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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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Membership First Fields SAG Election Slate

By | Wednesday August 11, 2010 @ 2:45am PDT

Membership First has issued its 2010 SAG election slate of 29 candidates for the September vote. The group is “dedicated to protecting the members of the Screen Actors Guild by preserving the existing contracts as well as providing viable contracts for the future”.

In numbered ballot order: #1 Clancy Brown, #2 Esai Morales, #9 Valerie Harper, #11 David Clennon, #15 Pete Antico, #16 Bob Carlson, #18 Angela Watson, #19 Jane Austin, #20 Jeff Austin, #21 Scott Pierce, #22 Jenny Worman, #23 Joe Bologna, #26 David Joliffe, #29 Amy Madigan, #30 Sumi Haru, #34 Renee Taylor, #35 Paul Napier, #40 Alan Rosenberg, #42 Larry Joshua, #43 William Mapother, #44 Bernie Casey, #50 Hector Herrera, #56 Joe D’Angerio, #59 Alan Ruck, #61 Clint Howard, #65 Peter Kwong, #69 Nancy Sinatra, #73 Frances Fisher, #74 Carole Elliott.

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Unite For Strength Fields 35 Candidates For SAG Board: “One Union For Performers”

Los Angeles, (August 4, 2010) – Seeking to extend its majority coalition on SAG’s National Board of Directors, Unite for Strength today announced its slate of 35 candidates running for election to the SAG National and Hollywood Division Boards. In addition to 15 incumbent Hollywood Board members, the UFS slate features numerous first-time candidates, including veteran actor Ron Perlman and noted comedian/actor Jeff Garlin.

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2010-2011 Writers Guild Awards Timeline

By | Monday July 26, 2010 @ 10:40am PDT

Los Angeles and New York – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced that the 2011 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York to honor outstanding writing in film, television, news, radio, promotional, and graphic animation awards categories. Here’s the 2010-2011 timeline:

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WGAW’s Final Slate Of Board Candidates

By | Friday July 23, 2010 @ 12:54pm PDT

LOS ANGELES – The Writers Guild of America, West has announced the final slate of candidates for the 2010 WGAW Board of Directors election.

There are 18 candidates nominated to run for eight open seats on the WGAW’s Board of Directors, as follows: Robin Schiff, David Shore, David A. Goodman (inc.), Cheryl Heuton, Aaron Mendelsohn (inc.), Katherine Fugate (inc.), Timothy J. Lea, Mick Betancourt, Mark Gunn (inc.), Erich Hoeber, Erica Montolfo, Matt Pyken, Naomi Foner, Karen Harris (inc.), Kathy Kiernan (inc.), Christopher Keyser, Steve Skrovan, Matthew Weiner.

Note to editors: WGAW internal rules require candidates to be announced in an order determined by lot; (inc.) denotes an incumbent candidate.

The WGAW will host its annual “Candidates Night” town-hall forum, at which Guild members may meet the candidates and get answers to their questions, on Tuesday, September 7, at WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles.

Guild members will receive candidate, non-candidate and rebuttal statements, if any, with their ballots prior to the election. Candidates may also 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 16. Ballots will be counted on Friday, September 17.

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AFTRA Wants “Presidents’ Forum” To Discuss Merger With SAG

AFTRA_LOGO_SLOGOLOS ANGELES (July 21, 2010) – The Administrative Committee of the National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, AFL-CIO) – a national union of more than 70,000 professional performers, recording artists and broadcast journalists – met today for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

At today’s meeting, the AFTRA Administrative Committee approved the formal appointment of AFTRA’s members to the AFTRA Exhibit A/SAG TV-Theatrical Joint Wages and Working Conditions National Plenary Committee and Negotiating Committee. AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon will serve as AFTRA’s National Chair for both the Joint W&W Plenary and Negotiating committees. The other members of the committees remain confidential, pursuant to AFTRA policy.

President Reardon also reported to the Administrative Committee that she has proposed to Screen Actors Guild President Ken Howard the creation of a “Presidents’ Forum” to facilitate focused and informal discussions between leaders of the two unions to establish a common vision for a single, new national union representing professional performers, recording artists and broadcast journalists working in the entertainment and news media industries.

