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WGA-AMPTP Start Contract Talks Thursday

According to a joint statement from the Writers Guilds of America West and East and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, issued today, negotiations on on a new Theatrical/TV contract begin on Thursday, March 3rd. The Guilds and the AMPTP claim they will not be commenting further at this time. President John Wells, Executive Director David Young, Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs John Bowman and Billy Ray, and others will go up against the AMPTP’s Carol Lombardini. I’ll have an analysis before then.

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DGA And AMPTP Agree On Tentative TV/Theatrical Contract: No Big Gains

I had predicted Hollywood could most likely expect quick and easy negotiations. And the DGA’s took just three weeks and change. And why not when your Hollywood Guilds are just rubber-stamping what crumbs the studios and networks are feeding SAG/AFTRA and DGA members despite this rapidly improving economy? The Directors Guild Of America leaders made it plain early on that they weren’t going for big wages or even a substantially better New Media deal (despite promising it would during the last bargaining go-round). Instead the DGA negotiators were focusing on increased Health Plan and Pension contributions, just like they were for SAG and AFTRA. The AMPTP’s current contributions are at 14% for the DGA, and probably go to 16.5% on the new contract if ratified. So that’s three big Guilds down, and only the Writers Guild of America still to go.

No date for the start of negotiations has yet been set for the WGA, whose contract ends May 1, 2011. But the moguls behind the AMPTP always intended to negotiate with the writers last (even though their pact was expiring sooner) to ensure there’s the most Hollywood antagonism towards them. Although SAG/AFTRA and the DGA traded information during their talks, they’ve left the WGA out in the cold. Now you can expect a lot of silly trade stories filled with false rumors about WGA “strike talk” in order to scare the Industry which in turn will pressure the writers to settle quickly. Don’t get me wrong: no one wants another strike so soon. But that also doesn’t mean that the WGA has to wimp out like the other Guilds. Excuse me, but wasn’t this year when all the Hollywood Guilds were going to join together and fight, fight, fight, for what is rightfully their share of the money pie? Anyone? Anyone?

The following statement was issued today by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP):

The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have successfully concluded a tentative agreement on a new TV/Theatrical contract, again demonstrating the benefits of an early deal for the entire entertainment industry. These early talks allowed us to bridge the gaps created by uncertain economic times and deliver increases in areas critical to DGA members.

The DGA’s chief negotiator Gil Cates said the following:

Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America today announced that it has concluded a tentative agreement on the terms of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Negotiations, which began on November 16, concluded this afternoon. Details of the tentative agreement will be released once the agreement has been submitted to the Guild’s National Board for approval at a special board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 8.

The DGA’s current contracts expire on June 30, 2011.

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Joint SAG/AFTRA Board Okays AMPTP Deal; Pact Now Goes To Members For Voting

By | Saturday December 4, 2010 @ 2:39pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The vote by the Joint National Board of SAG and AFTRA comes a month after the two actors union reached a tentative new deal with AMPTP that includes a 2% wage increase a year, a 1.5% boost to health and pension plans and  the elimination of a long-standing provision that required first-class air travel for actors. The board is recommending the deal to the two unions’ membership that will now vote on it. Here is the joint SAG/AFTRA release.

Los Angeles (December 4, 2010) – The Joint National Board of Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists today overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreement reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on November 7 – a deal which it is now recommending to the respective union memberships.

Eligible AFTRA and SAG members will vote on the proposed successor agreements to the Producer-Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for feature motion pictures, scripted network primetime television and pay television programs; Exhibit A of the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Network Television Broadcasting, covering scripted network primetime and pay television programs; and the CW Supplement which applies to both unions.

The Board passed the motion to approve and send to the memberships a recommendation of a “yes” vote by 89.29 percent to 10.71 percent.

Ratification ballots will be mailed to all eligible AFTRA and SAG members in the coming days with an expected return date in mid-January. Due to the holidays, the time period for reviewing and returning ballots will be extended to five weeks (rather than the traditional three-week time period) in order to afford every member the opportunity to carefully review the terms of the proposed agreements before voting. Tabulation will occur immediately upon the conclusion of balloting.

Additionally, informational meetings for members will be scheduled in select cities across the country including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Florida, Washington, D. C.-Baltimore, San Francisco and Atlanta.

