went on strike and continue to strike. A lot has been said about people in other positions in the entertainment industry losing work over this. For all the uncertainty and unemployment and hiatuses and possible cancellations, I haven’t spoken to a single crew member, actor, or colleague who doesn’t support the writers. I certainly support you.

Thanks for standing up for what you deserve. It can’t be easy, and I hope you can get back to the work you love soon.

Laura

Hullo Pam

A friend of mine just linked me to your blog, where I saw your angry response to the Creative Screenwriting email.

In all fairness, I’m a freelancer who’s been working for Creative Screenwriting and CS Weekly a lot over the past year and a half, and I think you’re misreading one letter (granted, it’s pretty easy to misread) and ignoring all the very pro-strike things the magazine has been doing recently. The strike was our lead story in the latest CS Weekly online newsletter, which goes out to just shy of 100,000 readers. We were walking the picket lines on day one at Sony, Paramount, and Raleigh, trying to interview screenwriters who more often than not said the Guild had told them not to speak to journalists. I spent Tuesday on the phone with even more striking screenwriters, making sure their stories were told if they were willing to tell them.

Creative Screenwriting has set up an FAQ on our own website and has been trying to provide answers for non-guild writers who want to know if they have any options at all during the strike. I spent a solid day combing over the block of strike rules and prodding my guild friends for answers because, somewhat ironically, the WGA that you’re asking everyone to support has flat-out refused to respond to any rules questions from non-guild members.

Please don’t get me wrong. I completely support the strike and so does the entire staff of the magazine. To be terribly honest, it’s been a huge chore for most of us to maintain a sense of journalistic impartiality. But if you think it’s annoying to walk the lines and come home to a questionable email, imagine what it’s like being stonewalled for a week and a half by a group that you’re desperately trying to help and make look good to people across the country.

Oh, on a side note, very, very sorry to read about your crash. I was in a horrible one about three years ago and it was one of the most terrifying things I’ve been through.

Best of luck to you on the picket lines. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Cheers,

Pete Clines

Thanks, Pete. I’m glad the online edition of CS and the journalists over there are doing all they can. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help answer questions or get you through some red tape. I know it’s really difficult getting questions answered for non-Guild writers, but since that is one of my passions in this strike, I will do all I can to help you.

(Why can’t Perez Hilton be this classy?)

inbox, part four.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2007 · No Comments

Two hours into this, and I’m feeling much better. Thanks.

Hey Pamie.
I admire you for what you’re doing right now, I can’t imagine how hard it is. You are very strong and brave. I’m far away in Virginia, but sending you and the rest of the writers all the support in the world.

Keep standing up,

Ali

Pamie,

I’m glad you and the people in the other car are all okay. The world wouldn’t be nearly as nice a place without you. Three cheers for Honda and the inventors of the various safety features.

Until this all started, I had no idea the writers weren’t being paid for web reruns, much less that they weren’t being paid at all for webisodes. I also had no idea how little writers were getting for DVD sales. I am shocked and disturbed by this, and I am not going to give the leeches my money or eyes until they pay you all properly. You’re employees, not volunteers.

Apparently, the vast majority of Doonesbury readers feel the same.

Good luck, and stay safe.

Victoria

inbox, part three.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2007 · No Comments

Pamie,

You probably don’t remember me – I met you at the first journalcon – and we had written at the time (although I’d say the last time was … oh about 7 years ago) – I still have the tae bo tapes you sent me – not that I’m using them anymore.

I just wanted to let you know my thoughts are with you and stee and all your friends. It must be a frightening time for you all and yet you’re doing the right thing. Not only for yourselves but for all the other writers that will come along after you.

The whole situation isn’t getting a lot of coverage over here (in Ireland) in fact if it wasn’t for the internet I don’t think I’d now about it… Although we’re not friends, it’s weird to realise that I ‘know’ people directly affected by this strike. Enough that I worry and hope it all comes out ok. The fact that in this day and age strikes are still necessary is a scary, scary thing. It makes you wonder how far we’ve actually come.
I’ve always kept up with how you’re doing and was delighted to hear about Samantha Who, and kept checking to see when it was going to be aired over here. Hopefully it will all get sorted and at some point I’ll get to see it – or at least buy or download it (legitimately) and know you’re getting your well deserved residuals.

Keep fighting the good fight,
Joanne

I’ve been seeing lots of old, familiar names in my inbox lately. I can’t believe how many of us have stayed in touch here over the years. Maybe some of you are wanting to say hello to each other?