President Reardon said, “I first became involved in union service at AFTRA because I believe in one new union for all of our members. That new union must address and anticipate the dramatic and accelerating changes in our industries and the needs and concerns of members in all jurisdictions, in all parts of the country. This important discussion must be both careful and thorough and must

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WGA East Unveils Candidates For 2010 Council Election

By | Monday June 14, 2010 @ 7:48pm PDT
Mike Fleming


NEW YORK CITY – The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) announced the nominees for its Council (order determined by lot*) today. The term is for two years: 2010 – 2012. There are 10 open Council seats (six Freelance seats and four Staff seats) for this election. The 21 candidates for the six open Freelance seats are: Andrew Bergman, Robert Levi, Israel Horovitz, David Steven Cohen, Tom Jennings, Leslie Nipkow, Jeremy Pikser, John Auerbach, Susane Lee, Elizabeth Page, Walter Bernstein, Terry George, Richard Vetere, Bernardo Ruiz, Jerome Coopersmith, Gina Gionfriddo, Bobby Spillane, Fred Graver, Richard Wesley, Julian Sheppard, and Jenny Lumet.

The 11 candidates for the four open Staff seats are: Andy Meppen, David Keller, Cath Twohill, Ted Schreiber, Angela Perdos, Kathy McGee, Armando Norat, Brian Morgan, Marta Gibbons, Julia Yoler, and Art Daley.

WGAE members may vote by mail or in person at the annual membership meeting on September 16, 2010.

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Mark Gordon And Hawk Koch Elected PGA Co-Presidents

By | Friday June 4, 2010 @ 6:58pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (June 4, 2010) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today the national board and delegate 2010 election results, which were approved during the annual General Membership Meeting on the Culver Studios lot. The Guild elected Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch as Co-Presidents. Other newly PGA national board officers include: Vice President of Motion Pictures Gary Lucchesi; Vice President of Television Hayma “Screech” Washington; Treasurer Lauren Shuler Donner; as well as Recording Secretary Gale Anne Hurd, which is an appointed post. Outgoing PGA President Marshall Herskovitz, who served two two-year terms, received special recognition at the meeting for his service to the Guild, and was appointed to the post of President Emeritus.

“We’re extremely honored to have the confidence and support of the Guild membership,”said Gordon and Koch. “During our tenure we hope to continue to build solidarity by encouraging producers to ‘hire from within,’ continue to protect the Producers Code of Credits, and work to improve healthcare benefits.”

The Guild has had Co-Presidents in the past. From 2001 – 2002, following the PGA’s merger with the American Association of Producers, the Guild was overseen by Kathleen Kennedy and Tim Gibbons as Co-Presidents. Gordon and Koch’s election does mark the first time the nominating committee has selected a pair of members to stand for election together.

PGA Co-President Mark Gordon, former PGA national board Vice President of Television, is an award-winning producer with more than 70 motion picture and television projects to his credit. His most recent projects include 2012, which has grossed over $750 million worldwide and THE MESSENGER, which garnered Academy Award® nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay. In television, Gordon serves

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Q-&-A With PGA Prez Marshall Herskovitz

By | Wednesday June 2, 2010 @ 9:52pm PDT

pga logoThe Producers Guild of America holds its second annual “Produced By” Conference this coming weekend at 20th Century Fox Studios. At the same time, PGA president Marshall Herskovitz’s tenure is coming to a close this month. (Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch are running unopposed as co-Presidents.) Herskovitz talks to Deadline freelancer Diane Haithman about the PGA’s new “Transmedia Producer” credit; a new Producers Wiki website to be unveiled at the conference; plans for a PGA feature film competition in 2011; and the reality of today’s Hollywood producer:

Marshall_HerskovitzDH: What was the reason for establishing the Produced By Conference?

MH: My goal when I became the president four years ago was to continue our mission of a cultural shift in Hollywood so people in the industry have a better understanding of what producers do. We had found, and it’s sort of amazing if you think about it, that there was a lot of ignorance, even among the executives who run the companies, as to what role producers play in the generation of material, in getting things made, and in making sure they are made in the right way.

One of the reasons the producers’ credit has been so weakened in recent years, and given to people who didn’t deserve it, was that people didn’t understand what producers did. The idea of doing a conference came out of our educational intent. It also had this function of bringing together our … Read More »

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SAG And AFTRA Prep For Contract Talks

By | Wednesday June 2, 2010 @ 3:04pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Joint American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild Wages & Working Conditions meetings have been scheduled in preparation for negotiation of the AFTRA Exhibit A and SAG TV/Theatrical contract that expires on June 30, 2011. All members who work this contract are invited to attend and participate. W&W Committee meetings are open to all paid-up members of both unions; participation is limited only by fire department regulations.
If you are not located in L.A. but will be visiting from out of town, please feel free to attend. Come early and bring your membership card.
Attention members who are actively producing: AFTRA and SAG members who are actively producing cannot attend the W&W Committee Meetings due to a conflict of interest. However, you are welcome to attend the evening W&W caucuses. Please check the union websites and for caucus dates and times.
W&W Committee Meetings Scheduled in Los Angeles:
AFTRA Frank Maxwell Boardroom and SAG Cagney Boardroom
5757 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
June 16, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., SAG Boardroom
June 18, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., SAG Boardroom
June 21, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., AFTRA Boardroom
June 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., AFTRA Boardroom
June 25, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., AFTRA Boardroom

