Strike Trouble at theOffice? (not the Pennsylvania paper one)

Plane

theOffice is a writing space in Santa Monica. It’s a great place to get some work done, if you’ve got the pockets to pay for it. Which is why you won’t see me there very often. But I am on their mailing list, should they decide to open a space downtown at drastically reduced rates.

This weekly newsletter contained the following, interesting little tidbit:

REGARDING THE WGA STRIKE:

We realize that many of you belong to the Writers Guild. And because of that some of you are concerned about working in a public place like theOffice.

We want to remind you that whatever goes on between you and your laptop computer is your own business. What if you’re writing a novel, or composing letters to your grandmother, or balancing your checkbook?

The Writers Guild has more important things to do than to send out spies to theOffice to check up on your work. Besides, no one has the right to demand to see what you are working on unless they have a court order.

“Pencil’s down” means not doing any work for hire. But if we’re going to allow paranoia to spread this early on in the game, then the Producer’s Alliance will have won. And we can’t allow that to happen.

We support the WGA, and we are confident the WGA will prevail, and we will all return to work with a new contract under our belts. But let’s do so with cool heads and a steady hand.

I wonder what’s been going on there that made them feel the need to send this message out. WGA spies? Looking over shoulders? Paranoia? That’s some creepy language.

10 Replies to “Strike Trouble at theOffice? (not the Pennsylvania paper one)”

  1. There was a comment on Deadline Hollywood Daily early last week that indicated some guys typing at a coffee shop, in full view of strikers, were getting ugly looks.

    Sounds flat out paranoid to me, and also insulting.

    I’m sure plenty of WGA writers are still working on their pet projects, and I doubt any would judge anyone else for continuing to write… so long as it isn’t for a show or previous compensation.

  2. Sounds like business dropped off dramatically when the strike started (understandable) and they’re trying to encourage scabbing so that they can pay their bills.

  3. I doubt that. They don’t charge admission or by the hour. Their business is subscription based, so they’ve already got their client’s money.

  4. Fraz, I think Jay’s reffing the location of the hit Steve Carrell sitcom named…? Yeah, that one.

  5. When they first opened, you could go for like $6/hour, but they couldn’t make that model work. They found there were enough well-heeled writers to buy subscriptions and let them at least recoup their upfront costs.

    I really liked the idea of theOffice. Especially in an area like L.A. with so many creative professionals working from home. Not all of us like coffee. :)

    But, I’m a software designer, not a writer, so no clue on the politics of the WGA.

    I did wonder why the strikers were at the studios instead of the Starbucks. :)

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