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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Standing in Line" or, Brandon gets a Reality Check

You know, it's easy to make fun of the weather in Canada come winter time.

Sure, the jokes are a tad one-sided (it's DAMN cold here some days) but there's a certain unifying factor in the sense that we Canadians are all bundled up together trying to keep our wobbly bits from becoming decidedly less wobbly.

And so it was that at the crisp, pre-winter-y hour of 10 AM I joined a group of like-minded and well-bundled writers in line for the International Day of Solidarity: The Writer's Guild of Canada's rally in support of those brave souls down in the US of A fighting for the little people like myself. (Well, themselves too, I'm sure.)

All over Canada - nay, the world - people were coming out in droves to show their support for a Writer's right to be paid fairly for their work in ALL circumstances. It's actually quite moving if you think about it for more than a passing moment. Something big is going on here and though I'm far too new to the game to appriciate exactly WHAT, I can certainly be impressed by the scope of it all.

So we walked, mostly in circles, sometimes jumping back and forth in line as new friends and familiar faces beckoned. It was a great time and together we trudged, waving signs and chanting all sorts of things. Quite possibly the best chant came from one Mr. Denis McGrath (whom I met for the first time today) who got all Military on our asses with this brilliant piece:

"I don't know but I've been told"
"The internet is paved with Gold"
"Now they say that they won't pay"
"It's colder here than in LA."

According to his blog, he didn't come up with that last line - that, in fact, is due to the creativity of Jeremy Boxen, so credit shall go where it's due.

Other chants went something like this:
something, something "corporate Greed"...
"Internet, DVD, We're not gonna write for free."

I tried my hand at Chant-weaving and sent my own out into the world - where it quickly sank like a certain, unnamed cruise-liner:
"In Canada it's really cold, Our Writer's Guild is good to go"

Okay, now that I've written it down I can see why it floundered but I think I'll blame poor insulation and lack of coffee-like substances for it's demise anyway.

Perhaps the most interesting thing for me is how many people I didn't know there. 100 writers showed up for the Toronto Rally and I knew two people. Big hugs go out to Beatriz Yuste and Daniela Saioni for being kickass, friendly people and letting me hang out with them as my toes began their inevitable descent into icicle hell. Side note: Wearing a single pair of 12 for $1 socks to a winter rally = really bad idea. One would think I'd know better - apparently not.

After the rally I joined a group of writers at the local Shopsy's and got to meet Denis McGrath, Peter Mohan and Jim Henshaw. I, for the most part, sat there in kind of a stunned silence as they regaled me with tales of the Real world of Canadian TV. Needless to say, I won't be getting much sleep tonight.

What they told me also pushes my previous post out of the realm of improbability and into the more realistic world of "Are you just plain-out fucking nuts?" I mean, even as I wrote my last post I had an idea that, to a point, I was talking crazy-talk; but to hear the tales of people who've actually been in the trenches - well, I must be some sort of astringent-based narcotic if I think my 'goal' is actually going to happen as previously stated.

I'm not sure how I'm going to revise my "mission statement" but DAMN. Reality checks are fun, aren't they folks?



jimhenshaw said...

Hey Brandon,

it was great hangin' with you too. The stories we told you weren't designed to rob you of sleep, but to help you not be thrown by what lies ahead.

Don't lose your drive, your dreams or your goals. They're things you already possess that no network exec could conjure in their wildest dreams.

Knowing what you want gets you to where you can get it. What happens after that is where it gets fun.

Thanks for lending your support this morning. It was much appreciated and hopefully what we win in this struggle will help your own show become a reality.

Bill Cunningham said...

Brandon -

Trust your mad pulp bastard when he says the following:

They held back.

Welcome to the party and be sure to wear a cup.