Something For Everyone (Because this IS home.)

Over the past month I’ve had two encounters where I’ve been talking with friends I haven’t seen in a while — both of whom I know outside the industry but work inside it — when they said to me, “I thought you went home.”

“No, no, I’ve always been here,” I said.

“You didn’t go home and then come back?” Both of them said that, with a cock of the head. “I could’ve sworn I’d heard you left.”

Both of these people are Facebook friends, which pulls from my Twitter feed. This means I’m not doing a very good job of representing myself lately. And yes, I do a lot of work I’m not allowed to publicly discuss, and I’ve learned important lessons in my million years on the web about what is and isn’t wise to share on the Internet, so I probably err on the side of not enough information.

It has been a very busy year, so I’ll try and give something for everyone here. A little work update for those of you who enjoy reading about the writing life, a little bit of baby info, for those of you who want to know the latest on Qwerty, and finally for those of you who just want to know what Mom’s up to next, a little something special. Continue reading

inbox, part five.

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.

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[readermail]
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
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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
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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!

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[readermail]
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
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[readermail]
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
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[readermail]
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
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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!)

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[readermail]
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
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[readermail]
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
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[readermail]
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.
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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.)

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[readermail]
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
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[readermail]
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
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Rock on, Carly.

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[readermail]
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
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[readermail]
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
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[readermail]
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
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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?)

The Office Is Closed.

Day Three on the line. The sun comes out and hits us pretty hard halfway through the shift, so I followed the lead of another strike captain who brought Trivial Pursuit cards to the line to pass out to circling picketers.

I brought a sleeve of Pop Culture edition and shouted, “Without you, this stack of cards wouldn’t exist! If you find yourself or a friend of yours mentioned in this card, please shout BINGO, because you win!”

I’ve got fifty people on my line, give or take. Fifty random people of the 12,000 in the guild. And within an hour, we had a bingo. Christine Zander, a writer on Samantha Who? found an episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun, which was written by her as a question on the card.

Justine Bateman joined our line today. Wearing her SAG shirt, and walking the circle. Continue reading

Classy.

Wednesday night I had planned on updating, but my Queer as Folk forum was attacked with a two-hour case of trolls which took a manibajillion years to clean out on a dial-up. By midnight, I was way too pissed off to update.

That was the night of Funky Chicken, a chicken I took out of the fridge to cook, and found that it had somehow completely rotted on the trip from Trader Joe’s to home. The entire house smelled of foul fowl. It was not a good night, on the whole.

Thursday I was rehearsing at night, writing during the day. I’m trying to finish this screenplay and I’m at the part in the writing process where I hate it so much that I now have to just force myself to finish it. I hate every line, every character and every scene. I wonder why I even bother. I can’t stand the thought of people reading it. By tomorrow, I plan to have the first draft done. Then by Monday, the revision. That’s the plan, anyway. I have to torture myself or it won’t be finished. Hey, hey, Friday night, how cool are you? By Monday I’ll be protective of the script, but right now — hatred.

Continue reading