Showbizreporting's Blog

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.

Industry Wife and Mother Speaks Out

Subject: An Industry Wife and Mother Speaks Out
This message is from our own Pat Alexander – wife of DGA member Hal Alexander who is a resident at the Motion Picture Home’s Long Term Care unit. Please give this a read and then share your feelings in the comment section on The Wrap. There’s a link at the end. – Richard

Two years ago this September, shortly after our 57th anniversary, I admitted my husband Hal Alexander to the Motion Picture Home’s Long Term Care center.

Hal is a past member of AFTRA, SAG, Actor’s Equity, and to this day is a dues paying member in good standing of the DGA. Having been a volunteer at the Fund for 38 years, I knew that this was the only facility for my husband to convalesce and spend the rest of his days. After all, that was the assurance that I received when Hal was admitted.

No matter what your role in the entertainment industry, you were given star treatment if you were a resident. It was no different for my husband. Until lately.

It should be added that when Hal was admitted to the Fund, the wheels were already turning to close down the Long Term Care unit. It is shameful that this man who gave his life to the industry and fathered three upstanding industry professionals was misled and lied to. Now they want us to foster an environment in the home for care for those they want to wash their hands of.

I had tried to care for Hal in my home. Hal had fallen ill and needed 24-hour care. Care was not only costly, but hardly affordable at nearly $1,000 per week. The strangers that would come into my home to care for my husband created anxiety and mistrust. They were not of the caliber of Hal’s caregivers today.

Since the MPTF was the charity that was first in line when we had extra money to donate, they stepped up to the plate and relieved me and our children of the stress of trying to fulfill an impossible task in caring for Hal at home. Nothing was as impressive as the level of care that greeted my husband for a short time after he was admitted.

It’s all changed now.

The Fund is tearing the people in Long Term Care and their families to pieces. Stop this! Stop this!! Stop this!!! You may as well just put these tragic people in a crematorium and get rid of them quickly. Scatter their ashes in all of the sub-standard long term care facilities that you have pushed others in our industry to. Having done that, you would be free to do what you want with the Long Term Care and Acute Care units and you won’t be killing us, little by little, bit by bit.

It will be over quickly and we can go home and cry. As many of us who are able to pick up the pieces and carry on, we will never forget and never forgive you. More importantly, none of you will be able to forgive yourselves.

Personally, I’ll never forget the day when the handwriting was on the wall, and it was time for me to leave as a volunteer. Because I stood up for the promise that was made to my husband and the then nearly 130 other residents, I was told that I had to make a choice, that my services as a volunteer were no longer needed if I intended to fight for my husband and for long term care to stay open.

I’m not comfortable that people today who care for our beloved family members and friends cannot talk honestly and say what is in their heart without being censored and threatened. I will not let them negate my 38 years of volunteer service, nor my commitment to my husband, my immediate family, and my extended family -– those whose loved ones depend on the promise of “we take care of our own.”

Please comment:;

July 5, 2010

The Syzygy Network

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 11:11 pm
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We are asking people to join this group. As of right now the group has reach almost 4,000 members. All you need to do is click on “Like”.

We are trying to get as much members ASAP. Our goal is to reach at least 1,000,000 members. Please tell your friends, neighbors, etc.

July 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — showbizreporting @ 1:13 pm

May 7, 2010


Well – here we go again. I wonder if we will be smart enough to do it this time.

Actors unions’ appear ready to walk down the aisle May 6 – LA Times

By Richard Verrier

Hollywood’s once-bickering actors’ unions appear to be warming up to the idea of a marriage.

That’s the takeaway from an upbeat message published in the Screen Actors Guild magazine from a guild task force exploring the idea of merging SAG with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The guilds earlier this year opted to restore a long-term bargaining partnership that had broken off two years ago because of a host of disagreements.

Although previous attempts at merging the unions failed, relations “have improved significantly” and union leaders are now “openly discussing the potential for a permanent partnership,” the task force said.

“Management’s ability to divide our work is costing members more than ever,” the message read. “Of course, the defining reason to form a single union is clear: Our bargaining power is increased if we cannot be divided. If we give our employers only one outlet for the skilled performers they need, we can maximize our ability to secure strong compensation and protections for the work we do.”

The statement follows a similar “open letter” from AFTRA’s leaders in which they endorsed the concept of creating a “new, strong national union” that would combine the resources of both organizations, which have about 44,000 members in common. In addition to actors, AFTRA also represents disc jockeys, recording artists and broadcast journalists.

Although the presidents of both unions are on board with the idea, a process for merging has yet to be agreed on. What’s more, an overwhelming majority of members in each guild would have to endorse the idea before it could take effect. Such a vote would probably not occur until next year, after the next round of contract negotiations with the studios begins this fall.

Editor’s note: They tried this before when Melissa Gilbert was president of SAG. It didn’t go through. Maybe it will work this time?

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.


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February 3, 2010



By Richard Stellar

Over a year ago the Hollywood machine that had Jeff Katzenberg at its helm tried to divert the course of motion picture and television healthcare. By choosing the most frail and handicapped to sacrifice at the altar of their misguided theology, their temple is toppling under the weight of public outrage. In the Biblical sense, this is not so much a David and Goliath story, as it is the embodiment of the words in Psalm 71:9 – “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”

We have achieved our most significant victory in our fight to save the remaining residents from eviction and to return the ‘continuum of care’ that is embodied in the phrase ‘taking care of our own’.

Dr. David Tillman has resigned. This is major my friends. Take a victory lap. You’ve done well.

While we savor this event the following days will show exactly what this means. Dr. David Tillman has left the building. Unlike Elvis, it was not to a standing ovation or the tossing of lacey undies and sweaty towels onto a Las Vegas stage. Tillman left with a whimper, not a roar. I’m hoping that he left the lights on and the door ajar so that Seth Ellis can also find his way out, along with other individuals who have gleefully worked to end the reign of the Long Term Care Unit.

Our work is not done. Winning a battle doesn’t mean you’ve won the war. Please, get your friends to join us. Sign our petition.

If my mother could speak, she would thank every one of you. So would the other residents who are at risk now, and those who, thanks to you, will be able to enjoy these services during their final years.

Well done.



P.S. Sign the freaking petition already! Pretty please, with sugar on top!;

February 2, 2010


SAG Moves towards Joint Bargaining with AFTRA
By Jonathan Handel

Posted: 31 Jan 2010 11:35 PM PST

The SAG National Board yesterday passed a resolution, by a surprising 82% to 18% vote, directing the guild’s president and National Executive Director to “seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract,” as quoted in a SAG press release. This move is as I predicted in a blog post three weeks ago, based on conversations then with a confidential source.

Those negotiations, scheduled for October 1 – November 15 of this year, would take place “under the terms of Phase One, modeled on the agreement used successfully in the 2009 Commercials Contract negotiations,” per the resolution. Phase One is the 1981 agreement between the two unions under which they have jointly bargained with the studios for almost three decades, with the notable exception of 2007-2009.

The margin was unexpected, since the board is almost evenly divided between factions that support joint bargaining (Unite for Strength and an independent in Los Angeles, and most or all members of the New York and regional boards) and a group (Membership First) that has generally expressed bitter opposition to joint bargaining under Phase One, a framework that gives SAG and AFTRA equal weight on the negotiating committee. (Because of the lateness of the hour, it was not possible to explore this issue with sources, and a call to a SAG spokesperson was not immediately returned.)

The resolution also directs the President, Ken Howard, and National Executive Director, David White, to “bring a recommendation to the National Board at the earliest opportunity.” The urgency presumably stems in part from the fact that AFTRA’s next national board meeting is February 27 meeting, and more generally from the constraints created by the October 1 date and the various processes leading up to it, as I have previously discussed. The TV/theatrical contract doesn’t expire until June 30, 2011, but the agreement reached last year between the studios and SAG mandates early bargaining, specifically, from October 1 through November 15.

The SAG press release is below.


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SAG National Board of Directors Meets via
Videoconference in Los Angeles and New York

Los Angeles, (January 31, 2010) – Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors voted today to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract. Approved 82 to 18 percent, the resolution states:

“It was moved and seconded that in light of SAG’s historically productive negotiating partnership with AFTRA, the SAG National Board of Directors directs President Ken Howard and National Executive Director David White to seek engagement with AFTRA in a joint bargaining agreement for negotiation of the Television/Theatrical Contract, under the terms of Phase One, modeled on the agreement used successfully in the 2009 Commercials Contract negotiations. President Howard and NED White shall bring a recommendation to the National Board at the earliest opportunity.”

Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard said, “I am very pleased with the vote and thank the Board for their leadership and foresight on this important issue. I so appreciate the Board’s cooperative spirit in this discussion and throughout the day, and feel confident that our Guild is moving in the right direction.”

In other actions, the National Board voted unanimously to create a National Performance Capture Committee to address the unique concerns and experiences of members who render performances that are recorded using “performance capture” technology across all media, and to advise the Guild on all matters pertaining to work in this rapidly growing area.

The board also approved 83 percent to 17 percent the unanimous recommendation of the finance committee to authorize the extension of existing initiation fee reductions in targeted markets across the country and to have the Guild’s Joint Strategic Planning and Finance Committee review the initiation fee structure nationwide.

The national board received reports from elected leadership and staff including:

• President Howard memorialized those members who have passed away over the last year reading each name aloud and calling for a moment of silent remembrance. Howard also recognized the recent loss of former Houston Branch President and board member Jim Huston, who passed away January 28, 2010.

Mary McDonald-Lewis, Regional Branch Division board member from Portland, Oregon, delivered a special tribute to Huston, saying, “He stood with his brothers and sisters through the best of times and the worst of times, and did so with resolve.“

• Secretary-Treasurer Amy Aquino delivered a report on the Guild’s second quarter financial results noting that SAG’s revenue and expenses are closely tracking the projections for fiscal year 2010. Aquino also provided an update on investment performance indicating recoupment of certain losses in the Guild’s investment portfolio when compared to the prior year.