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SAG Reaches Deals On Basic Cable Pacts

By | Thursday November 11, 2010 @ 12:24pm PST

Los Angeles (November 11, 2010) – Screen Actors Guild today announced that tentative agreements were reached on Wednesday, November 10, on new, three-year contracts covering basic cable live action, basic cable animation and television animation productions.

The current contracts expire on June 30, 2011, and the new three-year agreement will be effective from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2014.

The provisions of the new agreements are similar to those achieved Nov. 7, on successor agreements to the Screen Actors Guild Codified Basic Agreement for theatrical motion picture and television production.

Highlights of the new, tentative agreements include:

– The term of each agreement is three years, commencing July 1, 2011
– Wage increases of 6% over the terms of the agreements with 2% in each of the three years, effective July 1, 2011, 2012 and 2013
– A 10% increase in the current rate of employer contributions paid to the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans bringing the total contribution rate to 16.5% effective July 1, 2011
– Details of the new agreements will be submitted for approval to the National Board of Screen Actors Guild.

Formal negotiations on these contracts began on Monday, Nov. 8 at AMPTP headquarters in Los Angeles.

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DGA & AMPTP Start Contract Talks Nov. 16

By | Thursday November 11, 2010 @ 11:47am PST

As expected, the networks’ and studios’ negotiating alliance announced:

LOS ANGELES – The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced today that they have agreed to enter into formal contract negotiations on Tuesday, November 16, 2010. The talks will be held at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks, CA. The DGA and the AMPTP have also agreed that neither organization will comment to the press regarding negotiations until negotiations have concluded.

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AMPTP & SAG/AFTRA Reach Tentative Pact: 2% Wage Increase A Year + Immediate 1.5% Bump To Bolster Health/Pension Plans

By | Sunday November 7, 2010 @ 4:45am PST

The studios’ and networks’ Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers made the first statement at 4:30 AM this morning after 6 weeks of negotiating on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract jointly with the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Both actor memberships will have to ratify the tentative pact whose announced highlights provide an expectedly small 2% wage increase per year because the emphasis of the talks was placed on increasing the current rate of employer contributions paid with an immediate 1.5% bump to bolster the Screen Actors Guild Pension & Health Plans and AFTRA Health & Retirement Funds. Friday was the final “official” day of bargaining, which began September 27th, but the two sides continued into the weekend. Analysis coming:

“We are pleased to have successfully reached a tentative agreement on a new TV/Theatrical contract with the Screen Actors Guild and a new prime time television contract with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The deals offer increases in benefit contributions, wages and other areas critical to working performers while being responsive to the current challenges facing feature film and television producers. The early agreements also ensure that production can continue without disruption for everyone who depends on this industry.”

And this is the joint statement by the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA:

Read More »

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WGAW Meetings To Discuss 2011 Contract

By | Monday October 25, 2010 @ 8:07pm PDT

The WGA West just issued its first Contract Bulletin about the upcoming TV/Theatrical contract about to be negotiated with the AMPTP. Issues discussed include New Media and Pension & Health:

WGAW Member Meetings to Discuss Negotiations for the 2011 Contract

Please join President John Wells, Executive Director David Young, Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs John Bowman and Billy Ray, and members of the WGAW Board to discuss plans for the upcoming negotiations and potential priorities for contract demands. Members will have the chance to give input and pose questions to Guild leaders. Los Angeles area members can choose from three meeting opportunities:

Tuesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. at the Sportsmen’s Lodge
4234 Coldwater Canyon Ave., Studio City

Tuesday, November 16, 7:00 p.m. at the Loews Santa Monica
Beach Hotel, 1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica

Thursday, Dec 2, 7:00 p.m. at the Writers Guild Theater
135 South Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills

Challenges for the Guild this Year

As hard as it may be to believe, we are now entering the final six months of the contract we negotiated to end our 2007 strike. With our contract expiring on May 1, 2011, your Board and staff have been working over the last year to identify the areas we believe will need to be addressed in our upcoming 2011 MBA negotiations. This process has involved months of staff effort, extensive surveys of our members in screen and television, and many hours of Board discussion.

