Hollywood on Strike! (Actors' Civil War!)

All the dirt. All the top secret stuff. Anything that has to do with the process of getting us to sit and watch something projected on the big screen.

Postby Nordling on Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:36 am

Or he tells them to "stick arownd!"
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Postby CeeBeeUK on Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:51 am

Nordling wrote:Arnie ain't ending shit. Especially with phrases like "...the writers that are striking, they are not going to suffer. Those are all people that have money."



Sorry I forgot to add the sarcasm indicator.

CeeBeeUK wrote:Don't Panic

Arnie is here to sort it all out!

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Postby RogueScribner on Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:59 am

Wow, Arnie seems really ignorant with his comment. He should be posting in the talkbacks.
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Postby vicious_bastard on Fri Nov 09, 2007 11:14 am

Heheh, I thought for ONCE Herc might have posted an article without any moneygrabbing ads beneath it, but no. Comics instead of DVDs at least.
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Postby DaleTremont on Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:18 pm

Don't know if anyone's seen this yet, but it's an interesting development...

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117975626.html?categoryid=2821&cs=1

Will the studios be plundering the UK's stash of writers?
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:40 pm

Variety.com wrote:It could soon be lights out for "Family Guy."

Walking the picket line at Wednesday's showrunner rally, creator Seth Macfarlane maintained that this Sunday's episode of "Family Guy" is actually the last fully-produced episode in the can.

There are other episodes close to being finished, but Macfarlane has made it clear that he has no plans to help put those segs together. Macfarlane also has another unique bit of leverage: He provides voices for many main characters on the show, and he's made it clear he's not stepping into the studio to record.

Couldn't Fox just go ahead and use other non-WGA producers to wrap things up?

"They could, but it would be unwise," Macfarlane says.

And why would that be?

"Because I would be angry," the scribe said.

20th isn't saying what it will do.

"Our hope is that he returns to work and completes his non-writing obligations on those episodes," a spokesperson said.

Losing "Family Guy" in the middle of the November sweeps would be tough for Fox, which counts the show as its Sunday night anchor.

It wouldn't be immediately devastating, however. In a testament to just how strong "Family Guy" is, the show does very well in repeats.


I'm surprised they are still re-recording audio so long after the animation has been completed.
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Postby TheButcher on Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:28 pm

So the WGA strike is in full effect. Don't forget about the possiblity of strikes by both Directors and Actors in 2008.
Projects with already-completed scripts won't be affected by the strike. But they could be affected by a possible strike by the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America in summer 2008, when those unions' bargaining agreements about the same issue expire.
Source: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20071031/NEWS/710310431

Hollywood Strike 2008
Have a nice day :D
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Postby Leckomaniac on Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:39 pm

TheButcher wrote:So the WGA strike is in full effect. Don't forget about the possiblity of strikes by both Directors and Actors in 2008.
Projects with already-completed scripts won't be affected by the strike. But they could be affected by a possible strike by the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America in summer 2008, when those unions' bargaining agreements about the same issue expire.
Source: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20071031/NEWS/710310431

Hollywood Strike 2008
Have a nice day :D


Which is why so many actors have come out in support of the writer's. They know that whatever the writer's get, they will most likely get as well.

So a lot of the Zoners and a lot of folks in general have expressed support for the Writer's strike...well Michael Eisner thinks it's a "Stupid, waste of time"
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Bazooka Joe

Postby TheButcher on Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:46 pm

Michael Eisner is a stupid waste of time.
Here is the proof:
Bazooka Joe heading to the big screen
Animation blog CartoonBrew points to an article on USA Today that reveals plans in store for the 69-year old cartoon character Bazooka Joe. Ex-Disney CEO Micheal Eisner explains his interest in creating a new franchise based on the bubblegum kid, and speaks of creating a theatrical film, television show, internet site, and publishing company centering on Joe. “Bazooka Joe could be the next big hero,â€



From MTV: ‘Bazooka Joe’ Goes From Gum Wrappers To The Big Screen?
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Postby Theta on Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:54 pm

I don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but when NBC called Steve Carrell to get him back into the studio to finish off The Office, he told them he was sick.

