Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles

1695 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 51 52 53 54 55 68 Newer→ Last

  • rodgerd,

    Plausible. How safe are they already with the way they're doing their contracts/HR now?

    Probably safer than they were back then. Friends who were working there at the "and then they backed the money trucks" phase of Weta's existence (immediately after the 20 minute Cannes reel) mentioned to me that if you wanted a gig with Weta it was hard to get hired because they didn't have any real HR at that point - they were growing stupid fast and their admin hadn't really caught up at that point.

    I believe they're quite a bit more organised these days.

    Do NZ Equity / MEAA / CTU have a moral obligation to be telling the NZ public the truth? Somehow, and maybe it's unfair, I feel that they do have more of one.

    They may or may not have an obligation to tell me the truth, but they have an obligation to tell their members and allied trade union membership the truth, unless you're going down the Trotter/IdiotSavant route that "the cause" obviates the need for honest democratic dealings within the unions.

    In which case you're a Stalinist wanker.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    Warners got caught lying about when they were told that the boycott was lifted.

    I don't think they did. Warners were informed that the boycott would be lifted as early as Sunday, but saying "we're going to lift the boycott" is not the same as actually lifting it. I don't think it's unreasonable for Warner's to wait until all the parties to the ban have lifted it. Those parties were:

    ACTRA (Canada) - notice posted Oct 21
    Equity (UK) - notice undated
    Canadian Actor's Equity Association - notice undated
    MEAA - no notice available online
    SAG - Oct 20
    Actors' Equity Association (USA) - Oct 20
    AFTRA (USA) - Oct 20 5pm

    The wording of some of those notices are telling, e.g. from Actor's Equity (USA):

    On October 20, 2010, NZ Actors' Equity recommended that the international performer unions of FIA withdraw their respective member advisories prohibiting members from accepting employment on the theatrical motion picture "The Hobbit."

    They are saying that they were advised by NZAE to lift their ban on the 20th. It's hard to reconcile that with NZAE's claims that the ban was lifted on the 17th. Why should Warners have considered the ban lifted on the 17th if some of the parties to the ban weren't aware that is was being lifted at that time?

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    Thanks, Russell - I missed that whole post and thread. (I've only read the two most recent posts/threads on this). What was the headline? I'd like to read it.

    Cheers.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH,

    I think they were, and that the intention was to exploit the union's weak position and not allow them to claim a win. The correspondence released by NZAE seems to suggest that.

    Is that the correspondence about the press release? The RNZ story said that the reason that discussion broke down was unclear from what they had seen - have you seen something more definitive?

    I still maintain that Warners were within their rights to not consider the boycott lifted until it was actually lifted by all the boycotting parties. And it seems that at least some of those parties didn't know it was going to be lifted until the 20th.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    At last someone notices the sexism of this whole saga.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    The MEAA factsheet claims they had legal advice "that there are a variety of lawful means which could be used to establish the minimum wages, working conditions and residuals for performers on the production". Was that advice accurate, incorrect or misinterpreted?

    It seems MEAA misinterpreted their own legal advice... what we've seen of it suggest they could collectively bargain a set of non-legally-binding recommendations....

    These "restrictions" about what they can legally bargain for collectively appear to very closely match their "issues" they claim to have against the "pink book".

    MEAA/AE didnt want to re-negotiate the pink book because it was "mainly honoured in the breach"... it wasnt binding and the producers were frequently ignoring some/all of it....

    But now it seems they are happy to sit down with SPADA and negotiate a set of non-binding recommendations, and they are touting this as a win!

    As to the ongoing action (or lack there-of)..

    My understanding (based on the above press release and a interview on Nat Radio over the long weekend) is, they promise:

    1) No action of any kind against The Hobbit
    2) No action against any other production as long as it conforms to current pink-book.
    3)Actively engage in good-faith bargaining with Spada to .... They specifically do NOT say "re-negotiate the pink book" but that is what the words they do say actually mean.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Warners were informed that the boycott would be lifted as early as Sunday, but saying "we're going to lift the boycott" is not the same as actually lifting it.

    Yeah... it read rather misleading, but what they said was true, referring to reports 'the ban was lifted' prior http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1010/S00680/new-line-statement-on-the-hobbit-boycott.htm

    Said reports did exist, missing the distinction between 'agreed to drop it', 'told them we were going to drop it' and 'actually dropping it' in the Equity timeline.

    Headline writers not paying close enough attention both ways.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    So, er, yes. It does not appear that Peter Jackson himself received a request to meet, as has been claimed, let alone spurned one.

    That needs tying down. Probably not so important in the final picture as Jackson no doubt would have said 'no we can't meet, it would be illegal', but some of us are keeping score.

    Someone listed a bunch of misleads by the union on the last page, I think they're up to 4 now, Warners still on 1. None for Jackson so far.

    ...could be read two ways:

    In the end, it comes down to production companies following the pink book. I can't imagine at this stage, if the hobbit follows the pink book, they're going to be targeted, members wouldn't let them.

    Why should Warners have considered the ban lifted on the 17th if some of the parties to the ban weren't aware that is was being lifted at that time?

    I still think they got caught, and now there's wriggling going on to make it look OK. NZAE or MEAA control the ban. Clearly no other bodies are going to follow the ban once NZ says "boycott off" or whatever language they want to use.

    The fact that it takes several days for everyone to say "ok ban off guys" is simply evidence that it takes time for the message to get there and people in the right positions to sign off. For Warners to say "NZ has called off the ban but Canada/UK haven't" or whatever, is mischevious.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    At last someone notices the sexism of this whole saga.

    Unfortunately for Mr Ruddman's polemic, "cluless", "out of their depth", and inept is not a bad description of Robyn Malcolm's performance as a union rep thus far. Not to mention dishonest.

    An accurate description of someone's failings on the job is not actually sexist.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Audrei,

    @ Petra

    I think it would be wrong for NZAE to categorically state that they will not take industrial action on any production ever, as I believe they should have the right to take action if talk doesn't work.

    I don't disagree with you there, it was the 'if others don't play, we'll go back to targeting The Hobbit' that got me. That doesn't gel with 'there's going to be no more industrial action against it'.

    Pukekohe • Since Oct 2010 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks, Russell - I missed that whole post and thread. (I've only read the two most recent posts/threads on this). What was the headline? I'd like to read it.

    It seems so long ago ...

    http://publicaddress.net/6867

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Audrei,

    @webweaver

    See my above, I took it as targeting the Hobbit seeing as that was THE production that they started on.

    Maybe I'm just an imbecile/moron (whatever the word was that Whipp used).

    It does go to show that anyone can twist what is said to how they want others to see it though, doesn't it? (not that I'm twisting, I'm just explaining what the twists mean to me).

    Pukekohe • Since Oct 2010 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    The Sub editor overcooked the title but to me this kind of thing is interesting. Some choice quotes sans Hobbitery.

    "In developed nations, women and those on a low income are twice as likely to be depressed as men and the wealthy. When DNA is tested in large samples, neither women nor the poor are more likely to have the variant. Worldwide, depression is least common in south-east Asia. Yet a study of 29 nations found the variant to be commonest there – the degree to which a society is collectivist rather than individualistic partly explains depression rates, not genes."

    "Instead, the Human Genome Project is rapidly providing a scientific basis for the political left. Childhood maltreatment, economic inequality and excessive materialism seem the main determinants of mental illness. State-sponsored interventions, like reduced inequality, are the most likely solutions."

    Or you can examine the minutiae of this fiasco, which ever you like.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I found Rudman's conclusion pretty silly:

    The Hobbit is about a bunch of peasants living simple feudal lives. The way we're behaving, where else but New Zealand could it be filmed?

    He'd have to have never read it to get that out. I can't think of a single peasant actually referred to anywhere in it, nor anything about feudal lives.

    It is, however, and poignantly so, about how friends can fall out over treasure, about how everyone rallies to make their claim (only after the dragon is killed, mind), and they would have had a really stupid bloodletting session if a bunch of orcs hadn't turned up at the last minute to make them realize who their real enemies were.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    In which case you're a Stalinist wanker.

    In America, you can always find party.
    But in Soviet Russia PARTY FINDS YOU!!

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I still think they got caught...

    a far a I can tell what happened was that the studios were saying the boycott was still on during the few days between the unions' decision to lift it and when it was actually lifted. Specifically the SAG boycott.

    it my appear to be a minor point but SAG actors cannot sign up until the boycott is lifted. Just the decision to lift does not grant them the legal right to sign without fear of disciplinary action.