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Secrets Of TV Showrunners Boot Camp

As Sunday’s Emmy Awards telecast approaches, the Writers Guild of America West last night hosted its annual ”Sublime Primetime 2010″. It was a panel discussion with Emmy-nominated TV writer-producers including Carlton Cuse (Lost), Rolin Jones (Friday Night Lights), Mindy Kaling (The Office), Robert King and Michelle King (The Good Wife), Bruce C. McKenna and Robert Schenkkan (The Pacific), and Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuck, and Ian Brennan (Glee). As part of Deadline’s ongoing series on TV’s top showrunners, freelance journalist Diane Haithman examines the WGA’s Showrunners Training Program about making the leap from writer to boss:

The sixth season of the Writers Guild West’s Showrunner Training Program begins January 2011 and is taking applications now. Conducted in partnership with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, it’s designed to help senior-level writer-producers hone the skills necessary to become successful showrunners in today’s television landscape. But if you want to find about 2010′s boot camp, then you have to first get past the “Cone of Silence”. It seems fitting that the people who make and create TV shows would turn to the sitcom Get Smart to describe the bubble of secrecy that shrouds the popular program. Though voluntary, the pledge to not reveal what happens is vital to the program’s effectiveness. “We’ve only had one instance in five years when something got out of the room, and it was unfortunate but it was the result of an honest mistake,” Jeff Melvoin, showrunner for Lifetime’s Army Wives and one of the founders of the program, tells me. “The reason we have the Cone of Silence is, we want the experience to be meaningful. We have top folks coming in and talking about their experiences, and I think that if people are going to give up six Saturdays and do this program, they deserve the best that we can give them, and that means not pulling any punches.”

While the artistic mission behind the program is making better TV, there’s also another compelling reason: money. Networks and studios are constantly complaining there aren’t enough experienced TV showrunners (creatives who also know how to handle the financial and managerial aspects of putting on their shows). The AMPTP collectively give an estimated $125,000 to $150,000 annually to fund the boot camp. After all, they benefit most from it. The program is one of the most sacrosanct even when the WGA and AMPTP negotiate contracts.

As program co-founder and WGAW president John Wells (E.R., Third Watch, West Wing) tells me: “It’s really kind of a crazy thing, if you think about it – there aren’t too many businesses where somebody writes something, they produce it in the spring [as a pilot episode] and come May 1st somebody says: ‘All right, here’s $26 million – go hire 150 to 200 people and spend it all by sometime next May.’” Wells says that it’s virtually impossible to be just a writer anymore in television. “Some people have done it very successfully, where they’ve found a partner who is willing to take over all the managerial stuff and they are allowed to just sit someplace and write,” says Wells. “But in television, it is certainly the aspiration to reach a point where you are controlling your own material, and feel that you are making decisions about what you are doing – the cast, the music, what the cut looks like.”

Wells and Melvoin formed the program because both believe the apprenticeship system long in place before the word “showrunner” even existed has disappeared. Plus, shows are being given to creators who cut their teeth in the feature film world or, more rarely, playwriting or other writing disciplines. So these creatives were coming to television with a unique vision but no practical experience in the medium. Read More »

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DGA Message To Members: Top Contract Issue Health & Pension Plans, Not Money

By | Saturday August 21, 2010 @ 2:09pm PDT

It looks increasingly like the Hollywood guilds are giving up before they even go into this 2010/2011 round of negotiations with the movie studios and TV networks. This message by 4-time Basic Agreement/FLTTA Negotiations Chair Gil Cates to 14,000 Directors Guild members talks about focusing on health and pension plans and doesn’t even mention demanding more New Media money from the AMPTP. This, despite the fact that Big Media is alive and well and even flourishing not just this quarter but in many cases for next quarter or even the entire year. (Every Studio & Network Boosted Earnings) For instance, Warner Bros’ home video revenue was down 8%, but revenue from digital distribution grew by a sizable 50% and now represents nearly 20% of the studio’s total home video pie. Yet the trickle down effect has been slow or nonexistent for Hollywood when it comes to this and every Big Media revenue stream.

What’s also interesting about Cates’ statement is that this notorious hater of the Writers Guild cozies up to the new SAG-AFTRA cooperation. So it’s clear what’s going to happen during this next round of negotiations: SAG-AFTRA make a quick and easy contract full of compromises and few gains. The DGA soon follows. Which leaves the WGA on its own – facing bogus Hollywood trade reports about impending strike action to create pressure from all the other guilds to hurry up and make a deal “so we all can go back to work”. In other words, capitulation.

Dear Members:

I’m honored to be serving as your Basic Agreement/FLTTA Negotiations Chair for the fourth time, and to be giving you the first update on the 2010/2011 negotiations cycle.

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SAG 1st VP Johnson: “Is It A 2% World?”

