Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Hobbit Wars

542 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 8 9 10 11 12 22 Newer→ Last

  • nzlemming,

    I don't know Jennifer Ward-Lealand well, but she has always struck me as a decent person. I hope this doesn't rebound on her.

    I don't think so, for anyone who does know her, and her statement the other night was measured and reasonable, but that won't stop the media unfortunately.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't think so, for anyone who does know her, and her statement the other night was measured and reasonable, but that won't stop the media unfortunately.

    Let's be fair on "the media" here, if Ward-Leland's isn't accountable for the seriously mixed messages that are getting out there who the hell is?

    You don't let members put out factually inaccurate screeds that blogs (and MSM outlets here and abroad) report as the union's position.

    And if I was a member of Actor's Equity NZ, I'd love to know if the president of my union was consulted in any way, shape or form about the by Simon Whipp before he sent out an inflammatory and inaccurate text that was circulated to every member of SAG and its affiliates globally. Or why he's giving interviews that Ward-Leland herself has to qualify or contradict.

    And why the hell isn't Equity NZ a registered union, in accordance with the Employment Relations Act that was passed by a Labour government with union support?

    Yes, I feel bloody sorry for Ward-Leland (and her members) who are looking more and more like pawns in someone else's game. But you've got to ask how the hell they got in that position in the first place. If Ward-Leland won't front the media and answer those questions publicly, I hope someone in the union is demanding them.

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

  • Eleanor,

    I agree Craig. Jennifer W-L may be sounding "measured and reasonable" now, but she basically endorsed a cynical, spiteful, internationally-publicised BOYCOTT of a major film production that NZ and its crew and cast had everything to gain from. We are now precariously close to losing it all, as a result.

    This meek "we just want to talk with the producers" stuff is not good enough.

    She needs to urgently come out for or against the boycott. She needs to let actors know that The Hobbit is NOT toxic; to give actors the reassurance that they are not traitors if they want to negotiate roles in the films. She also needs to consult the Wellington acting community - many of whom are understandably ropeable and incredulous about all of this.

    wellington • Since May 2007 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    NB: I don't know Jennifer Ward-Lealand well, but she has always struck me as a decent person. I hope this doesn't rebound on her."

    I can promise you right now that it will not, nor any of the individual members of the Actor's Equity board. Nobody is taking the actions of the actors personally, whether they agree or disagree with how they're going about this dispute. That's my point of view at least, and from what I understand from the people I've spoken to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Eleanor,

    Let's not forget that livelihoods are potentially in the balance...

    wellington • Since May 2007 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    Press Release from Jennnifer.....

    MEDIA RELEASE: 1 October 2010


    From: Jennifer Ward-Lealand, President, NZ Actors Equity

    Response to Wingnut Films Statement 30 September 2010

    Sir Peter’s latest public comments are yet further evidence, of the urgent need for a calm meeting between the production company and NZ Equity to resolve the matters at hand.

    I feel very disappointed that Sir Peter has chosen to use a private, confidential correspondence between us in the public arena.

    Just as in our meeting in Auckland on Tuesday, last night’s meeting with Wellingtonactors was intended to consult with local performers, and canvas their support to formally negotiate reasonable terms and conditions with the producers.

    We considered that Sir Peter’s suggestion of having a production company representative present their views at the meeting was premature, and unfair for our Union members, especially as it was such late notice, and the same opportunity had not been afforded to Auckland members on Tuesday.

    As it happened, a performer at the meeting, who was not a member of the union, was given the opportunity during the event to read a six-page letter from Sir Peter.

    Notwithstanding Sir Peter’s views, the majority (70%) of the performers at the meeting voted in favour of NZ Actor’s Equity meeting face-to-face with Sir Peter and/or the production company to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

    I believe we now have a strong mandate from NZ performers to represent their interests with the producers of the Hobbit.

    As we have previously said, we have no desire to jeopardise the production, create instability, or see it move offshore.

