Tuesday, March 22, 2005

WGA East vs. West Feud Turns Ugly, Tragic

This transcript of the correspondence between WGA West President Dan Petrie, Jr and WGA East President Herb Sargent illustrates the precipitous decline of goodwill between the two guilds.

Mr. Herb Sargent

Dear Herb:

As you know, Article XIV of both WGA, west and WGA, east contain identical language requiring the automatic membership transfer of east members who live west of the Mississippi for three months or more. This framework was established in the affiliation agreement in 1954, when WGA, west became the successor to the Screen Writers Guild, and hence the bargaining representative for all screenwriters. For years, WGA, west has tried to engage in a dialogue with WGA, east to honor these provisions, but representatives of WGA, east have repeatedly refused.

I want nothing more than to improve relations between WGA, west and WGA, east. Clearing up this situation, and abiding by our constitutions, would be a significant step in that direction.

Dan Petrie, Jr.

Mr. Dan Petrie, Jr.

Dear Dan:

I want to tell you how disappointed I am in the Writers Guild west’s recent claim under the affiliation agreement. This predatory action is justifiably seen by our council as an attempt at dominating us in order to destroy our independence. Please do not underestimate our fierce determination to remain independent and our commitment to our WGAE members.

Or we could get into some gangsta shit.

Herb Sargent

Herb Sargent

Dear Herb:

The reluctance on the part of the WGAe is understandable: based on the available data, East members should be paying Guild west, conservatively, a net figure well over a half million dollars a year.

Please don’t misunderstand. WGA, west is happy to provide services to all writers, be they members of WGA, west or WGA, east, and we would be glad to do even more. But all members must bear their fair share. We are making every effort to come correct; I feel that I cannot overstress how important it is that you check yourself prior to the point at which you wreck yourself.

Stop fronting,
Dan Petrie, Jr.

Dan Petrie, Jr.

Dear Dan:

It is abundantly clear to me and to my WGA, east membership that you’re mad trippin’. I want to make clear that my initial desire to crack you upside your fool head is held in check only by my professional respect for you, and exceeded only my determination to serve the interests of WGA, east members.

And it is therefore on their behalf that I am compelled to give your no-diggity pitch a big-ass ‘pass’, homeboy. So bring it.

Straight the fuck up,
Herb Sargent

Herb Sargent

Check it:

You best look here, Cuzz. In the interest of professional solidarity, I implore you to back the fuck up before you get smacked the fuck up. I offer you my gravest assurances that this is indeed on the real.

Serious as a heart attack,
Dan Petrie, Jr.

Dan Petrie, JUNIOR

Look here, Junior:

I strenuously recommend that you mark-ass bitches refrain from going toe-up with real Gs. I’m coming to you real as penitentiary steel.

You best believe that,
Herb Sargent

Herb Sargent

Dear Herb:

Is this about me fucking your wife?

Letting it be known,
Dan Petrie, Jr.

Editor’s Note: On February 9, 2005, following this last message from WGA east and a subsequent request for mediation by WGA west, there was a drive-by on WGA west’s offices on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. While no one was injured, considerable damage was done to the building and a clear message was sent.


Dear Junior:

See what happens when fool motherfuckers go ex parte to mediators behind our motherfucking backs?

I am hopeful that from here on out all communications with the mediator of our choosing prior to the mediation will be joint, with no precluded bullshit on your part.

Lootin’, shootin’ and pollutin’ your block,
Herb Sargent

Punk Ass Bitch

Dear Punk Ass Bitch:

At this point I am inescapably duty-bound to notify you that it, in point of fact, is on. There comes a time, after all the best-intentioned efforts at diplomacy have been ungraciously rebuffed, that real killaz have to drive the fake-ass G’s to their knees. We have reached such a time.

Now when this began, I told you it was about abiding by our respective constitutions. Now various indicators—your rhetoric, your obstinance, a profusion of bullet holes in the walls and shattered glass surrounding our offices—color a sensible resolution unlikely. Accordingly, this is how we’re going to proceed: Fuck Herb Sargent. Fuck Warren Leight. Fuck Budd Schulberg. Fuck WGA, east as a guild, council and as a motherfucking crew. And if you want to be down with WGA, east, fuck you too. Jerome Coopersmith, fuck you too. All you motherfuckers, fuck you too. All y’all, fuck you, die slow motherfuckers. My 4-4 makes sure all your kids don’t grow.

You’re bringing comedy; we’re bringing drama. Fuck you and your motherfucking mama.

West side ‘till we die,
Dan Petrie, Jr.

Editor’s note: After this final email from WGA, west, rapper/screenwriter Snoop Dog extended a hand to both sides in an attempt to resolve the dispute and act as mediator. His email, sent to both guilds, read as follows:

From: Snoop
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2005 9:38 AM

I am disappizzled ta hear of yo difficizzle. I would gladly kizzay dizzle some diplomizzle to negotizzle a suitable resolizzle.
I am free tha week of May 9. Let me knizzow, homies.

Unfortunately, nothing was made of this last opportunity. On February 19, both Guilds simultaneously held the 57th Annual Writers Guild Awards. Although security was very tight, an individual later identified as a writers assistant on the show ‘Hope & Faith’ managed to smuggle in a knife. He stabbed Daniel Petrie, Jr. three times before he could be restrained, and screamed “Sic Semper Tyrannis, Bee-otch” as Mr. Petrie’s entourage and bodyguards kicked him to the floor, putting him into a coma from which he has not emerged. Mr. Petrie’s wounds were fatal.

This was obviously not the first instance of violence at a Writers Guild Award ceremony, but due to the fact that ‘Hope & Faith’ is a sitcom produced in New York, suspicion was naturally aroused that the young man’s actions were not unguided. It was also taken as unsympathetic that WGA east took out a full page ad in Variety saying only ‘HA HA’, and openly disrespectful that WGA east officers attended Mr. Petrie’s funeral wearing clown outfits.

Herb Sargent was shot to death on the evening of February 28th, as he left a Brooklyn recording studio. A manual for Final Draft vers. 7 was rolled up and left in his mouth, intended as a calling card marking the murder as an act of retribution.

For now, it seems that an uneasy truce has been struck. However, further difficulty brews on the horizon, as each Guild has sold screenplays based on these events: WGA west to Paramount, and WGA east to Miramax in New York. Both projects are currently in development.


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4:56 AM  
Blogger G said...

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9:40 AM  
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Quoting J.W. Booth with a beyotch!?


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laughed till I cried

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