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 Leckomaniac on Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:27 am

Studios can't force guild writers to work on webisode spinoffs of TV shows.

That is the ruling handed down by the NLRB. Studios had been forcing writers to work on web content for free. The studios argue that this stuff was promotional material only and should not result in extra pay.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:31 am

Variety has another article about the rush to cram in as many projects before the strike as possible...and how it is causing many to lose their summer vacation.

Hollywood's traditional summer break is giving way to a summer scramble.
With threats of a strike looming, film studios are jockeying for top-tier talent, writers are racing to finish and polish scripts, and agents are trying to jam their actor clients into as many projects as they can.

The result is a frantic deal-making dynamic and a compressed development process, with many in Hollywood working weekends in an effort to solidify the 2009 slate in a span of six to eight weeks.

Actors like Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon are all pondering an array of projects, in some cases considering two or even three movies in a short timeframe, on the fear that there will be an extended work stoppage.

"It's like a game of musical chairs, where you better make sure your client has a seat when the music stops," says one agent. "By Oct. 31, all of the pre-strike movies will have their casts and directors, because of the required prep time. There might be some rewrite work and the odd comedy that can be slotted in and shot quickly. But that'll be it for a long time."

March 1 is viewed as the date any project has to start production if it has a chance to be completed by late spring, in advance of the Screen Actors Guild contract expiring June 30.

Each studio has given agencies a list of priority film projects. Commitments from a handful of bankable stars and directors are sure to yield greenlights. But things may get acrimonious when studios, in their zeal to make the movies, aren't able to secure such talent and have to go to second-tier stars, with their agents seizing on the moment to demand bigger paydays.

One of the most targeted stars is Johnny Depp, with many studios watching to see if he becomes available. Depp has an opening to make a pic, and wants to star in Warner Bros.' adaptation of the novel "Shantaram," but the studio and director Mira Nair have yet to come to terms on a script, locations and a budget. If the project falls apart -- as it did last year under Peter Weir -- there are plenty of other studios waiting in the wings for Depp's services.

The same waiting game is going on with "State of Play," the Kevin Macdonald-directed adaptation of the British miniseries Pitt wants to do after he finishes the Coen brothers film "Burn After Reading." Pitt hasn't committed, though, as Universal is waiting on a rewrite by Tony Gilroy. Pitt also is being tempted by such projects as the Warner Bros. drama "The Town," which has Adrian Lyne circling.

Damon may get in as many as three projects by next spring. Paramount is trying to line him up for a fall shoot of "The Fighter," a Darren Aronofsky-directed drama, which also will star Wahlberg. Then, Damon is considering the Paul Greengrass Iraq drama "The Imperial Life in the Emerald City," only if it can be completed by April 14. That's because he's promised Steven Soderbergh he'll be available to start "The Informant" April 15.

Carrey recently committed to the Warner Bros. comedy "Yes Man" and the Robert Zemeckis-directed "A Christmas Carol" at Disney, and is looking for a third film to start before March. Notoriously picky Cameron Diaz has also set three projects, the Fox comedy "What Happens in Vegas ... ," Media Rights Capital's horror film "The Box," and the Nick Cassavetes-directed drama "My Sister's Keeper" at New Line.

Despite the rush to make the deadline, execs are haunted by memories of 2001, when the lead-up to contract talks ended up with studios stockpiling product that, in many cases, turned out to be mediocre (or worse). Some films were miscast (the Chris Rock-Anthony Hopkins drama "Bad Company") or rushed into production with half-baked plots (the Eddie Murphy-Robert De Niro starrer "Showtime").

That history has only added to the anxieties. The time factor has put a weird pressure on producers and studio execs, who know that if a star agrees to their project, it's a go; however, due to the possibility of a strike or even a work slowdown, a rejection means the work could be postponed indefinitely. Each major star who commits to a project dims the hopes of many producers anxious to lock down a deal.

"When Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon signed to do 'Four Christmases,' we crossed them both off our lists," says an exec. "Vince was the real killer. Some actors will do as many as three films before next summer, but Vince has other movies to promote in the fall and the spring, and we don't think he'll take another film."

George Clooney, currently in post on his film "Leatherheads," is then booked for "Burn After Reading" and "White Jazz" but could possibly fit in another project. Tom Hanks is already set for "Angels & Demons" (the "Da Vinci Code" sequel for Sony), but there's a chance he too will have an opening.

There's also speculation as to what Tom Cruise will do once he finishes "Valkyrie." Among the possibilities are "Men," the Warner Bros. comedy that has Todd Phillips directing; and the Terry George-directed "Edwin A. Salt" at Sony. Some are hoping he will do both.

Leonardo DiCaprio also may do a film after he and Russell Crowe complete "Body of Lies" for director Ridley Scott at Warner Bros. And Crowe and Scott may move on to "Nottingham" at Universal.

On the comedy side, studios are eagerly watching to see if Will Ferrell commits to "Land of the Lost" at Universal, even as WB courts him for "Himmelfarb," a comedy that casts him as a loser producer who's embraced by the family of a girl who can't stand him. Also in the mix are Jack Black, who could do one project before he starts the Harold Ramis-directed "Year One" in January.

If Ben Stiller delays post-production on the film he directed, "Tropic Thunder," he could squeeze in an acting job.

Studios have been asking about Steve Carell, but landing him will be especially tough. Once Carell wraps "Get Smart," he must contend with a 30-episode order of his NBC sitcom "The Office," a schedule that will keep him shooting until late April.

Meanwhile, writers' agents say they are booking script-doctoring gigs by the week, a trend that will become elevated later this year as studios hammer the bugs out of scripts before production starts.

While this production rush is a bit crazy, it's not necessarily creating an atmosphere of fear in studio suites.

"Studios will feel no pressure to make a deal, because they'll have more product than they need," says one agent.

Says one senior exec, "If the result is a slightly less crowded release schedule, that might not be so bad, because the current crowding is hurting everyone's films."

It also could simply lead to better projects.

"The last time there was a strike, the best writers -- the ones who jump from assignment to assignment -- sat back and wrote spec scripts," says one senior studio exec. "This is the kind of new and original material that only comes when writers are motivated by the need to get paid when a strike ends. That could lead to some terrific movies."

As for the vacations? There's always next year.

"More than a few people are cutting vacations short this year, but are looking to take much longer ones next summer," says the rep. "Whether there is a strike or not, this place is going to be a ghost town next summer."


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Postby Leckomaniac on Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:17 am

As some of you know, the looming strike has claimed a few more victims...among them Pompeii and Transformers II.

Because of this, I figured it was time to bring this thread back in order to clear something up. The fear and panic that has engulfed Hollywood is not just because of the writer's strike, but the fact that mere months after the writer's contract expires (and the strike begins) the director's and actor's contracts expire. So, potentially, we are looking at an industry wide strike. All three unions asking for a bigger piece of the pie. It still looks like this is going to be a possibility...so we shall see how the next few months play out...and what movies fall victim.
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Postby Chilli on Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:29 am

Never mind, read article properly.

Damn you Star Trek.
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Postby Fievel on Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:28 am

I blame the terrorists.
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Postby papalazeru on Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:12 am

Why on earth would they go on strike?

