I walk the line December 17th, 2007

Did you see me on TV, or read any of the articles? Here’s one from the Santa Fe New Mexican:


That’s me, a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, walking a picket line – not in New York, not in L.A., but in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The New Mexico film industry is growing by leaps and bounds, thanks to the unwavering leadership of Governor Bill Richardson, and a supportive state legislature. Loans and subsidies are leading cost-conscious productions to our state, state of the art studio facilities have been and are being built, crews have been and are being trained, and the amazing New Mexico landscape has been clinching the deal. Productions are way up, and the state is raking in the cash.

I’ve heard that our state is third in U.S. film productions, after only LA and NY. Not bad.

Any NM writer hates to interfere with this momentum, as we all benefit. But there is a strike on, and we’re part of it.

Our merry band of isolated writers decided that it was wrong to sit this one out while the NM Film Office blithely asserted to the press that the writers’ strike isn’t affecting New Mexico. If the big studios profit by these New Mexico films, and if film production in the more populous writer-states of California and New York has become difficult to maintain when ringed by picket lines, why should we give the big studios an open door policy in the middle of our desert?

On Friday we took our message to Albuquerque, where a major film was

being shot at a downtown location. We writers were joined on the picket line by actors, by novelists, by students, by university professors, and by TEAMSTERS. The film crew watched us with curiosity and, we later found, quiet but unwavering support. The IATSE members and the SAG members all personally voiced their support for the writers and our strike action.

Nobody likes this strike, but everybody wants to see the writers get a fair deal. Everybody realistically sees this strike as truly the only choice we have, the last stand for the union itself. If the writers cave on the internet, we may as well give up our health care, our pension, our guaranteed minimums, and our ability to share in profits, as will the actors and the directors after us. If we cave on this strike we will give up everything two generations of Hollywood writers before us sacrificed for.

I feel like such a rabble rouser! I grew up playing the banjo and singing union songs because those were the songs you learned when you learned how to play the banjo.

But until I crossed the street with the picket line last Friday, crossed from the far sidewalk to the near one, crossed the growing police presence (who two days before had threatened us with arrest and jail) with a sense of uncertainty and some fear, I had never actually walked the line before. I talked the talk, but now, with my head high and my picket sign flapping in the brilliant New Mexico sun, I was walking the walk.

Feels good.


Comment by christopher
2008-02-06 18:58:42

way to go danny. that’s very cool that you guys made a statement there. im not a wga writer, but i’ve walked the line a couple of times out here in los angeles. you guys are fighting for rights i hope to share in sometime so i felt i should contribute if i could. and since no one else had commented i thought it should be said!

btw, your comment form label says URI instead of URL. is that on purpose?

Comment by danny
2008-02-07 09:25:27

Thanks, Christopher, on behalf of all workers, creative or less so, whom I polled for this response. Hopefully it will all be over soon.
The “URI” is supposed to ping you directly to the University of Rhode Island, but if you wish to leave a URL, just like everybody else does, feel free.
Hey – you have a great site. I plan to visit back and leave my two cents worth when inspired.

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