Grocery stores can’t stock enough toilet paper. The CDC has announced hospitals are running dangerously low on masks. And now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has announced its own nationwide shortage on reasons why you haven’t finished your pilot yet.

On Tuesday, the WGA released this statement: “With so many writers furloughed from their day jobs, bars where networking events are held being closed, and how boring it is to brainstorm with your writing partner over Skype, we have an unprecedented dearth of reasons why the nation’s writers haven’t been able to finish their scripts. We ask for your support on behalf of all writers during this difficult time of uncertainty around the novel coronavirus.”

Hours after this statement was released, a record number of computer files titled “Coronavirus” intended to be novels were created. As of Thursday evening, fewer than 7% of those files have been opened a second time.

Michelle Crown, a WGA employee who wished to remain anonymous, told The Avocado “We’re trying to help by manufacturing new explanations, but it’s difficult when writers have so much free time. So far, all we’ve got is ‘actually falling ill,’ and ‘the anxiety surrounding this pandemic is paralyzing’,” said Ms. Crown, admitting she was in charge of coming up with additional excuses but ended up just binging Love Is Blind all night instead.

“Typically, I’m too busy to write as much as I’d like, so right now it’s… I mean, it’s hard to do all the outlining when I have to go to…” stuttered Daniel Easton, screenwriter by day and server by night. Mr. Easton was let go from his serving job on March 15th. His comedy pilot, however, titled Coming of (Los) Age-eles about five roommates in their twenties trying to “make it” in the entertainment industry, loosely based on his own life experience, has not been worked on at all since.

“A lot goes into the creative process before you even start a script!” Mr. Easton insisted when asked why he has not started on his pilot. He was unable to provide specifics as to what those things might be.

Prominent WGA member Aaron Sorkin talked to The Avocado about the WGA’s excuse shortage. “Well, when writing any pilot, you start by doing a lot of research into law and politics, so there are still some reasons why pilots aren’t getting written,” the noted political writer said. Upon hearing this, a flurry of people came within six feet of us, seemingly desperate for Mr. Sorkin’s blessing to turn their lead characters into lawyers with hearts of gold, and politicians with hearts of gold, and Mark Zuckerbergs. None of these clamoring writers seemed concerned about contracting COVID-19, with one woman, Jessica Ward, being heard saying “Getting sick is the only real reason for me to not be writing” as she licked a nearby door handle.

The Avocado followed up with Ms. Ward a few days later who reported that although she still wasn’t sick, she had gotten distracted from her research by re-watching The West Wing. “But,” she said, “I’m almost at the point in season 5 when Rob Lowe leaves the show, and then I’ll stop being distracted, and THEN I am going to write something really killer!”

The average reader of this publication has at least one idea for a pilot sitting in a file somewhere on their computer. You have this article open instead of working on that idea. But, then again, so do I.

The Avocado emailed prolific writer Tyler Perry for comment on the WGA’s statement and the inability of many writers to use this time off to be productive, but the television and feature film writer deleted it believing it to be a GoFundMe page for his out of work PAs.

By Emma Lieberman



David Berger, 33, has been working on his screenplay every day for the last three years at a Studio City Starbucks and wants you to know that he is “nearly finished.”

“It’s taken a lot of effort, but the script is just about perfect and should be ready to send to agents and managers in the next six months or so,” said Mr. Berger who moved to Los Angeles five years ago from Cherry Hill, New Jersey to pursue a writing career. His prior credits include “Guy Banned from a Tarzana Coffee Bean for Fighting with a Persian Teenager over Outlet” and he is also the author of an unfinished spec script for Modern Family.

The Avocado spoke to several Starbucks employees about what it has been like watching Mr. Berger work, to which they all responded: “Which white guy with a laptop working on his screenplay are you talking about?” Efforts to explain that Mr. Berger was the pudgy, slightly balding writer with a goatee were unhelpful. “They’re all pretty annoying,” said shift supervisor Nancy Albatross.  “They don’t buy anything and never leave.”

Fellow Starbucks writer, Michael Peacock, who has worked at the table next to David for the last year and is himself only 4 or 5 years away from finishing his own script about his father not loving him or something, said he admires Mr. Berger and appreciates his willingness to watch his things while he is in the bathroom. “I know my laptop is safe when I’m taking a shit if Dave is here.”

Mr. Berger said he wouldn’t be able to work on his art without Starbuck’s lax loitering policies and the fact that refills on iced teas and coffees are free with his Gold Card. When asked what his screenplay was about, Mr. Berger muttered something about it being a genre flick in the style of Jordan Peele or Quentin Tarantino, but refused to give any more details without “proper NDAs” in place. Ultimately, Mr. Berger admitted it was about his father not loving him or something. “I think it’s going to be a significant piece.”

Mr. Berger’s laptop and triple mocha frappuccino, extra whip

Non-union screenwriter Darren Forsyth is offering script consultation and coverage services to aspiring writers. The cost is $500 per script review, which he insists is “industry standard” and “a small price to pay if you are serious about getting better at your craft.”

Mr. Forsyth, who has never “sold” a screenplay in the traditional sense, is a frequent, unpaid contributor to the Huffington Post and the /r/screenwriting group on Reddit and sees his services as an important part in your growth as an artist.

“Having a neutral reader give feedback on your work is an essential step toward getting better at your craft,” said Mr. Forsyth, who has applied to many prestigious writing competitions that wouldn’t know good writing if it bit them in the ass. “I’ve been a screenwriter for twelve years and have myself paid tens-of-thousands of dollars for script consultants and writing workshops, so I know firsthand how valuable something like this can be.”

When asked sheepishly by a prospective client that just moved to L.A. to pursue her own screenwriting career what made him qualified to charge money considering his lack of professional success, the 37-year-old scoffed and muttered something about “paying your dues” before telling the young girl that he has watched several YouTube videos reviewing Aaron Sorkin’s Masterclass and that he was once in an improv class with Damien Chazelle in 2007 and “still has his number somewhere.”

“It’s a lot of money, I don’t know…” said the prospective student to which Mr. Forsyth responded “If you’re not serious about your craft then don’t waste my time!” before immediately offering to lower his rate to “well what can you pay?” since he really needs the money.