This morning, I received a tip to check out the rumor that Fox Studios television shows will be going all video/all AFTRA in 2009, that older film shows will be shot on video, and that SAG actors will be renegotiated with AFTRA contracts. Here is the response I received from Twentieth Century Television: "With all the uncertainty surrounding the stalled negotiations with SAG, TCFTV is indeed considering shooting its spring pilots under the AFTRA agreement. As for shows already in production, we are exploring every option including transitioning shows from SAG to AFTRA."
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
After the Variety screening I was at, Director David Fincher and Writer Eric Roth spoke. They talked about the painstaking process of making the film -- the special effects, the make-up, the locations, the 150-day shoot... The narrative of the film is far different than the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story it's based on. Eric Roth (who also wrote Forrest Gump) weaves an intricate and poignant tale (Fincher chastised Roth for calling it a "fable" which in many ways it is) that will stick with you.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Here is a LINK to the entire article (and already 79 comments since she posted yesterday!)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Yesterday's audition: European, ethnically ambiguous, European-African or Mediterranean, fit, attractive, successful, tech-savvy career guy type, the guy that likes outdoor sports, and entertaining friends.
Now it's shorter than many I've read, but come on! From one look at you, they want to know that you are a successful, tech-savvy career guy that likes outdoor sports and entertaining friends? Do you wear a trendy suit with hiking boots and carry an iPhone, a fishing rod and a bottle of champagne? Oh, that's right - no props. You just have to convey all those specific things with your eyes. Easy.
What I like least about print auditions: I was #129 and they were going for 3 more hours. They take three quick pictures and you're gone. So, they see hundreds of dudes for one spot. Guess the best Wall Street outdoorsman host-extraordinaire exercise guru will get this one...
Today, there were several responses:
"We should not be surprised by the timing of this new AMPTP attack -- as usual, they are attempting to use scare tactics to influence the member vote in the upcoming strike authorization referendum. Any effort by Twentieth Century Television to shift existing programs from SAG to AFTRA would violate federal law and AFL-CIO rules, and the Screen Actors Guild will take any and all necessary and appropriate action to insure the right of its members to be represented by the Guild."
And AFTRA's statement:
Regarding media inquiries about press reports about an assertion that Fox is transitioning shows from SAG to AFTRA, AFTRA is setting the record straight by offering the following
1) Fox has been a long term AFTRA signatory, historically producing both dramatic and non-dramatic programming under AFTRA’s TV Contract for decades. For example, Married With Children, the program which historians now describe as the show that built the Fox Network, was produced under the AFTRA TV Code. There are countless other scripted programs from Arrested Development to The Bernie Mac Show to Roc and others produced under AFTRA contracts during Fox’s history. As such, the fact that Fox is producing programs under AFTRA contracts is not unusual; indeed, it is consistent with the long history of this Company’s signatory relationship with AFTRA and consistent with the historic ebb and flow of coverage between the two unions as technology has shifted over time.
2) It is more expensive for Fox to produce scripted programming under the AFTRA TV Contract. Prior to July 1, 2008, the rates terms and conditions of the AFTRA TV Contract for Prime Time scripted programs were identical in every way to the SAG TV Contract. As of July 1, 2008, the AFTRA rates have been increased as a result of the membership’s ratification of the new Prime Time “Exhibit A” terms. The inference that Fox is somehow saving money by producing under AFTRA’s Prime Time Contract is incorrect.
And, finally, 3) AFTRA has been absolutely clear and explicit, long before the question of a potential strike by our sister union was contemplated, that a program already established under one union cannot be “converted” or “transferred” to another union. AFTRA is a chartered union of the AFL-CIO, and a member of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America (the Four A’s). As such, the rules and obligations of both the AFL-CIO and the Four A’s would prohibit such a “transfer.” In addition, even if there were no such restrictions under the rules of our parent organizations, it wouldn’t matter. Simply stated, AFTRA would never participate in such a practice. Fox Labor Relations is very well aware of this.
Finally, here's the AMPTP statement on behalf of Big Media:
SAG's overheated statement regarding the organization of pilots cannot obscure the fact that, in the midst of the greatest economic crisis of the past 80 years, SAG is persisting with a failed negotiating strategy that has already cost SAG members nearly $40 million and will cost them potentially hundreds of millions of dollars more during a strike.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Screen Actors Guild today announced that strike authorization ballots will be mailed to paid-up SAG members on Friday January 2, 2009, and will be tabulated on Friday, January 23. A yes vote by 75% of members voting is required to pass the measure, which would authorize SAG's national board of directors to call a strike, if and when the board determines it is necessary.
The AMPTP took out a full page ad in Variety on Monday extolling the virtues of their offer. To respond, essentially SAG says that the studios are already making money on new media (Hulu.com, etc.) and those profits will only increase. Meanwhile, they don't want to share. Here is the full response:
“There they go again. The AMPTP’s ad is great fiction, with convoluted bullet points and confused messages -- and, it’s completely wrong.
Here’s the truth:
* Under the AMPTP’s current offer, streaming of new television product on hulu.com and other new media platforms pays day performers about $46 for the first year’s use. Not per run of the episode, but for the whole year, and that’s only after a 17-day FREE rerun window.
Peter Chernin, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., told industry analysts that his company’s ad-supported online programming site, the already $12 million profitable HULU.com, was a “replacement for reruns”.
* Under the AMPTP’s current offer, there is no union jurisdiction for original made for new media projects made for budgets under $15,000 per minute. That’s the vast majority of all new media. We have signed more than 800 productions to our SAG new media agreement. If we can do it, why can’t the AMPTP? We are certainly willing to show them how it’s done.
* Their proposal for original programming running on abc.com, nbc.com, cbs.com, and other network new media platforms is – zero. Yes, seriously, zero.
* Management is gutting the contract through the demand that we remove force majeure which has been a protection for actors since the first SAG agreement in 1937.
* Management has also demanded broad and sweeping changes to the more than half-century old clip consent provision which guarantees actors the right to consent to the use of their image and to be compensated for that use.
* Minimum increases in traditional media doesn’t do actors any good if there aren’t any minimums in new media.
How can that be anything but 'the end of residuals?'
How can that be anything but a situation in which it is 'impossible for actors to make a living?'
How can that be anything but 'a massive roll back?'
How can that be anything but 'life or death for SAG members?'
Make no mistake about it, this is exactly what management is offering in original programming streamed on new media:
Minimum Rate – Zero
Residual Structure – Zero
Overtime Protections – Zero
Forced Call Consideration – Zero
Young Performer (Minors) Protections – Zero
Management is offering a lousy deal with “Zero” in new media and is threatening the promotion of non-union work in a residual-free environment without minimum compensation. That could be the beginning of the end for actors' careers and livelihoods.”
Monday, December 15, 2008
Last night's Revolutionary Road screening was followed by a Q&A with actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Shannon (who absolutely stole the couple scenes he was in!) and writer Justin Haythe. It was insightful hearing them talk about how the project came to be, as well as how specific scenes were prepared and shot.
Tonight I am going to see the new Will Smith movie, Seven Pounds, and then on Tuesday night I get the one movie I've been waiting for: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt/Cate Blanchett and directed by one of my favorites, David Fincher!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
I know that long months/years in post-production is often the fate of indy/low budget movies, so it isn't entirely surprising that this project hasn't been completed yet. But, I know that the folks they had working on it in post (sound, editing, etc.) are top-notch people, so I am really excited to see it!
I will continue to keep you guys updated. In the meantime, here are some Dog Jack links:
Dog Jack Official Site
Dog Jack Trailer
News Story on Dog Jack Filming in Penn.
Dog Jack on IMDb
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The last week or so I've been house sitting in the Hollywood Hills. The upside: a beautiful view, sports in HD, and a lot more space than my apartment. The downside: terrible cell phone reception. Curse you, Sprint!
Here are a couple views from the roof deck.
Oh, and the best part? I get to hang out with my good friend, Kiki! As you can see, we share the same passions - watching football and sleeping on the couch.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Anyway though, Poker can be a lot of fun. And I got to thinking about why. Of course there is the rush of winning a big hand, or even just being in a big hand. Your heart starts beating a little faster, though you try not to show it. The gambling rush. And then there's the competition -- going mano a mano for all the chips. And I think that has a lot to do with it. Unlike say, sports, you don't need to be in especially good athletic shape to be a winner (though those dudes who play several days at the World Series of Poker constantly talk about how much 'endurance' they need). You need to be smart in some sense; it helps to know about odds and math and reading other people. And I know we've all played in home games where people take all this VERY seriously. I guess it does make them feel important to be able to gripe about pot odds when they are deciding whether or not to bet. I think these talkers and gripers (see Phil Helmuth for the Pro version) are pretty much tools, but they make me laugh.
Still, at the end of the day, no matter if you have a PhD in math or if you are a mentalist, there is still a certain amount of luck. So, unlike say basketball, where no matter what, Joe the Plumber could never beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one if King James is trying, the worst poker player in the room could beat the best player heads-up on any given day. That chance makes the average guy, who still has those ancient competition genes in his DNA, pony up to the poker table for a chance to be a legend. At least in his own mind. Now, shuffle up and deal!
Monday, December 1, 2008
I went online (what did we do before the internet? walk around in a never-ending questioning stupor???) and found the cause. The space shuttle Endeavour had to land at Edwards Air Force base outside of LA due to bad weather in Florida, and a sonic boom could be heard from Bakersfield all the way down to Mexico. The cost of landing here instead of in Florida? About $1.8 million to piggyback the shuttle on top of a special 747.
Click here for some more info about the shuttle landing and the mission they were on.
The most interesting part:
The shuttle crew also conducted four spacewalks to clear metal shavings from a solar wing rotary joint at the space station. The joint had been jammed for more than a year and hampered energy production at the orbiting outpost.
Initial tests indicated the repairs on the joint were successful. Overshadowing the clean and lube job, however, was the loss of a $100,000 tool bag. Astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper let go of the bag during the first spacewalk; it wasn't tied down and floated away.A $100,000 tool bag?! Wow, was it Louis Vuitton?