1/18/2008

Dissecting the DGA Deal

So, what does the DGA deal potentially mean for writers? Depends on which email you read first in your inbox. Jonathan Tasini of Working Life (published by Labor Research Association, a New York City-based labor advocacy organization) examines the specifics of the deal point by point.

He states "there are some good things here but also some areas of concern." Three of those areas of concern are the thresholds for union coverage of new media content, the electronic sell-through offer and ad-supported streaming windows. Below are some excerpts.


Original Content for New Media

The DGA deal point states that original content for New Media will be covered "above $15,000/minute or $300,000/program or $500,000/series, whichever is lowest. Original content below the threshold will be covered when a DGA member is employed in the production."

Tasini writes:

The industry is precisely moving to a lower-cost structure--doesn't that sound familiar? It's the "kid-in-the-garage" problem--content coming from everywhere and everyone. As I described it in a panel discussion I just spoke at this week, it's similar to the off-shoring of work in manufacturing. You have the world of the WGA, where the standards are decent, with wages, health care and pensions. And, then, you have Big Mediastan--that would be the world where there is no union, where there are no residuals, no pensions, no health care. The above provision agreed to by the DGA seems--seems--to allow the growth of Big Mediastan. As an aside: it is one reason I believe that a critical component of the WGA's future--and that of the Screen Actors Guild--is to focus intensely on organizing the young kids today who are cranking out material using IMovie and other software. The unions have to get those younger--and older people--who are now producing content into the union now so that they don't become this mass of unorganized, low-wage labor that has no connection to the labor movement.

If the WGA agreed to those terms, it would basically be giving up on an important issue: union jurisdiction.

Therein lies the tough fight that all unions face: how do you convince current member to fight for the rights of members in the future? The answer is: you have to be able to show that organizing new members and broadening the reach of the union is critical to keeping the union's power what it is--and being able to bargain with strength ten and twenty years down the road. It's hard--when you've been out on strike for many weeks, any worker will feel, "damn, let's take the best deal for the present...who knows what will happen later?" But, I can guarantee one thing--if the union jurisdiction shrinks, you, buddy, will be in deep shit down the road.


Electronic Sell-Through (Paid Downloads)

While the DGA deal announces that the new rate "More than doubles the rate currently paid by the employers on television programming to .70% above 100,000 units downloaded," Tasini isn't as enthusiastic, writing:

My take: this sounds good. Wow, you get double!!! But, as I remember from high-school math, double of zero is zero. Okay, it's not that bad. But, recall, that the formula of .3 percent was the pathetic rate that was being paid out based on the bad deal shoved down the throats of the creators in the 1980s over videocassettes and, then carried over into the DVD era. In my opinion, this sets a producer-friendly standard that will be hard to break.

Ad-Supported Streaming

The DGA agreed to a "17-day window (24-day window for series in their first season).
Pays 3% of the residual base, approximately $600 (for network prime time 1-hour dramas), for each 26-week period following 17-day window, within first year after initial broadcast. Pays 2% of distributor's gross for streaming that occurs more than one year after initial broadcast."

Tasini opines:

My take: I don't particularly think this is great shakes, either. Basically, the producers get a residual-free window for ad-supported streaming--i.e., they get all the money--for the time period when the product is most valuable. We all understand that, right? First-run gets the most eyeballs. Creators, then, get to scrape for a smidgen of a much smaller pie.

For more opinions on the DGA deal and what it does/could/might mean for writers, check out the following:

* Two columns by writer Mark Evanier here and here
* A column by attorney Jonathan Handel
* This Huffington Post piece by Robert J. Elisberg
* This piece on Artful Writer by John Wells

30 comments:

Fred said...

This is a shitty deal. It's a beginning, but that's all. The studios have put lipstick on a pig and called it beautiful.

But it's still a shitty deal.

Just a different shitty deal than the shitty deal they proposed before Christmas.

Captain Obvious said...

lol @ "Big Mediastan"


I'd accept 2% across the board, maybe. Why does this window idea even make sense at all?