With a case of "enlarged balls."


Steve Carrell is a god.
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Postby DaleTremont on Fri Nov 09, 2007 5:57 pm

Theta wrote:I don't know if anyone else mentioned this, but when NBC called Steve Carrell to get him back into the studio to finish off The Office, he told them he was sick.

With a case of "enlarged balls."


Steve Carrell is a god.


Based on that, he's better than a god even. The Supreme Being of the Universe and Beyond.
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Postby DennisMM on Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:01 pm

Chairman Kaga wrote:
Variety.com wrote:It could soon be lights out for "Family Guy."

Walking the picket line at Wednesday's showrunner rally, creator Seth Macfarlane maintained that this Sunday's episode of "Family Guy" is actually the last fully-produced episode in the can.

There are other episodes close to being finished, but Macfarlane has made it clear that he has no plans to help put those segs together. Macfarlane also has another unique bit of leverage: He provides voices for many main characters on the show, and he's made it clear he's not stepping into the studio to record.

Couldn't Fox just go ahead and use other non-WGA producers to wrap things up?

"They could, but it would be unwise," Macfarlane says.

And why would that be?

"Because I would be angry," the scribe said.

20th isn't saying what it will do.

"Our hope is that he returns to work and completes his non-writing obligations on those episodes," a spokesperson said.

Losing "Family Guy" in the middle of the November sweeps would be tough for Fox, which counts the show as its Sunday night anchor.

It wouldn't be immediately devastating, however. In a testament to just how strong "Family Guy" is, the show does very well in repeats.


I'm surprised they are still re-recording audio so long after the animation has been completed.


What wonderful, wonderful news. Thank you, Seth, for killing your program. Your high principles as a union member are great, too.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Fri Nov 09, 2007 8:03 pm

I was wondering why it's so quiet today...

They're all over at Fox.
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Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby bastard_robo on Fri Nov 09, 2007 8:22 pm

Its a great time to be an Indy Filmmaker!

I think if your making a movie on your own, now is the time to strike!




On the news today, (abc in LA) They interviewed Kelsie Grammer who was full on supporting the writers. When the reporter commented on the fact that this is affecting the other people in the industry (everyone who dose the physical labor on films) Grammer completely blew off the guy and gave a halfed ass "I dont give a shit" comment "yeah, its affecting the economy..."

Lost a lot of points with me there.


THe one thing about making movies for a living that I never liked as an aspect was that you have to be in a fucking guild inorder to do anything.

Seems fucked up to me.
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Postby DennisMM on Fri Nov 09, 2007 8:34 pm

You're a moron.

There. I finally said it. I feel so much better.
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Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby bastard_robo on Fri Nov 09, 2007 8:38 pm

DennisMM wrote:You're a moron.

There. I finally said it. I feel so much better.


Thats fine dennis... I still like you :D :D :D
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Postby DennisMM on Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:17 pm

Thanks, robo. I'm sorry, that was the wrong way to express my disagreement with your post. I went way over the top.
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Postby Peven on Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:42 pm

count yourself lucky Robo, at least he didn't insult your family.
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Postby DennisMM on Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:46 pm

You insulted Superman Returns again. All bets were off.

Your family is lovely, actually. It's just the association with your pillorying of SR that could render them an emetic.
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Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby bastard_robo on Fri Nov 09, 2007 11:28 pm

DennisMM wrote:Thanks, robo. I'm sorry, that was the wrong way to express my disagreement with your post. I went way over the top.


Its all good Dennis.. Thats why this board exsist!!

You dissagree with my post and you hit back with names. Its human nature, and its all good!


You're very pro strike and Im very anit strike thats why we're all here.
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Re: Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby minstrel on Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:56 am

bastard_robo wrote:On the news today, (abc in LA) They interviewed Kelsie Grammer who was full on supporting the writers. When the reporter commented on the fact that this is affecting the other people in the industry (everyone who dose the physical labor on films) Grammer completely blew off the guy and gave a halfed ass "I dont give a shit" comment "yeah, its affecting the economy..."

Lost a lot of points with me there.