    Our members are simply seeking fair and equitable employment terms for New Zealand actors, in line with the terms and conditions that their colleagues elsewhere in the world enjoy.

    I can assure the producers that our requirements are entirely reasonable. Many have no cost implications for the production, and the overall impact of our demands is miniscule for a production of this size.

    We continue to believe that a solution can be found by sitting down calmly with the producers, and talking through the issues. With goodwill on all sides we are confident this issue can be resolved quickly in the best interests of New Zealand and local performers.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    She needs to urgently come out for or against the boycott. She needs to let actors know that The Hobbit is NOT toxic; to give actors the reassurance that they are not traitors if they want to negotiate roles in the films. She also needs to consult the Wellington acting community - many of whom are understandably ropeable and incredulous about all of this.

    I would imagine she'll come out for or against the boycott once she knows what the producers are going to do in response to the threat of the boycott. So far they seem to have stuck to their position. A meeting wouldn't seem to be unreasonable.

    Largely this is all normal employer/employee bluster before coming to an agreement. Seems like everyone needs to calm down and recognise that this is just normal negotiations being carried out on a public stage (for the purposes of both sides it seems).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oops, pre-empted by Blake while writing. That release seems quite reasonable.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I feel very disappointed that Sir Peter has chosen to use a private, confidential correspondence between us in the public arena.

    Does Ms. Ward-Leland think Jackson has every right to be more than disappointed at being called a "scab", a "union buster" and running a "non-union" production. (Charges that the DGA and WGA take incredibly seriously, BTW.)

    And on calm reflection, does she and NZ Actors Equity/MEAA accept any responsibility for that? Good faith is a two way street, sister.

    And, Kyle, your experience may be very different from mine but I've never been involved in employment negotiations where my agent and employer have been slagging each other off in public. I doubt many performers in this country have either.

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And, Kyle, your experience may be very different from mine but I've never been involved in employment negotiations where my agent and employer have been slagging each other off in public.

    Belonging to a public sector union, fighting the big battles in the public arena is the norm.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Why do the actors keep ignoring (and refusing to even address or acknowledge) the calls, most recently today's from Peter Jackson, to meet SPADA to negotiate an industry-wide set of guidelines -- as has been the policy for the past few decades?

    Is it because their "entirely reasonable" demands won't, in fact, look that reasonable when seen through the lens of all of the different sized productions that might come under SPADA's purview, but require the scale and reach of The Hobbit to seem "reasonable"?

    Surely, if precedents are set on The Hobbit, they will be applied to everything else?

    It is, after all, the actors who keep saying "this isn't just about The Hobbit."

    Since Sep 2010 • 185 posts Report Reply

  • Eleanor,

    Kyle... it's not just a threatened boycott - the MEAA has actually issued a directive to actors to boycott the production. That has gone global. Yet plenty of actual NZ actors are horrified about this. I believe that JWL and the NZ Actors Equity need to make their position clearer about the boycott - but they have not mentioned it!

    wellington • Since May 2007 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Yeah that all sounded measured reasonable and fine until

    Our members are simply seeking fair and equitable employment terms for New Zealand actors, in line with the terms and conditions that their colleagues elsewhere in the world enjoy.

    I know actors live in a slightly different world but here in New Zealand nobody gets paid the same as they do in the rich countries. Everyone here gets paid a bit less and some jobs get paid a lot less. I'd love to get paid what my equivalents do in Australia AND get to live in New Zealand but is isn't possible.

    To be fair actors and those who work on film sets actually do work overseas as well as in New Zealand and hence the argument can be made that they probably should be closer to overseas rates - but the same as?

    Such an aim is unreasonable (until NZ can double it's GDP) and if that is their bottom line they will be disappointed and will likely disappoint others in the process.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    I believe we now have a strong mandate from NZ performers to represent their interests with the producers of the Hobbit.

    A strong mandate would require much safer democratic processes than what I am tracking via my computer screen.

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle... it's not just a threatened boycott - the MEAA has actually issued a directive to actors to boycott the production.