What's so wrong with a flat percentage on a flat percentage (100%) of revenues?

"You're bustin my balls, man"


Or like someone else said, some sort of solidly-paying flat fee with a percentage on top. With some gifts for the Alliance in return for that. Cover "Viewings" period, forget about rerun for this and that. Let's lay a solid framework for the future while we're at this. It's the right time to do it.

Jerry Monaco said...

Thank you for posting this. I've been flogging Tasini's insights into the union movement on this and on my own weblog at livejournal and I am happy to see that some of you picket line captains also read him.

If you ask me the most important thing he says in this post is the following:

"you have to be able to show that organizing new members and broadening the reach of the union is critical to keeping the union's power what it is--and being able to bargain with strength ten and twenty years down the road. It's hard--when you've been out on strike for many weeks, any worker will feel, "damn, let's take the best deal for the present...who knows what will happen later?" But, I can guarantee one thing--if the union jurisdiction shrinks, you, buddy, will be in deep shit down the road."

No matter what the result of this strike, no matter what attitude any of us have to the DGA agreement, no matter the strategy and tactics, I urger that everyone here take a long range perspective on the union movement and on your union and the industry it belongs to. (If there is one reason I admire the current WGA leadership is that many of them have this long range perspective.) The conglomerates have a long range perspective on the unions they have to deal with, and you all need one too. The bosses plan globally. Unions also have to think in these terms.

What is needed most in my opinion is a truly united Hollywood union movement. The elephant in the room is always IATSE, and its leadership, when we begin to speak of an industrial wide union, or industrial wide union cooperation. I have no immediate solutions. I would urge IA members that are at all sympathetic to a long range union perspective to form an IA progressive caucus.

Please, forgive me for kibitzing but for the last few weeks I have been studying the history of Hollywood unions and the issue that jumps out time and time again from the early thirties, through the blacklist era to today is how the creative unions relate to IATSE.

In solidarity,

Jerry Monaco

Doyle said...

So you've chosen to post a analysis by some guy who owns a website, and not the one by a former president of the Guild and distinguished working writer with decades of experience at the highest level of the business?

How can you even begin to pretend your not agitating to defeat the deal?

Richard Maxwell said...

This is the post I put up on my blogsite (www.theelmentsofpersuasion.com). Make of it what you will. What is obvious to me is the MSM will be putting more pressure on WGA leadership to "play nice." I suggest we view anything the New York or LA Times says with a truck load of road salt.

"The big news out of LA this morning is that the Directors Guild of America (DGA) has reached an agreement with the AMPTP. You can read all about the positive and negatives here (and while you are there buy a t-shirt, they may become collectors items soon). The deal does seem to achieve at least some of what the WGA (Writers Guild of America) wanted. But the whole idea of pattern bargaining has been turned upside down in the entertainment industry and there are rank and file grumblings about that. So it is by no means a done deal that the writers strike will end.

In the automobile industry, for example, the Auto Workers banded together to form the UAW and tht union traditionally strikes one of the big three companies (the weakest and so the one it feels it can make the best deal with) and the other auto makers have to fall in line around the pattern set by that contract knowing if they don't they will face strikes while the competitors continue to happily make cars under the new contract and so gain competitive advantage. In the entertainment industry (and it is an industry - one of America's most profitable and one where the USA continues to be the gold standard) it has been working the other way. The Media Conglomerates (AMPTP) band together and make a deal with which ever of the big three guilds (WGA, DGA, SAG) they feel will be easiest to get what they want from - setting a pattern the other Guilds will follow. BUT - and it is a big but - there is no reason any other Guild will necessarily agree. AND having Directors ready to work without scripts (or the real nightmare, having it all ready and clock running on the financing you got to actually make the movie and then having the actors refuse to show up) doesn't really get you anywhere - other than bankruptcy court.