THe one thing about making movies for a living that I never liked as an aspect was that you have to be in a fucking guild inorder to do anything.

Seems fucked up to me.


As you get old, like me, you realize that it isn't unions versus management.

It's who is abusing their power.

There have been cases in which unions have squeezed companies so tightly that business becomes impossible - this is partly what is destroying Detroit. But that's not what's happening in this case.

In this case, the unions are just trying to get paid when their work is sold. The studios have discovered places they can sell the creators' work without paying the creators, and of course, they will try to sell as much as possible through those channels at the expense of other channels because they get to keep more of the money.

Just give the writers their due.
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Re: Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby The Vicar on Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:05 am

minstrel wrote:
bastard_robo wrote:On the news today, (abc in LA) They interviewed Kelsie Grammer who was full on supporting the writers. When the reporter commented on the fact that this is affecting the other people in the industry (everyone who dose the physical labor on films) Grammer completely blew off the guy and gave a halfed ass "I dont give a shit" comment "yeah, its affecting the economy..."

Lost a lot of points with me there.


THe one thing about making movies for a living that I never liked as an aspect was that you have to be in a fucking guild inorder to do anything.

Seems fucked up to me.


As you get old, like me, you realize that it isn't unions versus management.

It's who is abusing their power.

There have been cases in which unions have squeezed companies so tightly that business becomes impossible - this is partly what is destroying Detroit. But that's not what's happening in this case.

In this case, the unions are just trying to get paid when their work is sold. The studios have discovered places they can sell the creators' work without paying the creators, and of course, they will try to sell as much as possible through those channels at the expense of other channels because they get to keep more of the money.

Just give the writers their due.



Based on the principle that those who create the work deserve to get properly compensated for it as opposed to some execute pocketing profits off another person's sweat?
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Re: Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby junesquad on Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:06 am

minstrel wrote:As you get old, like me, you realize that it isn't unions versus management.

It's who is abusing their power.

There have been cases in which unions have squeezed companies so tightly that business becomes impossible - this is partly what is destroying Detroit. But that's not what's happening in this case.

In this case, the unions are just trying to get paid when their work is sold. The studios have discovered places they can sell the creators' work without paying the creators, and of course, they will try to sell as much as possible through those channels at the expense of other channels because they get to keep more of the money.

Just give the writers their due.


It seems you are quite right, Minstrel. While unions were created to protect workers, they have been used to screw over companies. It's a very greedy world out there and it makes me a slight bit nervous to embark on a voyage into it as I finish my degree.
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Re: Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby minstrel on Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:18 am

junesquad wrote:While unions were created to protect workers, they have been used to screw over companies.


Exactly. Unions were formed in a time in which workers were pretty much held hostage by companies. Like Merle Travis said, "I owe my soul to the company store." And they were being forced to work in unsafe conditions.

So I support unions when they work to get safe working conditions. I support them when they want a decent living wage.

I have a hard time with them when they start wanting guaranteed employment no matter how incompetent the worker is.

So they can overstep their original purpose, and do damage to the whole economy, including, ultimately, themselves. But they were justified in the causes they were originally organized for, and to that extent, they have benefited our society.

As I said, the problem isn't unions per se, and the problem isn't management per se. It's whoever is abusing their power.
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Re: Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby junesquad on Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:22 am

minstrel wrote:
junesquad wrote:I have a hard time with them when they start wanting guaranteed employment no matter how incompetent the worker is.


Yeah, I hate that. The postal union has kept my mother from getting hired as a full-time post master. There are other, lesser individuals that get the jobs simply because they are already employed as a post office employee and PMRs are not included in the unions. My mom works her ass off and has be awarded multiple times for her performance but they just keep screwing her over. I hate it.
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Re: Hollywood on Strike! (Now w/ 100% More Strike!!!!)

Postby minstrel on Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:28 am

junesquad wrote:
minstrel wrote:
junesquad wrote:I have a hard time with them when they start wanting guaranteed employment no matter how incompetent the worker is.


Yeah, I hate that. The postal union has kept my mother from getting hired as a full-time post master. There are other, lesser individuals that get the jobs simply because they are already employed as a post office employee and PMRs are not included in the unions. My mom works her ass off and has be awarded multiple times for her performance but they just keep screwing her over. I hate it.


