The AMPTP has put out a new ad featuring a new message: “Different Assets… Different Businesses… Different Companies… One Common Goal.” It is signed by the CEOs of Fox, Paramount, Disney, Sony, Warner Bros., CBS, MGM, and NBC Universal – or what we have come to know as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
But the AMPTP’s “About Us” web page claims their membership is made up of “over 350 motion picture and television producers.” In fact, there is a clickable list of 397 companies the AMPTP claims to be representing in the current negotiations.
So, who are the other 389 companies? I decided to do a little digging.
Some of them are owned by those eight mega-corporations – Touchstone is owned by Disney, Castle Rock is owned by Warner Bros., and, of course...
Albemarle Productions, Allenford Productions, Appleton Productions, Arlington Productions, Ashland Productions, Auckland Productions, Belleville Productions, BOT Productions, Canterbury Productions, Corsica Productions, CPT Holdings, Floresta Productions, Garden Films, Glenhill Productions, GPEC, Halberd Productions, Highway 61, Hillard Productions, Hudson Productions, La Mesa Productions, Lafitte Productions, Llamame Loco Producciones, Madison Productions, McFarlane Productions, Montrose Productions, October Holdings, Quadra Productions, Rosecrans Productions, Salamander Film Productions, San Vicente Productions, SCFV Development, Seneca Productions, Topanga Productions, Trackdown Productions, Vasanta Productions, Westholme Productions, Woodridge Productions, and Wooster Productions…all owned by Sony.
Some of the companies are owned by independent film producers – Arnold Rifkin (Live Free or Die Hard, 2007), Marc Abraham (Children of Men, 2006), and Lester Persky (Hair, 1979). Unfortunately, Lester Persky’s been dead since 2001. I’m not prepared to do that much digging.
There are also independent TV production companies like Bruce Nash Entertainment, LMNO Productions, and Andrew Solt Productions – all of whom produce reality shows and will benefit from the strike lasting as long as possible.
It may surprise you to learn that actors own companies in the AMPTP. Billy Crystal and Pee Wee Herman are in there. Directors too. Even… WGA members! Barry Kemp, David Kelley, and many other writers are in the AMPTP. Even Stephen J. Cannell, whose very logo featured him furiously typing a script at his typewriter (ah, the memories) is in the AMPTP.
But that’s not all. There’s WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Films. I’d suggest we picket their offices, but I really don’t want to be hit with a folding chair.
Then there are the real powers behind the alliance: HSUS, DSF, and Menno-Hof. What, you’ve never heard of these puppet masters? They are, respectively, the Humane Society of the United States (“the nation's largest and most effective animal protection organization”), the Disciples Seminary Foundation (“a unique, cooperative institution that collaborates with seminaries, churches, regions, and conferences on the Pacific Slope to provide exceptional theological education and resources for growth in faith”), and last but not least, the Mennonite Anabaptist Information Center (“a non-profit information center that teaches visitors about the faith and life of Amish and Mennonites, located in Shipshewana, Indiana”). That’s right, the Amish. We’re doomed. They don’t care if the strike ever ends... they don’t own TVs.
Once I found out who we’re up against, I couldn’t help but wonder: Do these producers, directors, writers, professional wrestlers, dead guys, animal lovers, Disciples of Christ, Amish folk, and Pee Wee Herman really share the “One Common Goal” of their media mogul brethren? I called a few of them to ask how often they’d been consulted on what to offer the writers, or been invited to meetings, or been given a vote on key issues since the "negotiations" with the WGA began. The ones I spoke to all told me they have not once been contacted by the Alliance or Nick Counter since all this began.
I guess we’re not the only ones the AMPTP refuses to talk to.