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CANNES: Shame On You, James Robinson

By | Monday May 17, 2010 @ 1:16pm PDT

All the Cannes lameass publicity news aside, and frankly it makes me want to puke even though Deadline has to post most of it for our readers, here’s something else to induce nausea: I don’t know how James Robinson can show his face there. He’s attending the festival to announce a $90M Keanu Reeves-starring sci-fi flick — yet here in Hollywood his Morgan Creek is the target of an unprecedented 3-guild (the Writers Guild, Directors Guild, and Screen Actors Guild) investigation regarding unpaid residuals for over 30 features. This has been going for over a year, meaning Robinson’s Morgan Creek will be forced to pay an exorbitant 18% late fees on all those titles. And, dammit, talent and their families live on those residuals.

Granted, Robinson has always been one of Hollywood’s bigger sons-of-a-bitch, and Morgan Creek one of the crummiest filmmakers. But it’s revolting how he clearly has no shame. He’s ensconced at Cannes presiding over a brunch for press and international buyers Sunday at the Moulin des Mougins, boasting with his SVP of worldwide marketing son Brian at his side, about the “newly reinvigorated” Morgan Creek and its “new focus” is on bigger budget projects. Really? Then pay up, you putz.

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Producers Guild Adds Ted Turner To ‘Produced By’ Conference Roster

By | Wednesday April 21, 2010 @ 1:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

The Producers Guild has added Ted Turner to the speaker roster of its 2nd annual “Produced By” Conference June 4-6 at 20th Century Fox Studios. The former media mogul and CNN founder, will speak on June 5th.

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Writers Guild Endorses Partnership With New Association Of Media Composers & Lyricists Union; Progress Report Tonight On AMCL Joining Teamsters Local 399

By | Monday April 19, 2010 @ 5:44pm PDT

musicHere’s some advance news of tonight’s 2nd informational meeting of the Association of Media Composers and Lyricists, hosted by Teamsters Local 399 and located in the Writers Guild Theater. This composers’ movement towards unionization with the Teamsters for better benefits is gathering momentum and tonight there’ll be a progress report on efforts since the 1st get-together last November.  Presently, the AMCL Organizing Committee consists of: Bruce Broughton, Sean Callery, Alf Clausen, Ray Colcord, James DiPasquale, Richard Gibbs, Christopher Klatman, Vivek Maddala, Richard Marvin, Mike Post, and Snuffy Walden.

And I’m told that, at tonight’s meeting, big names like James Newton-Howard, Hans Zimmer, Tom Newman will be announced as strongly supporting the unionization effort by composers with Teamsters Local 399. “Musicians are a community and we have to protect each other,” Zimmer, who recently met with Teamsters’ lead organizer Steve Dayan and spokesman Bruce Broughton in the composer’s office at Remote Control Productions, stated publicly today. “I think we older composers, I think I am an older composer now (reluctantly I say this!), it is our duty to help the young composers. Otherwise the music will just disappear.” In other AMCL news:

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) Executive Committee has unanimously approved a series of actions endorsing the fledgling AMCL composers union and designed to address working conditions for composers in the area of free/spec music requested by producers as part of a “spec-off” or “bake-off” competition among finalists for a scoring job.

The AMCL’s pact with the WGA is

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Producers Guild To Hold 2010 Elections

By | Monday April 19, 2010 @ 1:17pm PDT

Producer Guild of America members were notified today of upcoming election nominations for open national officer and delegate seats.

pga logoMembers of the Producers Guild are divided into three councils: The Producers Council, the Associate Producers (AP) Council and the New Media Council. Each of these councils is governed by a 24-member Board of Delegates. Each Council Board of Delegates subsequently elects a proportion of its members to serve on the Guild’s 24-member National Board of Directors. The general council membership elects its delegates—who are nominated by a council nominating committee, or else self-nominated via petition—and the elected delegates then determine who among their number will serve on the National Board.