SAG’s 1st Vice President Anne-Marie Johnson has issued this statement 50 days before the TV/Theatical Negotiations start with the AMPTP, whose Big Media members just reported bigger profits this past quarter and better forecasts for the rest of 2010 and also 2011. (Every Studio & Network Boosted Earnings):

Hello Hollywood Members;

Well, SAG and AFTRA have completed the Wages and Working Condition meetings and caucuses. We are now about to enter the next phase before beginning formal negotiations on September 27th. Members of both SAG and AFTRA W&W committees will meet in a national plenary to go over the proposal package voted up unanimously on the last day of our joint w&w meetings. Negotiations are going to be a challenge. Especially considering the offer received and ultimately approved by the Teamsters. Is it a 2% world? Who knows. But SAG and AFTRA will do their best not be distracted by other unions’ issues and put the livelihood and security of our members, with our very unique needs, first.

As many of you have seen in press releases and in the media, AFTRA and SAG both created Presidents Forum to begin a serious dialogue regarding merger. And as many of you know, I’ve always believed that any official dialogue regarding merger, in the midst of negotiations, is too soon and a distraction. I believe both unions should look at our current joint negotiations as a litmus test for what could be the first step to eventually merger and place all of our collective energies towards working together to secure a contract that will provide both SAG and AFTRA members the opportunity to qualify for health care and support a family. But both unions have decided to move forward with regard to merger and it is now up to us, the member, to get involved with all phases of what will be a very long complicated process. Only with SAG membership involvement will SAG, the institution, be able to shape what kind of union will serve our members with the strength and advantages SAG members have experienced for the last 77 years.

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SAG Board Names Ken Howard Chair Of Joint TV/Theatrical Negotiations

By | Sunday April 18, 2010 @ 5:15pm PDT

SAG splitsvillesmallLos Angeles, (April 18, 2010) – Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors, meeting in a two-day plenary in Los Angeles, appointed President Ken Howard as Chair of the Guild’s TV/Theatrical Joint Wages and Working (W&W) Conditions Plenary and Negotiating Committees.

Approved unanimously, the action states:

“The National Board appoints President Ken Howard the SAG National Chair of the Joint TV/Theatrical W&W Plenary Committee and the SAG National Chair of the Joint TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee, who shall be a voting member of both committees.”

In other actions, the board confirmed the composition of the Screen Actors Guild portion of the Joint TV/Theatrical W&W Plenary and Negotiating Committees and approved a set of general parameters for the commencement of the Joint W&W Process. The committees will be constituted by the Guild’s division boards in the coming months.

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UPDATE: Cinematographers Local 600, Editors Local 700, And Sound Technicians Local 695 Approve IATSE-AMPTP Contract

By | Thursday March 19, 2009 @ 7:10pm PDT

BREAKING NEWS: The latest is that Motion Picture Editors IATSE Local 700 just announced that its membership “overwhelmingly voted to ratify the 2009-2012 Basic Agreement. 75% voted for ratification, and 25% against ratification.” (MORE)

IATSE Local 695 representing Sound Technicians, Video Engineers, Television Broadcast Engineers and Studio Projectionists involved in motion picture and television production also wound up with a nailbiter with 276 ballots for ratification, and 244 against ratification. The number of total ballots mailed was 1,646, and total ballots received was 586. The total qualified ballots were put at 522 (with 64 ruled ineligible).

Earlier today, the vote results from the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, were announced. And the contest was a real squeaker with 1,229 ballots for ratification, 904 against ratification, with 2 ballots left blank.

The official results on behalf of all Hollywood Locals will be announced on March 20.”

ICG had been a hotbed of union discontent over the proposed IATSE-AMPTP contract. But it’s interesting to note that those ballots not counted by Local 600 would have made it even closer. But 9 ballots were challenged/voided, another 2 rejected for no identification, and 252 ruled ineligible by the union. Interestingly, IATSE Hollywood Locals rank-and-file used to be able to change their vote with a replacement ballot. But in this election, the union was breaking with precedent and counting only the first ballot received.

In all, 5,589 ballots were mailed to Local 600 members on February 21st, and an additional 44 ballots … Read More »

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Remember IATSE/AMPTP Tentative Pact? There Looks Like Lotsa Trouble Ahead…

By | Tuesday February 3, 2009 @ 6:49pm PST

I’m told that January saw a lot of pushback from the various guild members and even board members angry over negotiated terms of the IATSE/AMPTP tentative contract in advance of what will be ratification votes this month. The result is that leaders of the individual guilds that comprise IATSE may have to ram through the pact. For instance, I’ve been told that, at the Special Membership Meeting on January 24th for the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild IATSE Local 700, Executive Director Ron Kutak stated that the union ultimately will rely on members’ votes, once cast, ” ‘represented’ as a sort of electoral college, instead of treated as a general election.” So if ratification had to rely on one member, one vote — it would fail.