    Well it can't be an actual boycott until there's an actual production. Actor casting hasn't started yet as far as I know, just some specialist roles.

    It's the resolution of the threat that will end the issue, but she's called for a meeting in her release.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Actor casting hasn't started yet as far as I know, just some specialist roles.

    And it's not going to happen while SAG and its affiliates have that member alert out, Kyle -- which is the point.

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

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Be careful what you wish for...
    If everyone is an employee
    and they can keep the production
    to 90 days everyone could be fired
    at the end with no questions asked...
    Perfect! hmmmm...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    MEAA has actually issued a directive to actors to boycott the production.

    Any union that does this without balloting their members first deserves a ballocking. And since it's an NZ issue, that should be their NZ members- not Australian or SAG.
    Isn't that in the constitution of most unions?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    IMHE much of the blame lies with an out of touch and overly professionalised union elite, with no workplace experience of the realities faced by those they purport to represent.

    Sorry Joe - didn't mean to offend. But your generalisation seemed to require a response. Just in case you think I also generalised I don't think all union workers are perfect - but most try to practice an 'organising' model that focuses on growing and supporting the collective rather than endlessly and uselessly fronting the boss over individual disputes. And, again, I apologise if you already knew that.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Stuff / Gayleen Preston

    From latest Stuff article:

    Auckland agent Graham Dunster – who represents local actors including Lucy Lawless, Pio Terei and Antony Starr – believes the actors are seeking a mutually agreed standard contract.

    He said that, at the moment, every time a film was made new contracts had to be drawn up from scratch for every member of the cast and crew.

    "Which means the wheel has to be reinvented every single time for every single actor, which is an incredibly inefficient way of doing business," he said. "Because of that there is always a chance things are not as well documented or done."

    Why are they insisting they meet The Hobbit producers if this is about "every time a film is made"?

    And how can a standardised contract possibly be drawn up that would work for a $200 million studio film AND $4 million NZFC funded local film (that will have no worldwide release and will be sold off territory by territory) AND an under-$1 million completely independent film (of which we'll be seeing a lot more)?

    "Which means the wheel has to be reinvented every single time for every single actor, which is an incredibly inefficient way of doing business," he said.

    Is this really just about making the paperwork more efficient?!? If the actors think there are too many contracts to look at, they've never produced a film!!

    I think this article just shows that really no-one has any idea what these people want! (Other than some 'face time' with PJ!)

    Since Sep 2010 • 185 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And it's not going to happen while SAG and its affiliates have that member alert out, Kyle -- which is the point.

    So there's currently a standoff which will either be resolved or it will fall over.

    Exactly the same as union members refusing to sign a contract at any other workplace around New Zealand. There might be a lockout, there might be a strike etc.

    The parties will either get together and sort out their issues to their mutual (dis)satisfaction, or they won't and the movies will go elsewhere. The motivation to getting it sorted is that both parties would like to do it in NZ so there's pressure if they get too unreasonable.

    I don't see why this shouldn't be treated as any other industrial relations issue.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Why are they insisting they meet The Hobbit producers if this is about "every time a film is made"?

    And why did Helen Kelly tell me they weren't seeking a collective agreement?

    I think this article just shows that really no-one has any idea what these people want! (Other than some 'face time' with PJ!)

    As I said, I'm confused.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Gaylene Preston's $0.02 on the hobbit war.

    Man, when someone as decent and reasonable as Gaylene says she can't understand what the union actually wants ...

    I suppose she'll be next for the Trotter/IrishBill treatment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And how can a standardised contract possibly be drawn up that would work for a $200 million studio film AND $4 million NZFC funded local film (that will have no worldwide release and will be sold off territory by territory) AND an under-$1 million completely independent film (of which we'll be seeing a lot more)?

    I'm not sure if the union is seeking to do this, but it would be possible to have a contract which didn't mention pay at all, but simply conditions. Pay could then be attached to that contract as a schedule for each movie - lots of work places do this.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 8 9 10 11 12 22 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.