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Thread: Cut! Actors' strike threatens to bring Hollywood to a standstill

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    Default Cut! Actors' strike threatens to bring Hollywood to a standstill

    Cut! Actors' strike threatens to bring Hollywood to a standstill

    By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
    Tuesday, 24 June 2008

    To have one trade union paralyse Hollywood was strange; two doing it in quick succession feels like carelessness. A threatened walkout by actors, which could begin as early as next week, is throwing major film and television studios into chaos.

    The contract dispute, this time between the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and their white-collar bosses, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), is causing what industry experts have called a "virtual strike".
    Production deadlines for dozens of major projects have been scrapped amid growing signs that the SAG, which has 120,000 members, will fail to resolve its dispute before a deadline for industrial action on Tuesday next week.
    Most major film shoots are now either being put on hold, or wrapping-up early to avoid disruption.
    "No one is doing anything that finishes after 30 June, and nobody's starting anything now," one lawyer representing actors told The Hollywood Reporter. "This is the impact of a strike already."
    Victims of the crisis include Sir Ridley Scott, who has delayed filming his Robin Hood remake, Nottingham, until late summer. Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson and Steven Soderbergh are meanwhile rushing to finish their current projects by 1 July. Those films are Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, The Lovely Bones and The Informant.
    Other stars who are likely to have a busy week include Will Ferrell (currently working on Land of the Lost), together with Seth Rogen (Observe and Report), and the James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
    The entire cast of High School Musical 3; GI Joe; When in Rome and Disney's Race to Witch Mountain are also racing to complete shoots before any picket lines appear.
    At issue in the SAG dispute are almost 70 elements of a proposed new contract with the major studios that is being haggled over at AMPTP's headquarters in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. Bones of contention are said to include payments for film and video clips screened online, the issue that was at the heart of the previous writers' dispute.
    With no resolution on the horizon, several major projects are planning to suspend actual filming and work on special effects for however long it takes to resolve the dispute. The Transformers sequel is about to begin a planned hiatus, along with Angels & Demons, the follow up to The DaVinci Code.
    On television, the autumn season for dozens of network shows, which was already knocked out of schedule by the 100-day writers' crisis, now faces renewed chaos. The hit show Gossip Girl is in the middle of filming its second series. Army Wives, Saving Grace, The Closer and Monk are also mid-production, while 24 has decided not to chance its arm and cancelled an entire year of shows.
    Whatever happens, the "summer of discontent" could not have come at a worse time for an industry that is counting the cost of its first strike in 20 years.
    The Milken Institute, a Californian economic think- tank, recently estimated that the state would already lose about $2.1bn (1.07bn) in output as well as 37,000 jobs by the end of the year.
    "Even if the actors strike doesn't happen, there is already an economic impact going on which is currently affecting production schedules," said the study's author, Kevin Klowden. "Even a smaller strike would slow down the recovery."
    The dispute has gained added importance in trade union circles because SAG's smaller rival union Aftra recently concluded contract negotiations with the AMPTP. In a Monty-Python style dispute, SAG is now attempting to prevent Aftra's members endorsing that deal.
    "We're frustrated and discouraged that the talks have stalled because SAG's Hollywood leadership is focused on its campaign to interfere with the affair of a fellow union," said AMPTP's spokesman, James Hiestand, yesterday. "The producers remain committed to avoiding another harmful, unnecessary strike and to reaching another fair and forward-looking labour agreement."
    Whatever happens, those worst hit by any disruption will be actors and technical staff. The Actors Fund, a charity that assists film-industry employees who have fallen on hard times, said yesterday that it has received 800 requests for support already this year, more than four times its usual level.
    "Usually we give out $250-$350,000 a year in emergency financial assistance in Los Angeles," said a spokesman. "This year, we've already given out $1.2m. If this new strike happens, it will be devastating for people."
    George Clooney recently donated $25,000 to the Actors Fund, but other major stars are actively lobbying to prevent the strike. Tom Hanks recently took a full-page advert out in Variety urging both sides in the dispute to mend their differences, while T R Knight, the star of Grey's Anatomy (another show that begins filming this week) told a recent interviewer: "I support my union, but I'm hopeful that it's going to resolve this because it's not time for another strike."
    The turmoil may also spill over into the political arena. California's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger – who is a SAG member – was the subject of a heated editorial in yesterday's Los Angeles Times criticising his failure to intervene in the dispute. "We saw how you handled the writers' strike... It was, frankly, kind of a girlie- man performance," it read.

    The Independent

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    put them all on a boat, sail them overseas and sink it half way
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    no please no strike

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    Oy vey, I'm going to have to start renting movies via Itunes to keep myself out of the bars & lounges.
    "the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone"

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    on them

    i have started reading again

    hammy hamster's dvds are better then most of the shit on TV and the big screen

    i can watch daniel craig, jason statham, and oded fehr dvds for ever and ever

    the networks will produce more shitty reality shows

    i hope more foreign movies will hit the big screen

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    anyone know if this is going to happen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by suhani View Post
    anyone know if this is going to happen?
    Tuesday big day for strike talk

