Fade in. Ext. Paramount Pictures – Day.
Like any memorable Act Three plot twist, we never saw it coming. As Hollywood writing partners who have collaborated on nine scripts together over the past five years, we’re forced to spend a lot of time together. Like hostages without a bank robbery. As a result, we can talk about anything for hours. And we mean anything. Not just movie ideas. We once had a full five-minute debate about how burned a piece of toast would have to be before neither one of us would eat it. We’ve weathered the ups and downs of show business, but after nearly two months on the WGA picket line and sixty-plus hours of walking in a circle together, the unthinkable happened: we ran out of conversation. We trudged silently, unsure where to go from here.
Long ago, on Day One of the strike, we chose Paramount as our picketing location. (Nothing personal, Paramount. You’re a closer commute. And you have free parking.) Sure, we were worried about being unemployed and broke, but we support our union and as comedy writers, we’d “find the funny” in picketing. When life hands you a lemon, peel off a twist, plop it into your martini, and look at the upside (the martini helps here). We’d absorb some fresh air and Vitamin D instead of sitting behind a computer all day. We’d meet single men (the WGA is 70-something% male, after all). We’d rub elbows with A-list writers, dazzling Aaron Sorkin with off-the-cuff improvised rants like “We won’t stop screamin’ til you pay us for streamin’!” and soothing our aching feet at post-picket pedicures with Susannah Grant.
Or, at the very least, get a wacky Christmas card picture out of it.
We must confess something. We dressed up for our first 10-2 PM shift. No jeans or oversized red WGA XXL T-shirts for us. If we hoped to romantically tangle picket signs in a meet-cute with the single male creator of a hit syndicated TV show (insert title card: “Love on the Line”), then makeup and an attractive ensemble were in order. One of us even wore boots.
This plan got a major rewrite ten minutes after we signed in. . . .
1 hour ago