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April 6, 2011

WGA Ballots

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WGA Ballots on the Way for Ratification Vote on Studio Deal

3:15 PM 4/5/2011 by Jonathan Handel
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Ballots can be returned in person at meetings on April 26 or via mail by April 27.

The WGA deal reached last month is on its way to the membership for a ratification vote; ballots are in the mail. That’s evident from the guild website, where a member link provides access to the ratification booklet and related materials, but the guild has continued its mostly sotto voce approach this year by making no public announcement of the mailing.

The ballots are due back to the WGA by 9 a.m. on April 27. Members can also vote in person at meetings in Los Angeles and New York the day before.

Ballots were accompanied by a statement from negotiating committee co-chairs John Bowman and Billy Ray explaining why negotiations had been completed in less than three weeks of talks: “an economy still recovering from a deep recession; an economic pattern set in negotiations with other unions; and the willingness of the Companies to address the Guild’s most pressing economic need, regarding the solvency of the pension plan.”

The materials also included a cover letter from WGA West president John Wells and WGA East president Michael Winship that said, “We highly endorse ratification of this contract” and noting the unanimous recommendation of the negotiating committee, WGA West Board and WGA East Council.

The new accord with the AMPTP follows the pattern set by deals in the last few months with the actors and directors. The new three-year deal provides for 2 percent annual wage increases and a one-time 1.5 percent increase in employer contributions to the guild’s pension plan. SAG, AFTRA and the DGA received 2 percent annual increases also, and a one-time increase in employer contributions to pension and/or health plans.

The writers’ deal also includes a 20 percent increase in pay TV residuals – i.e., the residuals payable when a pay TV show such as Showtime’s Dexter is rerun on pay TV. That gain is less dramatic than the percentage may suggest, however, since those residuals are a small, fixed amount, in contrast to more lucrative formulas provided in the directors and actors agreements.

In a move that the letter acknowledged as “a concession,” the new agreement provides that network primetime residuals will be frozen at current rates for the duration of the contract. Such a move is unusual: primetime residuals usually increase when minimums do.

The new deal also includes a 2 percent increase in first year ad-supported Internet streaming of television programs. The DGA, SAG and AFTRA received a corresponding increase. In the case of the WGA, the dollar amounts involved are $16 to $32 per year.

Like the other unions, the WGA also accepted a shift from first-class air travel to new rules favoring business class and coach.

The WGA did not achieve any significant improvement in workplace conditions such as issues related to “sweepstakes pitching.”

Included with the ratification materials was a letter from WGA member Ari B. Rubin entitled “Divide and Conquer.” Although Rubin accepted the deal as the best obtainable under the circumstances, he decried what he called the studios’ strategy of “divide and conquer,” and colorfully compared it to a strategy the British army used in North Africa during World War II.

October 27, 2009

Variety: SAG stats- Diversity Lags

SAG stats: Diversity lags
Minorities, seniors, females underrepresented

By DAVE MCNARYMore Articles:

Minorities, seniors and female actors have achieved few gains in recent years in the number of film and TV roles they receive, according to casting stats released by the Screen Actors Guild.

“The diverse and multicultural world we live in today is still not accurately reflected in the portrayals we see on the screen,” SAG president Ken Howard said in a statement. “We will continue to work with producers, hiring executives and industry professionals in accurately portraying the American scene by ensuring equal access to employment opportunities for all of our members.”

The latest statistics, released Friday, showed minority performers reached a high mark in 2007, with 29.3% of total roles, and then declined last year to 27.5%.

The breakdown of film and TV roles for 2008 was 72.5% Caucasian, 13.3% African-American, 6.4% Latino-Hispanic, 3.8 Asian-Pacific Islander, 0.3% Native American and 3.8% other-unknown. SAG noted in its report that U.S. Census data from 2000 showed that the nation’s population was 73.4% Caucasian, 11.5% African-American, 10.6% Latino-Hispanic, 3.7% Asian-Pacific Islander and 0.8% Native American.

Producers who are signatory to SAG contracts are required to submit hiring data in order to examine the trends of “traditionally underemployed and disenfranchised members.”

SAG also noted that people with disabilities remain “virtually invisible” in casting even though 20% of the U.S. population has a disability.

SAG, AFTRA, Actors Equity and the WGA held the inaugural Hollywood Disabilities Forum at UCLA on Saturday.

The report noted that male actors continue to fill the majority of roles, especially in the supporting category, with about two roles for every female role.

The picture did improve slightly for older thesps.

Roles have increased for males 40 and over, with film parts up from 40% in 2006 to 43% in 2008, while TV roles increased from 40% to 42% in that period; roles for females 40 and over rose in film and TV from 26% in 2006 to 28% last year.

SAG also said that Asian-Pacific thesps were the only minority group to gain from 2007 to 2008, increasing from 3.4% to 3.8%, thanks to gains in TV.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118010361.html?categoryid=1055&cs=1

October 20, 2009

Carol Lombardini to top AMPTP

Carol Lombardini to top AMPTP
Org names new president
By DAVE MCNARY

Lombardini_carol

The key players for the next round of guild contract talks are now in place. With another complex set of labor negotiations looming, the majors opted for stability by promoting Carol Lombardini to prexy of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. Her appointment comes eight months after Nick Counter announced his retirement following nearly 30 years as the majors’ top labor negotiator.
Lombardini is likely to face a much different dynamic in the next round of talks than she and Counter experienced in the last round, when the WGA went on strike for 100 days and SAG took a year to close its feature-primetime deal.
Presidential elections at the WGA West and SAG last month ushered in regime changes and leaders who have vowed to tone down the confrontational rhetoric that characterized the 2007-08 contract talks.
Still, the guilds and AMPTP will have to grapple with issues regarding new-media compensation, as they evaluate the residual formulas that were introduced in the most recent contracts. They’ll also likely have to address shortcomings in the guild-sponsored health and pension plans, which have been battered by the economic downturn.
The AMPTP is contractually bound to begin negotiations with SAG this time next year for the successor to the contract that expires June 30, 2011, as does the DGA deal. The WGA’s pact expires two months earlier.
Lombardini has been involved in more than 300 negotiations during a 27-year career at the AMPTP. She’s been acting prexy since Counter’s departure in March.
In the end, Lombardini was the unanimous choice among the AMPTP member companies following interviews with half a dozen candidates. Sony Pictures topper Michael Lynton, Warner Bros. chairman-CEO Barry Meyer and NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker made up the committee that oversaw the selection process.
Lombardini, viewed as more low-key than Counter, has specialized in the drafting and interpretation of contract language, while Counter focused on negotiations and strategy — a complex task given the different priorities for the congloms that dominate the AMPTP.
“I look forward to leading the AMPTP as the businesses of our member companies evolve,” Lombardini said. “I am also committed to building on my longstanding relations with our bargaining partners across the entertainment industry. The most important challenge we face is finding ways for the companies and guilds and unions to reach agreements that do everything possible to keep the business vital.”
Counter was able to maintain labor peace in Hollywood for much of his tenure at the AMPTP but became a much-vilified figure during the WGA’s walkout. Counter’s stance on new media and strategy of pursuing the controversial notion of shifting all residual formulas to a recoupment-based blueprint was widely viewed as helping solidify the resolve of WGA members to support the strike.
Studio honchos have been pleased with recent political developments within the unions. SAG has seen its leadership tilt toward a more moderate stance in the past two elections, as illustrated by Ken Howard’s appointment as prexy last month. John Wells took the reins of the WGA West, a move seen as a vote by scribes to tap into his biz relationships and experience in contract negotiations.
When Counter announced his retirement in February, the AMPTP employed a search firm that interviewed about a dozen candidates. It’s understood that Lomdardini emerged as the favorite due to her extensive background in hammering out the nuances of the labor agreements.
“She has a proven track record as a negotiator, deep knowledge of labor issues and excellent relationships throughout the industry with guilds, unions and the member companies alike,” Meyer said in a statement.
Lombardini, an attorney by training, has served as general counsel; VP of legal affairs; senior VP of legal and business affairs; and exec VP of legal and business affairs.

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118009982.html?categoryId=13&cs=1

September 25, 2009

SAG Election Results are in!

SAG elects Ken Howard president
Amy Aquino chosen as secretary-treasurer
By Jay A. Fernandez

Sept 24, 2009, 10:24 PM ET

Updated: Sept 24, 2009, 11:10 PM ET
There are surely more conflicts to come, but the Screen Actors Guild membership on Thursday night settled a big one: Ken Howard has been elected the union’s new national president.

Running mate Amy Aquino beat two-time incumbent Connie Stevens in the race for secretary-treasurer. Howard and Aquino will serve two-year terms beginning Friday.

For the moment, at least, the outcomes indicate that a winning 47.2% of the voting segment of SAG’s roughly 120,000 members prefers the less strident approach of the self-styled moderate wing of the party represented by Unite for Strength.

Howard collected 12,895 votes, or 3,989 more than MembershipFirst candidate Anne-Marie Johnson, who received 32.6% of the 27,295 votes cast. Independents Seymour Cassel and Asmar Muhammad garnered 17.7% and 1.5%, respectively, in their bid for the presidency.