Hi, Pamie, I was so sorry to hear about your car accident – Christ, do I know what it’s like to have everything in your life go wrong all at once, and all I can say is that I hope the Vicodin is providing some solace. And I’m really happy to think that my last email might have brightened your day at least a little! Best of luck to you at the massive picket at Fox tomorrow. I wanted to be there as it’s very close to where I live, but my very tight wallet pretty much dictates that I not take a day off work. My next day off is Tuesday, though, and I’ll be walking the line at Disney on Alameda, as some of my writer friends assured me that I’m welcome even if I’m not a guild member. Most of my family and many of my friends still live back home in Chicago. It seems that the further away you get from SoCal, the less the strike is covered and the less people understand about it. I sent out a massive email tonight breaking things down into non-industry terms and explaining what they can do if they want to help bring a quicker end to this. (And I had to break it into two parts, because with my family, massive means massive – we’re Irish-Catholic on one side and Italian-Catholic on the other.) Thought it was worth pointing out the three things that are fairly easy for even the most casual of TV watchers to do:
1. Do not watch streaming episodes on any network’s website.

2. Do not download any television episodes from iTunes.

3. Should the strike last until January, that’s when most original programming is going to stop airing, because they’ll have run out of episodes. There are going to be a lot of reality TV series popping up in the interim – game shows and some really ridiculous generic reality shows that make Joe Millionare look like the freaking Sopranos. I’m respectfully requesting that you do not watch ANY of these, as it will hurt the ratings, and the more money the networks lose, the faster this will be resolved.

Keep your head held high!

Molly

inbox, part two.

Posted by on Nov 25, 2007 · No Comments

Happy birthday, Anna Beth. I miss you, old lady.

Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow’s negotiations… and for tomorrow night’s episode of Samantha Who? — which moves to its brand-new time slot at 9pm (8pm Central)! (Following the season finale of Dancing With the Stars!)

(My life is so very very very weird.)

Want even weirder? “The Hypnotherapist” episode of Samantha Who? is currently number 28 on iTunes. It’s the first time I’ve gone to check over there. This strike is bumming me out. Which is why I decided to plow back through the inbox, to give myself a little pep talk from all y’all. With Oprah’s “Favorite Things” episode playing in the background. And coffee. Yeah, I’m pulling out all the stops before Week Four.

I’m of mixed feelings here.

I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer since the moment that I first learned that the little squiggles on pages represented words and that those words could go inside of me and come out again, revealing thoughts and emotions and all kinds of things that were filled with magic and passion and life.

I’m also a ghost writer. I’ve ghost written screenplays and novels and non-fiction books. I get paid for my product, and that’s it. After that, someone else gets to do with it what they will. I merely used my talents to get the words out. (Yes, I’ve ghost written some screenplays and television shows that have earned the people who hired me a lot of money, and I didn’t see a dime of that. That’s fine, though — because I got paid for my initial product.)

When someone tells me that forty-eight percent of Guild writers are unemployed at any given time, my immediate response is: “So what?” Take a look at the rest of the country and ask me to shed a tear for the poor, unemployed writer. They’re unemployed because they want to be paid for living out their passion. The rest of the country is working at jobs they hate working at because that’s what you do when you have a family to support. Let’s face it — you think that someone like me enjoys getting next-to-nothing for writing a novel, while I’m also holding down two jobs? Of course not, but that’s what you do when you’re a grown-up.

Seems to me that a lot of the writers out there are babies.

The writers need to be careful here. As it is, more and more people are walking away from television and movies, and turning to the internet. But, they’re not turning to the internet to watch television and movies. They’re turning to the internet to watch “user content,” and some of it is really good. It’s the kind of good that might actually have gotten someone noticed if they had been able to get it into the right hands in the entertainment industry — but because the system is so closed, they couldn’t do it. (By the way, I’m not talking about myself here. That’s not my gig, but I know people who have more talent than the guys who wrote [edited to be kind -- p.], that’s for sure.)

Sorry if my thoughts are rambling but I’ve been pulling a double shift and I should be in bed, but I just clicked on a link that was talking about the strike and why writers are doing it and I just wanted to share with you the thoughts of the great unwashed from Texas.

On the other hand, though, I’ll admit that I love SAMANTHA WHO and to let you know that you’ve got a talented team there.

Regards,
Richard

Hi, Richard. I’ve thought a lot about your letter, and often, and I wanted to make sure to respond to it. I’m doing it publicly to show you that I really do care.

I started writing just as you did. Working on freelance projects, turning in a product and then never seeing it again, nor making any money off of it. I worked in Anime, creating the Americanized dub scripts for several series. Some made it to VHS and later DVD. They still sell them to this day. When you search my name on Amazon, it pulls up series I scripted, but I don’t get a dime off of that. But it helped me when I needed to earn enough money to come out here to Los Angeles and try to make a career out of writing. I wrote my first novel on unemployment, while hustling an assistant job for money under the table. I’ve written for the Internet for almost a decade now, and that’s money you can’t always count on. People used to tease me that I’ve got five jobs at any one time. That’s how you had to do it, to be a full-time freelance writer. To be able to afford the rent, the bills, self-employment health insurance, and all the things that come with the unpredictability of that kind of job. Was I whining that it was too hard, and was I being a baby? Not really. As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t another choice. I walked away from tech jobs. I stopped trying to make my website into an ad-blasting money machine. I didn’t give up performing, either.

