To my fellow writers, I'm sure tonight's email from the Writer's Guild was a tad disheartening, particularly after expectations were raised this week that we would be close to making a deal and that the studios were prepared to make substantial concessions. I spoke to a member of the Negotiating Committee tonight to get more enlightened myself as to what the hell happened: what was the disconnect between the rumors and expectations and the dismal results of this week? The answer, apparently, is that this is precisely the studios' strategy: raise expectations through disinformation in the media and elsewhere, get us feeling comfortable, get us psychologically used to the idea that the strike will end, and then dash those hopes. This is essentially what they did on november 4th and they are trying to do it again. That is why they leaked the news to nicky fink on monday that the deal was essentially done. If we go soft and get comfortable, the thinking goes, we'll end up accepting a shitty deal. Apparently, this strategy has worked for them in the past but we can't let it work now. As long as we understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, we should not be disheartened. The studios' real mandate is to close this deal by mid to late december to get the tv season back on track in january and to save their pilot season. They have no urgency right at this moment to resolve this. Their coming back to the table now was part of a p.r. mislead and was actually meant to raise our hopes, then thwart them as a means of psychological warfare. To wear us down. They will, in fact, probably not negotiate for real until closer to their mid-december deadline and in the meantime will try to work on our collective resolve. So although the idea of picketing for a couple of more weeks doesn't sound particularly glamorous to any of us, we're still in good shape to make a fair deal and we shouldn't allow their tactics to dampen our spirits or forget what it is we're striking over in the first place. They need to make a deal, they will make a deal, they just want to gauge us as much as they can. I thought it enormously helpful to understand where they are coming from and hope it will help you too. The leadership understands that an informed constituency is a motivated constituency and members of the leadership and negotiating committee will be out on the picket lines on monday to elucidate some of this and to answer questions, but no reason to churn and stew all weekend til then. So rest up this weekend and don't despair. And by all means, feel free to forward this email to any of our brethren. We're all in this together! Hank_________________________________________ All I can say is that it worked, Hank. I had family and personal obligations this week and was not on a picket line. The truth is, I just wasn't inclined to throw on the red shirt and grab the sign. I was feeling relieved for the first time in over a month. I sipped the drugged martini. I was roofied by the hype and now my ass is sore and my lips are chapped. The problem is that although this philosophy has worked in the past, the WGA's resolve is dangerously strong. Look at some of my previous blogs. This action is just gonna frustrate the members. I believe it will have the opposite effect that Big Media had hoped for. I foresee more rallies, You Tube videos, clever chants and long emails from PV. Please god, no more rappin' writers... Hank is right, we need a strong show of support on Monday. I'll be back on the line. Pissed off, red shirt, sign, sober.