Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit

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  • nzlemming,

    . I greatly respect Peter, but given what he'd just sent out from his email address, I found his position really hard to reconcile.

    If it's the same stuff he's been posting on the Theatreview thread, I agree with you.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    There were lines?

    They eat Christians don't they?

    or as the old punchline goes:
    ...and he was glad he ate her...

    I just can't remember the preamble.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    If it's the same stuff he's been posting on the Theatreview thread, I agree with you.

    This bit on the 30th isn't so terrible:

    I welcome the opportunity to now talk with SPADA and discuss these terms in a calm and reasoned way over the next few months. This entire non-negotiation has been calamitous for our industry and has retrenched all players in a way that may take years to undo.
    It has been a civil war, brother against brother, sister fighting sister, and I pray it ends, now.
    I do hope that no party drags the chain and puts more blocks in the way of fair and reasonable discussion. Let us attempt to build some bridges.

    Ok. I’ll start. I apologise unreservedly and sincerely for any and all offence I may have unwittingly caused.
    Ok. Let’s talk.

    This is okay too:

    There is no doubt that starting a negotiating stance with the only "gun" you have (to quote SPJ) is a somewhat dubious tactic and its origination was by international union collective FIA, as I understand it, as a way of requesting that producers actually talk to NZAE.

    As I said earlier the resulting furore was escalated by apoplectic people furious that somehow NZAE had the temerity to invoke anything.

    The worst people on that thread are the idiots who are clearly from The Standard or similar. Oh, and Roy Billing once again, stirring things up. Thanks Roy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    It's his tone, Peter. "Equity has done nothing wrong and by god it took us some effort to get SPADA to come to the party!" with a distinct undertone of "really, that's all we wanted anyway". I'm finding him very passive-aggressive and grievance-enhanced at the moment.

    If Equity had no standing, and no strength in its relationships with international actors’ unions and guilds (note, SAG is a guild), it would not have been necessary to be so ruthless in battle with them. And now that particular test match is over, it is Equity that Spada recognises in it ongoing negotiations.

    The revisionism is staggering.

    But, yes, Billing has been a complete twatcock since he started that thread. If you want a picture of the attitudes at the top of the MEAA food chain, check out his contributions

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Although now I read it again this bit:

    as I understand it, as a way of requesting that producers actually talk to NZAE.

    Still isn't really true at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Reading all this, there seems to be a feeling, right or wrongly that previous dialogue was one-sided. That actors concerns were not treated with enough gravity?

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    its origination was by international union collective FIA, as I understand it

    and I have a bridge to sell you when you've finished getting thru

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    No one said celebrities are any smarter than anyone else. Jim Carrey and that dim blond woman and their anti vaccination campaign are living proof, as is any actor who has chosen Scientology. Why "we" look to them for their "wisdom" is beyond me.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Why "we" look to them for their "wisdom" is beyond me.,

    They dominate large sections of the newspapers so they use that space for their views, why not, they're citizens. It's available and can save an organisation millions of publicity dollars.

    It's their views that are to be judged not their profession.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    SAG has published a letter that puts things in context in quite an interesting way.

    My emphasis.

    Dear President Ward-Lealand:

    I have been watching your efforts to protect performers working on The Hobbit with great interest and growing concern. On behalf of the National Board of Directors and 125,000 members of Screen Actors Guild, I write in admiration and appreciation for all you have done to advance the cause of New Zealand actors. We stand in awe of your courage, your dedication and your relentless commitment to equity and justice for performers.

    These can be trying days for unionism as we confront the uncomfortable realization that fighting for a just cause is often not enough. Faced with harassment and even death threats, it may seem to you that leading an effort to ensure good and fair working conditions for actors is a thankless task. I assure you that it is not. New Zealand actors, Screen Actors Guild members, performers’ unions across the globe, and many hundreds of thousands of industry workers thank you for your solid leadership. You are representing your members and fighting to ensure union protections for actors; that can never be wrong.

    A number of substantial victories have been realized in this effort, and we stand witness to this fact. Among them, improved conditions for workers on The Hobbit, a promise of adherence to the existing guidelines for New Zealand productions, and most importantly the first global solidarity campaign among performers’ unions.

    Our coalition of solidarity— along with Actors Equity Association (AEA), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Canadian Actors Equity, Equity UK, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), as well as the International Federation of Actors—is just one result of our cooperative effort. The strength of our combined memberships stretches around the world and is greatest when used on behalf of fellow performers. It is a powerful bond that says “we are with you.”

    It has been our honor and privilege to support your effort. You have our best wishes for further victories on behalf of your members.

    In solidarity,
    Ken Howard National President

    Hmmm.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    According to Wikipaedia, President Howard's Broadway début was in Promises, Promises. Kind of poetic when you think about it:

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Hmmm.

    I wonder who gave then that piece of revisionist BS, I doubt they came up with it on their own.

    But when even in NZ intelligent people are still saying "all the actors wanted to do was talk to PJ and wasn't he sooo unreasonable not to" it's not surpising SAG gets things wrong.

    International solidarity based on ignorance played a part in this and it appears to be still playing a part.

    It really is quite dispiriting to see what PJ did for actors on The Hobbit (get residuals) competely ignored until the actors union wants to take credit for it. Collective action has lead to collective madness.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    SAG is not going to send a letter that contradicts what NZAE and MEAA have already published. Solidarity, comrades.

    Meh

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    Hmmm.

    Hardened to sarcasm that I am, I was waiting for the punchline in that statement. You know, like “HAHAHAHAHAH NOOT!! GOOD ONE!”.

    But there wasn’t one. It was, like, serious. Heh

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Anyone notice that Jonathan King has never returned since asking for the access to The Thread of Doooom?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I'd go so far as outrageously serious if it all wasn't so damn, well, serious.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Poor, poor bastard. Still, we warned 'im, we did.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ae, "there be dragons" we cried..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    Which thread is this?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Which thread is this?

    That's how it started with poor Jonathan...

    ...alas, never to be seen again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Simon's safe for now - and responsible for helming the second to last ep of Outrageous tonight, I believe

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Slevin,

    Fair point. I recall talking about them going in with guns blazing, but you're right they would have rallied support first.

    I have it on good authority that there was no meeting of the general membership before the "don't work" was issued.

    Actor's Equity member I spoke to called it the "fatwa" and said it hasn't even been confirmed to him whether it was issued by the NZ leadership or Aus.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    The Thread o'Dooooooooooom, I tell'ee! Beware that jabberwock, my son!

    On a different note, here's a very interesting infographic showing (US) film revenues between 1986 and 2008. I'd love to see it correlated with marketing spend.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    I have it on good authority that there was no meeting of the general membership before the "don't work" was issued.

    Thanks for that, Dan. It's significant, I think, that we haven't seen anything at all from MEAA/AE about this - if you can't spin it favourably, you keep quiet about it and hope nobody notices.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    My theory is that the do not work order was organised by MEAA Australia, and that AENZ were simply told that there's a lot of support for the cause in the form of some prominent international actors. Not that a full-on boycott had been put in place before any invitations to Peter Jackson for a cup of tea and a chat were extended.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 172 posts Report Reply

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