UFS came together last year in opposition and in January led a boardroom coup at SAG, installed new negotiators and salvaged a deal with Hollywood producers nearly a year after sister union AFTRA had ratified its own contract. Johnson is part of a separate coalition, Membership First, that was shunted to the board’s minority and saw its leader, president Alan Rosenberg, muzzled on most official guild business.

Howard, who picked up an acting Emmy on Sunday for his role in HBO’s “Grey Gardens,” campaigned on bringing a more collaborative approach to relationships with AFTRA, the DGA and WGA. Segments of those groups were alienated by the often-heated rhetoric of Rosenberg and 1st national vp Johnson.

“I campaigned on the promise that I’d do everything in my power to strengthen our position at the bargaining table by building a greater unity with AFTRA and the other entertainment unions, and that’s exactly what I intend to do,” Howard said. “Despite the sharp differences that those of us active in guild affairs sometimes have over strategy and tactics, we need to continually remind ourselves that we’re all on the same team, fighting for the same thing — and by pulling together, we’ll only grow stronger.”

UFS expanded the narrow majority it established on the 71-member national board in the September 2008 elections. The next Hollywood board meeting with newly seated members is scheduled for Oct. 5.

In concert with the national result, Mike Hodge was elected president of SAG’s New York branch, succeeding Sam Freed, who passed the moderate baton to his fellow United Screen Actors Nationwide member.

Hodge defeated Mitchell Green, a SAGNOW partisan affiliated with the more hard-line MembershipFirst faction. USAN, which is affiliated with UFS, has dominated SAG politics in New York in the recent past.

The results seem to reflect an industrywide fatigue resulting from the 2007-08 writers strike and the protracted SAG contract negotiations that ended in June. Last week, the WGA elected John Wells to the top slot over the more hard-line Writers United candidate Elias Davis. The rest of the WGA officers, however, were split with Writers United.

Among the immediate challenges facing Howard are retention of coverage of network pilots and the next round of negotiations for a new TV-theatrical contract. As part of the last deal, SAG agreed to start seven weeks of bargaining with the AMPTP as early as October 2010.

Additionally, the shifting economic and labor landscape has resulted in a looming decrease in benefits and increase in premiums beginning in January as a result of investment losses and decreased employer contributions. The damaged pension and health benefits situation became a political hot potato during the campaign.

Mending fences with sister unions DGA, WGA and AFTRA is a high priority for Howard as well. AFTRA members re-elected Roberta Reardon to the presidency in early August. As a UFS candidate, Howard preached the benefit of a collective approach with AFTRA and its roughly 70,000 members in negotiations with the studios and networks, an approach that was abandoned by the previous SAG regime.

The presence of Cassel in the election surely cost Johnson some votes, since he also remains a stalwart MembershipFirst partisan. Cassel narrowly lost to Rosenberg in the 2007 election, but he was dinged by an internal sexual harassment case against him that became public during this most recent campaign.

The National Board members elected Thursday will assume office Friday for terms of three years.

SAG’s Hollywood Division elected 11 National Board members; the New York division elected four National Board members; and seven National Board members were elected from the union’s branches in Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Philadelphia, Portland and San Diego.

National Board members elected from the Hollywood Division in addition to Sheen, Harris, Johnson, Stevens and Ladd were Elliott Gould, Ed Asner, Dule Hill, Hill Harper, Nancy Travis and Marcia Wallace (all three-year terms).

The following were elected to serve as National Board alternates and to the Hollywood division board (all one-year terms): Rosenberg, Gabrielle Carteris, Jenny O’Hara, Michael O’Keefe, Clyde Kusatsu, Dawnn Lewis, Doug Savant, Michelle Allsopp, D.W. Moffett, Joe Bologna, Robert Hays, Jason George, L. Scott Caldwell, Clark Gregg, Patrick Fabian, Bill Smitrovich, Ellen Crawford, Stacey Travis, Mandy Steckelberg, Renee Taylor, Bernie Casey and John Carroll Lynch.

National Board members elected from the New York division: Freed, Sharon Washington, Monica Trombetta and Liz Zazzi (all three-year terms).

The following were elected to serve as national board alternates and to the New York division board of directors (all one-year terms): Manny Alfaro, Sheila Head, Marc Baron, Joe Narciso, Jay Potter, Dave Bachman, John Rothman, Kevin Scullin and Justin Barrett.

National Board members elected from the Regional Branch division, all with three-year terms: John Carter Brown (Chicago), David Hartley-Margolin (Colorado), Dave Corey (Florida), Scott Rogers (Hawaii), Helen McNutt (Philadelphia), Mary McDonald-Lewis (Portland) and Don Ahles (San Diego).

Ballots for all eligible SAG members in Hollywood and New York were mailed on Aug. 25.

August 13, 2009

Emmys on schedule?

