WGA Strike: Day 35: Story time!
In Which we Discover how the Golden Girls helped make stuff we like
Have you ever written anything? I don't mean like a letter or a note, but something long, something good. Sure, you think you could. A lot of people do. But unless you're actually writing something, you're not a writer. Writing is really time consuming. It's not just about fun and ideas. It's about forcing yourself to sit down, get off the phone, the internet, the Wii, get away from books, family and friends and make something that wasn't there before. It can be very hard (though not at all impossible) to do this while working. And since part of being a writer in Hollywood is about not having a job all the time, you might as well make lemonade out of lemons and use that time to work.
I think very few people can make a real living off of residuals. But inbetween the writing the running around town doing interviews, making calls, harassing friends and enemies, networking (and not getting paid for any of it) it's nice that something you made can give back to you a little.
Our first story is the infamous Marc Cherry story. Marc Cherry was a story editor on Golden Girls. He wrote 11 episodes of that show. Then between 1992 and 2004, he had some jobs (including a stint on the doomed Golden Girls spin off, Golden Palace (which, totally irrelevant weird fact, also starred Don Cheadle as the harried hotel manager)) but none that really caught fire. Until Desperate Housewives got picked up. Residuals came in handy when times were tough. When we get the chance, writers work hard. Why shouldn't the shows that get rerun a zillion times support writers on other projects.
Our other story features one Quentin Tarantino, who in 1988 and 1990 had a non-speaking role as one among several Elvis impersonators. Over the intervening years between his appearance and the beginning of his movie career, he worked in a video store and the residuals that came in from Golden Girls really helped him.
Of course, Tarantino's residuals had been negotiated by SAG, but the SAG and WGA negotiations are often related.
This story doesn't exactly have a happy ending. Tarantino is notoriously anti-union. When the writers walked out in November, Marc Cherry decided to continue shooting Desperate Housewives. I can imagine how hard it is to leave your baby. But this was no time to be selfish. We all want to work and get passed this. Our best chance at getting a solution that we can feel good about is solidarity. Which is what Golden Girls was all about.
Photo by venusnaturalis, via flickr