So the writers now have reached a crucial plot point. I simply note that in strike of 1960 the WGA stayed on strike over the recommendation of its own Board of Directors choosing instead to stay strong behind its Negotiating Committee, and the result was health care and a pension fund that became industry standard.

One quick point. I received an email from a fellow writer saying "Well, at least the DGA stood up against the AMPTP longer than the French held out against the Nazis." One of my day jobs during this strike has been teaching High School History so I am compelled to say that the French held out a great deal longer. The DGA did however hold out longer than the Italians against the US when the Allies actually landed in Italy proper.

So lets see where the story goes from here. In Italy it ended with Mussolini hanging from a lamp post. Lets all hope things go better for the DGA."

hhangel said...

The true VICTIMS in YOUR STRIKE!

http://hhangel.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/writers-strike-no-joke-to-below-the-line-crew/

4merBTLer said...

Okay, so I still think it’s great that the DGA was able to negotiate the gains they got for their membership. I really think that they could never have gotten what they did without the pressure (on the AMPTP) of the WGA’s actions and SAG support.

BUT, their deal is just a starting point. A good one, in my relatively uninformed opinion. However, I would hope that for all the pain our community has experienced thus far, the WGA is able to make more significant gains that can prevent the need for another strike in the near future (12+ years?).

In the end, the WGA membership is not going to be happy with the deal that gets made, but for heaven’s sake, please make sure that the AMPTP is JUST AS UNHAPPY! Isn’t that what negotiating a good deal is all about?

We are at an important turning point in the Industry’s history; true change is necessarily painful. If I have to lose everything (as “collateral damage”), I want to be able to say it was for a really good reason.

Obviously, I would like to see the strike end before June (or earlier!), but however long it goes, you have my support and best wishes for strength, perseverance and solidarity.

jimmy said...

I think I agree that reruns aren't going away so quickly. But this contract will get them to go away quicker.

There are a couple of good things about taking a modified deal like this:

1) The strike ends and many people can actually start to recover financially.

2) The Oscars go on unfettered, and it gives everyone in town a chance to heal with a party and a good night for Hollywood.

3) In three years, there is very likely to be a democrat in the White House who will appoint a union friendly head of the NLRB and FCC. The next negotiations might get some more help.

4) There will be real numbers to look at for streaming, EST and online rentals. No more theoretical bickering about the "unknown".

5) NO NICK COUNTER BECAUSE HE'S RETIRING. Which might just give the negotiations a completely different tone.

6) Time to rebuild relationships with DGA and IATSE. There needs to be some real outreach and info exchange so that the unions cannot be pitted against each other so easily.

Not that the writers should cave. They should go back to the table and get some additional assurances.

Perhaps take the deal in exchange for all the development deals being reinstated.

Put some teeth into the disclosure and sunset provisions which assures there won't be another stonewall about new media.

And if possible, allow all three unions to negotiate at once. Then both sides have equal power.

I just fear that writers risk losing the support of actors and the public if the keep their hardline, and it would give the AMPTP reason to take the current offer off the table and walk away again. Holding out until July and then stick the writers with an even worse deal.

I hope the WGA is talking very closely to SAG, because if they are going to lose their staunch support even a little bit, they have lost their leverage.

No reason to lie down immediately, get in there and get some additional things.

But be smart about this.

MrKlaatu said...

captain --

This window doesn't make sense, but a window does. Sure, I'd like no window and as much money as possible, but I understand their argument.

They say that not every online viewer is an additional viewer. Some watch online instead of on TV (if they miss an episode, etc.). And, this is probably true. TV viewership is down. Plus allowing people to catch episodes they miss can help keep them with a series (especially a serialized one) that they might otherwise give up on.

Now, the DGA agreed to 17/24 days or 2/3 weeks plus a three day optional preview period before the TV airing. This is too long. The networks, because of DVRs, have been pushing Nielsen and advertisers to look at the total ratings for live plus seven days. So, that should also be the window for free streaming. Add the three day preview to that and I'd still be okay with it. Basically, it's one week too long.