Emmy ceremony to proceed in real time

TV Academy, CBS ditch plan to time-shift eight categories

By Nellie Andreeva

Aug 12, 2009, 02:13 PM ET

Updated: Aug 12, 2009, 11:04 PM ET

 
More Emmy coverage  

It has been a season of reversals for the Primetime Emmy Awards. First, the ceremony was shifted from Sept. 20, only to be returned to that date two weeks later. Now, in an even bigger about-face, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has scrapped a plan to time-shift eight categories on this year’s broadcast after a firestorm of criticism from the creative community.

As a result, all 28 categories slated for the CBS broadcast will be awarded live.

“This decision was made to mend relationships within the television community and to allow executive producer Don Mischer to focus his full attention on producing the creative elements in the telecast,” TV academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner said. “Our goal is to celebrate the year in television and honor excellence and this year’s great achievements with the support of our industry colleagues and our telecast partner.”

Last month, Mischer proposed and ATAS’ board of governors voted to approve a time-shift of eight awards.

The proposal included mostly longform categories: best movie and best miniseries; writing for movie/miniseries; directing for movie/miniseries; supporting actor and actress in TV movie/miniseries; writing for drama series; and directing for variety, music and comedy series.

“We try to make the Emmys more relevant to mainstream viewers while honoring the choice of the academy properly and appropriately,” Mischer said at the time.

But the move drew criticism from the WGA, DGA, SAG and several networks, including HBO, which dominates the longform field. More than 100 writer-producers, including Shonda Rhimes, Seth MacFarlane, Matthew Weiner and John Wells, signed a letter protesting the decision.

That petition was the wake-up call for the Academy that created the momentum to scrap the plan, WGA West president Patric Verrone said.

“It’s important that the TV Academy appreciates the power that writers and showrunners wield when they work together and they are a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

A main point of contention was that the plan had been drafted without input from the guilds.

After the ill-fated time-shifting announcement, there have been phone conversations between the Academy and WGA.

“There will be more going forward to prevent unilateral decisions like this being made without consulting with a very important part of the creative process — writers,” Verrone said.

The creative community’s public outcry over the plan spilled into the recent Television Critics Assn. press tour, where talent and executives univocally condemned the idea and CBS execs were forced to defend it.

With the backlash showing no signs of subsiding, ATAS, after consulting with CBS, decided to back off.

Mischer said the decision to keep all Emmy categories live “was made because ultimately it is in the best interest of the show” and “in the best interest of the entertainment industry.”

“We had attempted to make room in the show for more live performances. However, our community did not embrace the plan, which is a very important consideration,” he said.

This year’s Emmycast is a crucial one for the academy coming off last year’s ceremony, which hit an all-time ratings low, and entering the final year of its contract with the broadcast networks.

With ratings for other main awards shows rebounding, the academy and CBS have been looking for ways to liven up the telecast, which includes more categories awarded live than its counterparts.

August 4, 2009

Writer’s Protest Emmys

August 3, 2009, The Hollywood Reporter

UPDATED: More than 100 current TV writers are protesting the TV Academy’s announced changes to its primetime telecast format this year.

Top showrunners such as John Wells (“Southland”), Ron Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”), Victor Fresco (“Better Off Ted”), Ed Bernero (“Criminal Minds”), Carol Mendelsohn (“CSI”), Clyde Phillips (“Dexter”), Doug Ellin (“Entourage”), Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”), Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights”), Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”), David Shore (“House”), Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) and others have signed a statement opposing shifting two TV writing categories out of the live Emmy telecast (writing for a dramatic series and writing for a movie/miniseries).

The TV Academy announced changes to the show’s format Thursday in an attempt to make the program more expedient by time-shifting eight of the 28 categories out of the live telecast. The moves will cut about 15 minutes from the three-hour program.

“Our job is to make an entertaining show that appeals to the maximum number of people but, most importantly, maintains the integrity of the Emmy brand,” executive producer Don Mischer said at a teleconference last week. 

Though the axed categories were split among directing, writing, acting and producing, writers point out that there were only four writing categories in the primetime telecast to begin with.

The news comes as CBS presents its press tour lineup in Pasadena today, which includes a TV Academy panel to talk about this year’s Emmys.

“I don’t think we’re being unfair to the creative community,” said CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler when asked about the issue Monday. “I think coming out of the telecast last year everybody knew we had to make a change and change is not easy. Even with the time shift, which is done in a very respectful way, it will have no impact on the integrity of the program. If ratings are up, more people are going to be watching the shows.”

Here’s the protest letter signed by more than 100 TV writers:

“We, the undersigned showrunners and executive producers of television’s current line-up of programs, oppose the Academy of Television Arts and Science’s decision to remove writing awards from the live telecast. This decision conveys a fundamental understatement of the importance of writers in the creation of television programming and a symbolic attack on the primacy of writing in our industry. We implore ATAS to restore these awards to their rightful place in the live telecast of the 2009 Emmy Awards.”

On Friday, the WGA issued a strongly worded statement of its own:

 “This action of the board of governors is a clear violation of a longstanding agreement the Writers Guilds have with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences regarding their awards telecast. It is also a serious demotion for writing and a fundamental misunderstanding of the importance of writers in the creation of television programs. Last year’s Emmys suffered a tremendous decline in quality and ratings because of a lack of scripted material. That the Academy would then decide to devalue the primary and seminal role that writing plays in television is ridiculous and self-defeating.”
UPDATED: More showrunners joining the protest: Marc Cherry, David Chase, David Milch, Phil Rosenthal, Shawn Ryan, Al Jean, Shane Brennan, Carol Barbee, Jenji Kohan, Rene Balcer, Hart Hanson. Statement will be released by end of the day…

UPDATE II:

Carter Covington, 10 Things I Hate About You
David Fury, 24
Alex Gansa, 24
Evan Katz, 24
Robert Carlock, 30 Rock
Michelle Nader, 100 Questions
Rebecca Sinclair, 90210
Claudia Lonow, Accidentally on Purpose
Mike Barker, American Dad
Jeff Melvoin, Army Wives
Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Virtuality
Victor Fresco, Better Off Ted
Bill Prady, Big Bang Theory
Mike Kelley, The Beautiful Life, Swingtown
Mark V. Olsen, Big Love
Will Scheffer, Big Love
Hart Hanson, Bones                  
Stephen Nathan, Bones
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad
Molly Newman, Brothers & Sisters
Matt Nix, Burn Notice
Tom Kapinos, Californication
Jane Espenson, Caprica
Andrew W. Marlowe, Castle
Chris Fedak, Chuck
Matt Miller, Chuck
Scott Rosenbaum, Chuck
Robert Munic, The Cleaner
Rich Appel, The Cleveland Show
Jennifer Johnson, Cold Case
Greg Plageman, Cold Case
Garrett Donovan, Community
Neil Goldman, Community
Ed Bernero, Criminal Minds
Carol Mendelsohn, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Naren Shankar, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Peter Lenkov, CSI: New York
Pam Veasey, CSI: New York
Rick Eid, Dark Blue
Doug Yung, Dark Blue
Matt Berry, Desperate Housewives
Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives
Bob Daily, Desperate Housewives
Clyde Phillips, Dexter
Melissa Rosenberg, Dexter
Charles H. Eglee, Dexter
Maggie Friedman, Eastwick
David S. Rosenthal, Eastwick
Doug Ellin, Entourage
Thania St. John, Eureka
Jill Franklyn, Failure to Fly
Steve Callaghan, Family Guy
David A. Goodman, Family Guy
Mark Hentemann, Family Guy
Seth McFarlane, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad
Chris Sheridan, Family Guy
Marc Guggenheim, Flash Forward
Luke Reiter, The Forgotten
Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood
Jeff Pinkner, Fringe
J.H. Wyman, Fringe
David X. Cohen, Futurama
Ira Ungerleider, Gary Unmarried
Michelle King, The Good Wife
John Altschuler, The Goode Family
Dave Krinsky, The Goode Family
Patrick Sean Smith, Greek
Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
Steve Peterman, Hannah Montana
Michael Poryes, Hannah Montana
Glen Mazzara, HawthoRNe
Adam Armus, Heroes
Garnett Lerner, House
David Shore, House
Brad Kern, Human Target
Jon Steinberg, Human Target
Colette Burson, Hung
Dmitry Lipkin, Hung
Michael B. Kaplan, I’m In the Band
Neal Baer, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Rene Balcer, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Walon Green, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Samuel Baum, Lie to Me
Shawn Ryan, Lie To Me
Daniel Voll, Lie to Me
Janet Leahy, Life UneXpected
Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Lincoln Heights
Carlton Cuse, Lost
Adam Horowitz, Lost
Edward Kitsis, Lost
Damon Lindelof, Lost
Matt Weiner, Mad Men
Holly Sorensen, Make It or Break It
Glenn Gordon Caron, Medium
Todd Slavkin, Melrose Place
Darren Swimmer, Melrose Place
Michael Royce, Men of a Certain Age
Gretchen Berg, Mercy
Aaron Harberts, Mercy
Liz Heldens, Mercy
Jeffrey Lieber, Miami Trauma
Steven Maeda, Miami Trauma
Eileen Heisler, The Middle
DeAnn Heline, The Middle
Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Shane Brennan, NCIS; NCIS: Los Angeles
Jeff Astrof, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Kari Lizer, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Andrew Dettman, Numb3rs
Ken Sanzel, Numb3rs
Greg Daniels, The Office, Parks & Recreation
Paul Lieberstein, The Office
Michael Schur, The Office, Parks & Recreation
David Hudgins, Past Life
Ellen Kreamer, Plummer
Jon Cowan, Private Practice
Stan Zimmerman, Rita Rocks
Michael Rauch, Royal Pains, Love Monkey
Shaun Cassidy, Ruby & the Rockits
Marsh McCall, Ruby & the Rockits
Tom Hertz, Rules of Engagement
Matthew Carlson, Sons of Tucson
Nancy Miller, Saving Grace
Neil Goldman, Scrubs
Al Jean, The Simpsons
Matt Selman, The Simpsons
Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy
Michael Feldman, Sonny with a Chance
Steve Marmel, Sonny with a Chance
Steve DeKnight, Spartacus: Blood & Sand
Ann Biderman, Southland
John Wells, Southland
Danny Kallis, Suite Life on Deck
Eric Kripke, Supernatural
James Duff, The Closer
Jay Kogen, The Troop
Thomas W. Lynch, The Troop
Carol Barbee, Three Rivers
Eric Overmyer, Treme
Michael Hirst, The Tudors
Susan Beavers, Two and a Half Men
Lee Aronsohn, Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory
Jill Soloway, United States of Tara
Jeffrey Bell, V
Scott Peters, V
Jack Kenny, Warehouse 13
David Simkins, Warehouse 13
Roberto Benabib, Weeds
Jenji Kohan, Weeds
Todd J. Greenwald, Wizards of Waverly Place
Peter Murietta, Wizards of Waverly Place
Matt Dearborn, Zeke & Luther
Tom Burkhard, Zeke and Luther
Patric M. Verrone
John F. Bowman
David Chase
David Milch
Phil Rosenthal

