Breaking Carson Daly…

OK, so, on my way home from a long day of Daly-watching, I got word that a group of hard-core stikers was going to meet at 6:30pm to make some noise in an area just beyond the outdoor stage where Carson Daly tapes his musical acts.

Politely termed an “action”, our goal was to make as much noise as possible in the hopes of disrupting the taping of the live concert portion of Carson’s show on the other side of the wall.

More Carson Daly picket signs @ the WGA “action” on NBC Burbank (Nov. 29, 2007)

Even though we had a screening scheduled, Christine and I ditched the movie, donned our WGA finery (actually, I was still donning mine) and headed out to the picket line. All I can say is wow, they weren’t kidding when they said they wanted to make some noise…this thing was insane!

Louder, rowdier, and filthier (some of the strike captains actually swore at Carson on the megaphones!) than anything I’ve seen on the picket lines to date, everything about this after-hours “action” was downright thrilling. This is what down and dirty picket lines are all about, amigos!

We were so loud that my ears are still ringing, and trust me, our Carson Daly catcalls earlier in the day couldn’t hold a candle to the “spirited” R-rated chants we hurled his way tonight. My two favorite one word chants were: “Scab!” repeated like, a hundred times, and “Hack!” repeated a hundred more. Suffice to say, it was pretty bruising out there.

Carson Daly picket signs @ the after-hours “action”, NBC Burbank (Nov. 29, 2007)

It got so wild at one point, that this Mike Tyson doppelgänger (who I kind of doubt was even a WGA member) asked me to help hoist him over the wall so he could: “Rip Carson Daly in half!” And lemme tell ya, this dude was NOT kidding!

Christine (wisely) advised me not to help the gentleman over the wall. And it was a good thing too as the Burbank PD showed up a few seconds later to ask us to move back a bit. We did as we were told and armed with musical instruments (airhorns, drums, maracas, tambourines, even a bugle!), megaphones and passion, we burned that place to the ground. Um…figuratively, of course.

And though we didn’t stop the show — the band Soldier Boy was the musical guest, and they kept right on singing and dancing despite the melee nearby — we definitely put a kink in it’s production schedule. And in the end, it’s costly financial delays like that that will help get the AMPTP’s attention.

If making money is all they’re concerned with, then we’ll start costing them some more right away… one rattly maraca at a time! Go, union!

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Breaking Carson Daly…

  1. Ginger

    Thank goodness for Christine, who was there to keep you from potentially visiting the place that only allows you one phone call…yikes!

  2. dan

    the image you describe of angry writers acting like thuggish bullies is a disturbing one. the kind of “action” that you describe is not something that should bring pride to the union. there is no dignity nor professionalism in such action. the strike should end and writers should get back to writing. have a problem with management, TALK to those folks. y’all pay dues to union management so that they’ll NEGOTIATE, right? breaking agreements and harrassing other folks who are trying to make a living is no way to get one’s point across. bullying writers is an ugly image.

  3. yeti9000

    Dear Carson Daly-

    Thanks so much for your comments. 🙂 Just kidding. While I understand and appreciate your point of view, Dan, I have to respectfully disagree with you. I can assure you that everyone I’ve met on the picket lines, TV, Film and even game show and reality writers (whose work is rarely if ever covered by Guild contracts) would like nothing more than to get back to work. And once we are offered a fair, equitable deal, we will. But not a moment before that.

    You’re right about negotiating being essential to getting this thing solved, but up till now, the AMPTP has not played fair once and many of us have frankly grown weary of sitting idly by while they dick us around. Our leaders have been extremely flexible with the companies (even removing the coveted DVD proposal from the table on the eve of the strike) and the AMPTP have continued to disrespect us at every turn and have left us, in effect, negotiating with ourselves.

    For example, let me share with you one of the more galling “economic partnership” proposals they floated our way last night.

    For streaming television episodes, the AMPTP proposed a residual structure of a single fixed payment of less than $250 for a year’s reuse of an hour-long program (compared to over $20,000 payable for a network rerun). $250 for the right to play a WGA written show ad nauseum online for an entire year. In what universe does that sound fair to you?

    For theatrical product (which is of the upmost importance to a feature writer like myself) they are offering no residuals whatsoever for streaming online. So, essentially, “economic partnership” means, we get nothing? Wow…thanks, partner.

    And perhaps the most most shocking proposal of all concerns the companies assertion that they can deem any reuse of a WGA written show or movie online “promotional,” and pay no residual (even if they replay the entire film or TV episode and even if they make money off it). Huh??

    These are not sound proposals here, these are rollbacks, plain and simple. And in the mind of many of us, they are downright insulting.

    Which brings us back to Carson Daly. His actions of late could be interpreted as “brave” by some (I mean, he is securing the jobs of his 75-plus member crew) but setting up a joke hotline is a painful slap in the face to the four WGA writers that have been with him from the beginning.

    I encourage Daly (and Ellen for that matter) to take a cue from more established talk show hosts like Leno, Letterman, Conan O’Brien and even Daly’s longtime friend and mentor Jimmy Kimmel. These guys are staying “dark” for the duration of the strike because that is the quickest way to immediately impact the companies bottom lines. Which seems to be the only thing they care about right now.

