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Some Hollywood writers are striking up romance at a special picket line for singles

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Hollywood writers are on their second week of striking against major studios, including Netflix, Paramount and Warner Brothers. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, there was a special picket line yesterday where writers looking for a new contract were also looking for love.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR HORN HONKING)

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Outside Universal Studios, hundreds of TV and film writers waved picket signs and flirted during a singles meetup called Strike Up a Romance.

ALIX BLOOM: This would be the perfect time to write a romcom, though, of, like, love on the picket line.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yeah.

DEL BARCO: Alix Bloom says before the strike, she was writing for the new comedy series "The Pradeeps Of Pittsburgh."

BLOOM: I actually was just dumped three weeks ago by my boyfriend. Yes, he randomly dumped me, and then my career randomly dumped me. So I'm out here using all of that energy to strike for what we deserve.

DEL BARCO: Haley Boston had been developing a horror show for Netflix. She carried a sign that said, single and ready to be paid fairly.

HALEY BOSTON: People often caution you against dating another writer, but I think it's bleak times out there. So I would love to find someone who is in the same boat as I am.

DEL BARCO: The event's organizers, members of the Writers Guild of America, said the work stoppage means writers can no longer say they're too busy to date. They offered strikers breath mints and advice from a professional matchmaker who's also a TV writer. Among those out protesting the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was Augustus Schiff, who wrote for the animated sitcom "Big Mouth."

AUGUSTUS SCHIFF: I've been single for four years, so I'm thinking it would be a very nice side effect of being out here and expressing my distaste for the AMPTP's deal.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR HORN HONKING)

DEL BARCO: Writer Julie Greiner was also there with her friend Amelia Elizalde, both of them writers for "Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out The News."

Have you heard any good picket line pickup lines yet?

JULIE GREINER: Oh, you know what? I hope that someone will approach me with one. I feel like that's kind of the idea.

AMELIA ELIZALDE: There's been a lot of, like, lingering looks, loaded glances, I would say.

GREINER: Yeah. People are - yeah, yeah, yeah.

ELIZALDE: Yeah.

GREINER: I think it's mostly with the eyes.

ELIZALDE: For now, it's very "Pride And Prejudice."

DEL BARCO: Some of the writers were inspired by one couple protesting with them yesterday. During the last writers strike in 2007, Hunter Covington organized a singles event on the picket line in front of Fox Studios. That's where he met Stacy Traub.

STACY TRAUB: I was on a show called "Notes From The Underbelly" that I was running.

HUNTER COVINGTON: I was on a show called "My Name Is Earl."

TRAUB: We're both comedy writers. We were both on strike.

COVINGTON: We bonded about some funny things that you won't want to air.

TRAUB: But we got each other.

COVINGTON: We got each other.

DEL BARCO: They're both showrunners now with four children, and they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary by picketing once again.

TRAUB: The upside of the strike was that we found each other.

COVINGTON: Well, I think it's all about, like, finding hope during the strike.

DEL BARCO: After picketing all afternoon, the writers moved to a nearby taco joint for drinks. It's unclear how many matches were made, but the event was such a hit, they may keep mingling throughout the strike. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF KACEY MUSGRAVES SONG, "SLOW BURN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.