Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

Although I write about gadgets and gizmos rather than sit-coms or made for TV movies, I decided to join my fellow writers on the picket line to express my support—and see for myself what all the hubbub was about. I decided to go to the big rally at Fox Plaza on Friday with 3000 other writers, actors and rabblerousing supporters to rail against corporate fat cats who refuse to share the wealth. I have to admit that this was a new experience for me since the majority of my clients are corporate fat cats, but fortunately my clients are quite happy to share the wealth so my experience with railing against “the man” has been limited to watching “North Country” on DVD.

The rally fell on day five of the strike and the mood was more festive than furious. As I walked amongst the sea of red and grey T-shirt clad men and women toward the makeshift stage, I was struck by the marketing acumen that surrounded me. I couldn’t take two steps without being offered branded water bottles (shaped like flasks), promotional energy bars or a bagel and coffee in a logo imprinted cup. Once we arrived at the rally, we were treated to a short concert by Rage Against the Machine frontman, Zack De La Rocha, an impassioned but confusing speech by Jesse Jackson and several well-worded but softly spoken speeches by various writers. Even the suits got into the act as dozens of coat and tie wearing CAA agent’s assistants passed out churros on silver platters. I guess they didn’t get the memo that no one actually likes churros, but I applaud their attempt to show solidarity with their bread and butter. Lots of actors were in attendance as well, which is a good thing because they are a bit more vocally assertive than those who actually write the words. The scene was energetic and enlivened and a bit ironic. I saw kids, holding signs that said “Residuals Paid For My Braces” and “Residuals Feed Me!” There was even a scantily clad “ring girl” carrying a sign that read “Day 5.”

I was inspired by the activism and enjoyed the rare camaraderie of being amongst so many writers. It’s funny because writers are solitary creatures by nature. They much prefer the characters in their own heads to the company of flesh and blood people so it’s rare to see so many gathered in one place. I guess it takes feeling ripped off to get a bunch of socially awkward nerds together…so maybe there is some good to come out of a bad thing.

I had so much fun; I am going again this week. Of course, I never miss an opportunity to promote, so I’ll be passing out Virgil Winston branded sunscreen to the troops. These are people who don’t get a lot of sun, so I know my giveaway will be appreciated, and I will be remembered.

Well, I’m off to watch “Norma Rae” again. I really like that Sally Field, I really do.