Also, any streaming during the window (and under the agreed compensation, especially as long as there's a cap) should only be domestic (U.S.), with foreign IPs blocked. Otherwise we will lose our foreign residuals too once the studios decide they can get our product to international viewers without sharing the revenue with foreign broadcasters.

BTL Guy said...

The DGA spent $2M and two years studying the internet. Guess what they came up with? $1200 per episode per year is actually fair.

NBC/Universal's trade show boasts aside, the internet simply isn't a get rich quick goldmine, at least not yet.

Furthermore, the barriers to entry are so low that literally anyone with a camcorder can compete with Desperate Housewives.

Most importantly, television reruns are not going anywhere. To repeat the opposite is a Carl Rove mindtrick -- say something enough times and suddenly it is "truth."

Reruns of The Office and Mad Men and Battlestar Gallactica and Desperate Housewives will be on as long as the first run episodes continue to air.

Repeats of CSI Miami have beat first-run airings of anything NBC can throw at it (sorry Studio 60, Black Donnellys and Journeyman -- all of which I liked better!).

Reruns are here for years to come.

There will eventually be a convergence of TV and Internet. It's not here yet, and it won't be here tomorrow.

Incredibly smart companies have tried to speed up that convergence and failed. Apple TV has been a flat-out flop - -a rare admission from Steve Jobs confirmed it.

Hulu? Innertube? Complete jokes.

Amazon Unbox? Can you name one person who has used it?

So, at this point in the game, ANY residual on the internet is new money. It is not a rollback.

Far more importantly, jurisdiction over the internet provides protection for the Guilds and their Members when that convergence finally happens. (I'm sure it will, just not nearly as soon as everyone seems to believe).

Finally, WGA would have jurisdiction over even the lowest budget original content if that content employs a WGA Member. So the solution? Open up Membership! This is not a contraction of Members, it is an incredible opportunity to grow.

So before continuing to dis your sister Guild, Writers should stop and think about whether the DGA would really flush their $2M report down the toilet.

My guess is that when the Writers' NegCom sat down with the Directors' NegCom and got one look at the Directors' report, they probably sighed a collective "oh....".

The money's not there yet. The jurisdiction is.

The DGA deal is a very good deal.

kimmy2007 said...

If I were the WGA right now I would look at this deal and think about Why the DGA did it, probably because they did not want to halt hollywood any more that it has already been. The WGA needs to look at this deal and really try and I mean try to find the positives in it, it seems to me and I am no lawyer or business man but it seems they are getting some of what they wanted, so they should sit down with the AMPTP again and see if they can try and compromise. It did not take long for the DGA to make a deal, they did it with no news leaks or fighting, myabe the WGA and the AMPTP should at least be civil and get along and end this thing sooner rather than later, the Oscars are coming up very soon, and the show will go on with or without writers, it will not be cancelled or turned into a press conference , that was so low for the globes to be reduced to apress event . lets not do that for the Oscars .

hotline said...

Can any union member out there really believe it's okay to use one union to attempt to financially rape two others?

That's exactly what the AMPTP has planned all along.

All unions please stay strong. Stay united against the corporate machine. Do not fall for their tactic of getting us to eat at one another.

Fred said...

Dear Doyle, the main reason they decided not to print John Wells' letter may be what he did to his own writers after the last negotiation.

MrsWakely said...

New York Times: 1-19-08
Bob Herbert:
“The distribution of wages, income and wealth in the United States has become vastly more unequal over the last 30 years. In fact, this country has a more unequal distribution of income than any other advanced country.”

New York Times: 1-19-08
Writer's Strike Tests Mettle of Two Outsiders:
"The directors decided that this was not the time to make a stand on new media, agreeing to revisit compensation for their distribution of their work over the Internet, cellphones and other digital media three years from now."

So:
1. wildly uneven distribution of wealth (ie., 25 million for Tom Hanks, scale and a donut for you)
2. a small flat fee, not a percentage of the net, with a vague promise the AMPTP will "revisit" the issue in three years.