July 21, 2009

DGA to Rosenberg: Go Away Already!

DGA to Rosenberg: Go away already

Michael Apted slams SAG president

The Directors Guild of America has told Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg to shut up and go away.

That’s the sentiment expressed by outgoing DGA president Michael Apted in a blunt letter responding to Rosenberg’s request for a summit meeting of the town’s unions about the 2011 round of negotiations.

Rosenberg pledged he would make such an effort on June 9, in the aftermath of SAG members’ ratification of the feature-primetime contract. But, in a letter sent Wednesday, Apted made it abundantly clear that Rosenberg’s relentless criticism of the DGA has been so out of line that the DGA’s not remotely interested in any such get-together.

Apted noted that under “normal circumstances,” such a summit meeting to discuss negotiations could take place — but without public proclamations announcing the meeting first.

“Of course, these are not normal circumstances,” Apted said. “Since June 9, I’ve seen repeated statements in the press regarding your intention to call a meeting, yet Monday’s email is the first time you’ve made any effort to contact me in over 18 months. In addition, you’ve repeatedly, and in my opinion unfraternally, attacked the negotiations and contracts of the DGA and other unions in the press and other public forums. So, in the circumstances, I’m very surprised that you would consider yourself to be in a position to convene an event that requires trust and fraternity to have any chance of success.”

Apted concluded the letter by saying, “On behalf of the DGA, I respectfully decline your request.”

Rosenberg told Daily Variety he was disappointed over Apted’s response.

“It’s a shame that what had been a private communication has become public,” he said. “I’m disappointed that Michael Apted doesn’t share my belief in the importance of building unity among the unions because our collective efforts should be towards obtaining a decent deal in two years. What’s happened at past negotiations doesn’t really matter now.”

The SAG president’s power to speak officially on behalf of the guild was taken away in late January as part of the move by the board’s moderates to oust former SAG national exec director Doug Allen.

But there’s been bad blood between the guilds dating back to Jan. 29, 2008 — when Rosenberg and Allen blasted the DGA’s tentative contract agreement with the majors, which eventually served as the template for the WGA, AFTRA and SAG contracts. Rosenberg and Allen criticized many of the specifics of the deal in a message sent to SAG members.

Apted responded on the same day by accusing SAG of throwing a monkey wrench into the talks between the WGA and majors that would ultimately settle the scribes’ 100-day walkout.

“Their letter has one purpose and one purpose only: to interfere with the informal talks currently under way between the WGA and the studios,” Apted said at the time. “Simply put, their assumptions and arguments are specious. The DGA deal is a great deal for our members.”

AFTRA president Roberta Reardon said last week that there had been no movement toward a summit meeting. She had proposed the idea a year ago but said last Friday that she’d wait until after the SAG elections in September before exploring such a step.