I first disclosed the terms of the tentative IATSE/AMPTP pact over Thanksgiving weekend even before union leaders had bothered providing details to members. The most controversial rollback is still this: that, effective 07/31/2011, the Health Plan will change the standards for continuing eligibility from a change of 300 to 400 qualifying hours over a 6-month period. Even the union reps are admitting this will cause 7% to 15% of the various IATSE Guild members to lose their insurance. (And if these are the official figures, you can bet the numbers will be higher.)

It’s little wonder then that the individual guilds that make up IATSE are having trouble spinning this to members. Several “No 400 Hours” websites started up like and these two on FaceBook here and … Read More »

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SAG: “We Did Not Reject AMPTP’s Offer”; Big Media Threaten Big Actors Guild; AMPTP Tries News Blackout Against Me

By | Friday July 11, 2008 @ 5:42pm PDT

Today, SAG issued the below statement denying media reports (not mine) that it had rejected the AMPTP’s “last best final” offer. Also, I’ve just learned that the big actors guild has signed guaranteed completion contracts with over 500 independent productions unaffiliated with the AMPTP, while the Hollywood CEOs continue their de facto lockout by refusing to return to normal production even though SAG has said it has no plans for a strike authoritzation vote. Meanwhile, it came out today that the AMPTP threatened SAG at the end of yesterday’s session. I would have reported this, but the Big Media cartel’s negotiating group admitted saw fit to distribute transcripts of exec VP Carol Lombardini’s closing remarks to only what it considered friendly media outlets — the trades have it here and here — and not to me. The trades called it a “warning”: but it was a clear threat.

UPDATE: *After getting hammered over this news blackout attempt against me, the AMPTP tonight apologized  “because your site is a central hub for negotiation news”. Once again, this shows what a rogue group the AMPTP has become and how the Hollywood CEOs need to tighten their leash on it and get back to being personally involved in the negotiations themselves.*

I have dutifully posted every AMPTP … Read More »

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AFTRA Skedaddled To Avoid Briefing SAG

First, I’ve got additional info about the AFTRA-AMPTP deal announced yesterday: I’m told the union’s New Media terms are the exact same offered by the networks-&-studios group to SAG on Day 1 of their negotiations last month. So AFTRA negotiated with the networks and studios for 16 days only to obtain what SAG flatly rejected. What heavy duty bargaining by AFTRA, eh? It’s also the same exact deal (minus the clips issue) which the AMPTP made with the WGA. .(For my reporting, see my previous, AFTRA Deal With AMPTP Caves On Clips.)

Also, I reported a month ago that the AMPTP plans to drag out its talks with SAG into mid-July. Today, finally, Variety has caught up. I also was amused by the way the trade completely spun AFTRA’s all-too-obvious clips cave-in.  I’ve  learned that SAG found out AFTRA had a deal only by reading it in Variety, which was tipped off by AFTRA and posted yesterday around dawn. Not a very classy AFTRA move to call the trade but not the other actors union.

I’m told that, after finding out a pact had been reached, SAG leadership asked AFTRA’s people for a briefing. AFTRA hemmed and hawed and finally said they could brief SAG, but only at 11:30 AM at 5757 Wilshire Blvd – the exact time SAG would be in negotiations with the AMPTP Wednesday. The only alternate date was sometime next week.

So SAG had a brief … Read More »

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AFTRA Deal With AMPTP Caves On Clips; SAG Vowing To Fight Hard On This Issue

UPDATE: I’m told that AFTRA’s New Media deal terms are the exact same offered by the networks-&-studios group to SAG on Day 1 of their negotiations last month. So AFTRA negotiated with the networks and studios for 16 days only to obtain what SAG flatly rejected. So that was heavy duty bargaining by AFTRA, eh? It’s also the same exact deal (minus the clips issue) which the AMPTP made with the WGA. See also my AFTRA Skedaddles To Avoid Briefing SAG.