    Rhetoric to heat up after votes revealed


    The holiday may be over, but the fireworks are continuing.
    One of the most bizarre chapters in Hollywood's labor history hits a turning point Tuesday as AFTRA announces the results of the ratification vote for its primetime deal.
    The announcement, expected to come as early as Tuesday evening, could break the stalemate that's pervaded the biz in recent weeks.
    The ballots are due today from AFTRA's 70,000 members. SAG has spent a month in strident opposition, urging a no vote from its 44,000 members who also belong to AFTRA. Both SAG and AFTRA have lobbied hard, and a strong acceptance -- or rejection -- will provide a gauge of SAG's influence and its clout at the bargaining table.
    It's widely anticipated the terms will be accepted, with two key factors driving the yes vote: the faltering economy and the lingering impact of the WGA strike. People want to work and don't want to risk another strike or even a slowdown.
    Still, ratification isn't a sure thing -- particularly since SAG has told the actors who belong to both guilds that voting no is the path to a better deal. (The companies have offered SAG a pact that is virtually identical to AFTRA's.)
    Whatever the results, leaders of SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers are expected to meet Thursday. The AMPTP pulled the plug on further negotiations when it made its final offer on June 30.
    The key question is how guild leaders and company toppers will interpret an acceptance or rejection of the AFTRA deal by a close margin. SAG insiders believe a close vote will give them added leverage at the bargaining table -- while others believe that anything less than a rejection would be a slap to SAG, which has campaigned so fervently against the ratification.
    Members of Hollywood guilds usually give 90% approval in contract votes. SAG's anti-AFTRA push clearly will lower support below that level, but the question is by how much.
    Familiar terms
    The terms in the AFTRA pact mirror those in the contracts signed by the WGA and DGA, particularly in areas of new media.
    SAG contends that actors deserve sweeter terms than those; AFTRA argues that approval will put the industry back to work and that the deal includes gains in salaries and new media without rollbacks or concessions.
    "If the AFTRA referendum does pass, it will be a testament to member-to-member, grassroots organizing winning out over money and pressure," said Richard Masur, a SAG board member and former guild president who helped organize the website.
    Ballots are due at 5 p.m.Tuesday in Everett, Wash., home to the independent ballot-counting firm Integrity Voting Systems.
    A decisive vote in either direction would theoretically hasten SAG's talks with the companies at the bargaining table. Another big question is how soon the town can resume business as usual.
    Both sides have campaigned hard with robocalls and star power. SAG signed up Viggo Mortensen, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn and Martin Sheen, plus former guild presidents Ed Asner and Bill Daniels; AFTRA received backing from Alec Baldwin, Sally Field, Tom Hanks and Susan Sarandon, along with former SAG prexies Barry Gordon and William Schallert along with Masur.
    SAG's September elections could be particularly bitter. The Hollywood-based Membership First faction controls about 60% of the board seats, with about a third of those slots up. Should the opponents manage to persuade high-profile members to seek seats, the balance of power could shift.
    Some of the possible scenarios if the AFTRA proposal is accepted:
    • SAG will have to acknowledge that its 120,000 members won't support a strike authorization, at least at the required 75% level. SAG may finally drop its insistence on the entire package of improvements, which still include a hike in DVD residuals and residuals on all new media.
    • SAG will argue it still wants to negotiate, using its "let's keep working" slogan, even though the companies made their "last best and final" offer on June 30, a few hours before the guild's feature-primetime contract expired. The SAG strategy is seen as a way to preclude the companies from locking out actors.
    • SAG won't be completely willing to sit on its hands, since the new AFTRA deal will enable the smaller union to sign up any new primetime shows shot on digital -- an area of shared jurisdiction.
    • The companies will probably be willing to wait a few more weeks for SAG to reach a deal. The AMPTP may figure out a way to make a concession or two -- such as in actor-specific demands like maintaining force majeure protections or giving actors some say over product integration -- to close a deal.
    • Studios and nets may figure that SAG's leverage has been reduced enough to begin ramping up production again -- although some TV series have still not gone on hiatus and will probably keep shooting anyhow.
    • SAG and AFTRA will have to begin prepping for negotiations on their commercials contract, which expires in October. AFTRA, which refused to negotiate jointly with SAG in March following a long series of jurisdictional disputes, has indicated it won't go to the bargaining table with SAG -- although some have suggested doing so could be a way to start repairing the relationship.
    If SAG prevails and the AFTRA deal's voted down, the following scenarios will likely play out:
    • SAG has said a no vote would get AFTRA back to the table, but AFTRA leaders have said that won't happen. Instead, it's likely AFTRA will simply wait to see what deal SAG makes, then agree to that.
    • SAG leaders also believe their leverage at the bargaining table will correspond with the percentage of no votes. According to their thinking, a no vote will increase SAG's chance of extracting concessions.
    • SAG will argue that the congloms need to break the pattern set by the WGA, DGA and AFTRA for the sake of getting Hollywood back to work. SAG insiders also want Disney CEO Robert Iger and News Corp. president Peter Chernin to reprise their roles and help close the deal -- just as they did with the DGA and WGA.
    • A lockout's currently rated as a low possibility, particularly since the studios have stockpiled features, and some TV production is continuing. But if the congloms can't make a deal with SAG by next month, the possibility of a lockout would rise every day.
    • Should negotiations prove fruitless, SAG leaders would probably set a strike authorization vote, which would take about three weeks to complete.

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    ^ thank you

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    OOoh! Race to Witch Mountain! I love the original series

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    Fuck em. Foreign films are better anyways.
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