And this is a case of a union abusing its power. That I don't like.

As I said, they have a raison d'etre. But, c'mon guys, don't push it beyond that.
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Postby DennisMM on Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:32 am

Yep, the unions have screwed more than a few people, including their own members, over the years. Then I think of the Ludlow Massacre and Harlan County, KY - and I come back over to the union side, hard, on first principles.

There's been some talk about how the technical crew suffer when production is shut down because of a strike by "talent" of whatever sort. This is unfortunate, but let's not forget that the tech crew also belong to unions and the tech unions also have gone on strike to protest what they consider unfair conditions. When the techs strike, production shuts down and anyone paid by the episode is screwed, including directors and many actors including those in regular roles.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:17 pm

Broadway To Shutdown?!

This shits catching on!
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Postby junesquad on Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:34 pm

Leckomaniac wrote:Broadway To Shutdown?!

This shits catching on!


This better not affect the Broadway tour. I have tickets to see Wicked in St. Louis in early January. :(
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Postby junesquad on Sat Nov 10, 2007 1:28 pm

This just in... I found this on a broadway forum...

-------------------------------------------------- --------

As a heads up, I thought I should post this as a seperate topic as many across the country may think the NYC strike won't effect them and might not be reading those threads. HOWEVER....the threat has been "reported" that if Local One strikes they will also ask the tours to honor this! This means any tour with IATSE crew, even non-Equity tours, could cancel shows! So if you are in Peoria or any other city thinking you will see your favorite show next week regardless of the NYC strike situation, you better pay attenton to the strike information as it MAY effect you!

-------------------------------------------------- --------

Please note that other sources have said that this strike should only last from a couple days to a few weeks. The last strike on Broadway lasted four days.
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Postby DEUCEHTX on Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:29 pm

IGN posted a strike update on their site.
http://tv.ign.com/articles/834/834359p1.html
The situation, by all accounts, is deteriorating and the prospect of the television season returning to normal seems increasingly bleak. Some inside sources are saying that the studios are preparing for "10 months" or "a year." This would ultimately impact not just television, but movies as well - and thousands of people who depend on the entertainment industry for their livelihoods.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:37 pm

Like I say, I stand corrected on all this but it seems to me the writers are not asking for that much. It's a tough profession for most of them and they deserve a fairer deal in the multi-billion pound industry that we call Film and TV.
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Postby junesquad on Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:13 pm

DEUCEHTX wrote:IGN posted a strike update on their site.
http://tv.ign.com/articles/834/834359p1.html
The situation, by all accounts, is deteriorating and the prospect of the television season returning to normal seems increasingly bleak. Some inside sources are saying that the studios are preparing for "10 months" or "a year." This would ultimately impact not just television, but movies as well - and thousands of people who depend on the entertainment industry for their livelihoods.


A year? Are you kidding me? I find this to be absolutely ridiculous.
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Postby minstrel on Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:18 pm

junesquad wrote:
DEUCEHTX wrote:IGN posted a strike update on their site.
http://tv.ign.com/articles/834/834359p1.html
The situation, by all accounts, is deteriorating and the prospect of the television season returning to normal seems increasingly bleak. Some inside sources are saying that the studios are preparing for "10 months" or "a year." This would ultimately impact not just television, but movies as well - and thousands of people who depend on the entertainment industry for their livelihoods.


A year? Are you kidding me? I find this to be absolutely ridiculous.


They might just be leaking that to the press to scare the bejeezus out of the writers. I doubt it's really true.
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Postby junesquad on Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:19 pm

Good point, but if I was a producer and saying 10 months to a year, I'd be the ones peeing my pants...
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Postby minstrel on Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:25 pm

junesquad wrote:Good point, but if I was a producer and saying 10 months to a year, I'd be the ones peeing my pants...


Yeah.