What exactly, are we playing at? Sure, everybody wants to get back to work, but, fi we accept this, what's the point of what we've been doing for 11 weeks?

LegalLinkNews said...

No, No, No! I totally disagree with Tasini's statement
" The unions have to get those younger--and older people--who are now producing content into the union now so that they don't become this mass of unorganized, low-wage labor that has no connection to the labor movement."
Up until now, this strike has been about WGA and AMPTP. When you make statements like the above, you are now talking about ME. No, No, No. I am not exactly creating content in my garage, but want the freedom to create, publish, sell.....whatever I want to do on the internet. I do not want any union bogging down my negotiations..I have done fine in my life and have had health insurance, pension and good wages. Don't try to drag everyone into your club--we don't all want to be there.
As far as encouraging WGA members to fight for the future members and starve a little longer and hold out for terms that would include them...as I have previously stated, the WGA's obligation in the negotiation is to the CURRENT dues paying members of the WGA, not the future, past, or wannabe members, and certainly not animation or reality.

Greg said...

Hey, LegalLink, speak for yourself. I for one would very much like to join the WGA.

Jimmy--I for one would love to see the WGA able to team up with SAG in negotiations, but the studios will never allow that, and the fact that they'll never allow it should tell you something about whether or not they're operating in good faith.

MrKlatuu--very good catch that foreign ISPs need to be blocked during the window. I hope someone in the negotiating committee thinks of that.

BTL guy--the DGA focussed on other things, because residuals aren't as important to them as they are to writers. There are a lot of 1st ADs and 2nd ADS in the DGA to whom residuals are meaningless, so it's small wonder they didn't focus much on that. Don't cloud the issue.

Kimmy2007--after the AMPTP screwed the WGA on DVDs, the WGA is under *NO* obligation to "try and find the positives." Wow. The WGA has already negotiated individual deals with several prominent media companies (UA, WWP, Spyglass, Weinstein, MRC). So the AMPTP has a responsibility to propose a fair deal to the WGA. As it stands, there are still far too many loopholes. The WGA didn't cancel the Golden Globes. They just said they'd picket, and the actors said they wouldn't cross, so the AMPTP cancelled 'em. Get your facts straight.

Dan and Vince said...

I find it hard to imagine the unions moving toward recruiting online content creators. After writing and directing an independent feature that played at a number of festivals, I tried to join the WGA's independent writers' caucus, and even with three of the four conditions for enrollment under my belt (you're only supposed to need one), I was turned down with no explanation. Even with produced credits, though outside of the studio system, I was made to feel distinctly NOT welcome.

The fact may or may not be, but seems, like the unions don't actually want people to join unless they've already attained a certain high level of mainstream success on their own, and then they have to pay what for a lot of people is a pretty steep fee to join. If I read this analysis correctly, Tasini is suggesting that the Guild target, say, a kid in Kansas who's making weekly 8-minute insallments of some show he came up with so that by the time the networks come calling, he'll already be in the union fold.

That sounds pretty good, theoretically, and would definitely swell the ranks, but it would take a complete upheaval in the way that union eligiblity is determined, and, like LegalLink wrote, if you even attempted that you'd probably create nothing but headaches for people who are just trying to fart around with their camcorder and whatnot. I don't see that happening, and don't know but it would cause more harm than good.

mmmmbacon said...

btl guy,

Are you a writer? Have you ever sold a script? If not, here's what happens --

When you sell a script, the price you get becomes your quote. If/when you sell another script, you get a small bump up from your original quote.

So it's very important that your initial quote is as big a number as possible, otherwise you're stuck with your crappy initial quote (let's say $1,200 for unlimited streams) it will be a looooong road building it up to something respectable.

You're right. Re-runs aren't going away tomorrow and in three years we can revisit the $1,200 number. Maybe we'll get a 10% bump. So now we're at $1,320 for FULL YEAR OF UNLIMITED STREAMS.