Let's face it....anyone can make a Remake, no?

As for TV.....The world of TV is not famous for making great sitcoms.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:03 am

ComingSoon.net has gotten its hands on a list that is being circulated around major talent agencies in Hollywood which includes all the movies that the studios are making a priority before the impending Writers Guild, Directors Guild and Screen Actors Guild strike next year. The list contains a lot of interesting information about upcoming movies and directors that are currently attached. (Caveat emptor: Some of these directors may not have actually signed or agreed to make the movies their next projects.) Here are some highlights followed by the full list!

- Justin Lin will be returning to direct The Fast and the Furious 4.
- Director Brad Silberling (Lemony Snicket) is attached to develop a movie based on the TV show "Land of the Lost."
- Drew Barrymore is slated to direct her first feature, something called Whip It.
- Summit is trying to get rolling on the thriller Need directed by Ryan Murphy, which is to star Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. (ComingSoon.net spoke to Watts last week and she said that she's still interested.)
- Adaptations of Stephen King's Cell by Eli Roth and Yann Martel's Life of Pi by Jean-Pierre Jeunet also appear on the list, making one think they'll be rolling into production sooner rather than later.
- Guy Ritchie's name is listed next to the Warner Bros. remake of The Dirty Dozen!
- A new directing project for Robert Redford is a movie called Against All Enemies.
- Stephen Sommers is not listed as the director of G.I. Joe even though it was recently announced by Hasbro via Variety.
- George Miller is listed in parentheses for Justice League, so maybe that's not as definite as some sites would like to believe.
- The list confirms that Accepted director Steve Pink will helm Fletch Won for the Weinstein Company.
- Directors Justin Chadwick and Wayne Kramer are listed as possibles for something called Seventh Samurai from the Weinstein Company. Could this be the rumored remake of Akira Kurosawa's classic Seven Samurai?
- The Coen Brothers, whose new movie No Country for Old Men comes out later this year and who are finishing up Burn After Reading with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, have a movie listed for Focus Features called The Serious Man.
- Director John Whitesell (Big Momma's House) is listed next to a movie called Meatballs for Lionsgate, which is presumably a remake of the 1979 Bill Murray camp comedy.
- Matthew Vaughn's Thor, which was just announced by Marvel Films, is on the list of a movie that's being fast-tracked before the strike.
- Wolgang Petersen is listed as the director for a movie called Alien Uprising.
- David Dobkin will direct Monster Hunter.

THE LIST (D = Director):

2929
BURNING PLAIN D: Guillermo Arriaga
VILLAIN D: Martin Campbell

BALDWIN
ATLAS SHRUGGED D: Vadim Perelman
INDISCRETION D: Tony Goldwyn
LUNA D: Deepa Mehta

BEACON
CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HITMAN D: Kip Williams

DISNEY
ADVENTURELAND D: Greg Mottola
ALICE D: tba
AMERICAN DOG (animated) D: Chris Sanders
BEDTIME STORIES D: Adam Shankman
BOY SOLDIER D: Oliver Higschbiegel
A CHRISTMAS CAROL D: Robert Zemeckis
CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC D: PJ Hogan
DOUBT D: John Patrick Shanley
ESCAPE FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN D: Andy Fickman
G-FORCE (animated) D: Hoyt Yeatman
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 D: Kenny Ortega
JUNGLE CRUISE D: tba
LIBERTY D: tba
PRINCE OF PERSIA D: tba
PRINCESS AND THE FROG (animated) D: Ron Clements & John Musker
PROPOSAL, THE D: Robert Luketic
SCHOOLED D: Walt Becker
SNOW D: Francis Lawrence

DIMENSION
CELL D: Eli Roth
COMEBACK D: Fred Durst
PORKY'S D: tba
SUPERHEROES D: Craig Mazin
WEDDING RINGER FKA GOLDEN TUX D: Lavender and Garelick
YOUTH IN REVOLT D: tba

DREAMWORKS
CAMP CREEPY TIME D: tba
DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS D: Jay Roach
EAGLE EYE D: DJ Caruso
GHOST TOWN D: David Koepp
HOTEL FOR DOGS D: Thor Freudenthal
I LOVE YOU MAN D: John Hamburg
RIVALS, THE D: John Madden
SHE'S OUT OF MY LEAGUE D: tba
SIEGE OF FULTON AVE D: tba
SOLOIST, THE aka IMAGINING BEETHOVEN D: Joe Wright
THOUSAND WORDS D: tba
TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 D: Steven Spielberg
WEDNESDAY D: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
WILL D: tba

FOCUS
SERIOUS MAN, THE D: Coen Bros
CURVEBALL D: (Josh Marston)
LITTLE GAME D: Ang Lee
NICK AND NORAH D: Peter Sollett
MEMORY OF A KILLER D: tba
PIANO TUNER D: Werner Herzog
SIN NOMBRE D: Cary Fukunaga

FOX
A-TEAM D: tba
COOL SCHOOL D: tba
DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL D: Scott Derrikson
FANTASTIC VOYAGE D: Roland Emmerich
GULLIVERS TRAVELS D: tba
MAGNETO D: David Goyer
ME TIME D: tba
RUNAWAY TRAIN D: Martin Campbell
SELLING TIME D: tba
STREET FIGHTER D: Andrezej Bartkowiak
THEY CAME FROM UPSTAIRS D: John Schultz
TOOTH FAIRY D: tba
TROUBLE MAN FKA WICHITA D: Tom Dey
USED GUYS D: Jay Roach
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS D: Tom Vaughn
WOLVERINE D: Gavin Hood

FOX ATOMIC
BRAD CUTTER RUINED MY LIFE D: Ari Sandel
CAPTAIN AWESOME D: tba
DON'T SEND HELP D: tba
I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER D: tba
PLAYBOYS D: Trevor Moore/Zack Creggors
SPACE INVADER D: Andrew Currie
SMASH AND GRAB D: (John Moore)

FOX SEARCHLIGHT
500 DAYS OF SUMMER D: Marc Webb
KIDNAP D: Nate Gwaltney
NOTORIOUS D: George Tillman
RABBIT HOLE D: (Sam Raimi)
SECRET LIFE OF BEES D: Gina Prince Bythewood
TOGETHER D: Miguel Arteta
WAY BACK D: tba

FOX 2000
AFTERLIFE D: tba
ANOTHER BULLSH*T NIGHT IN SUCK CITY D: Paul Weitz
BACHELOR BOYS D: tba
BOYS NEXT DOOR D: tba
CONTACT ZERO D: tba
DALLAS D: Betty Thomas
LIFE OF PI D: Jean Pierre Jeunet
LUCKY STRIKE D: Tony Scott
MARLEY AND ME D: David Frankel
MONTE CARLO FKA HEADHUNTERS D: Tom Bezucha
RAMONA D: Liz Allen
SHADOW DIVERS D: tba
TOWNHOUSE D: John Carney
WOLF BROTHER D: Catherine Hardwicke

GOLD CIRCLE
ARCANUM D: Randall Wallace
CHILLED IN MIAMI D: Jonas Elmer
FLYPAPER D: tbd
HONEYMOON'S OVER D: tbd

HBO FILMS
CONNIE & RUTH D: Jane Anderson
RECOUNT D: Jay Roach

INTERMEDIA
KILLER'S GAME D: Simon Crane

LAKESHORE
GAME D: Neveldine & Taylor
LINCOLN LAWYER D: tba

LIONSGATE
5 KILLERS D: Mark Helfrich
ADDICTED D: Peter Medak
ATLAS SHRUGGED D: Vadim Perelman
BACHELOR #2 D: Howard Deutch
CHURCHBOY D: Sonu Gonera
MEATBALLS D: John Whitesell
PARTY BOYS D: Pate Bros.
PUNISHER II D: Lexi Alexander
SHRINK D: Kevin Donovan
SPIRIT, THE D: Frank Miller
TULIA D: John Singleton

MANDATE
CURVE D: Charles Stone
DOGS OF BABEL D: tba
WHIP IT D: Drew Barrymore

MIRAMAX
HERO D: Julian Farino
RESURRECTIONISTS, THE (BA) D: John Madden

NEW LINE
20,000 LEAGUES D: tba
$40,000 MAN D: tba
APPALOOSA D: Ed Harris
CONRAIL D: Ericson Core
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK D: Len Wiseman
FOUR CHRISTMASES D: Seth Gordon
GEARS OF WAR D: tba
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST D: Mark Waters
HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU D: Ken Kwapis
HONEYMOON WITH HARRY D: tbd
KILLING ON CARNIVAL ROW D: Neil Jordan
KING OF KONG D: Seth Gordon
MILD THINGS D: Frank Coraci
MY SISTER'S KEEPER D: Nick Cassavetes
PAPER WINGS D: tba
SEX & THE CITY D: Michael King
SNITCH D: Carl Franklin
TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE D: Robert Schwentke

NEW REGENCY
BIG MOMMA'S 3 D: tba
BRIDE WARS D: tba
CAGE D: tba
CAPRICORN ONE D: tba
DALLAS D: (Betty Thomas)
MONTE CARLO aka HEADHUNTERS D: Tom Bezucha
VOLTRON D: tbd

OVERTURE
105 DEGREES D: Jon AMiel
HUMBOLT PARK D: tba
RIGHTEOUS KILL D: Jon Avnet
LAST CHANCE HARVEY D: Joel Hopkins

PARAMOUNT
ANGUS, THONGS D: Gurinder Chadha
CHEF D: tba
FIGHTER, THE D: Darren Aronofsky
GI JOE D: tba
I WANT TO _____ YOUR SISTER D: tba
LOVE GURU D: Marco Schnabel
MEN MAKING MUSIC D: Clay Tarver
NOWHERE LAND D: Karey Kirkpatrick
PSYCHO FUNKY CHIMP D: Ruben Fleischer
STAR TREK D: JJ Abrams
THOR D: Matthew Vaughn
TORSO D: David Fincher
UNTITLED CAMERON CROWE D: Cameron Crowe
YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY D: Julian Farino
WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE D: tba
WORLD WAR Z D: tba

PARAMOUNT VANTAGE
AMERICAN STORAGE D: Andrew Cohen
CAGED D: Chris Kentis
DON READY FKA CLAY HUJKO LIKES CARS D: Neal Brennan
DEFIANCE D: Ed Zwick
DIRT D: tba

ROGUE
BELCOO EXPERIMENT D: James Gunn
BFF D: tba
CASTLEVANIA D: Sylvain White
DYNOMITE D: Paul Feig
FIGHTIN' D: Dito Montiel
LABOR DAY MASON D: Will Gluck
LOST SQUAD D: Leger & Mather
NEAR DARK D: Sam Bayer

SCREEN GEMS
ARMORED D: Nimrod Antal
BONE DEEP D: John Luessenhop
BURIAL, THE D: tba
CROSSING, THE D: tba
INSANITARIUM D: Jeff Buhler
LODGER D:David Ondaatje
KINGDOM COME D: tba
PHENOM D: tba
UNT MARDI GRAS D: Phil Dornfeld

SPYGLASS
ANTHONY ZIMMER D: Lasse Hallstrom
IRONBOW D: Derin Seale

SONY
AGAINST ALL ENEMIES D: Robert Redford
ALIEN UPRISING D: Wolfgang Peterson
ANGELS AND DEMONS D: Ron Howard
BASTER D: Speck & Gordon
BIG MAN ON CAMPUS D: tba
BOND 22 D: Marc Forster
BROTHERS D: Jim Sheridan
EDWIN A. SALT D: Terry George
FANTASY ISLAND D; tba
GRAYS, THE D: Wolfgang Peterson
I DREAM OF JEANNIE D: tba
JULIE JULIA D: Nora Ephron
MONSTER HUNTER D: David Dobkin
SAMMY'S HILL D: David O. Russell
SEVEN POUNDS D: Gabriele Muccino
STEP-BROTHERS D: Adam Mckay
THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS D: Steve Zaillian
TAKING OF PELHAM 123 D: Tony Scott
TOKYO SUCKERPUNCH D: tba
YEAR ONE D: Harold Ramis
VOYEUR D: tba

SONY CLASSICS
DANCING WITH SHIVA D: Jonathan Demme

SUMMIT
DJINN D: Nicholas Refn
NEED D: Ryan Murphy
PARENTAL GUIDANCE D: tba
RAT BASTARD D: Gary Winick
SEX DRIVE D: Sean Anders

UNITED ARTISTS
BIRDCAGE 2 D: tba
PINKVILLE D: Oliver Stone

UNIVERSAL
ABSENT HEARTS D: Jim Whitaker
BARBARELLA D: Robert Rodriguez
BIG BROTHERS D: David Wain
CHANGELING, THE D: Clint Eastwood
CIRQUE DU FREAK D: Paul Weitz
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON D: Breck Eisner
DARK FIELDS D: tba
DRACULA YEAR ZERO D: Alex Proyas
FAST & FURIOUS 4 D: Justin Lin
HURRICAINE SEASON D: Billy Ray
I, THALUS AKA OLYMPIAD D: Pete Segal
LAND OF THE LOST D: Brad Silberling
LA RIOTS D: Spike Lee
LA SCORTA D: Asger Yeth
MAN AND WIFE D: Gabriele Muccino
MY NAME IS JODY WILLIAMS D: Audrey Wells
NOTTINGHAM D: Ridley Scott
ONE NATION UNDER BOB D: Tom Shadyac
PHARM GIRL D: tba
PLAYBOY D: Brett Ratner
REPOSSESSION MAMBO D: Miguel Sapochnik
RIPD D: David Dobkin
SANDS OF TIME D: tba
SCOTT PILGRIM D: Edgar Wright
STATE OF PLAY D: Kevin McDonald
SOURCE CODE D: tba
TRAVELING D: Brandon Camp
TRUMP HEIST D: Brett Ratner
UNDOMESTIC GODDESS D: tba
UNT CHARLES RANDOLPH D: tba
UNT JON FAVREAU D: Jon Favreau
WOLFMAN D: Mark Romanek

