At times, analyzing the tea leaves in Hollywood, it can feel like you're swallowing your own head trying to discern meaning from the residue at the bottom of the cup.
And then there are times like this when it feels like history has arrived on your doorstep, and despite the attempts to make it seem that nobody is home, history wants to come in.
Whatever results from the upcoming WGA negotiations — win, lose or draw for the writers — the outcome of what happens in the next weeks, with a May 1 deadline set to avert a walkout, is going to set the course for the industry financially and creatively for a long time to come.
Last week, I shared my thoughts on what's driving us to this showdown and some possible outcomes. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback, convincing me that the consequence of what lies ahead can’t be overstated.
Today, I talk to the writers themselves as they are the ones who, if push comes to shove, are going to have to make the leap into the abyss.
I spent a few days working the phones, interviewing 20-plus Hollywood writers. I avoided writers who have been prominently active in Guild affairs, speaking out on social media, etc., as I wanted to hear from the silent-ish middle.
If you talk to 20 WGA members about an issue, you walk away with 150 opinions, so their perspectives don't boil down to an easy takeaway — particularly as the Guild is still formulating its plan and asks. But if I had to pick one word, I’d go with “resolute.” Across the experience spectrum, just about all the writers I talked to seemed determined to see this through.
Brace yourself. Here's a little of what they told me: