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Big turnout at 20th Century Fox today

Big turnout on the picket lines at 20th Century Fox today.

At least 150-200 folks making the loop outside the main gate on Pico Boulevard (the honk-per-car ratio was pretty strong too, as my still-ringing ears can attest) and several dozen more manning the Fox Plaza entrance on Avenue of the Stars. Among the notables on duty in the late morning included Paul Haggis, Akiva Goldsman, Steve Levitan, David Shore, Carol Flint and Larry Gelbart, who recalled picketing outside the studio back in ’72 after the first season of “M*A*S*H.”

“My legs aren’t what they were back then,” Gelbart observed.

The response on the front lines to the implosion Monday of the Golden Globes kudocast? The general sentiment seemed to boil down to: Too bad for the nominees, but the town needs to know that the WGA is serious.

“It draws more attention to the cause and it lets the general public know (the strike) is real and it’s happening,” said scribe Joe Sachs, who was standing next to a large canvas “Honk for Writers” banner that he has been toting around to various picket sites. “The big media companies could step in and settle this in a day if they wanted to.”

With the headlines about the WGA’s deal with UA in the paper’s today, a number of pickets expressed optimism about the guild’s progress on interim deals with smaller companies. In the view of the rank-and-file, those deals show that WGA is not all that unreasonable, and putting some scribes back to work, and some film projects back in play, will over time and with volume, put pressure on the majors.

But at the same time, there was an unmistakable sentiment that the pending DGA negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers may possibly yield a breakthrough for scribes. It felt like a subtle shift from the sentiment last month of “the DGA can’t negotiate for us!” to “Hey, if the DGA can come up with a good deal, more power to them.” Or in the words of one picket: “They can take the ‘A deal by’ credit, I don’t care. We’d all love nothing more than to go back to work.”

–Cynthia Littleton