Deal or No Deal?

Monday, we reported that rumors were swirling claiming the DGA had made a deal with the AMPTP. While admittedly unconfirmed, the whispers were coming from so many corners, we felt we had to at least tell folks what we were hearing.

But stop the presses (or at least don't hit the blog "Publish" button just yet).

Based on off-the-record information from two credible sources we contacted in order to confirm or deny the rumors, we're now hearing that a deal hasn't been made as of this writing late Tuesday night. The sticking point? Shockingly, the Internet.

So, what does it mean? The same thing all of it means until it's official: not much. As we've hopefully all learned during these negotiations (and lack thereof), the situation is very fluid and things could change on a dime. Thus, we all need to try to keep an even keel.

Baseball's Yogi Berra famously said, "It ain't over until it's over." And in this case regarding all the rumors each day, just remember: It ain't true until it's true.


BTL Guy said...

I understand completely the deep desire to know what's going on in the DGA negotiations -- I share that desire.

But posting the rumor that a deal was going to be announced amounted to Nikki Finke-type speculation (full disclosure - I posted it on my blog, too, but named my source as UH).

It was a dangerous maneuver that falsely raised hopes, then squashed them.

Now United Hollywood has "two credible sources" that says the sticking point to a deal is the internet.

Anyone who's been following this strike at all could arrive at that as the most reasonable guess, and I wonder if these sources are any more credible (or are indeed different) than the sources which prompted the original rumor of a deal.

The DGA and AMPTP are following a self-imposed news blackout. They're doing this because all the news leaks, rumors, and responses to rumors while WGA and AMPTP were talking (seems like forever ago) weren't exactly helping things along.

Indeed, one could argue that all the rhetoric and name calling that emerged once the news blackout was lifted contributed in no small part to the WGA talks' derailment.

My point is this: perhaps we should just let these two sides work out their deal under their own terms.

Speculation is fine, of course, but unless you have concrete proof of a "news" item, maybe it should not get posted -- even with a rumor tag.

This seems to have been UH's policy in the past. Indeed, it was UH's credibility on these types of things which led me to start calling friends and (former) coworkers with the potential good news.

I'm sure I'm not alone.

Al said...

I have to say it would be pretty hilarious if the DGA, which the AMPTP holds up as a paragon of professionalism because they make easy deals when the WGA doesn't, suddenly found itself unable to make a deal on new media. The DGA knows if it strikes a crummy deal it will not put them back to work, because the WGA will simply reject it. Or, even if the WGA accepts it, SAG might still very well reject it later. In short, i does not serve the DGA to roll over on this one, as they have on every contract since the day when its most famous members were first dubbed "auteurs."

Bill said...

"Based on off-the-record information from two credible sources"

Gee, where have I heard that one before? No news is no news folks.

jimmy said...

And I think that any writer that is fighting for the WGA to take whatever deal the DGA comes up with is assuring that it's a stinker of a deal.

You'd have to believe that a major motivation for the DGA to play hardball on new media is because they know if they broker a deal that the WGA and SAG don't like, they will all also be out of work.

Without writers and actors, there's nothing to direct.

Knowing the two major guilds who will be determining if you even have any work to perform under you new contract are looking over your shoulder should embolden them not to make the same mistakes as 1988.

Stay strong writers!

kimmy2007 said...

I agree with btl guy, if there was any progess btwn the DGA and the AMPTP they would say, that is why the blackout, so they won't have any leaks or rumours that are floating around anyway. Lets all hope for the best and maybe we will be happy for once .

leo said...

You said: "one could argue that all the rhetoric and name calling that emerged once the news blackout was lifted contributed in no small part to the WGA talks' derailment."

I believe one could argue more successfully that it was the AMPTP refusing to negotiate, delivering ultimatums and marching away from the bargaining table that contributed to the talks' derailment.

Geo Rule said...

So AMPTP tells WGA that no, AMPTP is not a bunch of greedy $@#$@ who are trying to take advantage of a technology shift to roll back past Guild victories. . .they just need to "study" this whole newfangled internet thingy for a few years first.

Then DGA shows up and says "Good news! We've spent the time and money to do just such a study! So, we can bargain with real facts at hand and keep all the emotionalism and speculation out of it!"

Apparently leaving AMTPTP to respond, "Well, you see, it turns out we really are a bunch of greedy $#@#@* after all!"

That about cover it?

decora said...

Dear hollywood types.....

I wanted to send good wishes to you folks. I feel like you are fighting for alot of us, all of the cubicle people.... basically you are the only 'knowledge workers' that I know of who have a meaningful union.

I just keep thinking, maybe if you win, then maybe other people will have faith. . . .have hope.... maybe some things will change.

My brother just worked christmas day and new years day at his cubicle job. It pissed off my dad but he always votes republican. I don't think the old folks
understand exactly what is going on these days.

I have met a large number of people working in a college... that were basically treated like children by management. I know of several lives that could have been made better... i know of several women who could have left bad men, children who could have been moved out of ghettos or poverty, men who could have stopped depending on their parents or who could have spent their evenings with their kids instead of working...

but the benefits are not just by increased wages, or changing part-time positions with no benefits into full time (and so people would only need to work one job), or health insurance, or stopping outsourcing every job to a third party company that pays peanuts and divides the workforce further...

aside from all those tangible and obvious things, simple and dumb things, the obnoxiousness of which people somehow live through every day and still maintain sanity......

there is something else good, from this strike... even maybe if you dont win.... it is the idea of self respect. it is like a spark in the mind, the brain lights up.... things are changed in this light. you are valuable, and you deserve to be treated better... a revolution worth far more than a shot fired or a bomb blasted.

anyways, good luck. my time is up on the library computer.

Anonymous said...

Now we know what Michael Apted meant by "shouting distance:"


4merBTLer said...

As far as I'm concerned, no news is good news.

To me, it means that the DGA isn't capitulating prematurely and the AMPTP is STILL IN THE ROOM.

Works for me.

Asterios said...

@ BTL Guy, Kimmy2007:

Both of these updates were couched in pretty precautionary language that acknowledged the rumors as just that: rumors. You guys are reading into these updates what you will. Don't knock UH for conclusions you drew yourselves.

Monday's article began with the phrase, "This is still a rumor," and included the phrase, "...we over at UH will make one suggestion: everyone stay calm."

The follow up article began: "Monday, we reported that rumors were swirling...the whispers were coming from so many corners, we felt we had to at least tell folks what we were hearing."

So BTL Guy, it's a stretch to claim that the articles "...[were] a dangerous maneuver that falsely raised hopes, then squashed them." That's nobody's fault but your own. The language couldn't have been any more precautionary.

Also: BTL Guy, don't forget that the AMPTP unilaterally broke the last news blackout. When you make statements like "once the news blackout was lifted" you're ignoring that fact. It wasn't lifted, just like the WGA/AMPTP talks didn't "derail" (again, your words) - the AMPTP walked away from the table.

I'm sorry you called your friends and (former) coworkers with potential good news, but when your sources are two posts that clearly state the completion of the deal was only a rumor, what do you expect?

BTL Guy said...


Totally agree. I never said that the lifting of the news blackout was THE REASON talks failed. I said it was a contributing factor -- not small, but not THE REASON either. Lots of factors involved.



As I forwarded everything to people, I also said it was a rumor. When I commented in the original post, I said, in effect, "we don't know anything yet." When I posted the info on my blog, I said I was repeating a rumor from UH.

Nonetheless, when UH, which is not prone to posting rumors, says "there's a rumor the DGA is going to announce a deal tomorrow;" it is not unreasonable for people to get their hopes up.

I would still argue that posting this or other "inside source news" from another guild's negotiation is dangerous -- it can again falsely raise hopes and it could potentially cause harm to the negotiations in progress.

Finally, just because I didn't outline every detail in the WGA talks, doesn't mean I am ignoring facts (I mean, seriously, aren't my comments long enough without listing things in excruciating detail?).

Yes, the AMPTP walked out of negotiations. I would still classify this as "derailed" (my mac dictionary defines "derail" as "obstruct a process from its intended course").

smart said...

Hey, lost in flyover and geo rule,

Thanks for giving me a giggle. Woke up this morning in a "dark day" mood. As a btl, I will never look at the studios the same way...............ever!!!!! I hope the DGA does us all proud.............the writers already have. lol to all.