Showbizreporting's Blog

January 14, 2011

Saving the Lives of Our Own Hospital

Dear Friends –

It was two years ago today that the letter announcing the closure of Motion Picture & Television Fund Long Term Care was sent to spouses and children of the elderly nursing home residents. The letter gave us roughly 60 days to move our family to other facilities. Upon inspection, many of these facilities did not come close to the level of care or cleanliness of what was the only viable care facility for those who paid into it over the years.

Our elders, who in most cases had no more money left to support their care in an upscale facility, were about to be cast to the wind.

We stood up, and made a difference. As you are well aware, the Long Term Care unit is still active, and the MPTF has voiced their commitment to continue Long Term Care in the future. We rallied here on facebook, in the streets, on the Internet, and in the hearts of the motion picture and television industry. While we were waiting for A-list actors to stand among us, we decided to be proactive, and in the end, we didn’t need them.

Our work however is not done. The fight that began as saving a nursing home has turned into a Motion Picture Home campus wide struggle to insure the continuum of care. The fight that began on behalf of 130+ of the most elderly and infirm residents turned into a wave of consciousness whose aim is to insure skilled nursing and long term care for generations to come. The fight that began in Woodland Hills, CA has raised issues of elder care worldwide. The motion picture industry is a template for the world when it comes to charitable outreach and diversity. Now it will be a shining example of how ‘we take care of our own’ in a modern world.

We don’t cave to temporary economic challenges by plucking the low-hanging fruit of the elderly to salve our concerns. We dig into our pockets and use our creativity to raise funds.

In this case, it wasn’t about money – it was about compassion. And you showed it, delivered with a resolve that left the MPTF board shaking.

The third year will be the charm. Please hang in there and become even more involved in this struggle. It’s not over, not by a long shot. We will take the momentum we have and continue to shine a light on this to the industry and to the world.

Please enlist your friends to join us. Tell your industry brothers and sisters about the plight of the elderly at the Motion Picture Home. Join us at

You have already saved some lives, let’s continue to save more – along with the future of motion picture and television healthcare.

Please see my blog at




October 19, 2010


Filed under: Entertainment,Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 4:48 pm
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SAG Division Elections Held in Hollywood and New York
Hollywood Division Elects Ned Vaughn 1st Vice President
New York Division Elects Mike Hodge 2nd Vice President

Los Angeles (Oct. 18, 2010) – The Screen Actors Guild Hollywood Division Board of Directors and New York Division Board of Directors today elected the union’s 1st vice president and 2nd vice president.

The Hollywood Division Board elected Ned Vaughn to the position of 1st vice president of Screen Actors Guild. The 1st vice president also serves as chair of the Hollywood Division Board. The New York Division Board re-elected Division President Mike Hodge to the position of Screen Actors Guild 2nd vice president.

1st Vice President Ned Vaughn said, “I am honored to serve Screen Actors Guild as 1st vice president and privileged to represent the members here in Hollywood. Our recent board election made it clear: Hollywood members overwhelmingly want performers in one union, not divided in two. I’ll work hard to advance that goal and to make progress in every aspect of protecting our members.”

New York Division President and 2nd Vice President Mike Hodge said, “It is an incredible honor to serve New York Division members of Screen Actors Guild. I look forward to another year of productive service and to real progress on important initiatives like uniting all actors in one union.”

Vaughn is serving his first term on the Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors and his second term as a member of the Hollywood Division Board of Directors. Vaughn is a career actor whose list of credits includes roles in major motion pictures including Apollo 13, The Hunt for Red October, Courage Under Fire and Frost/Nixon as well as guest star and recurring roles in hit television series such as 24, Mad Men, Desperate Housewives, The Mentalist, and the upcoming Harry’s Law among others.

Hodge is serving his first term as New York Division President and has been on the Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors for ten years. As a national director, he served as New York Division secretary and vice president. As a member of the New York Division Legislative Committee, he testified before the New York City Council in the successful effort to get city tax incentives and furthered lobbying efforts at the New York State Legislature. He has also been a part of the Guild Governance, Communications and Negotiations committees. Hodge’s acting has included guest-starring roles in television with recurring work on Law and Order and Fringe, as well as film, commercial and stage work, including four Broadway shows.

The Regional Branch Division will elect the 3rd vice president at its next meeting October 22.

October 1, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 2:39 pm
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AFTRA employees sign new pact

Posted: 30 Sep 2010 02:07 PM PDT

Details: my Hollywood Reporter article.

Watch for my new book “Hollywood on Strike!,” due out next month. Subscribe to my blog ( for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Check out my residuals chart there too. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my or Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.

July 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 4:17 pm

I am posting this to encourage everyone who is and isn’t religious to pray for the next 140 days.  None of us like the disasters that is going on or the way our economy is going.  This will help and definately will not hurt.  Please read the link.

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 4:15 pm
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Here is a great chance to get involved.  You can help yourself and others.  I am doing this myself.  It couldn’t hurt and just maybe it would help stop the disasters we are now facing.  The oil spill, hurricanes, etc.

July 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 1:13 pm

March 26, 2010

DML on Residuals

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 2:48 pm
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Residuals Chart Available

By Jonathan Handel

Residuals are complex. Flummoxed by formulas? Most people are. Whether it’s 1.2% of gross, 100% of TAM, or the complexities of new media, it’s easy to find your knickers in a twist if you spend more than a few minutes puzzling over this stuff.

Puzzle no longer — or, at least, not as much as before. I’ve managed to compress most of the guild and union residuals formulas onto a single page color chart. A second page gives cross references to the actual sections and paragraphs of the guild and union agreements themselves. That means you can look up the actual contract language and marvel at its opacity.

The chart’s not available in stores, but it is free, and suitable for framing. You could also laminate it for a nice placemat. Get your copy here: (check back from time to time for updates). Feel free to print, email and distribute. And let me know if you have corrections or comments.


Subscribe to my blog ( for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.

November 13, 2009

Afrta Aproves Contract

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 12:58 pm
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Dear Friends,

AFTRA voters have approved the interactive contract by a margin of
about 2 to 1. The vote apparently went out to over 2200 AFTRA members
who have worked in interactive games over the past three years. I’m
going to guess that most all members who voted on this on the AFTRA
side are also SAG members, but I have no data on this.

I’m not sure where this leaves SAG or the out-of-sync interactive
contracts, with SAG’s caucuses having rejected the terms. The SAG
national caucus meetings got I believe only about 115 voters
nationally, with nearly 2 to 1 voting against the contract, although
all those opposed were here in Los Angeles only. All other cities
voted to approve it.

I suppose it is now up to us (along with our agents) to either accept
“atmospheric” work in interactive games or not.


October 7, 2009

ATTN: INTERACTIVE V.O. Meeting — Show up or Shut Up

Dear Friends,

This is for those of us who work in interactive voice-overs. There is an important meeting at SAG on Oct 13th at 7pm. Significant changes for better or worse could be in store for us. Too bad for us if we don’t show up to this meeting.

In interactive v.o., we have two contracts with two unions for the same territory that are out of sync, so significant gains are pretty much impossible. Producers can easily play one union against the other, or choose to only sign with one union to cripple the other’s bargaining abilities, all of which we have now with interactive v.o. If we continue without intelligently merging our unions, I feel this is the future for all other contracts.

On to the meeting: The good news is that our two unions have heard us and have come together and bargained a new interactive agreement with modest gains with a re-sync’ed end date, which I feel is a significant and much needed gain. However, there is a new feature in this proposal that those of us who work in interactive must take a careful look and and let BOTH our unions know our feelings on. If our attendance is as paltry as it was at the informational SAG interactive caucus was a few weeks ago, this change will be passed by both our unions’ boards whether we like it or not.

Even though SAG has pretty much lost all animation and interactive v.o. work over the past few years, they are at least holding a second informational meeting over this new SAG/AFTRA tentative interactive agreement. If you work this contract, you need to be there and listen and speak up. In particular, there is concern over a new feature producers want called “atmospheric voices” which BOTH our unions need to hear our opinions on. I believe there is a pro and a con to this concept and I’ll try to lay the two sides out as fairly as I can:

“Atmospheric voices,” as I understand it, allows for producers to record many more individual voices per session fee and an infinite number of different voices for only a double session fee, where the number of voices we can perform are significantly restricted with our current contract. It seems the argument for this new category is that games with greater numbers of voices, such as MMORPG’s like “World of Warcraft” which have literally hundreds of voices in a game, will be enticed to sign up union voice talent (WoW is non-union as are other mega-voice games). More games like this are on the way in the future, the argument goes, and with this new feature in the contract, more big games could choose to go union, and this could potentially mean a lot of new work for union voice actors. Many such games that feature a great number of incidental characters are populated with characters that say only a few sentences anyway (a vendor, a page, a merchant, a citizen, someone you happen to bump into etc), not a ton of vocal work per incidental for the most part, the argument goes. With the addition of the “atmospheric voices” provision, big games of the future which would have remained non-union would turn union, sign more union actors for more work. Win win. At least, that’s the pro pitch, as I understand it. As a gamer, I’d say this could possibly change some big v.o. games to “go union.” Possibly. And that could be a significant amount of work. I would also say that the evolution of gaming cuts both ways, with the “next gen” titles (Xbox360 and PS3 and some Wii “portages”) needing to sound increasingly “cinematic” and professional (union), but “low-res” and retro gaming (iPhone, Wii, DS, etc) are expanding possibly faster (voice acting here probably tends to be more non-union in cheaper games if there is any voice work at all). I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the top selling next-gen games mostly use union v.o. talent. Could be wrong there, though. Most games I believe are non-union and for many games (some might say most) the voice acting is not nearly as important as game play and game design, if it is a factor at all. Frankly, I’d like more data on all this and hardly any was presented at the last SAG interactive caucus. I don’t think that most of our negotiators are gamers and I’m not sure they necessarily know video games or that biz. As someone who not only works in interactive v.o. but is also a fairly active gamer, I am honestly not sure about this pro argument. I admit the possibility of populating future iterations of games like “World of Warcraft” with all union voice actors could potentially mean a lot of work for us. Most of the voice work in that particular game strikes me as pretty “light duty.” Modest gains with re-sync’ing the contracts is great. Okay, that’s the pro.

The con argument is that “atmospheric voices” simply gives up what little firewall protection our interactive contract already provides and just gets us less money for essentially more work. The number of voices we currently perform for scale (most of the work in this realm is scale, if it is union at all) is restricted as it is in television animation, where producers are required to pay essentially for very few voices, although the session can last four hours even for one voice. Certainly there is merit to this restriction for game v.o. work, although you’d be hard pressed to find an 11 or even 22 minute t.v. cartoon with literally hundreds of individual voices. The comparison of games to t.v. only partially holds. The con argument sees an easy opportunity to further work union voice actors to death in a realm where (unlike television animation) we are already worked to death as it is- with no residuals, potentially four hours of working solo, and often to the point of blowing out your voice with screaming or yelling without some kind of “hazard pay.” Game work is also often much more demanding and punishing than television voice work. In fact, the only worse union contract might be SAG’s anime dubbing agreement (another multi-billion dollar industry where the union contract is long hours with no residuals– most of the work here is also non-union). Despite resync’ing the contracts between SAG and AFTRA and other modest gains, this “atmospheric voices” feature is potentially a massive give away and cannot be allowed– at least that’s the con argument.

Frankly, I think both sides have points and the fact that these contracts are re-sync’ed means that when they expire (I think it’s in a couple years) if this “atmospheric voices” thing is abused and we don’t like it, we can kill it– assuming our unions are either bargaining together or merged, which may not be the case, though it looks better these days. Perhaps opening up “World of Warcraft” type games to union work would bring us a ton a new work, each such game is like a country that we could populate with union voice actors instead of non-union. Or it could make an already problematic contract even more punishing and difficult for less pay. I honestly think there can be a discussion about this (not a screaming match). Let’s make an informed decision as a community.

But there can be no discussion without any of us showing up to listen and talk on October 13th.

One thing I do know: if the interactive v.o. community chooses shows up in such pathetic numbers as we’ve seen recently, this will pass, whether it is a good idea or not. We must let both our unions know our opinion, not just SAG (the one producers have abandoned) but AFTRA as well– they are set to sign off on this on Oct 14th, as I understand it. Either both must pass or both must reject, but it should be with our community’s input.

Please show up.




Attend an Informational Meeting Regarding the Tentative Agreement for the
2009 Interactive Media Agreement, Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Screen Actors Guild will host an informational meeting for the purpose of providing a report to members on the Tentative Agreement reached for the 2009 Interactive Media Agreement. The meeting will be held in Los Angeles.
Members of the Interactive Media Agreement negotiating committee and staff will be in attendance.

Please inform your fellow union members who work under this agreement about this important meeting. Participation is limited only by fire department regulations.

When: 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday October 13, 2009

Screen Actors Guild Headquarters
James Cagney Board Room, ground floor
5757 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Parking will be validated

All paid-up SAG members who work under the Interactive Agreement should attend. Unfortunately, no guests allowed. Parents/guardians of young performers under 18 years-old are welcome. PLEASE BRING YOUR SAG MEMBERSHIP CARD FOR ADMITTANCE (paid thru October 31, 2009).

October 3, 2009

Congratulations to Handel!

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 2:37 pm
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Handel appointed Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Law to teach entertainment unions & guilds course

Posted: 02 Oct 2009 04:45 PM PDT

On a personal note, I’ve been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Law. I’ll be teaching a course on entertainment unions and guilds starting in January. I also continue as of counsel at TroyGould.

Below and attached is the press release from TroyGould.


Subscribe to my blog ( for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.


TroyGould’s Jonathan Handel Becomes Adjunct Professor at UCLA School of Law

Entertainment and Media Law and Policy Class to Focus on Unions and Guilds

LOS ANGELES – October 1, 2009 – Jonathan Handel, of counsel and member of TroyGould’s Entertainment, Sports and Media Department, has become an adjunct professor at the UCLA School of Law. He begins teaching a semester-long class on entertainment unions and guilds in January 2010 and will continue to represent clients at TroyGould.

Handel’s course focuses on legal analysis along with discussions of union history, policy and politics in order to illuminate the abstract language of guild contracts. Students will review topics ranging from on-screen and advertising credits to creative control, residual compensation, arbitration, strikes and stalemates, and new media.

“Understanding the role of Hollywood guilds and unions is critical to comprehending the state and direction of the entertainment industry as a whole,” says Handel, former associate counsel with the Writers Guild of America. “This is particularly true as a result of new media platforms such as the Internet and mobile devices, which promise to complicate Hollywood labor relations for years to come.”

Recent news events have made the course more timely and necessary than ever. Handel will specifically spotlight the 2007-2009 Hollywood labor turmoil that consumed the Writers Guild of America (WGA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and IATSE and the Teamsters, the unions that represents most ”below-the-line” workers.

Well known in the industry, Handel has been interviewed hundreds of times by local, national and international television, radio, print and online media outlets about entertainment, new media and Hollywood union issues. He has written articles on the conflict between content and technology companies and on trademarking movie titles. Handel has been a participant and panelist at various conferences and presentations, including those hosted by the Beverly Hills Bar Association and by Vanderbilt Law School . He was named one of the top 100 lawyers in California in 2008 and a Southern California Super Lawyer in 2006 and 2007.

In 2009, Handel published a short book titled “How to Write LOI’s and Term Sheets,” and will be publishing his new book ” Hollywood on Strike!” later this year. His op-ed pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Journal, and the Los Angeles Business Journal. Handel is also a prolific writer for blogs such as the Huffington Post, for which he has written more than 100 articles, and for his own labor and new media law blog, “Digital Media Law” (, where he has posted about 250 articles on the latest news in the law and business of digital media, traditional entertainment, intellectual property and technology.

Handel earned his Juris Doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1990 where he was an editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and his AB magna cum laude from Harvard College in Applied Math and Computer Science. After graduating law school, he clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and has practiced law in Los Angeles since then.

About TroyGould

TroyGould is a Los Angeles law firm founded in 1970. Beginning with an early focus on corporate and securities law, the firm’s practice now covers a broad range of business transactions, litigation, and legal counseling, with an emphasis in the areas of corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, financial services, entertainment, sports, employment, tax, and competitive business practices.

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