Perhaps you are childless and live in Appalachia. I live in Los Angeles and my four kids are going to go to college. $1,320/year is not going to keep me in my house or send my kids to school.

Accepting this deal would mean THE END OF THE WGA! Which is exactly what the AMPTP wants. But I suspect that you know that, as you are most likely on their payroll. Nice work. Nick Counter is proud of you.

Harold said...

I'm beginning to come to terms with what will be a deal that probably wasn't worth striking over. No one will really know if early negotiations might have resulted in the same deal. I suppose that one can argue that the deal will be better than what would have been achieved without a strike, but will that improvement have been worth the strike? For all of the problems placed on BTLs (not to mention WGA members themselves) because of the strike, will the strike have been worth the incremental improvement in a deal without the strike?

The answer was "NO" in 1988. What will it be in 2008? For anyone that has to regularly repay a strike fund loan, they will be reminded of the value provided by this strike with each payment. Will it have been worth more than the amount that they write on each check?

It will be hard to overcome the enormous pressure that will be "encouraging" the WGA to adopt applicable DGA deal provisions.

My expectations are being adjusted from "How close does the deal get to the original proposals?" to "Can the WGA deal be any better than the DGA deal?" I'm reduced to measuring strike success as "At least it's better than what was first offered."

John Wells has really stepped out in front of the DGA deal, and every news article writer enjoys quoting how much a former WGA president loves it. That's annoying.

The only thing that annoys me more than news media quoting Wells as an authority on WGA interests is people claiming that the public gives a crap about the awards shows.

Please stop the "you'll lose public support if you don't give waivers to the Grammy Awards, Spike TV Video Game awards, etc." It's beyond ridiculous. The public doesn't give two shits about industry self-congratulation events. They may be interested in the people that attend but not the events themselves. Understand the difference.

Argue that those shows provide plenty of BTL work. Argue that peripheral businesses benefit from awards shows. Those are serious arguments.

Captain Obvious said...

MrKlaatu: I see your point on the phantom repeat viewer, but, are we all going to have NanoNielsens™ implanted in our brains to tell the advertiser to pay less for the advertisement when seen by "inferior" consumer eyes?

Oh and since they saw only the 30 (or 60) second spot on TV last time, is it really such a loss now that they have your commercial AND a separate frame AND a Flash animation AND a banner with a website link?

Oh and since it stops being worthwhile when someone repeat views an ad, why is it that I see the same commercials all the time?



I still feel like the concept of a window fails like this under close scrutiny. If someone draws revenue for content reuse, our cut of the stream should be counted as an expenditure. Period.

Captain Obvious said...

Legallinews:

The union doesn't bog down your negotiations. You're still free to negotiate pretty much whatever terms you please. All the union does is ensure that the minimum bar is set appropriately so workers are not taken advantage of in the blind pursuit of profits.

mheister said...

As HHAngel asked us to check out her blog from here, I'm responding here. Oh, and on my blog,

http://www.thepodosphere.com

HH -

You might want to start by putting a disclaimer at the top of your blog concerning your right-wing, pro-corporate slant. No denying it, I browsed your political blog.

Oh, and adults DO go on strike. Adults who fought for decent wages and working conditions for their families. Adults who struck and protested to eliminate child labor laws in this country. Adults who forced the large corporations who employ them to provide for health and retirement benefits. Adults who took clubs to the head from factory-hired goons while standing up for basic rights.

It was adults in the labor movement who finally forced Washington to enact laws protecting workers, criminalizing child labor, and regulating corporate abuse of the environment, a commons which is not owned by the corporations but is a trust of the people.

So the next time you drop off your child at school rather than a sweatshop, you might want to say a little prayer of thanks to that guy whose name none of us knows, but who got beat senseless because he loved all children enough to want to see them educated rather than exploited.