But I didn’t start a family. And I had to leave Texas.

You and I made different choices in order to focus on what we had to do. We’ve both made sacrifices. We both went through hardships and financial difficulties. I don’t know you, so I can’t assume anything. I’m only going off of what you wrote here.

But here’s why I’m not being a baby. If your job was suddenly paying you less than you were supposed to earn, trying to roll back your health care and pension, and deciding which of your co-workers to supply health care and pension (namely, your upper management, but not you), and you decided to do something about that? I would fully support you. And it doesn’t matter what your career is, or where you work, or how much you make. You are entitled to a fair share of your business’ revenue.

Let’s go to the other extreme. Some jobs out there are extremely dangerous. To take them means to put your life at risk. You risk injury or even death. Does that mean someone who takes such a risky job shouldn’t complain when they’re injured? When something happens that requires health care or a pension? They knew that job was risky when they took it. Should I not feel for them when their families are struggling? When city ordinances or big business makes it harder for them to do their jobs, should I say if they don’t like it, they should get another job?

As for the Internet, and writers becoming obsolete with more and more people turning to user-created content — that’s why we’re striking. Not to save our jobs, but to protect those who will find themselves generating revenue and creating viable content for the Internet. Or soon you’ll find those same big companies owning those sites you love, and user-created content will turn into the same kind of work you and I used to do — but all of the revenue will be going back to those six companies. Do you really think it makes sense that the writers of the Emmy-award winning webisodes of The Office weren’t paid a single cent, when NBC makes money every time someone watches it?

The little guy needs someone to help them battle the big guy. That’s what the WGA is trying to do. That’s why we’re striking — not for ourselves, but for the writers that are going to be working here in the future. Most of the people walking the picket line won’t ever see the rewards of what we’re striking over. But someone who’s just starting out, hustling her ass off to make ends meet, hoping she can turn her passion into a career, hopefully after this strike is over, when she gets her big break, she’ll be entering an industry that protects her a bit more, and compensates her for the hard work and sacrifices she had to go through to be lucky enough to work.

It seems to me, the only way to be a baby is to complain without doing anything. I promise you, I’m doing everything I can to change what I perceive to be unfair. And the good news is, I’m not the only one doing everything I can. Unlike when I first started out in this business, I’m no longer alone. I’ve got thousands of people just like me, with the same drive and ambitions, all trying to reach the same goal. We’re not whining; we’re fighting.

The Forgotten Writers Strike of ’06.

Posted by on Nov 20, 2007 · No Comments

Dan wrote a piece for the LA Times about the series of mistakes made last year during the America’s Next Top Model strike that left him out on the street, holding a sign, wondering where the hell everybody went.

… I don’t forget, Dan. I never wear my red shirt without thinking of the first time I wore it: for you. I still wear it for you.

inbox. part one.

Posted by on Nov 18, 2007 · No Comments

I just realized I’ve had my underwear on backwards all day. I know I’ve lost some weight in the strike, but shouldn’t I have noticed that?

Also, I’m starting to worry that my skin is going to become a permanent shade of pink from all the red clothing I’m wearing these days.

United Hollywood is asking you to send pencils to show your solidarity.

The “Voice of the Crew” website for Below the Line workers is calling for a rally on December 2nd. Follow the link for more information.

If you’re looking to participate with us this coming Tuesday, we’re having a Labor Solidarity march down Hollywood Boulevard.

OK, so – first off – I don’t know who it was but whomever came up with ” … and I’m a pirate” in last night’s episode should get a raise. or, at least, a dinner or something.

sorry i havent written sooner but I’ve been stymed in my past attempts to watch Samantha. the first couple times i tried, i just ended up watching scary spice or dr. quinn dance. i’ve seen two episodes so far and just wanted you to know how much i’m enjoying it.

so what exactly does a ‘story editor’ do? how will the show be affected by the strike? how many episodes did y’all have in the can (look at me being all inside with the lingo and whatnot)? does it help that y’all were picked up for a full season before the strike? did writers work on episodes with the knowledge that there would prolly be a strike (i.e., w/shorter story archs or whatever)?

also, does the WGA cover all writers or just american writers? if it goes on a long time, can … like … tom stoppard be a scab writer for ugly betty or something? are show runners also writers?

do you just walk the strike lines all day? doesn’t that get dull? or are there like other strike-activites or something?

ok – sorry about all the questions. just curious.

good luck on everything and have fun storming the castle,
dave

All good questions, Dave, which is why I’m posting your letter and answering it here. Here we go.