WALDEN
NARNIA 3 - DAWNTREADER D: Michael Apted
NARNIA 4 - SILVER CHAIR D: tba
CITY OF THE BEASTS D: tba
TORTOISE AND THE HIPPO D: John Dykstra
RELATIVITY D: tba

WARNER BROS.
1906 D: Brad Bird
ALTERED CARBON D: James McTeigue
ARRANGED D: Gary Winick
CARPE DEMON D: tba
CLASH OF THE TITANS D: tba
DIRTY DOZEN D: Guy Ritchie
FARRAGUT NORTH D: tba
GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE D: tba
HARRY POTTER 6 D: David Yates
HEART SHAPED BOX D: Neil JOrdan
HIMELFARB D: Miguel Arteta
INCREDIBLE MR LIMPET D: Chris Columbus
JUSTICE LEAGUE D: (George Miller)
LOSERS D:
MEN D: Todd Phillips
MORTDECAI D: tbd
NIGHTCRAWLERS D: McG
PENETRATION D: Ridley Scott
SHANTARAM D: Mira Nair
SHERLOCK HOLMES D: tbd
SPOOKS APPRENTICE D: Tim Burton
THE TOWN D: Adrian Lyne
YES MAN D: Peyton Reed

WARNER INDEPENDENT
DISASSOCIATE D: Zach Helm
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH D: Jonathan Jakubowitz
MAN WITHOUT A GUN D: Pete Travis
MESSAGE FROM THE KING D: tba
RUM DIARY D: Bruce Robinson
WHITE JAZZ D: Joe Carnahan

WEINSTEIN CO.
BERNARD THE GENIE D: Richard Curtis
FLETCH WON D: Steve Pink
I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT D: David Frankel
GOING DOWN FKA MUSKRAT LOVE D: (Andy Fickman)
NINE D: Rob Marshall
READER, THE D: Stephen Daldry
SEVENTH SAMURAI D: (Justin Chadwick, Wayne Kramer?)
SHANGHAI D: Mikael Hafstrom
TULIP FEVER D: Peter Chelsom
ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO D: Kevin Smith

WORKING TITLE
BAD NEWS INC. D: tba
BURN AFTER READING D: Coen Bros
EVEREST D: tba
FOOD FIGHT D: Steve Brill
IMPERIAL LIFE D: Paul Greengrass
LOST FOR WORDS D: Suzanne Bier
RIP, THE D: Roger Michell
ROCK THE BOAT D: Richard Curtis
YOUNG AT HEART D: tba
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Postby papalazeru on Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:41 am

...and if we take away all the remakes/reimaginings/reinventions and unoriginal films....we are left with about 3.


I thank you.

Someone make Jumanji 3 please.
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Postby godzillasushi on Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:51 am

Now I have a great question. What about CGI studios like Pixar? They aren't exactly under any rules or anything right? And they are programmers and stuff. I mean, they must get the scripts so far in advance that 4 years worth of movies have already been written anyway. And the people there write the scripts...right? I mean, CG animation studios seem immune to that whole thing.
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Postby havocSchultz on Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:31 am

godzillasushi wrote:Now I have a great question. What about CGI studios like Pixar? They aren't exactly under any rules or anything right? And they are programmers and stuff. I mean, they must get the scripts so far in advance that 4 years worth of movies have already been written anyway. And the people there write the scripts...right? I mean, CG animation studios seem immune to that whole thing.


They still have credited writers and directors - and actors doing the voice work...

Which means - I believe - they still have to be part of the guild.

Which means they strike...

But that's just my opinion...
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Postby Leckomaniac on Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:07 pm

Thanks to TheButcher for giving the heads up in the JLA thread:

As it stands right now, the end of the world as we know it (aka the potential Hollywood strike) is eying a June, 2008 release date. However, when it comes to the WGA (Writer's Guild of America), their contract is up on October 31, 2007. Yup, that's in a month from now. According to a New York Times article, the WGA could one-up their pals from SAG (Screen Actor's Guild) and DGA (Director's Guild of America) and strike early -- leaving some scripts, which aren't finished yet, in limbo. And if the NY Times is correct, one of those scripts includes Justice League of America. While the current draft, penned by Kieran and Michele Mulroney, was thought to have been handed in already, the NY Times claims it "still does not have a so-called green light to begin production." If more work needs to be done, and the writer's strike next month, it could seriously damage the status of those projects (like Justice League) that still need a bit more work.

And guild leaders are eying projects like Justice League, as well as the highly-anticipated follow-up to Night at the Museum, tentatively titled Another Night, because those are the movies studio's care about the most. But they're also the ones that need more work; projects that, if a strike were to happen, could be seriously delayed and/or shelved indefinitely. It's a smart move by the WGA; I mean, why strike in June when studios have already managed to stockpile enough canned beans to last a year or two? Strike now while they're still rushing to secure casts, and budgets and rewrites. Strike now when they need you the most. Personally, I'd be very surprised if Justice League of America actually makes it into production by early next year. Even if the writer's don't strike next month, casting has been one helluva uphill climb.

Rumors have been flying all over the place, with every other website claiming to have the exclusive on another name added to the film's potential roster. (I'm still game for Fred Savage to play Batman and Ralph Maccio as Superman , but that's me.) The way I see it, anyone who is not working early next year could be up for a role. Pick a name, any name, and write the following sentence: "We've been told by a super secret inside source that (insert actor) is being looked at to play (insert superhero)." Publish post. Congrats, you have an exclusive!


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Postby Leckomaniac on Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:31 pm

Things look to be getting worse...from the AMPTP:

"We have had six across-the-table sessions and have been met with only silence and stonewalling from the WGA leadership. We have attempted to engage on major issues, but no dialogue has been forthcoming from the WGA leadership. This is the most frustrating and futile attempt at bargaining that anyone on the AMPTP negotiating team has encountered in guild negotiation history. The WGA leadership apparently has no intention to bargain in good faith. The WGA leadership is hidebound to strike. We are farther apart today than when we started, and the only outcome we see is a disaster engineered by the present leadership of the WGA."
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:16 pm

havocSchultz wrote:
godzillasushi wrote:Now I have a great question. What about CGI studios like Pixar? They aren't exactly under any rules or anything right? And they are programmers and stuff. I mean, they must get the scripts so far in advance that 4 years worth of movies have already been written anyway. And the people there write the scripts...right? I mean, CG animation studios seem immune to that whole thing.


They still have credited writers and directors - and actors doing the voice work...

Which means - I believe - they still have to be part of the guild.

Which means they strike...

But that's just my opinion...

Plus some of the animators are under a Union as well.
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Postby Peven on Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:13 am

let me ask this; if a movie or tv show loses money, does the writer lose money? no. if the show or movie never even sees the light of day and sits in a studio vault, never making a penny, does the writer get paid? yes. of all the studio movies and TV shows made, written, each year what percentage are actually good? 10%? maybe. tops. in a good year.

the studios aren't getting screwed, the WGA isn't getting screwed, WE the paying public are the ones getting screwed.
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Postby Theta on Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:33 pm

Peven wrote:let me ask this; if a movie or tv show loses money, does the writer lose money? no. if the show or movie never even sees the light of day and sits in a studio vault, never making a penny, does the writer get paid? yes. of all the studio movies and TV shows made, written, each year what percentage are actually good? 10%? maybe. tops. in a good year.

the studios aren't getting screwed, the WGA isn't getting screwed, WE the paying public are the ones getting screwed.