An AFTRA rep said that Los Angeles Local President Ron Morgan received an invitation earlier this week from Rosenberg to meet at his home on Aug. 3 to discuss “building solidarity” between the entertainment labor unions. But she added that AFTRA leaders won’t be available.

“AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon never received an invitation,” the rep added. “The entire AFTRA leadership team will be in Chicago from Monday, August 3 through Sunday, August 9 for the Convention and other related union meetings, which have been scheduled for more than a year.”

WGA West spokesman Neal Sacharow said that WGA West president Patric Verrone — who will be termed out of office in September — will attend the Aug. 3 meeting at Rosenberg’s home. Besides Apted, Verrone and Morgan, Rosenberg also invited Michael Miller, VP of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

“The refrain I heard most often during this past negotiating season is that we had to ‘build solidarity between our organizations’ in preparation for 2011,” Rosenberg said in the invite. “I would like to invite you to what, I hope, will be the first in a series of informal, discussions designed to create that unity. In general, I would like to explore those areas where we share common ground, and how we might develop strategies that will benefit our respective members.”

July 17, 2009

DGA tell Rosenberg

Speaks volumes about the future.

Michael Apted slams SAG president – By Dave McNary July 17. 2009

The Directors Guild of America has told Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg to shut up and go away.

That’s the sentiment expressed by outgoing DGA president Michael Apted in a blunt letter responding to Rosenberg’s request for a summit meeting of the town’s unions about the 2011 round of negotiations.

Rosenberg pledged he would make such an effort on June 9, in the aftermath of SAG members’ ratification of the feature-primetime contract. But, in a letter sent Wednesday, Apted made it abundantly clear that Rosenberg’s relentless criticism of the DGA has been so out of line that the DGA’s not remotely interested in any such get-together.

Apted noted that under “normal circumstances,” such a summit meeting to discuss negotiations could take place — but without public proclamations announcing the meeting first.

“Of course, these are not normal circumstances,” Apted said. “Since June 9, I’ve seen repeated statements in the press regarding your intention to call a meeting, yet Monday’s email is the first time you’ve made any effort to contact me in over 18 months. In addition, you’ve repeatedly, and in my opinion unfraternally, attacked the negotiations and contracts of the DGA and other unions in the press and other public forums. So, in the circumstances, I’m very surprised that you would consider yourself to be in a position to convene an event that requires trust and fraternity to have any chance of success.”

Apted concluded the letter by saying, “On behalf of the DGA, I respectfully decline your request.”

Rosenberg told Daily Variety he was disappointed over Apted’s response.

“It’s a shame that what had been a private communication has become public,” he said. “I’m disappointed that Michael Apted doesn’t share my belief in the importance of building unity among the unions because our collective efforts should be towards obtaining a decent deal in two years. What’s happened at past negotiations doesn’t really matter now.”

The SAG president’s power to speak officially on behalf of the guild was taken away in late January as part of the move by the board’s moderates to oust former SAG national exec director Doug Allen.

But there’s been bad blood between the guilds dating back to Jan. 29, 2008 — when Rosenberg and Allen blasted the DGA’s tentative contract agreement with the majors, which eventually served as the template for the WGA, AFTRA and SAG contracts. Rosenberg and Allen criticized many of the specifics of the deal in a message sent to SAG members.

Apted responded on the same day by accusing SAG of throwing a monkey wrench into the talks between the WGA and majors that would ultimately settle the scribes’ 100-day walkout.

“Their letter has one purpose and one purpose only: to interfere with the informal talks currently under way between the WGA and the studios,” Apted said at the time. “Simply put, their assumptions and arguments are specious. The DGA deal is a great deal for our members.”

AFTRA president Roberta Reardon said last week that there had been no movement toward a summit meeting. She had proposed the idea a year ago but said last Friday that she’d wait until after the SAG elections in September before exploring such a step.

The WGA said it has not been approached by Rosenberg about such a summit meeting.

An AFTRA rep said that Los Angeles Local President Ron Morgan received an invitation earlier this week from Rosenberg to meet at his home on Aug. 3 to discuss “building solidarity” between the entertainment labor unions. But she added that AFTRA leaders won’t be available.

“AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon never received an invitation,” the rep added. “The entire AFTRA leadership team will be in Chicago from Monday, August 3 through Sunday, August 9 for the Convention and other related union meetings, which have been scheduled for more than a year.”

WGA West spokesman Neal Sacharow said Thursday, “The WGA has not been approached by Alan Rosenberg about such a summit meeting.”