As for adult behavior in the current context, even a cursory glance at the tactics used by the AMPTP puts a lie to the very notion that they were acting in any way like "adults", exercising maturity, discretion, presence of mind, and consideration for third parties that might be harmed by their deeds. Instead there has been a rash of petty words and pettier deeds. The WGA has fired not a single soul. The networks force-majeured dozens of writer deals. Warners is set to fire 1,000 employees, and other studios and networks have cut loose many more.

If I understand correctly, your husband works below the line and I assume is a member of one of those unions. His retirement fund is indexed to the income the WGA receives, including residuals. If the WGA simply rolled over, about five years from now you'd be wondering what the heck happened to that healthy retirement fund your husband had.

So a few years from now, when you start collecting those retirement checks, you might want to drop a note to the WGA thanking them for standing tall for the entire industry, as adults who take responsibility do.

United Hollywood said...

Can we all please keep in mind that, simply because someone disagrees here, that disagreement DOES NOT, automatically equate to them being a "shill", a "plant" or a "troll"?

Have a case? Make it and move on.

Yes? Thank you.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Post Guy said...

Jerry,

We meet once again. I'd like to respond to many of your comments. As an IA member of 29 years, I am completely in agreement with you that a true United Hollywood is necessary and needed. This strike would have been long over by now with a UH in place. (that's exactly what I wrote to you in the other topic we were discussing, you didn't respond for some reason). There is NO reason we can't have our own version of AMPTP.

However, saying the IA is the problem is absolutely outrageous. Just take a walk around this website and read the animosity between the DGA and WGA. "Shitty Deal" is what I am reading over and over disrespecting the DGA leadership's decisions, years of research on the subject, their "sister guild" etc. They even drag their own gifted members such as John Wells through the mud. Someone who has, and continues to write, some of the best television ever done. He is a writer, a great one, PERIOD. All of the rest of this BS is business. Solidarity is not slamming someone who probably led them for near nothing in return, just terrible. (I've never met nor worked with Mr. Wells)

Let's talk about the hatred and supposed disrespect that has been going on for years concerning the DGA. The credit of "A Film By"? Why don't you bring that one up around here and see how long the solidarity lasts. The fact is the IA has never had a beef with the WGA that I am aware of.

And if you think this strike has helped the solidarity, think again. Although I absolutely agree with what the WGA leadership is fighting for, the complete disregard of the BTL going forward when they did will not be easily forgotten. The WGA leadership knew this was going to seirously hurt the BTL people in this industry first and foremost, yet went forward anyway throwing thousands of tv production people out of work immediately (those that can least afford it) and adding the additional insult of ruining the holidays for us and our families. Not a great way to create a United Hollywood. I still strongly feel had the WGA waited until June, in concert with SAG as expected, this would have been over in 2 months.

Lastly, I'd like to respond to your comment of.........."how the creative unions relate to IATSE".

Again, you aren't from this industry, and don't understand the process that goes into making a motion picture or television production. From Directors of Photography to Costuming to Makeup to Visual Effects to Picture Editing to Sound. All of these are "creative" and an important part of the production. In fact, I work (d) daily with the top motion picture and television film makers as an integral part of the creative team that brings the writers story to life. Looking "down" upon the IA isn't going to create solidarity, and that IS the problem.

Jerry, you can blame the IA all you want, but the fact is the WGAE and WGAW could barely get along until now.

Again, I am all for a United Hollywood, and ready to strike for it, but when some of us think they are better than others, that's where it fails ( and as you pointed out to me previously). Take a look at some of the posts around here concerning the below the line members of the DGA (Assistant Directors and such), and you'll see why a true United Hollywood will only be a dream until that attitude changes.

mheister said...

Post Guy -

First off, much love and respect for you and everyone else who does the long hard ill-respected below the line work that helps bring the work of the writers, actors and directors to life.

I've been reading the criticism of John Wells. Nobody's knocking his writing ability; they're questioning whose side he's on when it comes to these negotiations. It's like how I feel about DW Griffith - historically great and important director AND an avowed racist. John Wells the pro-studio advocate is nowhere near as reprehensible as DW Griffith the racist, but in both cases, we can objectively evaluate the actions of these men in the public sphere.