So don't pay. Seriously, keep your money and do something else.
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Postby Fried Gold on Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:38 pm

Do you think there will be an upsurge in the number of independent, non-union films getting into the limelight while all this is going on?
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Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Oct 09, 2007 6:25 pm

Terry George of the WGA sounds the drums of war! Or more accurately, he discusses the strike situation and considering that he is ON the negotiating team it is interesting to hear what he has to say. Especially the tid bit about the strike potentially happening at the end of this month when the WGA contract expires. Many people thought the WGA would wait until June when the actors guild contract expired, but what George seems to imply is that the strike could happen quite soon. What does this mean? Well the studios were hoping that the extra months would give them a chance to stockpile scripts. If the strike does indeed happen at the end of this month there will be a ton of unfinished blockbuster scripts lying around. Hmmmm
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Steeerike...

Postby Vynson on Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:39 pm

The studios have plenty of scripts. Remember the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark when they took the ark into the warehouse. Imagine that... full of scripts. Hollywood's got plenty.

Of course, what they don't have are new scripts for their franchises... which is what scares them. And they won't have anyone to polish the scripts they do have when Tom or Gwen don't like their character arcs. And hyphenates will be on strike too, so the director-writers won't be able to rewrite.

And the wannabe writers who aren't guild members yet won't be able to get that work... if they ever want to join the guild. Ever.

But movies are beside the point, really. TV is the power at hand. TV is where the loss happens now if the writers strike at midnight on Halloween. That's their best chance.

Still, it strikes me as primitive that the guild is just now getting around to trying to negotiate another 4 pennies on DVD sales now that we're within shouting distance of the DVD being obsolete at the hands of digital files. WGA's leadership seems about as tech-savvy as an Amish barn raising crew.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:39 am

I think sounding the death knell of dvd is extremely premature.
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Death knell... it's a bit late for that...

Postby Vynson on Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:49 pm

As broadband becomes capable of handling larger files, we are entering an era where nearly all media will become obsolete.

And frankly, DVDs deserve to be obsolete. They are quirky and fragile things that freeze up and malfunction far more often than VHS tapes ever did... and far more often than CDs do.

The WGA is fighting a fight that should have been fought a decade ago. They need to keep their eye on the real issue... preserving residuals on their work no matter the medium... because media will evolve and change quickly in the next few years... they need lanugage that will protect the writer's work whether it is streamed, downloaded, broadcast, etc. The death knell of the DVD?... man I'm sounding the death knell of MEDIA. The digital file is a soul that no longer needs a corporal form... we no longer need media and its tedious packaging and shipping.

The DVD market is nothing more than a low tech bad habbit perpetuated by distributors who do not want to devestate their networks by embracing technology in anything other than slow motion... and a public that does not trust what they can't hold in their hands. But this is changing. In a few years, the DVD will be about as common as a VHS tape... and a few more years... a laserdisc... and a few more... an 8 track.

The WGA needs to concern themselves with the material itself, whether on film, the printed page, or a digital file streaming through the ether or burned to plastic.
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Postby Vegeta on Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:59 pm

I partially disagree. Until the majority can download directly to their television (affordably and fairly simply) the format won't "go away". Personally, I have never even considered downloading a movie, simply because I don't want to watch it on my PC. For people with incredibly slick PCs sure it's great, but I have had far more trouble with streaming than I've ever had with DVD's.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:02 am

The genie is out of the bottle and has been for years. The average consumer is not going to give up owning physical media. Otherwise digital song downloads would account for more than 6% of the market it currently holds and movies on demand would have killed the rental market while Blockbuster and Netflix thrive or DVRs would have limited season dvd sets which have only increased in production over the last 5 years. The consumer is not interested in "ether" ware.
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:05 am

Yeah, people like having an item in their hands. Something physical to look at/touch, beyond the media itself.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:15 am

The only way I could see this working would be burnable media be it some form of HD disc or something else.
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Postby havocSchultz on Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:18 am

Vegeta wrote:Yeah, people like having an item in their hands. Something physical to look at/touch,


And to show off to their friends...

It's doesn't seem as cool when you point to computer and say "I got over 500 movies in that thing..."

As opposed to just having a whole wall full of stuff...
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:23 am

Basically...

Heck, I've got a book shelf neatly stacked with over 500 CD's... I am pretty proud of the collection.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:43 am

Ok, for the record, the WGA is going on strike to get more off of DVD sales as well as sales from other mediums...such as digital download sales. So, this is about more than just DVD sales. The studio doesnt want to
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Postby TheButcher on Sat Oct 20, 2007 8:01 am

Latest news from Hollywood.
Hollywood union authorized to strike Sat Oct 20, 12:43 AM ET



Members of Hollywood's film and television writers union have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike anytime after their contract expires at the end of the month.

More than 5,000 members of the Writers Guild of America cast ballots, with 90 percent voting in favor of authorizing the strike, the union said Friday evening. Members voted Thursday.

"Writers do not want to strike, but they are resolute and prepared to take strong, united action to defend our interests," guild President Patric Verrone said in a news release. "What we must have is a contract that gives us the ability to keep up with the financial success of this ever-expanding global industry."

Since July, the guild has been in talks with film studios and production companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Both sides acknowledge they have not made progress.

Nick Counter, the alliance's president, said he was not surprised by the vote.

"Our focus is on negotiating a reasonable agreement with the WGA," he said in a news release.

A key issue dividing producers and writers, as well as actors, whose contract expires next June, is compensation for DVD sales and productions that get distributed on the Internet or in other new media formats.

The writers' current three-year contract expires Oct. 31, and their vote gives the union's leaders authorization to call a strike anytime after that day.

Studios and TV networks have accelerated filming of shows and movies and begun stockpiling scripts in case of a strike.

The last strike in 1988 lasted 22 weeks. Losses to the industry were put at $500 million.

Source:
Yahoo/AP
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WGA and Media

Postby Vynson on Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:35 pm

Even if the WGA had no demands, they'd still have to strike to protect writers from the rollbacks AMPTP is requesting.

Twister was the first movie released on DVD back in 1996. Eleven years later, writers still don't have a fair shake on residuals.

If we pretend that Hollywood needs to wait and see how viable the internet is for delivering movies/tv/etc. the WGA will still be trying to deal itself in to decent residuals in 2020.

But if a reasonble percentage is put on the table, everyone gets a fair shake. If there's no money in it (yeah, right), then there won't be anything to get a percentage of. No worries, right?

Again, media is beside the point. You guys may be all warm and fuzzy about your walls of DVDs... like your parents were proud of their 8-tracks and their parents were about their 78s. Media changes. And it's changing faster than ever. Look at the span from strict cinematic release to VHS. Then look at the decades ruled by VHS before DVD. And the mere decade that DVD has lasted before BluRay and HD-DVD... which are already technically obsolete.

