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Posts Tagged ‘AMPTP’

Hollywood strike, Part II

Posted by gnn1 on Saturday, 22 November 2008

In a move that likely shocks few, the Screen Actors Guild has said today (Saturday) that it will ask its members to authorise a strike after talks with the AMPTP failed (surprise, surprise) despite federal mediation attempts.

Talks ended shortly before 1 am (no time zone desgination given) and no new talks are scheduled.

Talks started to fail after studios “sought the right to create productions for new media, such as the Internet, using nonunion actors and without paying residuals, said Doug Allen, SAG national executive director and chief negotiator.”

Residuals, payment made to actors every time a production airs (such as TV reruns or a feature film running on HBO) are the life bread for most actors, making up more than half their income, according to Allen.  Despite popular thought, the majority of actors earn nominal pay, and rely on those recurring payments to see them through lean times.

Not surprisingly, the AMPTP is criticising SAG’s call-to-strike.  “‘Now, SAG is bizarrely asking its members to bail out the failed negotiating strategy with a strike vote — at a time of historic economic crisis,’ a producers’ statement said. ‘The tone-deafness of SAG is stunning.'”  They claim that it is untenable that actors should seek a better deal than writers, directors, and others accepted, especially with the worsening economy.

I might counter that the tone-deafness of the producers at LEAST matches that of SAG, seeing as they were unwilling to yield to writers and now to actors. And perhaps if the actors now secure a better deal than writers and directors were able, when it comes time for those two to once again re-negotiate, they’ll finally get what they ought to’ve last time around.  Once again, this isn’t about greed (the producers have that nailed, honestly), it’s about fairness.

And, as I once supported the writers, so shall I now support actors should they have to throw down the gauntlet.  Hopefully the AMPTP will finally come to the realisation that they cannot keep lording over the people who make the films that support them.

SAG represents more than 120,000 actors in TV, film, and other media (including commercia advertisements).

Source: Yahoo.com News

Posted in it's war!, movies, TV | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bad news: TV Shows Shutting Down as Strike Continues

Posted by gnn1 on Wednesday, 7 November 2007

TV SHOWS SHUTTING DOWN AS WRITERS STRIKE CONTINUES

Sitcom and drama sets are going dark – and in many cases, much quicker than the nets and studios had anticipated.

Laffer “The New Adventures of Old Christine” could conceivably produce a seg this week – but exec producer Kari Lizer shut the show down, as star Julia Louis-Dreyfus hit the picket lines in support of the scribes. Fox’s “Back to You” was set to return from hiatus on Wednesday, but that table read was scrapped, and it now appears the show won’t return until the writers do.

Also already dark: Fox’s “Til Death” and CBS’ “Rules of Engagement.” And it doesn’t appear like much is getting done over on NBC’s “The Office” either.

Even shows still in production will likely go dark in the next week or two, as those remaining scripts are shot, with nothing left in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, latenight TV remained dark Tuesday as word leaked out that “Late Show with David Letterman” had told its support staff that it would keep cutting paychecks for two more weeks. It’s unclear if the checks will keep coming after that, or if Letterman will decide to return to work. It’s believed other latenight shows have given staff members similar notices.

The big issue dogging the nets on the primetime side is the high volume of exec producers refusing to cross the picketlines even to perform non-writing chores on scripts that have already been completed. That’s forcing shows to shutdown sooner than the webs expected, even under the strike scenario.

In the past two days, Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice”) and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield,” “The Unit”) have come out publicly with statements declaring they won’t help wrap up episodes in the works. It’s a change from the pre-strike conventional wisdom that such showrunners would stay on the job.

“I absolutely believed that I would edit our episodes,” Rhimes wrote in an e-mail widely circulated late Monday night. “Until a thought hit me: how can I walk a picket line and then continue to essentially work? How am I supposed to look at myself in the mirror or look at my child years from now and know that I did not have the courage of my convictions to stand up and put myself more at risk than anyone else?”

To be sure, many showrunners are still clearly offering help to their shows. Even if they’re not crossing picket lines, the fact that so many skeins remain in production indicates showrunners are working from home.

Still, the greater-than-expected showrunner solidarity is the result of a concerted effort by the WGA to shore up support among its most high-profile members. Nearly 100 showrunners attended a pre-strike powwow Saturday. And on Wednesday, plans are underway for a picketing session featuring only showrunners.

From Wild Sound (second article on page)

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If the strike hits, Late Night TV is the first to go

Posted by gnn1 on Saturday, 3 November 2007

So, the union members of Writers’ Guild of America are preparing to strike.  To the point that they were told to take home personal belongings from their offices.  If the strike hits, and odds are about good as seeing Britney Spears on Perez Hilton on any given day (pretty fuckin high in other words), late night shows like Leno will be the first to be impacted.

Because they rely on current events for the bulk of the day’s night’s storyline, they haven’t been able to stockpile scripts like TV shows and film studios have.  As a matter of fact it’s already been determined that if the strike starts at 1201 am PST Monday as planned, Leno will immediately revert to re-runs.

Next to feel the impact will be daily shows like soap operas and shows like The View, who only stockpile about a week’s worth of episodes.

Movies will largely be unaffected unless the strike drags for a VERRRRRRRRYY long time as studios have a large number of scripts stockpiled, not to mention films in progress.

Regular TV shows may or may not be affected.  It depends on the duration of the strike.  The last strike ushered in the age of Reality TV because they don’t typically require writers.  Currently, it’s estimated that most shows have enough scripts in progress or stockpiled to last until early next year (which, frighteningly, is only about 8 weeks away, although the reports didn’t say how far IN to next year).

The last strike lasted 22 weeks (2 weeks shy of a typical full TV season, just for comparison).

This strike is related to (primarily) DVD and internet sales residuals for writers.  The current arrangement was decided 22 years ago, in 1985.  Writers agreed to undercut themselves then, because home entertainment (then VHS or the very short-lived Beta-Max) was struggling in its early years.

Now they get the same amount $0.04 (that’s 4 cents) per disc sold as they did in 1985 (which I am assuming was per tape then).  They also want to increase their share in download licensing fees from 1.2% to 2.5% (just over a 100% increase).

Given how little writers make compared to the stars and bigwigs behind films and TV shows (even the crappy ones that no one see), it seems to be a pretty fair demand.  Now, I’m NOT a member, I DON’T know all the details or demands, and I don’t know the producers’ stories.  But regardless, it appears that either or both sides have forgotten that negotiation means compromise.  Is 4 cents or another $1.30 (based on average online movie pricing to be just under $10) or less REALLY too much to give up to the people who keep you producers in work???  Let’s not forget that no writers=no scripts=no new work.

Posted in movies, TV | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »