1/28/2008

Rumors, Facts, Picketing and Leverage

We've had the phones ringing off the hook today, with people telling us they've heard that "a deal is imminent" and "both sides have agreed to the deal points." This rumor has picked up so much steam in such a short time that it's a little scary.

We're in a news blackout. So we can't get confirmation or denial from the WGA. But here's what we do know: last time we all got excited about a rumor that a deal was about to be reached, it turned out to be untrue, and the collective damage done to our morale was considerable.

So here are a few things to factor in:

  • SAG just reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the WGA last night. Patric Verrone stood onstage at the SAG Awards with Alan Rosenberg. Several actors weighed in supporting writers, and Rosenberg himself said: "The strike is about protecting the next generation so they can continue to create, continue to give great performances that can be rewarded."

  • The companies know that if they can't negotiate a deal with us, there will be no Oscars, because of SAG's support.

  • It's possible that good-faith negotiations are going on right now; but because of the news blackout, if the congloms were stalling (as they have in the past,) we wouldn't have any way of knowing about it.
So we would argue it's dangerous to assume either way, because we don't have the facts.

The last time we got our hopes up, frankly, they were dashed. Let's not forget it. Buying into blind optimism -- and it's "blind" because we're in an information vacuum -- is a dangerous thing to do.

But while we don't know what's going on in the negotiating room, we can still directly influence it. Negotiations succeed or fail due to leverage, applied at the right time and in the right places.

SAG has given us more power with their support; and every day that we show up on the lines, and keep up the blogging and the publicity and the determination publicly to get a fair deal for our work, we hand power to the men and women negotiating for us in that room.

That is the best way to end this strike quickly.

Our advice: ignore the rumors. Keep up the pressure. Because that pressure is the only thing that's going to get us, SAG or anyone else in this town a fair deal.

70 comments:

TV Guy said...

My mind is going a million miles a minute now. I read on one blog that a deal might be announced tonight or possibly tomorrow. I can't take these "rumors."

I honestly hope the strike ends soon and the writers get a fair deal. While I'm not lacking in the "watching TV" department, it will be nice to have my favorites shows back (i.e. 24!).

Bill said...

Hmmm... even Perez Finke isn't saying anything about it yet.

jimmy said...

I remember all the stuff about "the deal is basically done" just before the rug was yanked out from everyone.

There is hope that because the studios seem serious now, they might be past such tactics of planting false rumors in order to break morale. That's not what you do when you want a deal.

But do they? We'll find out.

Caitlin said...

Well, I'm not going to ignore the rumors, I'm going to pray for them to be true. But indeed, don't let the guard down, not until a comfirmation is made. The congloms have put their own gun against them. Let's make sure they're well aware of that until a deal is done.

Jake Hollywood said...

The real news of this post is: United Hollywood has scooped Nikki Finke and her Deadline Hollywood blog.

Now how the fuck did that happen? Nikki leads the world (or at least the Hollywood world) in the rumor mill department...

Nice work, gang!

Ruthie said...

So what are the deal points rumored to be?

Frustrated Bystander said...

On a completely different note -- in thinking about commercially sponsored shows on the internet with product placement...

"Fame, residuals, your career is made...Hey Kellog's, don't I get paid for this?" LOL. Starting to feel like Officer Gibble with the AMPTP?

http://humor.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=humor&cdn=entertainment&tm=13&f=00&tt=14&bt=0&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dl7PJYpIf6DI

stuiec said...

To paraphrase Sam Goldwyn: rumors ain't worth the paper they're printed on. The WGA Negotiating Committee will make the only announcement that matters -- do nothing different until you hear from them.

SCOTT SUMMIT said...

AGREED LAETA KALOGRIDIS, W.G.A. KEEP CRANKING UP THE HEAT. THE POT IS ABOUT TO BOIL!

Sam said...

Hang in there writers!! I'm a woodwind player in the AFM and I'm hoping for the best for the WGA in the next few days.

Simple Mindz said...

I hope that you guys are able to make a deal! I will keep my fingers crossed for ya!

rHob said...

Wow, people have lost jobs, homes, cars, can't pay credit cards and have trashed their credit, lost healthcare for an ailing son or daughter and now are uninsurable, divorces due to the stress and the below the line worker not only doesn't share in the residual process but many of us don't even get a credit and sometimes not even a thank you. Nice Legacy to leave behind!

24 fan said...

I so hope this is almost over, I've been behind the writers from the beginning and will support your cause till the end.

You guys are doing a great job of keeping the pressure up, along with the tremendous support you've received from SAG and the public - now all that's left is being offered a fair deal, putting your signs down and picking your pencils back up.

Let's hope there is something behind these rumors this time.

My cherished 24 is already teetering on the scrap heap for this year. However the sooner this is over, the sooner 24 can start up again. And maybe, just maybe they will be able to pull a rabbit out of their hats and air a full and uninterrupted season before 2009!!

Yeah, I know, I'm dreaming :/

"Who are you working for?"

hotline said...

Well, all I have to say about it is this... If it's not a good deal, I won't vote for it.

AnthonyDe said...

The best offer the AMPTP will make will come at the 11th hour of the point of no return for the Oscars to take place with SAG actors in attendance. Will it be good enough? Who knows? If it's not and the WGA rejects it they will walk away deal with SAG.

rubberpoultry said...

Hang in there WGA. The AMPTP loves to play mind games. Don't let them get into you heads. There aren't any chickens to count yet... pun intended.

Rubberpoultry

Benjamin said...

As Tony Gilroy said "It has to be the right deal." The fact that a deal may be near means nothing.

People please... said...

I think it's time to ignore the Deadline Hollywood site. I think that's the number one site that creates false hope. She did again with that piece about the talks going well.

Now is the time to stay calm, stay united and know that we can and will win this.

Geo Rule said...

Deep, cleansing breaths, people. Ommanipadmehum.

Rinse, repeat.

mheister said...

Anyone pick up on this story yet about CBS looking to import Canadian TV???

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117979785.html?categoryid=14&cs=1&p=0

Skyfleur said...

re : Nikki Finke's silence. If you check the comments when she posted an article about the informal talks going apparently well you can read a lot of bad feedback asking her to respect the blackout. It could be that she took all the comments to heart.

As for these rumors. Until I hear formal negotiations start and I don't think informal discussions can be considered negotiations, I'll just wait and see.
I want the writers to get what they deserve and nothing less. And if it takes the Oscars to be tanked, so be it.

MrKlaatu said...

rhob,

You're an uniformed idiot. Below the Liners get four and a half times the residuals that writers get. Say something intelligent, then maybe you'll ge a thank you.

dp said...

mrklaatu-
"You're an uniformed idiot. Below the Liners get four and a half times the residuals that writers get. Say something intelligent, then maybe you'll get a thank you."

That is technically incorrect my friend. You need to know your history of where those residuals come from. Before that residual system was instituted the PH&W was paid hour for hour by employers at a the same rate. The producers wanted an upfront break on payments and the IA gave in to that concession. All residuals from the entire industry are combined together and given equally with a cap on max payments(i.e. everyone has the same health insurance). Meaning if I shoot a movie that makes $500-mil and you make a sitcom that doesn't syndicate after 4 years, we get the same benefit. I don't get rich and you don't go without health insurance. That's all it is. As long as you work your minimum hours then everyone gets the same benefit. If you take the residuals from what the movies I have shot over the last 18 years have made and pay me at the lower WGA rate instead of your "4 1/2 times rate", I would have 30 or 40 mil in the bank. I am sorry to report this is not the case.

Also what is happening with the strike is that people are indeed losing their health insurance because they can't work the minimum hours required to keep it. That is like someone going into your bank account and removing all your residuals you have made. That's for work already completed, sold, syndicated whatever. We are not talking about future work we are talking about the work that we have already done where we have spent our time away from our families. Conversely the WGA health program(which has been frozen) only requires a minimum amount of money earned to qualify. Meaning you keep you insurance right now because the WGA froze it, nobody is going into your bank account to take away residuals you have already earned, and you have the opportunity if you're talented to make more in residuals than some other writers who work the same hours.

Our health insurance isn't going to go away if the whole residual system that currently pays only 60% of it transitions yet again to something else. We are more than 100,000 people and although we have not had a single strike, we will simply not let that happen. You could put a trillion dollars in there and we would still get the same insurance.

So who is the uninformed idiot now? The BTL are not stupid. We all know what are deal is. We are losing our insurance because we are not working the minimum hours. You on the other hand have no clue and have proven so by opening your mouth.

Benjamin Franklin said, "It is better to have someone think your a fool than for you to open your mouth and prove it."

Salty said...

Klaatu, not to rain on your parade as you act shrill to a BTL. But get your facts straight, that 4.5 times residual does not come in the form of a check in this guys mail.

It is deposited in the P&H fund.

Give the guy a break, he;s not the only one pissed off at the situation, and most BTLers are looking for an easy fall guy. As misguided as he may be in placing blame at the feet of the WGA, you are the easiest target.

What you need to do Klaatu is also recognize the pain both emotionally and financially this strike has caused. And much to your surprise I'm sure the BTLers aren't the only ones in this town who think that the WGA shares partial blame in where we are today.

What we need now is patience and understanding, not grandstanding a rhetoric against your fellow entities that help make movies and television happen.

Props said...

MrKlaatu,

So much for rationality. Residuals for the writers go to the individual, for IATSE they go to the pension / health fund. So, a BTL worker never sees 4.5 times the writers residuals, just an assurance they will get benefits (if they qualify with hours, which isn't happening these days)

Bill said...

Mr. Klaatu -
If you are referring to the IAP fund BTL (IBT) gets as a residual and comparing it to what a writer gets please put it in proper context. Yes IAP id funded through surplus residuals as mandated though our contracts but is only available upon retirement.
If you are referring to the fact that our benefits are funded by residuals you are correct yet the comparision that we recieve residauls as income does not work in this regard.
The writers get paid up front, for re-runs and re-use, AND have their benefits funded through residuals.
Though it is easy to shout someone down by calling them an "uniformed idiot" it really does no good and fosters even more tension between us.

amazed and hungry said...

Hello, I wouldn't normally write in a thread such as this but comments have spurred activity. I am a struggling below the liner and family man. I have been without work for approximately 3 and 1/2 months seemingly because of the strike. To see a fellow worker being called an idiot for stating what many of us feel does not sit well with me MrKlaatu. Also, the statement that below the liners make 4 times the residuals as a writer??? I have never seen a residual check. I would like fact based information on how this strike positively effects my family. I would also like to know where to get information that supports the statement on residuals. When trying to have a United Hollywod the name calling of a few can be detrimental. So that needs to stop. We are normally your back-bone, your legs, your feet, and all to often because of poor communication between us your brains on set. Don't mistreat us now while we can't support our families properly because of what seems to be your quarrel. Thank you.

Not An said...

Since I believe that dp, salty, props and amazed & hungry have done an excellent job of giving us the facts on the BTL residuals or lack thereof, I am going to change the direction of the thread just a sec to the much beloved Nikki Finke - and before all her fans get ready to post in response, trust me, she loves to have her name mentioned, good or bad it only helps her blog.

Ms. Finke is a friend to the WGA like the papparazzi are friends to Britney Spears. DHD is a very good gossip/personal commentary blog and by very good I mean she knows how to write copy that pulls in readers and generates comments, many of them uniformed and angry. She wants eyeballs and constantly stirring the pot is how she gets them and the end of the strike will see a big drop off in her traffic. That being said, she has made no secret of the fact that she considers the industry to be about money, not art and in many ways I have to agree with her.

I have no doubt that she has inside sources and she does indeed get some exclusive, breaking news stories but many times she also headlines things that have previously appeared in mainstream sources or other blogs.

I'm not going to lie. I visit her site although I have tried to really cut back since her self absorbed rant about not getting her mail order from Sony Style over Christmas. I thought given the fact that I knew many families who had a nice meal and no gifts at Christmas that she was extremely inconsiderate with that post but it also shows that this stirke hasn't hurt her in the least.

She definitely is talented, although, I think her talent for self promotion far outweighs her talent for writing. Her motives and her stories should always be carefully considered.

Now for the ass kissing, when I want information and civil (mostly) discussion, I come here and that is what I recommend others do as well.

rHob said...

Mr. Klaatu,

I would like to respond. Some of us are not covered by any union...there is no Visual Effects union, many sound mixers are not in a union, there are a lot of jobs in the industry or tied very closely to the industry that are affected. These people have no healtcare from IA or SAG or WGA or AMPTP, no residuals of any kind, they depend solely on their employer package. As a visual effects artist, I probably put in as much creative input as you and get nothing but an hourly salary at the end of the day.

Unlike you, I don't get paid during the strike for reruns. Now, if you want to accrue your fat residuals while you are on strike but not collect them until you go back to work, that might start to be a little more fair.

It amazes me how most in your line of work tow the liberal political line and preach about helping the middle class and the little guy and you want health insurance for all, but you are unwilling to help where you can.....by negotiating in good faith ahead of time. I want you to look my kids in the face and tell them how dad is going to feed them this month...maybe I'll get a job at the Circle K down the street, that'll pay my mortgage. Do I think that the writers are to blame? I think that both sides are to blame and it comes right down to plain old greed without a care about the humanitarian disaster that has been left in its wake.

rHob

stuiec said...

mheister: back in the mid-1960s, CBS ran the British series The Prisoner as a summer fill-in. So there is precedent.

Four Cent said...

Very sorry to any BTL people out there, on behalf of actual WGA members, for the latest posting of 'MrKlaatu', who I doubt actually has anything to do with our cause. We've picked up a few of these crazy people along the way, who presumably think they're helping, but unfortunately add to a distorted image of writers as ignorant extremists with no sympathy for others affected by this strike. The same goes for postings which appear to praying for the strike to go on forever, or who accuse non-unionized animation and reality show writers as being as much the enemy as the AMPTP. By the way, very few people seriously jump to the conclusion that an anti-WGA posting is automatically from a 'shill' or 'troll', so don't hesitate to offer constructive criticism.

Rocky said...

DP and the rest of the BTLers,
What do you expect of the WGA? In November, the day our contract ended, when the AMPTP refused to speak with our leadership as long as payment for new media was on the table, we went on strike. That's a fact. They wouldn't even discuss the issue. That precipitated the strike. We had no choice. There was no negotiating with them.

You don't receive residual checks because you are not writers, directors or actors. All of those jobs are open to you. Have at it. No one is stopping you. Go for it. But I can tell you, it wont be easy. No one picked us off the street and said, "You, I want you to be a writer and you over there, you'll be an actor." We earned it with talent and hard work just as you have earned your positions through talent and hard work.

I don't get overtime. Golden time or any of the other things that you get. Many other people who work out there don't get the benefits you have working in this industry. Should they gripe about your benefits? Of course not. it's absurd.

It is equally absurd to think that anyone would believe that we would bend over and take a shit deal that would damage our guild forever because it might cause you or others pain. Who would do that? Would your union? No way. The WGA leadership works for the members. Not you or the DGA or SAG. So stop your whining, suck it up and do your part to make the AMPTP come to their senses. Blaming the writers makes you look and sound really stupid.

I don't whine about overtime when I'm at work for sixteen hours nor should I. If I want overtime, i'll take a job that pays it.

hoopcooper said...

Hey...

As a member of both the WGA and IA, I have to say that any writer who reacts with bitterness is doing us more harm than good. So some IA guys "flip us the bird" metaphorically, as here with the "legacy" comment above or literally, as we've all experienced picketing. Pissing and moaning about their reuse fees isn't going to change any minds.

Yes, IA sees reuse money paid into their Pension and Health. And yes, because the writers weren't willing to cow to an offer that anyone in any industry would have considered unreasonable, they stopped working.

Reading this frustrating thread reminds me that this infighting (and it is infighting) obscures the real point...THE PRODUCERS WALKED OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS. That's why nobody's working. That's why we're all losing out healthcare (mine's gone in March). It's not that the writers went on strike...THE PRODUCERS REFUSED TO NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH. Now Tom Short may disagree that our "Clown car" full of buffoonish writers deserves more than $1200 for an our of television delievered on the internet. And that's his choice. But it's in the hands of the NLRB now. Maybe they'll decide that the moguls had the right to walk out and stay out until it was time to talk to the DGA, and maybe they won't.

BUT THE PRODUCERS WALKED AWAY. So Hrob, next time you drive by NBC flip off Jeff Zucker, not me. Okay? He's the reason your not working.

mgfx said...

Maybe the reason they walked away is because the WGA went in without a clear plan and no intention of negotiating in the first place. The meaning of negotiation and bargaining is being willing to compromise and not just go in making unrealistic demands "or else". I personally know dozens of people out of work because of this whole mess who don't benefit diddly from residuals, etc. Working in the post industry I can assure you support for the WGA at this point is far from universal and the anger and resentment will last for many, many years.

Not An said...

Hey, rocky - way to live up to the growing reputation for writers as arrogant assholes.

A lot of BTL people have lost just as much as writers and a lot of them are still with us. It does us no good whatsoever to say things like

"No one is stopping you. Go for it. But I can tell you, it wont be easy. No one picked us off the street and said, "You, I want you to be a writer and you over there, you'll be an actor." We earned it with talent and hard work just as you have earned your positions through talent and hard work."

even if you do put in the little pat on the head at the end.

I for one would rather listen to a little "I'm having a hard time" from people who have everything, I mean everything on the line than listen to a bunch of verbal support from people who have nothing on the line but are more than glad to send over a few boxes of support donuts.

The BTL people have genuine concerns just like a lot of striking writers have genuine concerns. It's great to write all the macho, ball grabbing slogans and talk about being in it for the future and how very hard we've all worked (by the way I know a lot of crafts people who worked a couple of jobs while in schools for their crafts and then worked long unpaid hours working on projects to build their reps) but sometimes you have to think about your responsiblity to you family and it can get damn hard to think about losing it all.

I don't know about you but I am right smack dab in the center of middle class and I worked hard to be here. I have much more in common with many BTL people than I do with a lot of people in the union who make millions. This pitting BTL people against writers is as divisive and counter productive as pitting writers against the neg team.

Most of us can write synpathetic scripts about the plight of the common man, we should try understanding the plight of the common man as well. No one in any union, no matter how smart or well educated, is any better than anybody in any other union.

Respect to all as they merit it and I damn well do mean all.

Luzid said...

I, for one, thinks it's ridiculous that BTL folk don't get residuals. They're involved in the whole show, too. They don't create the money-making ideas, but they help bring them to life, and deserve at least a fraction of the pie, don't they?

But I have to echo Rocky, who is *not* being an asshole when he asks what is expected of the WGA in this situation - what would you have the Guild do, exactly, to ease the real suffering of BTLers?

Similarly, how can BTL folks flex their muscle to get in on the action?

Rocky said...

Not an,

How sweet. A bleeding heart liberal. I am just stating the facts sweetheart. You don't like facts. Facts get in the way of feelings.

I am not rich by any stretch. But I earned every penny I have. No one gave me shit. All along the way there were times when I wasn't satisfied with the job I had so I moved on to something better. I didn't sit and bitch and whine. Imagine me being angry with A-Rod because he makes twenty million dollars a year and I don't because I'm a member of the ground crew.

This is not Bulgaria before the wall came down. People are free to choose their professions. Depending on how hard they work, they can do almost anything.

If you or your pack of wounded puppies (ONLY the ones who bitch on this blog and not the overwhelming majority of the BTLers) picked show biz, then you should be smart enough to know that there will be times when you don't work. If you spend your money like a drunken sailor and live beyond your means without anticipating the volatility of the profession, you are a jackass. And like it or not. That's your problem, not mine or the WGA's. Go into another line of work or get your head out of your ass and stop crying. Civil Service is a good option. you get paid every two weeks no matter what you do.

Just so you know, the actors contract is up in June. THEY MIGHT GO ON STRIKE. Same could happen three years from now or the show you're working might be cancelled. Prepare for a rainy day. You chose to be in this business in whatever capacity.

As for the pat on the head comment regarding BTLers being talented, your analogy is very revealing as to your own attitude toward them. It's obvious that you think my calling them talented was patronizing. That makes it obvious that you believe they are not.

rHob said...

I'm not a member of the WGA, but I play one on TV...I wrote that myself!

rHob said...

Yo Rocky,

Slow down there partner. Work slow downs in this business are usually predictable...summer and Christmas time....the strike is out of the realm of going to seek the next gig...there are no gigs!

By the way, to those of you that think that this is a free market system, think again. I have a registered show with the WGA and 2 other great dramatic ideas. One of which would be a triple revenue stream for the network that picks it up. I have tried to get an agent, I have tried to speak with 3 directors, I have tried to get a hold of people in development but there is a problem....It is still an old boys network and the Guards at the Gates of the WGA don't just let anyone in.....usually that comes in the form of knowing someone and trust me, I've seen some pretty bad pilots and movies, so don't tell me that every writer in the WGA is a genius, sometimes you just get lucky.

rHob

dp said...

Rocky-

Please, stop with the save for a rainy day talk. We all save for a rainy day-OUR RAINY DAY, not yours. Not a rainy day for a strike voted on by membership where the vast majority is not employed. Sure maybe SAG will strike because most of the members are waiters, saying "gee, if I ever get a job, I'd sure like to get paid more, so yes, I will vote to strike." We BTL IA people are in unions where more than 90% are always employed. We are not waiting for that one precious script to be sold and carry us through years of not working like a lottery ticket, no we work.....every day. We like this and are not afraid of hard work. It is what the true middle class is all about.

What we don't like is to be patronized or told that this is really our fight too. If you're a man, a real one Rocky, then you will own up to it. You admit your stake and risks involved for every one for the sake of your guild, not ours. Now don't go telling me the AMPTP is the only one at fault, it takes two to fight, we BTL'rs know that. The BTL are hard working people with good values full of men and women that are not ashamed to accept responsibility for their actions or COMBINED actions. That's what being a MAN means. I am proud to be one of them

When the boy Rocky grows to be a man, maybe he will learn to stop disparaging men and women of character and treat everyone with respect.

Rocky said...

R Hob,

I have to disagree with the notion that the strike was a surprise. It was common knowledge that our contract ended on October 30. I''ll admit a strike did not seem imminent at that time but you certainly had to be prepared for a strike after Xmas or you were living under a rock.

Look, if I were a BTLer, I'd be pissed too. The issue is not one of being angry but who to be angry at. That dead horse has been beaten a hundred times over.

To an extent, you are right about the good old boy network. But the agents are the keepers of the gate. You have to get your stuff into their hands. But again that usually does take knowing someone. Good luck anyway.

If my posts insult BTLers, you have my sympathy but not an apology. We are right. In the long we will all benefit from it.

Luzid said...

@ dp:

"We like this and are not afraid of hard work."

Your intimation that writing well isn't hard work and that writers aren't hard-working members of the middle class too is absolute bullshit.

amazed and hungry said...

Has it really come to this? Proofreading to make points? That is really to bad. I have to say that the point made is that over half of the WGA is unemployed at any given moment. The same can not be said of any union that BTLers as we seem to be called are a part of. Like I said before name calling will never win you support. I can always come on the internet and see little men talk big, the disparaging part to me is tomorrow I may be called to work alongside of you. Here is the bottom line no matter how far in advance we may have known it would be hard to save for this. As a husband and father of 3 I fear that soon my medical coverage will be stripped away. As for all else if people spoke to each other here as they would face to face it would be easier to learn from this. Now if we want to talk in a derogative manner to each other let's drop the facade here if you are talking this way here chances are you don't have the balls in life to do it anywhere else. Be civil or shut your damn pie hole. To people that have tried to help us understand the significance of this thank you very much. I hope that someday I can help bring your work to fruition and help us together grow and prosper as should always be the case.

dp said...

luzid-

Intimation.

It is an interesting word that is usually defined by the person hearing or reading it, not by the person speaking or writing it.

Where specifically did I say that WGA aren't hard working?

My point was that a lot of the WGA sentiment in this blog specifically(Rocky-mrklaatu) is directed pejoratively at the BTL. This coming from the very same WGA members who haven't taken responsibility for their end of the strike. They are calling BTL whiners, that it's their fault they didn't save for a long strike and that its really their strike too because they get more residuals than the writers. That's the real bullshit and it was said directly and concisely not intimated.

You can't deduce that because somebody says "I am a good person" that they think everyone else is a bad guy.

Luzid, you find where I said what you are accusing me of saying and I will apologize. That's the mark of a MAN taking responsibility.

hotline said...

I do believe there are some shills among us. Don't believe all these posts are the people they say they are.

But... for those BTL that are real and angry know this:

I am a writer. I did not vote for the strike. I do not get residuals during the strike. I would have been better off had the strike never happened. I am suffering. But... I am now behind the strike a bazillion percent.

I'm behind the strike for every union out there. I'm behind it because of the research I've done since this strike has started. And I've learned that it's an absolute FACT that these mega-conglomerates either have taken down or are trying to take down every union across the country. And I believe with every cell of my body that they're going after every other industry union after the WGA.

I understand it's easy to say, "If those fucking writers just go back to work all my problems will go away." Well, those problems may go away in the short term, but in the long, honestly, you will truly be sorry. If they weaken us, why do you think they won't go after you next?

I highly recommend everybody educate yourselves as to what's happening in this country. The number one reason for the depleting middle class - EROSION OF UNIONS. Again, I was not behind this strike until I really did my homework and discovered that we people who aren't multi-millionaire CEOs and overpaid executives are really fucked. Because these corporate monsters are consuming the bounty of this country for themselves. For the top one percent of the richest in this country. If you aren't going to read about it yourselves - trust me, trust me, trust me. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION. We need to be people against these corporate machines - not union against union. Don't allow them to use us against one another. Whether you believe it or not this WGA strike is making every other union out there stronger. And every other union out there NEEDS to be stronger. And trust me - I the writer am suffering just like you. But again, I am now willing to do so because I am fighting for ALL of us. I am fighting for everyone's pension, for everyone's health care, for everyone's fair wages. Do you really believe that what you have now will always be there? Do you really believe they won't go after you next? Please, please all... wake up to what this is truly, truly about - it's union busting. And there are a few publications which aren't slanted reporting this. Forbes is one of them. Can't stress this enough - do the research yourselves - look at the bigger picture and let's stop fighting one another.

hotline said...

Yikes - didn't mean to say there were only BTLers that were fake posts. I don't believe some of those posts claiming to be writers were real either. Every writer I know is respectful and feels horrible for all people unemployed and suffering during this mess. I think there are some fake posts to get blood heated claiming to be on both sides. Had to clarify that.

dp said...

Hotline-

Thank You.

That is all the btl wants to hear. I agree the congloms are blood sucking venomous pariah. I always have said that there are two kinds in this business, people that create and people that feed off of people that create.

As a BTL person we just want to hear some empathy for our plight because we don't get a vote.

stuiec said...

hotline: once the strike is settled (and the SAG contract is settled as well), you need to press the WGA to build the same kind of bridges to the other guilds and unions that it's built to the SAG. Your contracts don't let you strike in support of each other, but there are other ways you can show solidarity and assist each other.

Which of the Guilds and unions participate in the L.A. County Federation of Labor? Is there an Entertainment Industry Central Labor Council to allow the guilds and unions to keep each other apprised of contract developments and to coordinate activities and mutual support? Imagine the difference in the current dispute if all of the guilds and unions had a well-funded central assistance resource so that all brothers and sisters could feel secure that their basic needs would be met no matter how long the strike lasted. Imagine what the AMPTP's reaction would be if they knew that was the case -- how differently they'd have to assess labor solidarity and their relative ability to weather a long strike.

The legacy of this strike ought to be that everyone shares in your heightened awareness of labor issues and the real need for solidarity.

Geo Rule said...

By the way, since AMPTP made a point of getting these negotiations into DGA-mode (they claim), wouldn't we at least have to see a public declaration of "shouting distance" and resumption of "formal negotiations" before there would be any shred of reason to get even mildy hopeful?

amazed and hungry said...

I would truly like to thank Hotline for giving me information on how to educate myself and making valid points. I realy want to understand why this is happening and how we collectively can benefit from it. Thank you.

rHob said...

Unfortunately, I am a real person who works in computerized visual effects. My job is very technically driven, yes I get paid overtime, but I also spend a lot of my own time learning new software on a daily basis, go to school and buy tutorials. Everytime I turn around, there is more advanced and different software out there. So to suggest that writers are the only people that don't get overtime and work long hours is so funny to me.
I don't know why you think that someone who has a wife and 2 kids and a mother-in-law and 3 dogs to take care of and is worried about being jobless and uninsured is a "fake person". I am trying to open dialogue and let you know what is going on...we are the forgotten casualties of this war and now I am not even respected for being a real person...typical hollywood...me,me,me.

rHob

Rocky said...

dp,

My apologies. I appear to have struck a nerve. You apparently have not saved for a rainy day. I hope the strike ends soon for you and for everyone else.

The WGA offers low interest loans and I believe you don't even have to be a member of the WGA to qualify. I would look into it. SEE BELOW

Writers Guild Foundation Industry Support Fund

The Writers Guild Foundation has established an Industry Support Fund to assist members of the industry who are in financial distress as a direct result of the WGA strike. The Fund is designed to provide emergency assistance for food, housing, transport, medical and other expenses. read more.

Go to the WGAW website and you can read more about it.

I don't quite get the man disrespect stuff but I'm guessing you think I don't respect BTLers. Read the posts more carefully. Your comments are bordering on the ramblings of a person who is mentally ill. That hate will eat you up inside. In none of my posts do I disparidge BTLers. I merely defend the actions of my union and it's leadership and ask that the whining and petty jealousy be put aside.

just a thought said...

Rocky your posts are uneven. One post you would hang out with grips. the next your telling dp how wrong he is. make up your mind.

Luzid said...

holla @ stuiec:

Yes. Real solidarity would utterly destroy the AMPTP's power.

This is a goal that must be worked on, now and in the future.

dp said...

Rocky-

Thanks for the back handed apology. I am sorry to disappoint you, but yes I have saved for a rainy day. I could go years and years on my investments. Living comfortably and traveling, vacationing etc...Did my loader or electricians buy real estate investments and stocks with their $20 an hour job? Probably not. Is crafty talking about dividends paying the mortgage?

The real issue that I am on here to support are the BTL who are not big DP's and don't have the resources that I might have. I am talking about my crew of 40 or more. People like my 28 grip and electric, 7 or 8 camera crew, my 8-10 telecine and DI(post people), pus people I don't directly hire like supporting art dept., transpo, sound, craft service, etc... I know these people, I have been to their houses, I know their families. They are the ones that are hurting. I will fight for my crew. They have no vote in YOUR strike but are suffering the most. That you can't deny. Tell them to cut the "whining" to their face Rocky, don't hide behind a blog. Tell their kids that they can't join soccer this year, or gymnastics because of cut backs. Kids are kids only once, every developmental moment is important. They are being robbed here. Kids of parents that have no vote.

Several things can't happen no matter how much you save or diversify your portfolio. The health insurance for BTL'rs is based on working hours, if you don't work you don't get it. For a family of four to buy private insurance costs might range in the 2-3k a month. How fast would that cut into your savings? Don't worry about yours though Rocky, because your guild FROZE your benefits so they don't expire during your strike. This is not the case for the IA because we are not on strike. Many of you also receive residual checks during the strike. Not the case for the BTL our paradigm is different.

Your first post was in regards to my post educating Mrlaatu about how IA residuals really work. You obviously don't get it. You took it to mean that we are jealous of your residual deal and that if we wanted it we should have chosen to be a writer or actor. You couldn't be more arrogant when you misconstrue the BTL sentiment and you're acting self centered to think every one wants to be you. Let me be clear, WE DO NOT WANT TO BE YOU, get off it already. We are talented in our own crafts, the ones that we chose, the ones that we like. That is the precise immaturity that brings me back to why I said you're acting like a boy not a man. These are not the, "ramblings of a person who is mentally ill". I am sorry, Dr. Rocky, is it? The point is our paradigm of work, health benefits, pension, how many days a year we work is different than yours.

You also say it's the AMPTP fault. Well it takes two my friend. Accept your share of responsibility. You were given the opportunity to negotiate in 2006 but turned it down. OWN UP TO IT. An effort in 2006 might have failed, or might have averted a strike, we will never know. Diplomacy first, strike last.

Let me be clear, I am on the WGA side. I am an artists too.

I like what amazed and hungry said, "Now if we want to talk in a derogative manner to each other let's drop the facade here if you are talking this way here chances are you don't have the balls in life to do it anywhere else."

I'd love to discuss this in person. You can even bring Adrian and Pauly.

rHob said...

Regardless of which side you take, if any. If the studios don't make a deal and try to get control of the internet access, they will lose in the long run. Think if the record companies had come up with Itunes before Steve Jobs, they would be in great shape today and would still control the major sales in music. So, it is the studios long term economic interest to make some concessions now (as well as the writers) and get product produced to put out over the air, or on DVD or the internet and get control of the outlets before it's too late. Not to mention being a humanitarian and getting people back to work to put food on the table.....hey, if I'm not working, I'm not buying DVD's or pay-per-view or downloads or going to the movies...and I bet a good portion of that revenue comes from people in the industry.

rHob
P.S. if anyone is interest in a reality pilot with a triple revenue stream email me a response (cheap self-promotion, I never said that I was above that...but hey, ya gotta try! and it would be my way to get people working...if this gets posted)

stuiec said...

luzid: Yes, real solidarity may not bring the AMPTP to its knees, but it will force them to deal with labor as an essential partner rather than a commoditized production input.

Real labor solidarity has to be based on the principle that all labor is of equal intrinsic worth, even if the market puts different dollar values on different tasks. It may be easy for a novelist to disdain the guy who runs the press that prints his book, but it's suicidal for scripted entertainment writers to disdain anyone -- ANYONE -- whose labor goes into transforming their words into the final product on the screen. It all starts with the words on the page, but in this industry, those words only achieve their real weight and value when they are given shape and action and voice by the rest of the creative team. Every job -- from the most skilled to the least, from the highest-paid to the least -- is essential to the quality of the finished product, and no one's contribution should be demeaned or taken for granted.

Real labor solidarity also has to be based on the principle that each guild and union is dependent on every other guild and union. Actions by any one affect all. While that doesn't mean that one guild needs the permission of all other guilds and unions to strike or to take any other action on behalf of its own members, it's incumbent on all guilds and unions to communicate regularly and clearly to the other guilds and unions so that all members can plan ahead for possible disruptions on the one hand, and for ways to lend support and solidarity on the other.

My Dad was on the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council of Alameda County, CA, for many years. He was a schoolteacher and regularly consulted with his brothers and sisters in the construction trades, manufacturing industry, services... if the AFL-CIO understands the value of unions in different industries coordinating and communicating on a regular basis, it seems only natural (and even more vital) that the guilds and unions in the entertainment industry would do the same. Is that already part of the entertainment industry's labor movement?

Rocky said...

DP,

I'm sure you're a real bad ass. I promise you, if you met me in the street you'd have a different tone. Softer, much softer. I on the other hand would not. I did not start in this business. I did things in another life that probably would have made an angry little arte'st like you shit your pants. Things that matter. Things that made the world a better place. I come from a place where whining is a sign of weakness, a place where, complaining falls on deaf ears. I made no money and no one ever patted me on the back. I pull no punches on this blog or anywhere else. Un-puff your chest, let the gut out and allow me to make my point as clearly as i can:

I AM EXTEMELY SYMPATHETIC TO THE PLIGHT OF THE BTL CREW AND EVERYONE ELSE AFFECTED BY THE STRIKE. It's not a "pat on the head." It's not a "back handed compliment." I LOVE THE CREW. But no union worth it's salt would ever allow those sentiments to affect their decision to strike. None. Not your union, not the teamsters, none. They are doing what is in the best interests of the WGA and nothing would have changed if they began in August or january or ever.

I was a BTL member before I got a writing gig. A writing gig that I earned through perserverance and determination. Perhaps you interpert pride for arrogance. That's your problem. Writers earn those residuals. They aren't a gift. I've been out three months. You'll be happy to know the one residual check i received doesn't come close to covering my bills.

I get it. I am ripping through my savings as fast as the grips and the electricians. I have children. So please, drop the sissy tough guy act, it isn't the least bit intimidating. If you're like any of the DP's I've worked with, I'm not too worried. You might need to bring Clubber Lang. I'll take my chances without Adrian or Paulie.

Seriously though, read, listen and analyze. If you can't see past your bitterness, there is nothing I can do to change your mind.

When you Clear away all of the BS. You wont be able to help but see, WE ARE RIGHT. THEY ARE WRONG.

Once again, I don't apologize for the WGA. You chose this business. You're in this business. Things sometimes happen in this business that are out of our control.
You're fortunate that you've chosen a profession where the worst thing you have to worry about is a strike every twenty years. There are a lot of people worse off than you and "your" crew. So yes. Maybe I am an arrogant asshole and maybe, just maybe, if you take a closer look, I may just be right. YO ADRIAN!

amazed and hungry said...

All I have to say is I am glad that people feel something about this. I also can't tell you how much I would noramlly be willing to pay to watch a DP and a writer roll around fighting. But the fact remains that Rocky still hasnt given any information on how this can effect us positively. In fact if anything he has made me not want to support the cause. Talk about puffed up. Now I see why he calls himself Rocky haha. I did this and that blah blah blah. Get your head out of your ass. When speaking to enroll others or stand for a cause it rarely helps to talk down or degrade those people. I can tell you also that I havent met many writers I would fear either. So quit your bitching, moaning, and whining, your puffing up for the people. And if you think you have seen places I havent and been through more I will be happy to compare notes. Maybe we can continue this puff off and never accomplish anything that will help anyone. But I try to live by a rule in all things. Never argue with an idiot for long, for it is hard to tell who is who after a short time. Hope all of you are well and that life continues for us all as normal soon.

rHob said...

I don't know if I already sent this so here it goes again..

Yo Rock,

Although some of your points are somewhat valid, remember,,,WITH POWER, COMES RESPONSIBILTY...that is what we have lost in today's society. I don't just mean that for writers either, it would be great if corporations that got rich of our father's and grandfather's (and mother's) backs would do their part but they are a corporation and there has to be a middle ground because if labor becomes too expensive, then the product gets made elsewhere...we have already lost a great deal to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, India, etc. This is not the America or the industry that it was even 20 years ago when Hollywood was the only game in town that could put together a decent movie or TV show. It has become cheaper and easier to move whole industries. So on your quest for the perfect wage...you may just get it and then tomorrow the job may be in Canada because it costs too much to make here and then none of us have a job...and besides Canada doesn't let too many Americans work there and it's damn cold and wet.

rHob

dp said...

Rocky-

So what, we were both in the military at one time. Some of us saw combat and some of us did not. I know the same moves you do, maybe more. Your still arrogant like the kids out of west point with no combat experience. Now tell me I could have gone to west point and gotten residuals.

Rocky said...

Dp,
Huh? You lost me pal. "Moves?" Were you in the military or did you take dance class? Any how, I hope the strike ends soon and we don't have time for these ridiculous blogs and we can all go back to work. I really have nothing else to say.

Confused and Hungry,

Useful information is that the WGA is fighting hard to get a good deal that will benefit all of us in the future. Can't be any more simple. As far as the hungry part, have another Twinky.

You called me a condescending idiot. You're wrong. I'm sarcastic and intelligent. And in your case my sarcasm is a definite sign of hostility.

rHob said...

Rocky,

This is what I was talking about in my last post....this is what happens when you make unrealistic demands on a corporation....

Chinese Film Studio Seeking Film Professionals

Reply to: job-557836887@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-01-30, 6:24PM PST


A new film studio in Southern China is looking for American professionals with at least three years of feature film (not documentary) experience in the following areas to come and work in China on productions originating from the U.S. Knowledge of Chinese is NOT required. Round trip economy airfare and Western-style housing provided. Applicants please put position applied for in the subject of the email response, state the minimum salary required (China’s cost of living is about one fifth that of the U.S.), earliest date of travel to China, intended length of stay (minimum six months) and the date you CANNOT be present for an interview (please see dates below).

Interviews will be conducted in Los Angeles from February 11 to 13 and from 19 to 22 and in New York City from Feb 15 to 18.

First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
Line Producer
Set Builder
Making, renting and inventorying of props
Director of Photography (must be familiar with hi-grade HD cameras)
Gaffer
Production Designer
Art Director
Make-up and Hair stylist
Script Supervisor
Stunt Coordinator
Pyrotechnics (bullets and explosions)

just a thought said...

You know rocky when this is over and you get on a show there's something you should do to develop your personal growth.
Go down to the set and introduce yourself to a crew member. Not the dp or the vanities. The key grip of the set lighting guy. Put a human face to all of this. No one is going to kick your ass or anything like that, after all we are civilized. I can tell that there will be a shocked look on that person face, with that WTF is this all about.
"condescending idiot. You're wrong. I'm sarcastic and intelligent" with intelligence goes a certain amount of humility. Sarcastic goes with the condescending idiot
Have a good night

Luzid said...

@ rhob:

Unrealistic demands?

Are you out of your frakkin' mind?

Writers refusing to take a 90% residuals pay cut, which half the Guild relies on to pay bills, is unrealistic?

Only someone who doesn't understand the life of a writer would make such a ridiculous comment. And you ask writers to care about BTL folk. Thank goodness we do - far more than you apparently care about writers.

You are completely out to lunch on this topic.

hotline said...

(big sigh)

rHob said...

Luzid

I did post those jobs for China,you can go there and work...oh yeah, it's just for crew members because these are our options. If you worked in post, you would realize that you write in things like spaceships and storm clouds and tornadoes and how do you think that stuff gets put into "YOUR" movie? Go project your script at the local cinema and see if anyone watches it...we don't get any residuals AT ALL! But because you at the top have asked for so much money...not just writers...you then come to us all weepy eyed and say that there is no money left in the budget because we paid too much for the few at the top and we were just wondering if you could put in that tornado sequence with cows and cars and houses flying around FOR NOTHING!!!! You also get residuals while you are on strike, we get jack! If you were all that you say that you are and oh so good at your job, then why do you even need the WGA, stand on your own merit...if you were really good at your job then studios would beg you to sell them your scripts. You had the opportunity to start negotiations a year ago and chose not to, now you have put everyone's livelihood in jeopardy. When you put out a really bad movie and the studios spent 50 mill on it, and the studios take the hit, do you then pitch in and give the studios their money back? I haven't had a raise in 3 and a half years and I have rising health care, energy and food costs but are you going to pitch in and help my family when you get what you want?! So give me a frickin' break. Maybe i shouldn't have read your reply so late at night because it just pissed me off, just like this strike...because it could've been prevented and both sides know it! I'm done with this subject...enjoy your strike, hope you can live with yourselves!

rHob

dp said...

I take back all my assertions that the WGA froze benefits for its members while the BTL was losing theirs. Variety reports today that the WGA leadership was unable to freeze benefits.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117979896.html?categoryid=2821&cs=1&nid=2562

Sorry guys, really sincerely sorry..

stuiec said...

Observation by Stephen Soderbergh: on a film set, there should always be a chain of command but never a chain of respect. He remembers being a crew member on productions where the crew were treated like "no-class" citizens.

A writer is a vital link in a chain of interlocking craftsmen who create scripted, recorded entertainment -- but he's only one link. Without him, the chain breaks, but the same is true of each and every other link in the chain.

just a thought said...

DP don't be sorry. You had the same info as the rank and file of the WGA