The AFTRA-AMPTP deal closed very early this morning (while I was still asleep). First, here is AFTRA’s press release and fact sheet about it, followed by the AMPTP’s statement and then SAG’s statement. But, in looking it over, I can see right away that AFTRA gave away major concessions when it came to the all-important clips issue by failing to do the heavy-lifting negotiating with the AMPTP and thus leaving all the power over it with the moguls for the next 3 years (and probably in perpetuity).

Just look at what AFTRA failed to wrought re clips in New Media. First, all AFTRA members must now “bargain for consent for the right to use non-promotional excerpts of traditional TV shows in New Media at the time of original employment” with the Hollywood studios and networks for programs produced made after July 1, 2008, which basically leaves AFTRA members powerless and unprotected. But also the new deal doesn’t even outline a formal … Read More »

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AFTRA Having Difficulty On AMPTP Deal: Preparing Members For Clips Cave-In?

The message below went out from AFTRA’s leadership to its membership just now. In my opinion, it sure looks as if the union is preparing members for a major cave-in on the clips issue. But I must say that hiding behind a Los Angeles Times opinion piece is ridiculous to the extreme. When it comes to clips and their use and compensation for actors, the issue is not so much the Internet but the fact that the studios and networks want to make free and unfettered use of clips for any purpose, including commercial entertainment compilations for which only their Big Media companies would benefit financially. SAG recognizes that any breach in the wall around clips is a disaster. There is no way actors should cave on this just so retiring AMPTP prez Nick Counter can have a last hurrah at their expense.

May 25, 2008
Dear AFTRA Member:

For more than two weeks, your Primetime Negotiating Committee has been working hard to achieve significant gains in wages and working conditions for AFTRA members who work under our contract covering primetime network dramatic programs (Exhibit A of the AFTRA Network Television Code). Here is where things currently stand.

Our talks with the employers have been both constructive and productive, and your committee remains committed to reaching a fair agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). To that end, I can report that we are prepared to bargain continuously, for as long as

Read More »

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AFTRA Negotiations With AMPTP: “Number Of Challenging Issues… Resolution May Not Be Quick Or Easy”

This email was sent by AFTRA to members today about the AMPTP talks:

May 19, 2008
Dear AFTRA Member:


As you know, AFTRA has been in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on our contract covering primetime network dramatic programs—also known as Exhibit A—since May 7. Because a press blackout is in effect for these talks, I felt it was important to contact you directly with you a brief update.

We are confronting a number of challenging issues, and a resolution may not be quick or easy. However, our discussions with the Industry have been professional and businesslike, and we remain focused on continuing negotiations in this vein.
As expected, there are several significant issues in the area of New Media—including, most notably, how AFTRA members will participate in original New Media productions, and under what circumstances employers can exploit excerpts from traditional TV programs in New Media. The AFTRA Negotiating Committee is engaged in thoughtful and pragmatic discussions about how to ensure that performers are best protected as we consider these thorny issues. We’ve already delivered a strong message that performers will not relinquish consent for excerpts in New Media, which would compromise the integrity of members’ work, their reputations, or their employability in scripted programming. The Negotiating Committee is also mindful of the hard realities affecting the television business today—including audience fragmentation, piracy, and the other complexities arising out of the fast-evolving New Media landscape—and the impact this has on the wages and job

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SAG Contract Report #5: Actors Clips

This is the fifth in the Screen Actors Guild’s 2008 contract reports. Report #1 discusses middle-income actors, #2 talks about New Media (at end of post), #3 explores residuals, #4 explains general topics. Now #5 focuses on actors clips:

Number 5 — The AMPTP Wants to Use Excerpts From TV Shows and Motion Pictures Without Actor’s Consent on the Internet….And Beyond

May 6, 2008
·      The right to sell clips from television and their entire library of motion pictures for use on the Internet and other new media formats WITHOUT your consent and without bargaining with you during the term of the agreement. That includes stars, dayplayers, guest stars, etc.

·      While AMPTP companies have limited rights now to use clips for defined promotional purposes (new productions or releases), they are now seeking to reach back into their vaults and release non-promotional clips and sell them for use in various new media platforms. As proposed, they want to use clips from all motion pictures and television shows produced to date– through the future without your consent.

·      Except for agreeing that clips including nudity would not be sold, we have no guarantees about the actual exploitation of these clips. They could be edited, mashed and morphed into anything, anywhere.

·      While the companies have proposed nominal non-negotiable payments for the use, your right to consent and negotiate would be gone if we accept this proposal.


Read More »

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