    But perhaps the studios were just heavy-handedly making sure the unions did do what they said they would and given how they have behaved that might be justified.

    I'm not sure the studios were concerned with the unions claiming victory when it was a complete backdown and that Whipp and the MEAA would just make things up anyway. Or maybe they were worried about that. I don't know.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    It seems so long ago ...
    http://publicaddress.net/6867</quote>

    Such an easy headline and yet I couldn't find it! *slaps head*

    Thanks. :)

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Hamilton,

    The Bryson case failed because he met criteria for an employee, especially his need to be trained at his employer's expense, whereas most contractors ( service providers ) are trained/skilled at their own expense - even if it's from previous employment experience.

    The courts have a defined set of criteria to find the true nature of employment/contractor relationships, and it's likely that laws will be changed to recognise the atypical nature of the relationship historically used in this industry.

    IIRC, there already are a couple of industry exemptions, but I'm not sure whether they cover the true nature of the relationship, or some other reason.

    EDIt : Sharemilkers and Real Estate agents were the examples I was trying to recall.

    Wellington • Since May 2010 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    I found Rudman's conclusion pretty silly:

    Well, yes. Any half-decent nerd knows that Bilbo was a property owner with a gardener and no need to work for a living; he was, at least, upper middle class, amongst the minor gentry of the Shire. Gandalf's an angel incarnate, and Thorin's an exiled king.

    (Bilbo Baggins: To The Manor Born co-starring Penelope Keith)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    At last someone notices the sexism of this whole saga.

    I don't think so. Rudman wrote this:

    I say womenfolk, because throughout the whole battle, the patronising sexism aimed at the union side - nice gals, but out of their depth, not up to it, dupes of Aussie svengalis - has been shameful.

    Yesterday, South Pacific Pictures chief executive John Barnett was at it again: Robyn Malcolm was a "terrific actress" but the union had let her and Jennifer Ward-Lealand down. "They should not have let her go out and speak." Pardon? Who better than a terrific actor to speak on behalf of actors seeking a decent employment contract?

    I think that's awfully patronising.

    "Better" would have been someone with more experience with these issues, with formal office in the union, and with the ability to deliver a consistent, coherent message. None of these things are true of Robyn's performance. They tried to leverage her star power, and it backfired quite badly.

    I was actually happy to see John Barnett express sympathy for Robyn. She's a fine actress, and he clearly doesn't want to see her thrown to the wolves.

    Rudman's column is long on sound and fury, and very short indeed on facts and insight.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    It does go to show that anyone can twist what is said to how they want others to see it though, doesn't it? (not that I'm twisting, I'm just explaining what the twists mean to me).

    So many people, so little time, and the pesky media kept pushing for answers...
    Who's the go to guy?
    Dunno, she'll do.
    He said...
    She said...
    Dada! Press release....
    Kinda like that?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Just reading The Hobbit, you'd have virtually no idea of Bilbo's social status at all, and no idea about his society. The word Shire does not even appear in the book. Because it's not about that, and never was. It was about his smallness and insignificance transforming under pressure into an admirable nature, that transcended the noble dwarves he was in company with. It's part of the reason the book had wide appeal, and I think around the world it was seen as rather fitting that the team from NZ had displayed something like those qualities (which are repeated in LOTR with all of the Hobbits).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Hamilton,

    The curious can find guideline on the criteria for employee or contractors at the ERS.

    http://www.ers.dol.govt.nz/relationships/employee.html

    Wellington • Since May 2010 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    Re MEAA: "toxic", ""dire consequences" if the Australia union came in"

    Prescient.

    Hmm...WTF, indeed. It's all going to come out in the great Kiwi wash though, and Simon Whipp may yet be hoist by his own petard (as is happening to a few nasty little men of late, thank goodness.)

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    "Better" would have been someone with more experience with these issues, with formal office in the union, and with the ability to deliver a consistent, coherent message. None of these things are true of Robyn's performance. They tried to leverage her star power, and it backfired quite badly.

    I wonder how much her 'brand' has been damaged by this episode. She really was climbing quite high in NZ circles.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 51 52 53 54 55 68 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

This topic is closed.