What's next? As this generation becomes more technically proficient, we will lose our needless distraction with physical objects. Or rather, we are learning to pile our affection for them into the player itself... the ipod can put your entire music collection, your photo albums, even movies... in the palm of your hand. You can store movies on a hard drive and watch them on your television at the push of a few buttons.

As for the strike... obviously, AMPTP loaded their very silly item 1 into the proposal specifically so that they could take it off and try to appear magnanimous. The plot is to try to put off a strike until the bulk of the TV season is in the can. If WGA strikes on November 1, the industry will lose millions due to a decaptiated TV season.

Which means that WGA now has some real power. They should make it perfectly clear to AMPTP that they will call strike on 11/1 if a deal is not done. And further talks will not resume until after the fall. Period. Kiss your TV revenue bye bye for the year.

If the WGA doesn't play this card and waits... checking to the power so to speak, they will lose their momentum and power as AMPTP turns their attention to the DGA and SAG/AFTRA. If this isn't a done deal come Spring, writers will be so low on the Hollywood totem pole you'll need a shovel to find them.
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Postby Fried Gold on Sun Oct 21, 2007 9:09 pm

What J. Michael Strazcynski posted on the newsgroups:

Let me jump in here for a second to try and turn the discussion a bit, in that the situation as it affects writers is vastly different than in any other union.

First, to the non- or anti-union folks, a question: when you go into a book store to buy a copy of a novel by your favorite author, do you mind that roughly twelve percent of the price of that book goes to the author? Or do you feel that he's entitled to that royalty?

Most folks, I would suggest, are totally okay with that idea. They wrote he book, the publisher published the book, they're both entitled to get something back from the publishing of it. That seems only fair.

The situation with the WGA is really no different. It's a way of ensuring that artists -- who live in a very different world than the 9-5 universe everybody else lives in -- receive some regular form of compensation to keep them alive and solvent during the often very long periods of time required to create the next thing.

Leaving off such catastrophic events as being laid off or fired...most people go to work every day in expectation of a paycheck that will come regularly. Writers don't. They get paid when they a) write, b) finish what they write, and c) someone decides to *pay* for what they've written.

It's not uncommon for writers to go a year, two years, even longer without working in their chosen field. Doesn't matter who you are. After William Goldman won his first Oscar, he didn't work again for almost five years.

The royalties formula in books, and the residuals formula in tv/film, is all that allows writers to keep doing what they're in the period when they're *writing* and not *selling*. Take that away, and many of the works of literature and film that we've come to enjoy would not exist because the writers involved would not have been able to create them, they would've been forced to go out and seek employment elsewhere.

Prose writers have the authors' guild or SFWA or other organizations that watchdog publishers and provide assistance and information on royalties, contracts, health insurance and the like.

TV/film writers have the WGA, which is a much more complex organization because the permutations and ways in which monies can be hidden, and by which revenue streams are delivered, are all massively more complex.

There was a time, back in the 30s and 40s, when writers got nothing more than a script fee for their work, even though it might take a year or more to write that script. And a lot of talented writers fell by the wayside. The creation of the WGA changed that and brought into par with the prose writers whose royalties you would seem to feel are right and proper.

And those can't be negotiated person-by-person because the studios see us as individually replaceable. Only collectively can there be any impact.

I've had my problems with the WGA over the years, some of them have become nearly legendary with the WGA. But if the WGA did not exist, there would be no way for most writers to survive doing what they love to do.

As to this coming labor action, when you go into the store next and buy a DVD and a book, look at the two of them and know that the author of the book gets a full twelve to fifteen percent of the price...and the author of the DVD gets, *at most* four cents per DVD, and most of the time literally and absolutely *nothing* for it...and ask yourself, "Why the difference?"

That's the question at hand at the WGA as well.

jms


.....which seems to make sense to me.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:47 pm

Sounds more than reasonable to me.
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Re: Death knell... it's a bit late for that...

Postby Theta on Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:24 pm

Vynson wrote:As broadband becomes capable of handling larger files, we are entering an era where nearly all media will become obsolete.


Wrong. Joe Six-Pack has dealt with a computer crash, and doesn't want to spend twenty bucks on something that can vanish in the blink of an eye. Ask any poor schmuck in Circuit City trying to sell these things and you'll know the future of movies is NOT digital download. It's not the future of music, either, for all the hype surrounding iTunes. Ultimately it's going to be just another content delivery system; physical media is going to be around for a much longer time.

Downloads might be the future of TV, but that's going to be at least another ten years.

And frankly, DVDs deserve to be obsolete. They are quirky and fragile things that freeze up and malfunction far more often than VHS tapes ever did... and far more often than CDs do.


I have literally, in my nearly decade's worth of buying DVDs, never had a DVD lock up or malfunction on me in a way that was clearly manufacturer error as opposed to user error (usually it was the fault of the player, because I bought cheap, but we're talking maybe three incidents I can even remember.) So this might be true on a relative scale, but honestly, if the failure rate is good enough for the average consumer, this is a useless argument.

Also, you're leaving out that VHS degrades every time you play it. Or the joys of such innovations as Extra Long Play. Or that there is any myriad of ways that VHS can go wrong in the home environment and you would be out twenty bucks, whereas on DVD only a very few things can go wrong in the home environment. It's not like the laser is going to burn a hole through the disc. If you get a malfunctioning disc, it's easier to get your twenty bucks back.
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Postby Fried Gold on Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:28 pm

What the strike may mean for television:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/20/arts/television/20cons.html?_r=1&ref=television&oref=slogin

....more "reality" shows.
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Postby Lord Voldemoo on Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:32 pm

Fried Gold wrote:What the strike may mean for television:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/20/arts/television/20cons.html?_r=1&ref=television&oref=slogin

....more "reality" shows.


fabulous.

I really, REALLY hope the ratings drop through the floor because if the networks figure out that America is dumb enough to watch even more "reality" content (which is, of course, much cheaper to make)...we're all screwed.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:20 am

Here is another look at what COULD happen to Television. It is a bit more precise than the NY Times article:

October 22, 2007 - Could 24 be turned into 9? Will Law and Order fans have to be content with only the (seemingly endless amount of) reruns of their favorite show? What will happen to new shows like Chuck, Pushing Daisies and Bionic Woman? Will they simply vanish, never even having a full season of episodes? If the Writers Guild of America union decides to go on strike after October 31st - that might be exactly what happens.

Without getting too bogged down in industry details (most of which are difficult for even insiders to explain), the WGA (Writers Guild of America) wants a larger share of the profits on DVD sales, as well as establishing a plan for sharing in profits from "new media" - which encompasses all of those download and Internet distribution methods that haven't yet come into their own. The Studios, in the form of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, want to actually rollback some financial participation writers have enjoyed, and they are standing firm against increasing residuals. The two groups have been in tense negotiations with no real progress seen by either side.

What this means is that, after the writers' current contract is up on October 31st, they might walk off the job and strike. That means no meetings, no writing, no new scripts for TV shows or movies, no polishes, no on set changes - nothing. Shows will have to produce what scripts they have on hand - and then most likely stop working, thereby cutting the seasons short. This will likely lead to a massive influx in non-scripted programming; meaning lots more game and reality shows.

