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Joss Whedon - "Writers Guild of America" Strike - I wanted to be sure...

Tuesday 5 February 2008, by Webmaster

From the picket line: "It ain’t over ’til it’s over’

"I won’t believe it until I see it."

"When Patric Verrone tells me to go back to work, then I’ll get excited."

"We’ve been down this road before."

"It ain’t over ’til it’s over."

Those seemed to be the prevailing sentiments among the strong crowd of 150-plus pickets who gathered Monday ayem outside 20th Century Fox’s main gate on Pico Boulevard.

Strike captain Ashley Carlton allowed that she was feeling "optimistic skepticism" following the news of the weekend that the WGA and studio brass had reached a major breakthrough after a marathon sesh on Friday.

There didn’t seem to be a whole lot of anxiety about the lack of specific info from the guild — mostly, pickets wanted to make sure there was a strong presence on the lines today to telegraph to the majors that they’re not folding up their signs, not by a long shot.

"I wanted to be sure someone was out here early with one of these," said Joss Whedon, hoisting a sign, which wasn’t easy given the gusty winds. (The wind even blew the water from the long rectangular fountain that runs the length of the pickets’ loop onto the sidewalk, hitting strikers from the knees down and keeping the sidewalk muddy.)

Whedon arrived at Fox before 8 a.m., and helped set up the water jug and sign-in table. The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator said he’s encouraged by the reports of progress but won’t get overly enthused until there’s "something I can vote on." He also noted the emotional factors that have raged during the strike. Whedon, for one, sez he’s not going to be able to paste on a big smile as soon as there’s a deal.

"I’m still really angry," he said. "I can’t just recalibrate (my feelings) just like that."

TV scribe Mike Schiff said he’s following the lead of a friend and fellow striker, who observed that "when he comes out here and there’s no one walking here, he’ll know something must’ve happened."

Steven Craig, a co-exec producer on Fox’s "MadTV," said he wondered if the talk of a deal being at hand wasn’t spin spread by the studios. Regardless, he’s encouraged by the level of solidarity demonstrated by the guild. When he went out on strike, one of his superiors at "MadTV" chided him about how he’d feel after three months on strike.

"Here we are after three months and we’ve stayed strong. I feel great," Craig said, praising the leadership of guild bosses Verrone and David Young.

David Goodman and Susannah Grant, members of the WGA’s negotiating committee, were also on the loop outside Fox. Both said they hadn’t been privy to the details of what went down on Friday, and both said they were fine with that.

"If the best way to do this is in a room with six people, that’s fine," Grant said. "I want this to be done in the most efficient way possible." At one point during the earlier rounds of formal bargaining with the

Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, there were 100 people in the room, Grant noted. Goodman cautioned those who pressed him for info that "it’s not over ’til it’s over." And he added that he had "enormous trust" in Verrone, Young and negotiating committee head John Bowman to make the right calls, and, hopefully, close the deal.