Awkward Encounters in the Hollywood Trenches


A dozen striking screenwriters gathered in the bar at the Hotel Bel Air not long ago to decompress after another day on the picket line. Less than 10 feet away sat another strike-weary pair: Peter Chernin, president of the News Corporation, and Barry Meyer, chief executive of Warner Brothers.

Neither group acknowledged the other, although a couple of writers quipped under their breath that the moguls should pick up everyone’s bar tab. Others fretted about being seen hanging out at a five-star hotel, an awfully gilded setting for a bunch of guild members complaining about unfair compensation.

“My stomach did a flip-flop,” said one writer who was in the room. “Part of me wanted to go yell at these guys for treating us so poorly, and part of me wanted to go hide.” (The moguls did not notice the gathering of writers, according to their respective spokeswomen).

Similar scenes play out daily in the giant high school cafeteria that is Hollywood, contributing awkwardness to a labor strike unlike any other. The captains of most industries do not mix socially with the rank and file, but the people on opposite sides of this bargaining table often send their children to the same elite schools, dine at the same fashionable restaurants and attend the same holiday parties.

(Source: New York Times)

Film Business, Hollywood, Producers

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