1/29/2008

Rumor Mill on Overdrive

Yes, we are hearing the same rumors you're hearing. Repeat: rumors. And last time we all got too excited by such unsubstantiated expectations, well, you know.

So as you get your third email and/or phone call from the guy who knows somebody who talked to the woman who heard from a person "who knows people who know," take a deep breath and read Ray Richmond's column yesterday on The Huffington Post. An excerpt:

With the settlement rumors again flying fast, we are left to question the precise source of said scuttlebutt. Here is one undeniably pessimistic and hardcore but I believe at least semi-plausible theory:

The studios make a deal with the Directors Guild, whose residual guarantees don't come close to matching what the WGA is seeking. A producer rep circulates around the idea that things are looking up and informal talks have commenced. There is a resumption of in-person bargaining, followed quickly by an abrupt break-off and the usual angry recriminations along the lines of "So it seems those arrogant bastard writers think they're worth more than the directors!" and "We held out an olive branch and they ripped it to shreds!". The producers still have done nothing to move the talks forward -- or in truth even start them -- yet can seize the moral high ground. The WGA side will have been lured into a trap. The premise postulates that the studios have zero interest in ever coming to a reasoned agreement but are instead moving resolutely forward on a campaign of solidarity splintering and ultimate guild destruction.

Mind you, this conspiratorial scenario could be 100% (OK, 98%) off-base. An accord might conceivably come today and I'd be exposed as an alarmist whack job -- a development which I would applaud enthusiastically, if slightly sheepishly. We have, after all, seen an increasing trickle of independent production companies breaking ranks and signing their own pacts with the WGA, a list that now includes a couple of heavyweights like Lionsgate, Marvel and the Weinstein Co. Still, there remains unbending unity among the only guys who count: Disney, Warner Bros., Fox, et al.

But let's end here on a buoyant note, shall we? It's a gorgeous January day. The town is buzzing. The writers are picketing. The air is pregnant with possibility. And if you listen really hard, you can make out the glorious sound of thawing ice. On the other hand, that could also just be the moguls rubbing their hands together.


Is the above the worst case and an admittedly "pessimistic" scenario? You bet. Just as all the rumors flying fast and furious the last 24 hours are of the rose-colored glasses variety. So stay calm and wait until we have facts instead of getting too high or low based on a text message based on an anonymous blog post based on a tip from "a guy who knows a guy who talked to a guy."

10 comments:

Alexander Chow-Stuart said...

Great article. Let's hang tough. Nothing has changed since our DVD concession was turned to dust: we are dealing with people whose word we cannot trust. My SAG friends are even unhappier with the DGA deal than most writers I've talked to. Let's work - and negotiate - toward a truly groundbreaking agreement that will set us all in good stead (the studios, too, for longterm stability is a plus), rather than accept whatever we're offered. Patience, dignity and courage should be our watchwords. This doesn't have to be acrimonious.

Becca said...

Speaking of rumors: my local news reported that the WGA denied a waiver to the Academy Awards. However, there is nary a word about that on wga.org, here on UH nor on DHD.

What's the truth about that?

Geo Rule said...

Cynical is safe-ical!

Seriously, I like that guy's strategy. If the deal does go down everybody will be too happy high-fiving each other to do neiner-neiners at the cynics. :)

Jeremy Robinson said...

Yeah, except that friend of a friend of somebody's cousin's mother happens to be Nikki Finke... not that that makes much of a difference. I'm not a writer so I'll just keep being cautiously optimistic 'k?

It's ya birthday said...

Well, from what I heard from someone who is actually in the room during these informal talks (showrunner, name shall remain nameless), they're not close to that deal yet so I don't know where these rumors are coming from.


Mind you that was last week, but I don't see how the tides could've turned that fast. But you never know.

Venice said...

Does anyone else find it hilarious that Zucker was quoted in yesterday's Reporter complaining that the mobile phone companies "only" pay studios 10% for reuse of content?

It's not a problem at all to pay the actual creators of the content .4% for reuse by the studios (and complaining the whole time that .4% is so absurdly high that it threatens an entire industry's business model).

Shanna said...

I'd rather be a conspiracy theorist on this one. I have yet to see one show of good faith from the AMPTP so I won't blink if the rug gets pulled out again.

Michael D. said...

Optimism. Grab your Webster's (or point your browser to Dictionary.com) and look it up. Rumors of a deal being imminent (assuming it is a Fair Deal, which does not mean the Best Deal) are better than rumors that talks are breaking down. So let's all drop the Negativity and hope that there's some nugget of truth to the rumors and a Fair Deal (and return to work) is close.

stuiec said...

Opening stanza of 'If' seems apropos here:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise...


Hang tough and ignore rumors.

mheister said...

I responded this Huffpost dude in some detail on my blog, www.thepodosphere.com.