According to journalist Nikki Finke (who writes for LA Weekly and the website Deadlinehollywood.com), some of the executives like the idea of the TV season ending prematurely. With no clear hits, production and budget problems abound, and even returning shows failing to meet expectations (like Heroes), studio heads are looking for a "do-over." That means new shows may end their run prematurely and never be heard from again. It also means that late comers like Jericho and 24 could find themselves in strong positions when they premiere in the new year, gaining viewers starved for scripted content.

Some of the hardest hit shows could be the serialized programs like Heroes and Lost, that depend on momentum and retaining the involvement of their fans. Then there's Scrubs, which is going into its final season. Scrubs producer Bill Lawrence recently told reporters that if the strike does stretch on, he's already discussed with the studio that, when the strike is over, he can produce a finale for DVD release. He's primarily concerned with providing a satisfying ending for the fans.

The last time there was a significant work stoppage was 1988, when the writers went on strike for 22 weeks. The New York Times, in a recent article, recounted how shows had to wing it because their writers were on strike. Johnny Carson spent an entire show going through snap shots taken by Ed McMahon. An episode of Moonlighting featured a musical number with striking writers dancing with picket signs.

Some shows that will be safe include most animated programs like The Simpsons and The Family Guy, which are written far in advance to account for the production schedule of animation. It's unclear what will happen to South Park if a strike were to stretch on, as that show is produced much more quickly than more traditional animated programs.

There are seemingly dozens of factors at play that could determine whether a strike happens, and how long it might be if it did. The one thing that seems to be true for both sides, is that neither one wants a strike. They recognize that viewership on television and attendance in theaters is down overall. It's also hard to ignore that more and more people are looking towards other avenues such as videogames and the Internet for their entertainment. The massive success of Halo 3 is testament to that. And, as The New York times pointed out, with a quote from former NBC head Warren Littlefield: "There is tremendous fear in the industry about breaking a habit," Mr. Littlefield said. "During the last strike, the audience wandered and a lot of people didn't quite come back."
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Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:04 pm

From the WGA: "We have no intention of discussing the producers' rollback proposals. Not now, not ever. The producers asked to take Tuesday off to caucus." And says the Alliance: "Don't confuse process with progress. While we actually met today for the first time in 5 days, the WGA leadership again failed to address the producer's proposals. The WGA leadership dismissed the withdrawal of the producer's recoupment proposal as insignificant despite their claim that this was a major impediment to reaching an agreement. The WGA leadership has yet to make any movement on its own or the producer's proposals."
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Postby Leckomaniac on Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:02 pm

Harried writers rush to finish scripts before a possible strike.

By Rachel Abramowitz and Robert W. Welkos, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
5:52 PM PDT, October 23, 2007

"IT'S pencil down until midnight on Halloween," says Oscar-winning writer-producer Akiva Goldsman. That's his current schedule as he tries to finish up his latest draft of "Angels and Demons," the sequel to "The Da Vinci Code," before the Writers Guild contract expires Oct. 31. "It's unavoidably intensely stressful, but it's the way of the world right now."

Just last week, guild members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if a new contract couldn't be worked out with the studios and networks. All over town, executives, agents, producers and writers are nervously girding for what might be the biggest labor confrontation in 20 years. Depending on how negotiations go, the strike could come as early as Nov. 1, although the guild could always choose to continue negotiating under the existing contract. Nevertheless, almost everyone in town is gripped by a sense of foreboding, as it remains unclear how the talks between the guild and the studios will pan out. "Everybody is living in the impending doom," Goldsman said.

While a writers strike would affect TV production almost immediately, given that most shows stockpile only a few scripts at a time, the movie business would have its own set of problems. Because of the complicated logistics and special effects of most event movies, it can take months of preparation to get a blockbuster ready to shoot, preferably with a finished script. Studios start their planning years ahead, staking out prime release dates on the calendar. Recently, the studios have all but stopped hiring writers to crack books or write new screenplays as they plow their resources into readying films that need to go immediately, say various agents and executives.

"People are freaking," said one top literary agent. "It's unknown territory. No one knows how this is going to work. Studios are trying to figure out how to do without writers, and everyone out there who writes for a living is trying to figure out how to keep making a living."

Both sides of the divide are busy parsing the recently issued WGA strike rules, which are geared to make it as difficult as possible to continue shooting films without writers. For instance, members would be barred from finessing dialogue to suit an actor, changing stage directions because a location got rained out, or even changing a beverage from Coke to vitamin water because the proper product clearance couldn't be secured.

Writers Guild general counsel Tony Segall said "a ton" of writers and their representatives have been calling with questions, perhaps because most of them have never been through a strike before. Roughly two-thirds of the membership were not in the guild during the 1988 strike.

While studios routinely start production without a finished script, no one wants to take that chance in this climate, so there is a rush to lock down scripts in completely finished form before the WGA contract runs out.

"Given what's at stake and the [time] we have left, our writers on every project are working under inhuman amounts of pressure," said Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who is producing "G.I. Joe," Paramount Pictures' would-be tent-pole movie for summer 2009, which as of last week hadn't even been officially greenlighted.

In September, the "G.I. Joe" team hired "Collateral" scribe Stuart Beattie to begin a total overhaul of the script. Beattie turned in his first draft by the beginning of October and is now busily working on a second set of revisions, which are due back to Paramount on Oct. 31.

"G.I Joe" is hardly the only potential 2009 blockbuster rushing to meet the strike deadline. Oscar winner Paul Haggis is plowing through James Bond 22. Since Oct. 1, Oscar nominee Scott Frank has been holed up with director Shawn Levy trying to pound out a shootable version of "Night at the Museum 2." For the last two weeks, Billy Ray has been polishing up "State of Play," a political thriller starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton that has already passed through the hands of "The Kingdom's" Matthew Carnahan, "The Bourne Identity's" Tony Gilroy and "The Queen's" Peter Morgan.

Just last week, 20th Century Fox issued an announcement that the studio was laying claim to May 1, 2009, as the release date for its big-budget sci-fi spinoff "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" starring Hugh Jackman. This was just days after it issued an urgent SOS to the major agencies looking for a quick rewrite person. Another 2009 movie recently looking for polishes was "Four Christmases," the Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon holiday yarn. The studios pay top "script doctors" $250,000 to $300,000 per week to polish screenplays.

According to one top agent, almost every studio has at least two films on the schedule that will have trouble meeting the accelerated deadline. As one studio production topper noted, "We're exposed on two movies that aren't ready, but we don't have any guns to our heads. Most of our scripts are in solid shape; it's not a mad scramble." He declined to enumerate the problem films.

Most of the 2008 event movies -- titles like "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and the big-screen version of "Sex and the City" -- are expected to roll without problem into the theaters next summer. Sources say "Star Trek," which is slated for Christmas 2009, will take off as planned and start filming next month.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has writers trying to beat the strike deadline for both "G-Force" and "Confessions of a Shopaholic," the big-screen adaptation of the Sophie Kinsella bestseller. Of "Shopaholic" he says, "the writer should be done in the next [few] days." Conversely, Bruckheimer has decided to wait until the labor unrest is completely resolved to begin shooting his next juggernaut, "Prince of Persia: Sands of Time," based on the popular video game.