I've weighed in on the DGA deal. As a SAG member, if my union submitted a similar deal for my vote, I'd turn it down. And just from responses on this website, I know I'm not alone amongst SAG members.

If I use colorful imagery concerning the relative positions of the DGA and the AMPTP - say, the AMPTP pitched and the DGA caught (if you don't get it, ask a friend in West Hollywood) - that is only my way as a creative person of expressing my disdain for the deal. I am not otherwise denigrating anyone in the DGA either personally or professionally; I'm just saying in the negotiations they sucked like Seka (and you're old enough to get THAT reference).

And the better the deal the WGA gets, the healthier your union's retirement fund is going to be. So please cheer the writers on.

Post Guy said...

Mheister,

Thank you for the kind words concerning the Below the Line individuals. Personally, I take each project very seriously. I protect it, I put all I can creatively into it, I think about all the people who did the same before me (writers, directors, actors, set designers, DP's, Camera, etc.) and hold it in my hands until it is taken away from me. My "baby" then moves on to the next creative individual who will treat it with the the same "respect" I did.

Respect, interesting word pertaining to this strike. I have seen numerous postings since this began degrading John Wells as even still qualified to be a writer among them. "The writer in him died long ago" I believe was one of the quotes. As far as "what side he's on", as long as he is a WGA member I believe he is entitled to an opinion. There are hard-liners, there are moderates, all on one side, that of the WGA. Respect opinion.

I don't know how anyone other than the negcomm can make a determination on the DGA deal since we don't have the data that was obtained to make this deal. I don't, so I have no opinion other than I continue to hope it reopens negotiations with AMPTP.

Yes, I have many friends who live in West Hollywood. So you are saying the DGA got screwed. My guess is the DGA came up with this proposal based on their years of research costing millions of dollars (the data). The DGA negcomm agreed this was a good deal for their members, and I respect that decision.

What Jerry was proposing was an industry wide Association similar to the AMPTP for all of us. I agree 100 percent with the concept. I've spoken with dozens of IA members about this, and all were in agreement we have a lot to gain by such an association, as does all of our guilds. To the best of my knowledge, this has never been proposed at any level, and certainly wasn't IATSE's fault it hasn't happened.

There is nothing stopping any of the guilds from forming an alliance to negotiate one master contract. In order for that to happen, we need to have respect among each other first. I think this strike has shown how far apart we all really are. We need to do better.

Finally, let me tell you about my union retirement fund. I could have paid for 4 years of pension and health and welfare with what has already been lost. So I cheer the writers on for completely different reasons, creative reasons.

And Yes, I remember Seka.

carol said...

Keep strong.
Formal talks only!
I'm ILWU local 5.
I wish I had my entire Union
behind you!
Longshoreman can get rad!
Keep it up.
DGA is looking out for themselves.
Keep strong.
WGA garner the union.

There are Union Maids out there.

carol said...

Keep strong.
Formal talks only!
I'm ILWU local 5.
I wish I had my entire Union
behind you!
Longshoreman can get rad!
Keep it up.
DGA is looking out for themselves.
Keep strong.
WGA garner the union.

There are Union Maids out there.

Bonnie said...

Jimmy, before you state your opinions you might want to get your facts straight. Aside from the fact that most of your argument is based on wishful thinking you might want to Google somebody named Bill Clinton who helped usher in consolidation of the media. Another intelligent and persuasive argument: the Oscars will go and give everybody a night to party. Well, if there was ever a reason for writers to bend over it's that one! Where do people come up with this stuff?

Bonnie said...

HHAngel. The real enemy is you and people like you who try and sabotage this strike, but are too lazy to get informed. WGA residuals feed the pension and health funds of IATSE!! So every time you disparage our struggle you undermine IATSE members. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Spend less time on spreading your ignorance on your blog and more time educating yourself about the issues.