If it goes that long, I wonder if the networks might start buying more shows made in other countries. They gotta show SOMETHING, and people can only be fobbed off with reruns and reality shows for so long before they just stop watching TV.
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Postby junesquad on Sat Nov 10, 2007 3:28 pm

minstrel wrote:
junesquad wrote:Good point, but if I was a producer and saying 10 months to a year, I'd be the ones peeing my pants...


Yeah.

If it goes that long, I wonder if the networks might start buying more shows made in other countries. They gotta show SOMETHING, and people can only be fobbed off with reruns and reality shows for so long before they just stop watching TV.


I can honestly say I am glad that I put off getting cable for so long. It seems pointless now to go and get it with all this junk happening and I'll simply wait until the networks get their act together. For now, it's me and the dvds I own (which is too many). I can always revisit Alias, CSI, Smallville and finish Beauty and the Beast the TV series... I'm good for awhile.
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Postby King Of Nowhere on Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:36 pm

Latino Review wrote:Does Strike Affect X-Files 2, Bond 22, T4, Wolvie, TF2?

Date: November 10, 2007

By: Ryan 'The Rican with the Irish name' McLelland
Source: Variety

Variety posted a monster article on which future films will actually be shot now that the writer's strike is on - the thought process is who wants to go in to shoot a film when a writer can make no changes??? Or the fact that despite a stockpile of scripts, perhaps only 25% of those will be made at best.

Some highlights from the article include:


Writer-director Tony Gilroy is prepared to shoot "Duplicity" with star Julia Roberts. "I've done everything I can do," he says. "My script could shoot word for word. Everyone is in agreement. But it's not ideal any way you look at it. This is all an experiment. I'm happy I don't start shooting till March."

Paul Haggis admitted while walking the strike line last week that his script for "Bond 22," which is skedded to shoot in December, is not locked.

The script for "Angels & Demons," which is based on Dan Brown's wildly popular prequel to "The Da Vinci Code," was rushed to meet the Nov. 1 deadline. That film also has no players signed beyond star Tom Hanks.

The Denzel Washington starrer "Pelham 123 " is rumored to have script problems.


Warner Bros. execs are nervous about how to proceed with "Justice League of America," which is still uncast and is a crucial potential franchise boasting popular DC Comics characters.

Warners' uncast "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," which needs at least three to four weeks of script polishing before its May start, would get into trouble.

"Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins" will face issues if the strike goes past April.

"The Jetsons" has a locked script, but it is uncast.


Paramount threw four pricey A-list scribes at would-be $100-million franchise "G.I. Joe," which is scheduled to start shooting in February, and swears that the move paid off. Stuart Beattie ("3:10 to Yuma"), John Lee Hancock ("A Perfect World") and Brian Koppleman and David Levien ("Ocean's Thirteen") teamed up in an intense collaboration that yielded, according to di Bonaventura, a shootable script. But will the studio be willing to take a chance on shooting such an important, costly tentpole? The studio insists it will, partly because it isn't chasing big-name stars. "We have to make sure the actors are not only good but perfectly suited to their roles," says di Bonaventura.


DreamWorks/Par's "Transformers 2" is far enough along to proceed with pre-production, location scouting and advance VFX work, but will face serious issues if the strike continues for several months. Michael Bay's megabudget sequel isn't set to start filming until June.

Di Bonaventura's "Edwin A. Salt" will likely be pushed back, too.


Disney's June start on Jerry Bruckheimer's "Prince of Persia," too, could get into trouble. "We'll do everything we can do to make the movies as good as they can be," says Disney production prexy Oren Aviv. "But the reality is, we wouldn't be moving forward with the movies we're greenlighting if I didn't have confidence in the scripts we have."


Disney isn't worried about the $80 million FX-heavy "Bedtime Stories," because Adam Sandler is adept at working on his feet.

Par Vantage is going forward this month with its Will Ferrell/Adam McKay-produced used-car salesmen comedy "The Goods," starring a cast led by Jeremy Piven. "They can improvise," one producer says.


Fox is moving full speed ahead with its "X-Men" spinoff "Wolverine," even though many roles are still uncast. Unlike "X-Men," "Wolverine" rests solidly on Hugh Jackman's shoulders. On "X-Men" pics, Parker admits, writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn were making adjustments throughout production. "Wolverine" will have no such luxury. Most action sequences will be handled in f/x animation.


