"What kinda horn you got on that thing?" Ben Watkins yells into his megaphone as a bus crawls to a stop before Fox Studios' main gate.
The bus driver grins back and lets 'im have it, and a loud, low bleat lets loose. Around Watkins, the some 200 TV and movie writers assembled wave their union issue strike signs and cheer.
"Let Hollywood know you believe in fairness! Honk those horns!" screams Watkins, a writer for Burn Notice (never heard of it? Me neither). Passing cars and trucks heed him, and show the Writers Guild of America some love. These protesters were up at 9 a.m. and will be picketing till around 1 when another batch comes in to relieve them.
It's a pretty cut-and-paste rally for a slice of the studios' internet profits over in West LA. We kept an eye out for some creative posters, but nothing but the union signs were being hoisted into the air. (Boo! C'mon, creative people!) Nikki Finke posted some photos of the East Coast rally over at her blog, and it looks like a similar scene over there (though they appear to have a marching band of some sort pumping energy into the strike).
"Today we're just letting people know we're out here," said Erich Hoeber, WGA studio captain. "The longterm goal is to shut down production across Hollywood until we get a contract."