The National Board is led by its officers: President; Vice President of Motion Pictures; Vice President of Television; Treasurer; Recording Secretary. The Chairs of the AP Council Board of Delegates and New Media Council Board of Delegates (each elected internally by the delegates) also serve as Vice Presidents, as does the Chair of the PGA East region

Below are the national officer nominees for the 2010 PGA Elections:

The following members have been nominated by the Producers Council and joint-Council nominating committees to serve as officers:

Co-Presidents: Mark Gordon, Hawk Koch

Vice President, Motion Pictures: Gary Lucchesi

Vice President, Television: Hayma “Screech” Washington

Treasurer: R.J. Hume, Rachel Klein, Stephen Marinaccio, Michael Palmieri, Lauren Shuler Donner

There are other delegate nominees for each of the three councils: Producers Council, Associate Producers Council and New Media Council (if you

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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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EXCLUSIVE: Producers Guild Accuses Millennium Films Of Giving Producer Credit To Dimbort’s Teenaged Granddaughter

By | Tuesday April 13, 2010 @ 2:14pm PDT

pga logoI’ve exclusively obtained the letter (below) that went out today from the Producers Guild to Millennium Films’ Avi Lerner and  Danny Dimbort about Dimbort’s teenaged granddaughter possibly receiving a producers credit on the upcoming film Solitary Man — and why that’s a violation of the PGA rules. The Producers Guild told me it does not comment on its private communications to members or on the specifics of a particular arbitration or arbitration issue. But, trust me, this letter is genuine.

Letter PGA_Page_1

Letter PGA_Page_2

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Writers Guild East And ABC Reach Accord On New 3-Year Contract For Newswriters

By | Friday April 9, 2010 @ 6:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

I was out for a couple hours, but wanted to post news that the WGA East announced this today:

NEW YORK CITY – The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) and ABC, Inc. have reached tentative agreement on a new contract for the WGAE-ABC news employees. The agreement, which was recommended by the WGAE-ABC Negotiating Committee, is subject to approval by the WGAE Council and a ratification vote by members covered by the contract. Approximately 250 newswriters, editors, desk assistants, production assistants, graphic artists and researchers in national and local television and radio in New York and Washington, D.C are affected.

“The tentative agreement achieves our goals of protecting our members’ economic interests and ensuring that the Guild and its members remain central to the company’s operation as the broadcast news business is transformed in coming years,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “Given the depressed state of the international economy in general and the difficulties in broadcast news in particular, we are pleased this contract gives our members a wage increase and provides job protections.”

Under the terms of the tentative agreement, WGAE-ABC employees would receive wage increases of at least 2% per year in each year of the contract. The first increase would take place on April 12, 2010. In addition, for the first time, the contract provides a substantial minimum salary and enhanced severance package for writers who produce shows for WABC-TV, as

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MPAA, Guilds Line Up Against Box Office Wagering

By | Thursday April 8, 2010 @ 2:49pm PDT
Mike Fleming

The MPAA, its signatory studios, DGA, IATSE, NATO and Independent Film & Television Alliance have petitioned the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to deny approval of an application by Veriana Networks and Cantor Fitzgerald to bet on box office receipts of the opening weekend for major releases. In a letter to CFTC Secretary David Stawick, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Disney and Warner Bros all joined in the petition that opposes turning box office performance into a betting mechanism.


Coalition of creators, talent, craftspeople, independent production and distribution companies, industry workers and theater owners raise concerns about box-office wagering services

Washington, DC – A coalition of entertainment industry workers, creators, independent producers and distributors, business organizations and theater owners today urged a federal commission to reject a proposal to create an online motion picture box-office wagering marketplace.

In a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its member companies and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) urged the CFTC to deny a request from Media Derivatives, Inc. (MDEX) to create a designated contract market for the trading

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TOLDJA! PGA Okays “Transmedia Producer”

By | Tuesday April 6, 2010 @ 12:59pm PDT

UPDATES PGA Agrees On New Credit: “Transmedia Producer”

Here’s the official announcement:

pga logoLOS ANGELES (April 6, 2010) – The Producers Guild of America Board of Directors announced today that they have approved the addition of Transmedia Producer to the Guild’s Producer Code of Credits (PCOC).

“The Guild’s decision to expand the Code of Credits to recognize the Transmedia Producer underscores the changing media landscape and the critical role of the producer within new creative mediums,” said PGA President Marshall Herskovitz. “As technology evolves, it’s no longer adequate to think of a project as simply a television show or a movie; we now understand that the audience will want to experience that content across several platforms – online, mobile, VOD, Blu-Ray, and now iPad – often with different or additional material. It’s the producer who oversees the complex and creative process that allows that to happen.”

“The New Media Council, led by Alison Savitch, has worked tirelessly to advocate consistency of credits for the producing team across new media,” added PGA Executive Director Vance Van Petten.

The Guild defines a Transmedia Narrative project or franchise of one that consists of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: Film, Television, Short Film, Broadband, Publishing, Comics, Animation, Mobile, Special Venues, DVD/Blu-ray/CD-ROM, Narrative Commercial and Marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently

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