"The X-Files" sequel, while casting supporting roles, is to start in December, Parker says. Pulling the plug now would be prohibitively expensive.


"The Day the Earth Stood Still" will also go forward, as no script invention is required. "That's a helpful discipline, to be forced to lock these scripts instead of going into production with scripts in flux," Parker says. "But we could run into little snags ahead."


Will it affect Paul Greengrass' "The Green Zone" with Matt Damon, which is working off an incomplete script? Universal production prexy Donna Langley says it won't. "We have a solid Brian Helgeland script," she says. "This movie is more contained than the 'Bourne' films. It is a different animal."


Universal is examining the prospects for Brad Silberling's FX-heavy Ferrell comedy "Land of the Lost," Benicio del Toro starrer "Wolfman" and Ridley Scott's "Nottingham." Says Langley, "The script isn't where we would like it to be



Hollywood.com wrote:
Schwarzenegger Tries to End Writers Strike


Actor-turned-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is using his political influence to try and terminate the ongoing Hollywood writers strike.

Members of the Writers Guild of America have been striking since Monday after talks between the union and studio representatives failed to resolve a dispute over royalties.

And Schwarzenegger is worried about the financial fallout the strike will have on California.

He says, "I'm talking to the parties that are involved because I think it's very important that we settle that as quickly as possible, because it has a tremendous economic impact on our state."
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Postby Vynson on Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:14 pm

Wow. Writers have a "tremendous economic impact..." Wow. The Governator gets it. To listen to AMPTP, you'd think writers had no economic impact.

Economic impact. What does that mean? It means that writers, the creative prime force behind entertainment are responsible for setting in motion such a financial juggernaut that without writers, there is a "tremendous economic impact..."

Wow. I'd think that people capable of that sort of thing would deserve a fair portion of all that generated financial impact.
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Postby RogueScribner on Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:12 pm

Here are some excerpts from an article I read in Creative Screenwriting:




Writers' Strike 2007: Day One

By Peter Clines



It's an old joke, but what's black and white and red all over? A Writers Guild picket line, of course. CS Weekly goes out to talk to striking screenwriters -- who've donned red T-shirts and are hosting red, black and white signs -- to find out what they're holding out for and how things came to this.


Monday, November 5th, marked the beginning of the Writers Guild of America strike that has been all over the news. At stake are the residuals screenwriters receive from DVD sales and the as-yet-unestablished guidelines for what most everyone agrees is the future of the entertainment industry, the internet and downloadable content. Many studios and networks have already begun shifting their material to various online forms, and to date screenwriters haven't seen a single cent. Unable to reach an agreement after their contracts ran out on October 31st, the WGA set a deadline for a strike. Hours before that deadline was reached, the representatives for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) walked out of negotiations -- and loudly declared that the WGA had given up on the talks.

"I'll give you an example -- the series Heroes," said Bernard Lechowick. A member of the WGA for almost 30 years, Lechowick has worked on shows including Knots Landing and That's Life. He walked off his job on The Young and the Restless to join the picket lines in front of Paramount Studios in Hollywood, where he's become an unofficial spokesman for the strikers there. "The writers and creators of Heroes earn nothing in reruns," he said. "Nothing. Because there are no reruns on television. They're all online, and in the past year tens of millions of people viewed the show in reruns online, and each of those tens of millions of viewings had paid advertisement on it. And the writers earned nothing from that. Not a penny."

For most screenwriters, the residuals they receive from reruns and syndication are a life preserver during the lean times between projects. Despite the stories of multi-million-dollar pitch sales and six-figure-per episode salaries enjoyed by a small percentage of writers, most professional writers in Hollywood are very middle-class people. The majority of the WGA's 12,000 members are unemployed at any given time, and median earnings are about $25,000 a year.

