Friday, November 16, 2007


We have all done it. Unable to suppress the urge, commented on some action or situation in the world.

I stepped into it, just like that shoe-seeking steaming pile of doggie download, lurking on every street. You bury your foot in it due to not paying attention. In this case, the street being the internet and the pile being my 2 cents worth of commentary on the Clooney-Fabio debacle.

Then I had to add some commentary about small versus big when it comes to a fight. People just don't get it. Just because someone works out and has an athletic body doesn't make them a fighter. Never has, never will. Size has nothing to do with it.

Attitude, baby, attitude.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Take Your Child to the Picket Line!

I can see it now...


A man takes his young son by the hand and joins a picket line. Taking a sign from a strike captain, he bends down to his son. He points at the nearby news crew.


Son, hold this sign and smile for the man with the TV News camera.


A studio exec stares at the TV coverage of WGA strikers picketing the front gate. The camera pans, then zooms in on a small child. The exec slowly lowers his head to the polished teak table and starts to gently pound it with his forehead.


If what I am reading is correct, today is ‘Take Your Child to the Picket Line Day’ for the WGA strike;

I hope that this happens and is not some internet rumor. This could be the key to bringing everyone back to the table to resolve this strike.

FINALLY, this could be some positive news. These children are the faces of the future. If this doesn’t get some front page/headline/lead story action, then nothing will. The kids get to see mom and dad out on the front lines, trying to keep bread on the table.

As for the studios, well, how are they going to counter this? Put Bambi at the gate? Have the lion eat a couple of kids? Will they just go fishing? How about Mickey giving out some hugs?

This is gonna be a tough one to counter for the production companies and the studio suits.

The PR flacks have to be weeping into their cappuccinos right about now.

God, I love writers!

There is nothing more powerful than imagination.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


When news like this makes the internet, you have to ask, “Who’s withholding the meds?” When will the pain stop, doctor?

Heavyweight babe magnets like this don’t usually duke it out for nothing. They could damage their faces, not to mention potential ego erosion.

To hear that these two could possibly butt heads was almost too much. I guess that Fabio hasn’t heard that he doesn’t have much of a career now and Clooney's doesn't need any explanation.

Clooney always acted like a normal dude who gets to lead a movie star life when I saw him. He seems to be in every other movie coming out now or producing it. Can you say “Hollywood powerhouse”? Fabio would like to do one movie that’s 1/10th as good as the worst of what Clooney has done. What exactly has Fabio done lately?

Sure, you think that size has it’s advantages, but it really doesn’t in a fight. I don’t know if Fabio rides or not, but Clooney does. After laying down his Harley recently, he got back on the bike and rode to the hospital. That right there gives him points. As for the actual fisticuffs in the restaurant, I would have to have seen it to be able to comment on. Reports vary on what actually happened, maybe no punches were thrown at all.

I know one thing. When it comes to a fight, I prefer fighting a dude bigger than me. It’s the small, quick, little fornicators that can hurt you. When I’m up against a big guy, it’s more target area. It also helps if they figure that I can’t see when I take my glasses off.

Don’t let Clooney’s size fool you Fabio…it’s always embarrassing to get your ass handed to you by a small dude with a bigger attitude. George is from Kentucky. I’ve lived among and fought with those people, I know what they’re like. They’re almost as mean as a Tennessee Volunteer.

WGA Strike, For Whom The Blogs Boil

I don’t spend my time online reading every blog that’s out there. No one could do that, even if they had never-tiring eyeballs and didn’t need sleep. So, there will be those who are going to find fault with what I write here. Good for you. You’re entitled to your opinion, even if it’s tainted by ego, greed, lust, money or fame. You could also be one of the TV/screenwriters who is now on the picket lines. I would like to hear what you think.

It’s almost fun, reading the blogs of the Hollywood writers. They go on and on about their travails and how they are perceived by those of us in the hinterlands. Writers who live in the fly over states can’t be too smart, can they? If the state of TV and movie entertainment is any comment on intelligence, then it doesn’t take much to be a writer in LA, except, of course, the right connections.

We, of course, are too ignorant to ‘get it’. IF we did, we would all move to LA, NYC or ….Wait a minute. Let’s not get into another round of ‘beat up our fellow writers’. Let’s look at what is NOT being done to make this situation better.

DVDs: You’re kidding me, right? IF I understand this correctly, you get about 3% on a DVD? Who the hell sold you down the river on this deal? Hell, you’re agent gets 10-15%, why should you get less for your writing?

Rewrites: Work done over, if done at the request of some clown in a suit, should be paid for, per page, period. Who the hell let this get out of control?

Residuals: Get paid for every play, no matter the venue, media or method. Other companies call this 'profit sharing'. The only place where a person can see things for free is in a library. They are there for the common good.

Pension: I burnt up my body to make you money, so I deserve to retire and enjoy my old age.

Health Care: See 'Pension' above, but it’s now about day to day maintenance. You take care of your car, don’t you? Tell me that the studios and producers don’t have health care. Hey, these guys remind me of Congress! You should see their benefits.

Yes, that’s the short list. I didn’t touch contract specifics or any of the other nuance stuff that’s out there. Here’s another list, it might get you thinking…

Negotiations: Once they tell you they won’t pay your price, raise it, every day. They’ll laugh at first. Just explain to them that it costs you money every day and them also. If they threaten to replace you, which they can legally do, then you up the ante. Tell them you know where they live. You outnumber them. Smile wickedly when you say it.