June 23, 2009

Digital Media Law – WGA

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 4:24 pm
Tags: , , ,

Digital Media Law ——————————————————————————– Film on the Downswing WGA Candidates for President and Board Announced LA Goatherd Wanted Film on the Downswing Posted: 22 Jun 2009 07:17 PM PDT Factoid: Kodak gets 70% of its revenue today from digital products, and an outgoing Kodak exec says that the company plans to stay in the film business “as far into the future as possible,” which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of analog formats. This all is courtesy of an AP story in the NY Times on the discontinuation of Kodachrome (yes, the story mentions the Paul Simon song), which also points out that Kodak has introduced new still and motion picture stocks in the last few years. ——————— Subscribe to my blog (jhandel.com) 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 new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets. WGA Candidates for President and Board Announced Posted: 22 Jun 2009 03:58 PM PDT SAG’s upcoming elections have been getting some attention, but the WGA West is having an election this summer as well. The ballots go out sometime in late July or August, and are apparently due back September 17. Current WGA West president Patric Verrone is running for one of the open board seats, but not for president (I believe there are term limits). Instead, the candidates for president are John Wells and Elias Davis. For more details, see the press release below. ——————— Subscribe to my blog (jhandel.com) 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 new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets. ——————— WGA press release: WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA , WEST ANNOUNCES CANDIDATES FOR 2009 OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America, West’s Nominating Committee has announced its initial list of candidates for the 2009 WGAW Officers and Board of Directors election. The officer candidates are as follows: President – John Wells, Elias Davis; Vice President – Tom Schulman, Howard Michael Gould; Secretary-Treasurer – Christopher Keyser, David N. Weiss. There are 16 candidates nominated to run for eight open seats on the WGAW’s Board of Directors, as follows: Luvh Rakhe, Linda Burstyn, Mick Betancourt, Jan Oxenberg, Howard A. Rodman (inc.), Patric M. Verrone, Dan Wilcox (inc.), Eric Wallace, Jed Weintrob, Chip Johannessen, Andrea King, Steven Schwartz, Jeff Lowell, Billy Ray, Carleton Eastlake, David Wyatt. [The list is in random order. “inc.” means incumbent.] In addition to the candidates selected by the WGAW Nominating Committee, eligible members may also be nominated by petition. Members seeking nomination for the office of President, Vice President, or Secretary-Treasurer must obtain 50 member signatures in support of their petitions. Members seeking nomination for the Board of Directors must obtain 25 member signatures in support of their petitions. The deadline for submitting signed petitions to the WGAW is Thursday, July 23, by 5:30 p.m. Members may submit online nomination petitions by visiting the members-only section of the WGAW’s website at: http://www.wga.org. The WGAW will host its annual “Candidates Night” town-hall election forum for Guild members to meet and pose questions to their prospective Officer and BOD candidates on Wednesday, September 2, at WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles . Guild members will receive candidate and non-candidate statements and rebuttal statements, if any, with their ballots prior to the election. Members may mail additional campaign materials at their own expense. Members may vote by mail or in person at the WGAW’s annual membership meeting on Thursday, September 17. Ballots will be counted on Friday, September 18. LA Goatherd Wanted Posted: 22 Jun 2009 02:55 PM PDT Sometimes going off-topic can’t be resisted. I live in Laurel Canyon, which as LA residents know is in the middle of the city yet is a still-rustic hilly area from the 1920’s that even has a few dirt roads remaining. The ethos still has echoes of the 60’s and 70’s (can an ethos have echoes?). Usually the echoes are faint, but not always. Here’s an email I received today: We live in laurel canyon and have two mini-mancha dairy goats. Currently I am milking one doe and will start milking the other in a few months when her kids are big enough to wean. We have more milk and cheese than we can consume. I’m hoping that there is someone in the neighborhood who would be interested in some fresh goat milk or cheese in exchange for doing some goat chores. Can you send this request out for me please? Who’d have thought? And, by the way, if anyone does want to do some goat chores (whatever that may entail) in return for milk or cheese, let me know and I’ll pass your info on.

June 18, 2009

Digital Media Law – WGA Institues Qualified Voting

Filed under: Entertainment — showbizreporting @ 3:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Digital Media Law

 

WGA Institutes Qualified Voting

Posted: 17 Jun 2009 11:32 PM PDT

The WGA membership has approved new rules limiting members’ eligibility to vote on strike authorization and ratification of the feature-primetime contract: members now have to have earnings of $30,000 under a WGA agreement during the six years preceding the vote or 15 or more qualified years as a pension plan participant, Variety reports.

The change passed by a margin of 96% to 4%, with turnout a low 15%. This level of support, and lack of angst as signaled by the low turnout, contrast with the reaction within SAG when a “qualified voting” or “affected voting” system having income requirements was proposed in that union. Of course, a higher percentage of SAG actors would have been disqualified since more than 2/3’s of SAG members earn little or money from the TV/theatrical contracts in any given year, even when residuals are included in the calculation.

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Subscribe to my blog (jhandel.com) 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 new book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.

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