    This is undoubtedly painful for these talk show hosts as well, and yet they remain devoted to the cause and know that there is strength in numbers. We are all in this together and the sooner the AMPTP realizes that and gets serious with us at the bargaining table, the sooner this strike will end.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  4. you big bully! 🙂

  5. Wan

    The writers are angry and they deserve to be. As a laid off television crew member, I am angry with Carson and Ellen. Crossing the line may save the jobs of the people who work for their respective shows, but by going back to work instead of standing strong, they may have lengthened the strike (for the rest of the town that is unemployed) by continuing to produce new shows.
    If people are brave enough to refuse to cross, it becomes more likely that the AMPTP will take the WGA seriously, thus beginning a true negotiation to END THE STRIKE. If Ellen and Carson are willing to cross a picket line, they deserve the heckling and the protesting because what they are doing is wrong.

  6. yeti9000

    Mmhmm…that’s right, Wan! You tell it!

  7. dan

    >The writers are angry and they deserve to be.
    Wan,
    As a writer I am concerned that the writers union may be broken by this job action. Does it matter if the writers are rightfully angry and upset if they no longer have jobs? When the union goes on strike, the union itself becomes an issue. I hope the union leadership cancels the strike and goes back to the table and sends the membership back to work. While the writer demands appear reasonable, there seems to be a dearth of pragmatism and an excess of anger. I hope the strike ends quickly so that folks can go back to work. I would hate to see a lockout happen.

  8. “As a writer I am concerned that the writers union may be broken by this job action”

    Click on Dan’s name in the post above and be taken to his blog, where he suggests we now need “mall marshalls” like air marshalls, so that we can safely go to KB toys, and maybe pick up a Mrs. Fields or two without the danger of a random shooting.

    Dan, just how many mall shootings do we have a year? Maybe you could just have your mommy take you to the mall and save us the trouble.

    Grow up,
    Damon

    “The man who would trade essential liberty for some temporary safety deserves neither.”
    Benjamin Franklin (my hero)

  9. yeti9000

    Hey, Damon. Thanks for your comments, man…good stuff!

    As for myself, I didn’t respond to Dan’s comments for two reasons. One: I think I answered most of his concerns, in depth, with my last reply to him. And two: I know I answered most of his concerns, in depth, with my last reply. So, rather than reply all over again, I did nothing. But your impassioned comments have really stoked my fire, brother. So, here, at last, is my re-reply to Dan…

    As someone who has been on the picket lines every day since this strike began six weeks ago, I can assure you, Dan, the union is no danger of breaking. In fact, I have never felt a stronger sense of community in this town…EVER. We are united in our cause and it is not only a just cause, it is a really basic one.

    If we give away the internet, we will never ever get it back. It’s that simple. And as much as our leaders would love to “cancel the strike” and return to the table, I must remind you that we have never once left the table. The AMPTP would have you, and the world, believe otherwise, but trust me when I tell you, Dan, that we have never once been the first party to abandon that negotiating table.

    In fact, just before Nick Counter led the AMPTP exodus from the room on Friday, the WGA negotiating committee floated the idea of working night and day through the holidays to get this thing settled quickly. And, well, you can see where that got us…

    The AMPTP are the ones who left the table, the AMPTP are the ones wreaking havoc on this town by refusing to even negotiate with us until we remove pretty much all of our core issues from the table, and once the advertisers start pulling their money from the sea of mind-numbing filler shows on the air (as they are rumored to be readying to do), the AMPTP are the ones who will return to the negotiating table in earnest.

    Yes, we are angry, Dan. But we are also right. If the AMPTP had engaged in actual negotiations from the get-go, rather than the union busting theatrics they’ve been force feeding America through their so-called “news” divisions, we would not be in the position we are in right now. It really is that simple.

    And finally, though I haven’t read your post on Mall Marshals, I gotta say, I don’t place much blame for what happened in Omaha on mall security.

    It’s called gun control. And until we make some radical changes in this country, we will continue to live our lives at the mercy of every screwed up kid with a grudge and a gun.

    That’s why I do most of my Christmas shopping at Amazon. Well, that and the free shipping of course…:)

    Thanks again for your comments everyone, and que viva Ben Franklin!

  10. Dan

    In classic fashion, y’all miss the point entirely on the Ben Franklin quote and of my discussion of the mall shootings in Omaha. There is no suggestion anywhere in any of Ben Franklin’s writings or public record that he would sacrifice the Revolution or the new country of the United States in order to preserve liberty by sacrificing security. The key point is this, without security, adequate and effective, the country itself is at risk especially in the midst of an existential war (like the one we are in today), and if security is ineffective then the country could fall. Without a country to secure, there will certainly be no liberty to protect. That is my point about the writer’s strike. If the writers, righteously indignant as they are, regardless of the rightness of their positions, continue the strike they put their jobs, their union, and the entertainment industry itself at risk. Management has said that they will not allow the writers to destroy the enterprise. They will find other means and other writers to produce their content. This would break the union. If writers and their union leaders understood this relationship between management and production they would end the strike and go back to work and back to the table. The point I made about the mall shooting is that if an armed guard had been there, he/she may have been able to engage the killer and end the tragedy. In addition, if the coward killer had known there were armed people there he may not have gone there to kill people in the first place. The case in Colorado the other day proves my point. A mass murderer was stopped by a lady with a gun. If she had not been there the church leadership said that hundreds of people could have been killed. Gun ownership is still a Constitutional guarantee and is a fundamental part of our democracy. This has nothing to do with “growing up” or being afraid to go out in public, it is merely a pragmatic response to an unpleasant truth.

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