As studios move toward constantly showing more new material and reality programs, many screenwriters have watched the number of reruns shrink. "DVDs seem to be the new residuals," says television writer David Graziano (Swingtown, Felicity) as he holds a picket sign in front of Paramount. "Things aren't airing on TV anymore. They're either on the internet or they're being released on DVD." But with the contract agreement reached in 1988 setting rates at a mere four cents per DVD, many screenwriters are seeing less and less income from this source. (For a visual representation of this, go to Target, Best Buy, or perhaps your own shelves and gather up two-dozen DVDs. That's a stack almost a foot and a half tall. If every single one of those movies or television shows in your pile was written by the same person, the screenwriter would not even make a dollar from that enormous purchase).

. . .

Oscar-winning screenwriter and director Paul Haggis (The Valley of Elah) also walked the Sony lines, having stepped away from final notes on the latest James Bond script. While he also claims producer titles on many projects, he has no hesitation about where his loyalties are. "Even if I weren't a writer, if I was just a director or just a producer, I'd understand that the people who create this stuff deserve a small piece of it," says Haggis. "I mean, it should be self-evident." Even a writer of Haggis' stature is aware of the meager returns writers get from DVDs, pointing out that his DVD residuals are "infinitesimally small amounts. I think Crash was the number one on Netflix, and we've seen almost nothing from that. I don't recall seeing much on Casino Royale at all." He was also stunned by the stonewall refusal to double DVD rates to a still-tiny eight cents per sale. "They're saying it's impossible after making record profits on DVDs all these years. They have no problem taking this money all this time, and now it's 'impossible' to give us anything, and on the internet it's 'impossible' to give us anything. It's stunning how they can be blinded by that much greed."

. . .

At CBS Radford in the Studio City area of L.A., Matt Greenberg (1408, Reign of Fire) walked away from a Warner Bros feature project and joined the picket lines, where he offered his own observations on the future of residuals. "I don't think DVDs will totally die out. However electronic or digitized things become, people always need something physical to give at Christmas," he said with a small chuckle. "I mean -- 'Here's the gift certificate for the download I got you' -- ?" He also recalled the reaction from WGA members when they were read some of the AMPTP's demands at a meeting last Thursday. "They basically said they had the right, for promotional purposes, to show an entire episode or an entire movie for free without compensating the writer. There was this nanosecond gasp of disbelief followed by a minute of full-on laughter at how ridiculous this was."

. . .

Veteran television writer James Parriott (Grey's Anatomy) took a short break from walking and recalled the moment he saw the shift, while watching the results of some Ugly Betty test audiences and focus groups. "In each room there were 10 women," he says, "and two of the women in each of the rooms, 20% -- I think in one room it might have been three women -- viewed the show regularly online. And they weren't young. They were all over 30, one was 50, and they were watching online and not off the air at all. And that was shocking even to the researchers."

Another veteran guild member, William Lucas Walker (Frasier, Will & Grace), was also picketing at Paramount. "In five years, they're probably not going to be running any of those shows on television," he mused, "they're going to be running them on the internet. It's obviously where everything's going, and they're pretending to be stupid about it and going, 'Well, we don't know what's going to happen.' The same things they said about DVDs and VHS back in the '80s. They're already making money off commercials on the internet, and they're trying to call that promotion. Well, that's the only place a lot of people watch the shows. I'm sure when my kids are teenagers television as we know it isn't even going to be around. It's going to all be on the internet."

Haggis is also stunned by the studios' insistence at claiming 100% of the online revenues. "It's just another example of extreme corporate greed," he said. "It's the Wal-Mart-ification of Hollywood, I suppose."

The picket lines grew slowly over the course of the first day. By 1 p.m., there were writers with signs at almost every gate leading into the sprawling Paramount complex. The main entrance on Melrose had more than five-dozen people circling. Bullhorns were passed around, and each picketer got a chance to rally the group with phrases and chants. Underlying it all, however, an observer could detect a faint sense of worry, particularly among writers who remember the last time they walked these lines. "It's going to be very much like the last strike," said Parriott, but added, "I think the Guild is more unified than it was in '88. I think this is a pretty hard line we're taking, and I think we need to keep a hard line." He said he feels the strike could stretch out as long as six or eight months, especially since both sides seem to have planted their feet down.

. . .

