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.