Showbizreporting's Blog

June 2, 2009

Someone’s opinion over the events that progressed since April 2008 (FEB. 14, 2009)

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:31 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

This is someone’s opinion. This is neither nor fiction. This is just someone’s opinion on matters at hand.

I am very pleased to report that the AFTRA New Media deal is well at work bringing productions that would otherwise have been non-union into jurisdiction.  There is nothing so useful as actual case-history unfolding before our eyes.


What follows is a report of new web-series currently in production.  As I mentioned, I do not have the resources of time to produce a video.  However, God bless actor David Lawrence who answers the “elephant” video better than I in a video response.  The link to David’s video follows my brief blog:

A producer reports that they are in the middle of producing several web series, each with 5 to 10 episodes a piece.  The content mirrors reality or variety t.v., with low-key product placement.  Although not a national signatory to the Net Code, the producer looked at the AFTRA language prior to commencing production.  They realized that even with their very low budgets, these productions would be above the per-minute budget to qualify for the Experimental waiver.  And, even though the shows are using real people or amateur performers, most of the shows would also end up using at least one Covered Performer – again, making the show ineligible for the waiver.
The producer – someone with whom we bargain (not a student making a film) ended up signing the Net Code and has been hiring a several actors for these series under AFTRA contracts.  The wages are 100% negotiable, but they’ve been reasonable.  Contributions are going into the AFTRA Health & Retirement funds.  Payments are being made on-time, since timely payment still applies to New Media production.  Instead of pushing this totally non-union, AFTRA has brought the production under their umbrella, even in a production that used primarily non-union performers.  Hello – we win.  AFTRA performers have more opportunities, contributions are made to our pension fund, and we are another step closer to the practice of jurisdiction in New Media becoming the standard. 

We must set a standard of giving our employers realistic choices that will encourage them to do things above board.  It protects everyone, including them.

Please understand what contract negotiators know first hand – contracts are enriched over years.  We have to start somewhere – and though certainly not perfect – at least AFTRA has made a real start.  We can not afford to let New Media go to the wind the way we did cable; and we are still in danger of that if we do not find a way to circle the wagons.  I do not envy our SAG negotiators going into meetings next week.  I do not believe it is going to be an easy path back to the deal that the AMPTP negotiated with AFTRA. 

Now: here is the link to David’s video.  Big thanks to him for stepping up to the camera and giving an actual account:

One more thing that has been bugging me – it has been said that Alan Rosenberg tried to unite the Guild by visiting branches and that “no other SAG president ever visited the branches” like Alan.  PULEASE.  I can name three who did.

And while Alan might have made a show of trying to unite the Guild – he worked against uniting all actors into one union.  Which is the only – only – only answer to the question — how the hell are we going to hold onto New Media.


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