Like many writers, Billy Ray says he's just keeping his head down and writing as fast as he can. "I take my children to school in the morning, I'm at my desk by 9, somebody feeds me at 1, I'm usually back at my desk at 1:30 and write to 5. The only difference is now I'm generally writing until 7." Just because he's productive doesn't mean Ray's not worried. "This strike would be such a total calamity for everybody involved," he said.

Indeed, there is a palpable fear around town that even if the strike is averted or short-lived there will be a replay of 2001, when, due to a threatened writers strike, the studios jammed sub-quality films into production, just so the pipelines would stay filled.

"Next year, there's going to be a plethora of bad movies -- movies that were rushed because of the supposed strike," said producer Todd Black, who has two films in pre-production at Columbia: "Seven Pounds," a romantic drama starring Will Smith, and a remake of the crime thriller "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" starring Denzel Washington. Black insists that there's going to be "no rushing" on his movies. "I don't want to make bad movies. And whatever is going to happen is going to happen."

Still, whatever the outcome, October 2007 will go down in movie history as either one of the most productive months in recent memory or the most stress-provoking.

"Unfortunately, it's part of our business," Bruckheimer said. "I lived through the last one, which lasted for almost six months. You somehow survive through it. It hurts the business. It hurts the writers more. Whatever they gain, they never get back the time they're down."
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Postby MasterWhedon on Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:18 pm

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Postby Peven on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:17 pm

fuck them all. what a bunch of douchebags.
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Postby papalazeru on Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:23 pm

Fuck 'em. So long I get my BSG and nothing else, I'm happy.
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4 pennies for your thoughts

Postby Vynson on Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:34 pm

Fried Gold wrote:What J. Michael Strazcynski posted on the newsgroups:

As to this coming labor action, when you go into the store next and buy a DVD and a book, look at the two of them and know that the author of the book gets a full twelve to fifteen percent of the price...and the author of the DVD gets, *at most* four cents per DVD, and most of the time literally and absolutely *nothing* for it...and ask yourself, "Why the difference?"

That's the question at hand at the WGA as well.

jms


.....which seems to make sense to me.


Actually, a books is the work of the authors. A movie is not the sole creation of the screenwriter. Cinema is a collaborative effort and the screenwriter does not deserve the same percentage as the author of a book. I don't think many screenwriters would argue that point. But neither does the director or the stars... and they might well argue the point... which is the primary difference. Writers want a FAIR deal. And 4 cents per just isn't fair. But, as is pointed out, most don't get that.
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Postby junesquad on Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:41 pm

Que sera sera.... Frankly, I don' think I give a flying fuck.
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Re: 4 pennies for your thoughts

Postby minstrel on Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:49 pm

Vynson wrote:
Fried Gold wrote:What J. Michael Strazcynski posted on the newsgroups:

As to this coming labor action, when you go into the store next and buy a DVD and a book, look at the two of them and know that the author of the book gets a full twelve to fifteen percent of the price...and the author of the DVD gets, *at most* four cents per DVD, and most of the time literally and absolutely *nothing* for it...and ask yourself, "Why the difference?"

That's the question at hand at the WGA as well.

jms


.....which seems to make sense to me.


Actually, a books is the work of the authors. A movie is not the sole creation of the screenwriter. Cinema is a collaborative effort and the screenwriter does not deserve the same percentage as the author of a book.


I agree with this. Watch the closing credits of most movies these days - there's about a thousand names. A novel generally just has one name.

A novelist deserves far more for a book than the screenwriter does for a DVD.
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Re: 4 pennies for your thoughts

Postby Theta on Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:52 pm

Vynson wrote:A movie is not the sole creation of the screenwriter. Cinema is a collaborative effort and the screenwriter does not deserve the same percentage as the author of a book. I don't think many screenwriters would argue that point.


Have you met a screenwriter and actually said this to his or her face?

Part of the reason so many Hollywood movies are so terrible is that the writer has no motivation to write a good script. They're never going to see a nickel beyond their fee, which is paltry next to what the actor and director make. Often they're not allowed any creativity.

A good screenwriter is worth their weight in gold, because honestly there's only so much good acting, direction and editing can make up for. If the screenplay isn't the best it can possibly be, the MOVIE isn't the best it can possibly be.


And it's not like the WGA is demanding blood or first-borns. Mostly they want the terms of their contract to stay the same, and the producers think they can screw the writers because of what happened in the last strike. Me, I don't think it's going to cut that way: I think the studios will give the writers what they want.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:41 pm

DOOMSDAY CLOCK ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT!

There is a very real possibility I'll have to cross a picket line on my way into work tomorrow... which is awesome! :twisted: What's not so awesome is the hundreds of thousands of folks who will very likely be out of jobs in the coming months. I sympathize with the WGA a great deal, but strikes never sit well with me.

Oh, well. At least my lawn chair is set up on the front lines for Armageddon.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:48 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:Oh, well. At least my lawn chair is set up on the front lines for Armageddon.


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Postby Leckomaniac on Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:57 am

Deal or no deal?

The latest round of talks ended with the studios issuing a statement saying writers' demands for an increased share of revenues earned from DVD sales and Internet downloads of their work was "a complete roadblock to any further progress."

"We want to make a deal," said Nick Counter, head of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. "But ... no further movement is possible to close the gap between us so long as your DVD proposal remains on the table.

"We call on you to take the necessary steps to break this impasse so that bargaining can continue."

Counter added that he was referring also to the writers' proposals for higher "residual" fees on other forms of "electronic sell-through -- i.e. permanent downloads."


Studios have said union demands for higher residuals on DVDs and Internet downloads would stifle growth at a time of rising production costs, tighter profit margins and piracy threats. They insist that digital distribution of movies and TV remains largely experimental or promotional and new-media business models are just developing.

The union accuses the studios of pleading poverty and argues that writers have never gotten a fair deal on the lucrative DVD industry. They also see more of film and TV migrating toward the Internet and wireless platforms and want a bigger piece of that revenue pie.
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Postby Theta on Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:39 pm

Oh, Jesus Christ, just give the writers their fucking dimes and move on.
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Postby minstrel on Thu Nov 01, 2007 1:05 pm

Theta wrote:Oh, Jesus Christ, just give the writers their fucking dimes and move on.


This is where I stand. The writers' fees and percentages are very small compared to the sums that actors and directors get. And they are extremely small compared to the total productions costs. If the writers are given what they're asking for, it really won't affect anybody else all that much.
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Postby so sorry on Thu Nov 01, 2007 1:21 pm

This strike talk reminds me of a Godfather quote... when Clemeza explains to Michael what's about to happen when the Five Families go to war with each other...


Clemenza wrote:this thing's gotta happen every five years or so -- ten years -- helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten years since the last one. You know you got to stop them at the beginning, like they should have stopped Hitler at Munich, They should never've let him get away with that. They were just asking for big trouble.


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