Promotion: Get the public on your side. Very little is being done about this, from what I can see of it. What I do see is not very flattering for writers.

Band together: It amazes me to read some of these blogs and see how people are more interested in urinating on each other than trying to make this a cohesive effort. You’re coming across like squabbling school kids.

Show some Class: This means acting like you’re responsible adults. College prank antics and comments are great, if you’re still a freshman, Michael Eisner or G. Bush.

Be Cool: Nothing shows power like being cool. Don’t get mad, just smile, better yet, work on that evil grin. It drives them nuts. Think Steve McQueen.

So, you’re reading this, thinking; "What the hell makes you think you know anything about this stuff?" Simple, my fellow writers. Not only have I been a Teamster, I helped organize the union in a shop I worked in up in Ohio. I have walked the picket lines. I have been in negotiations with management. To relate my experiences would take at least a chapter or two.

Later, I had to deal with a company that I worked for on an employment contract in Europe. This stuff is all covered in my book; "Going Dutch, Trials of a Wage Slave".

Please DON’T buy this book! It’s a minor thing about how I’m getting ready to rewrite and update it. Believe it or not, you can have a contract and still get screwed by the company. Even after getting a court judgment.

You have to go at this situation with a willingness to lose. Someone has to in this deal. This time though, it better not be the writers. IF the WGA loses this, then all Americans lose.


Because you are the last hopes of those of us who have seen our jobs and work outsourced across the world. Read my previous posts on this topic. Don’t think that it can’t be done to you!

I read some of the other blogs and they accept the idea that Vancouver is now a TV and movie center. It wasn’t the last time the WGA went on strike and it’s indicative of how things have changed in the world.

I have no problem with people doing work, anywhere in the world. My problem is with the people who claim that they are making life better for everyone, while stuffing their pockets and then ripping the bread out of the mouths that provide them with services.

The claims that they are ‘risking it all’ to build the business or studio. So what? Life is about risk. No one is insulated from it, nor can you plan for every event or contingency.

Working for little or no money is the new slavery. It crosses all lines, economic, racial, cultural and all borders. Don’t empower those who advocate it.

A day’s wage for a day’s work, with residuals, pension and healthcare for all!

Get back to work, you’ve got something to write.

Meeting Lew Hunter and Sherri Sanders

Contrary to what you might think, there are people with real power in this neck of the woods. I’m not talking about the ones with .50 caliber weapons, I mean those who actually know someone and can influence them to ‘come on down and sit a spell’ here in the backwoods. In this neck of the woods, we have been blessed with a fine human being, a great person and she’s a writer!

Sherri Sanders decided to leave LA and move back home. Home now being about 15 miles south of me, even though she grew up just down the road. We met through a friend at a local library who is also an author. OK, local in that this library is 22 miles away and the one closest to me is 17 miles. People wonder why I only leave the farm every week to ten days or so. It’s pretty simple. Time and gas prices. It cuts into my writing.

So, Sherri and I begin to email each other about the Lew Hunter workshop that she is going to put on in Selmer, TN. That’s right, a small town that most people wouldn’t notice if they drove through it. 3,900 some people just don’t impress those who have lived in cities of millions. I’m intrigued, how the hell did she get a major Hollywood screenwriting icon to show up down here?

In August I broke my foot and it’s slowed me down. I have farm work to do before it gets really cold and I know that I can’t do the workshop. This really tears me up, as I have traveled to NYC and LA just to attend workshops, seminars and other writing events. So, I’m only going to attend the Friday night meet and greet.

One the appointed day, 2 November, I shut down early at the shop. After cleaning up, I make the trek to Selmer. Most of the writers were early, some of them had driven from across Tennessee, which is a journey of about 350 miles. Others have come in from Mississippi. This is great! I didn’t realize that we had such a diverse group, ranging from college students to farm-types to musicians and professionals, even a doctor.

Lew and his lovely wife, Pamela, show up and immediately charm the group. I thought he was an extremely brave man from the outset, wearing a red Nebraska sweatshirt, right here in the heart of Volunteer country. We didn’t go into the football stuff too much. I don’t follow the game now. It’s become too commercial for me.

After doing the ‘your name, your game’ scenario, Lew launched into giving us an idea about his life in Hollywood and screenwriting in general. This sort of thing always fascinates me, as each person will recount their experiences and give you something on which to base your future plans. It also fires me up to keep writing.

Lew and Pamela outlined the workshop projects for the weekend and then talked about various influences on them. How Billy Wilder impressed Lew and his classes at UCLA. Concerns about the WGA strike, which unfortunately, is now going on all over the country. What really impressed me though, was throughout it all, Lew kept emphasizing that we could do this. We could work as writers.

I’ve been to seminars where the speaker has stood up in front of 800+ people and told them that in five years, probably none of them would be writing movies in Hollywood. Which might be true. It sure doesn’t give a person hope though, does it? I had just spent major bucks, flown over 1,000 miles and then I hear this? Should have stayed on the farm? Not likely.

Not everyone will become a screenwriter, some of us will go on to do other things, some of it will be in the realm of writing. Those who only do it for a hobby still get the satisfaction of completing the work. Just as long as you write.

I might be down here, miles from nowhere, but you’re reading this, wherever you are.

Thanks, Lew, Pamela and Sherri. I had a great time. You really fired me up. Let’s all get back to our writing.