If you live in the 310, 323 or 818 you haven’t been able to avoid talk of Hollywood’s labor strife during the past month — at the gas station, at the dry cleaners, at the dentist, at the gym, etc. — it’s all anyone’s talking about. But the strike drone hit a fever pitch this ayem on the beautiful grounds of Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills, where my non-pro friend and I were trying to soak up some outdoorsy time with our 6-year-olds.
As is often the case, the moms and dads pushing kids on the swings and applauding the acrobatic feats on the jungle gym at Roxbury this morning were a microcosm of this company town. And “grim” is the only way to describe the reaction to last night’s blow up in the talks after the AMPTP threw down its gauntlet.
Based on the unscientific survey of a prominent talent manager, a showbiz lawyer and a senior veepee-level TV creative exec at an AMPTP studio, the sense is that the studios over-acted in a big way with its hyperbolic statement that the WGA’s contract demands could lead to “the destruction of this business.” “That’s why they call it a negotiation, stupid,” in the words of the lawyer.
But there’s almost as much concern about the motivations and modus operandi of WGA titans, particularly WGA West exec director David Young, who has been a lightning rod for the guild’s critics. Still, the view from the playground is that the WGA has won another round in the court of public opinion, if only because the AMPTP was the first to leave the table.