"I think it's going to be a long and bloody strike," said Haggis. "I think it could easily go seven or eight months, and a lot of people are going to get hurt, because of the very cynical nature of these corporations that just care about their bottom line. The corporate mentality," he said, "is 'we made a shitload last year, now we have to make a shitload plus 20% this year, and it doesn't matter who we hurt or if it's fair or not.' But I think if the studio mindset can be altered, can be shifted into saying what's fair…I think if a few of the producers and studio heads who I truly admire can get together and push it a little further away from the greedier aspects of corporate media, if they just gave us a small and fair amount, this would be over very quickly. If they just stopped thinking like…well, I've said it 10 times," he said, laughing.

. . .


Additional reporting by Amy Dawes.




On the Heroes point, is that true? There were tens of millions of downloads of episodes last year? And that NBC doesn't air reruns on TV? Seems a bit excessive. But still, the writers should get a cut of any revenues their products make. I don't think they're asking for much, really.
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Postby Zarles on Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:18 pm

An opinion piece by Damon Lindelof from the NY Times is here.
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Postby Theta on Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:46 pm

Here's what I don't get. People have been taping shows for YEARS. That's all TiVo is, a slightly more convenient VCR. And only NOW are the studios realizing TV as we know it is dying? Whut?
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Postby King Of Nowhere on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:04 pm

I hear the Screen Actors Guild could be striking in June, that'll fuck up the entire industry even more.
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Postby Theta on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:07 pm

king_of_nowhere wrote:I hear the Screen Actors Guild could be striking in June, that'll fuck up the entire industry even more.


Yep, and the DGA, over the exact same issue.
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Postby King Of Nowhere on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:14 pm

But aren't the DGA & WGA strikes only fucking up American productions?
if the SAG thing happens it'll make this mess worldwide.

That'll mean nothing but horrible You've Been Framed type clip shows & no movies anywhere.
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Postby Theta on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:18 pm

king_of_nowhere wrote:But aren't the DGA & WGA strikes only fucking up American productions?
if the SAG thing happens it'll make this mess worldwide.

That'll mean nothing but horrible You've Been Framed type clip shows & no movies anywhere.


SAG is US only, the last time I checked. I believe foreign unions will make an exception if an actor is a member of SAG, which allows actors to shoot on foreign soil, but SAG isn't international.

If they were, that'd be some major, major shit. That'd be like the entirety of IATSE striking, which would kill everything from local access up plus stage productions.
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Postby King Of Nowhere on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:25 pm

SAG wrote:Beginning on May 1, 2002, SAG expanded its protections globally to better serve the needs of members in this rapidly changing, global entertainment economy and to ensure that the protections of the Guild follow our performers wherever they may work.


sounds like its international.

the industry is fucked.
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Postby Theta on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:29 pm

minstrel wrote:
junesquad wrote:Good point, but if I was a producer and saying 10 months to a year, I'd be the ones peeing my pants...


Yeah.

If it goes that long, I wonder if the networks might start buying more shows made in other countries. They gotta show SOMETHING, and people can only be fobbed off with reruns and reality shows for so long before they just stop watching TV.



Well, you couldn't get anything from a non-English-speaking country. The word "subtitles" give network execs the willies, and dubbing would be out because an actor's strike is all but inevitable in June.

As for English language programming, most of what's available is already spoken for thanks to cable. The BBC, for example, has sold the US airing rights to its most popular programs, and most of the rest is shown on BBC America, which they need to keep up because it drives US DVD sales.

So basically you're limited to whatever's left over from England and Canada.


Now, it's definitely possible that cable series already produced by the studios would be rerun on network television. I think that's likely and frankly all but inevitable for next season; it's already been produced, they've gotten their money back, and it'll drive DVD sales.
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Postby Lord Voldemoo on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:32 pm

With any luck the result here (one way or another) will set a precedent that will allow for new agreements with the DGA and SAG to be put into place without the necessity of a strike.

That, of course, is one of the main reasons the studios are taking such a hard line here. They can't really give in without giving in to everyone.
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Postby King Of Nowhere on Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:34 pm

don't forget about reality TV.

all those shows have are producers & the public.
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