• National Executive Director David White reported on the strategic planning efforts underway at the Guild and preparation for negotiations. White updated the board on new institutional and member service initiatives including a revitalized organizing strategy and program. White applauded SAG committee members and staff for their innovative and thoughtful work in key areas including the 2010 SAG Awards, government relations and legislative activities, new media outreach activities, and the LifeRaft Live Streaming partnership with SAG Foundation, among other efforts.

The Board also appointed Deputy National Executive Director of Contracts Ray Rodriguez to the Screen Actors Guild-Producers Industry Advancement & Cooperative Fund (IACF) board and addressed a number of governance matters, including a constitutional amendment regarding written assent procedures; an amendment to Branch rules of procedure; advisory recommendations from the annual national membership meeting; amendments to the election guidelines; and a recommendation to study the feasibility of electronic voting.

The meeting adjourned just after 5:00 p.m. PST.

January 27, 2010

SAG-AFTRA Joint Bargaining

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:38 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

SAG-AFTRA Joint Bargaining: AFTRA Hesitates, Slightly; and More
by Jonathan Handel

Posted: 26 Jan 2010 12:33 PM PST

An AFTRA committee, expected to recommend joint bargaining with SAG, instead referred the matter to a subcommittee, the Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap reported. Curious about details, I contacted a source close to AFTRA. (SAG and AFTRA declined to comment.)

The committee that met yesterday is, in fact, AFTRA’s Strategy Cabinet, a key, 25-member committee that advises the AFTRA National Board on important matters. The Cabinet is chaired by AFTRA president Roberta Reardon and includes AFTRA officers and others.

As the Strategy Cabinet’s action indicates, there wasn’t 100% agreement in the room regarding joint bargaining. However, reports my source, there is nonetheless a sense of inevitability that there will, in fact, be joint bargaining. AFTRA wants to develop a framework that it would be comfortable with.

Fortunately, my source indicate that this framework would probably entail only the three well-understood concepts that I discussed in a recent post: (a) 50-50 representation on the negotiating committee (and equal voting strength for all members of the committee), (b) a non-disparagement agreement, and (c) working out the negotiating schedule to accommodate both the joint bargaining (SAG’s bargaining is scheduled for October 1 – November 15) and AFTRA’s always solo “front of the book” bargaining (that portion of their Network Code agreement expires November 15).

As a caveat, the subcommittee to which the Strategy Cabinet referred the matter has not been appointed yet (this is expected in the next few days, and Reardon is expected to be chair), so it may have other thoughts. In any case, these developments make it all the more important for SAG to make decisive moves at its National Board meeting this Sunday towards joint bargaining.

Two other interesting notes from the Strategy Cabinet meeting. One is that AFTRA is continuing with an organizing training program in all Locals whose purpose, I’m told, is to build strength at the bargaining table in AFTRA’s existing areas or jurisdiction, including by increasing AFTRA’s share of work in a variety of areas. Those existing areas include some where AFTRA’s jurisdiction overlaps with SAG’s – scripted basic cable; new media; and video games – as well as other areas that are AFTRA’s alone.

In addition, the Cabinet created a national Actors’ Equity Cooperation Committee to explore with Actors’ Equity areas of mutual interest and concern. This could be a very early step towards merger; who knows? In any case, cooperation, and perhaps a merger, make sense from three very different perspectives.

First, at the level of expensive stage productions, a number of these are mounted by studios (Disney) and/or based on movies. Cooperation or a merger would allow actors to present a united front during bargaining. Bluntly put, the more sources of media conglomerate revenue that actors can threaten, the more leverage they have.

Second, at the level of 99-seat productions (in Los Angeles , this is the 99 Seat Plan, commonly referred to as Equity waiver; in New York , the Showcase Code), cooperation or merger might result in allowing small producers to exhibit pay-per-view tapings on YouTube or other websites. This could provide producers – and actors – with a new source of revenue, but is currently forbidden by Equity. Instead, promotional tapings of portions of a show are allowed, but not taping or exhibition of an entire show, to preserve the uniqueness of a live experience. Discussion between AFTRA and Equity might ultimately persuade Equity to become more comfortable with new media, and new revenue sources sought by entrepreneurial producers. The other benefit to actors is, of course, more exposure for their work, which is in fact the purpose of the 99-seat arrangements.

Finally, of course, merger would eliminate duplicative dues payments and presumably make it easier to qualify for health insurance and pension for actors who work in both television and live stage. The Equity pension plan, like AFTRA’s, is a defined benefit plan; interestingly, Equity also has a 401(k) plan. (Equity declined to comment for this story.)

Looks like AFTRA may be slowly bringing actors towards the day when all three performers unions merge, though there are certainly many steps between now and then, if indeed it ever happens. Interesting times.


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.

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