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For what it’s worth, I recently sent this to an actor who was struggling with how he should vote. Though there’s no way I could vote any way but NO on this contract, I am at a point where I do not tell people to vote one way or another, but simply tell them how the different votes will play out.
I believe I am more than accurate.
Here’s you go, for the Hell of it:
Miss you in ——.
OK, I’ll just give you some facts and scenarios to help.
I am on the SAG National Board and served on the Negotiating Committee before the New Majority in the SAG Boardroom disbanded it, just to give you some background.
In this new proposal, there is really nothing but many, many rollbacks and a “cost of living” raise in “Old Media” .
There are a lot of things that bother me about this proposal, but nothing more than the fact that there is no quid pro quo; we are getting nothing in return for giving up so, so much.
I feel that this is a proposal for a child. This is not what you hand to a bunch of adults. You can tell, I think this is a disastrous deal (for all the unions).
Enough about that, though. It sounds like you’ve had your fill of the arguments from either side, so I’ll cut to future scenarios.
I’ve said that there are three kinds of voters here.
One wants this to just “be over” and wants to vote up anything in front of them, hoping this action will “make everything better”.
The second type earnestly believes that we will “attend to this in two years” and “band together with the other unions” and take on the AMPTP for better terms (or terms at all) in New Media.
And the third kind of voter looks at this proposal and says, “Fuck you, AMPTP. You are doing nothing but trying to break all these unions and, NO, I don’t approve this contract. It’s shit.”
Basically, all those voters are fucked. That’s the real truth. (Don’t worry. I’ve got good news at the end of this e-mail.)
Here’s the scenario for the first voter:
Contract ratified. Production does NOT “ramp back up” and continues on this steady quantity decline it’s been on over the last decade.
Meanwhile “pilot season” becomes almost exclusively NOT AFTRA, but NON-UNION because of the permissions given in the new contract to the Media Corporations to create non-union work that costs under 15k per minute. That’s 30 minutes of programming for $450,000. Pretty doable, right? (By the way, this budget is doable adhering to independent film UNION minimums, too. Interesting.) (And “giving permission” means you MAY NOT go in an organize it.)
Hundreds of pilots are shot non-union and the very few that are picked up are recast in their entirety with union talent.
The union talent receives no residuals for their work even if it’s a runaway success and after everyone buys the new TV’s with Internet connections within them, the audience no longer notices if they are watching ABC or ABC.com.
Children are hurt on the sets of New Media because of the absence of any of the protections for minors that exist in the “Old Media” contracts.
Ditto former “stunt safety”.
WIth “clip consent” gone, your image is suddenly showing up in places of which you had no previous knowledge and no legal leverage with which to do anything about it.
For the second voter, they will quickly be reminded that the DGA and WGA HAD the same expiration dates and the DGA threw us all under the bus by negotiating during the WGA strike and setting this useless template for all of us. They will be reminded that AFTRA and SAG HAD the same contract expiration dates and AFTRA decided to go it alone and chose to settle for the DGA deal while SAG was in the middle of negotiations. They will understand historic characterization.
They may realize, too, that the WGA is, though sympathetic, not ready to contemplate another strike so soon after 07/08.
They will realize that it takes a lot of time and planning to put together a labor action and suddenly not find enough of the “type 2 voters” willing to attend to this.
Even if they are miraculously able to triumph against historic tendencies of this town and assemble all the unions, they will find that the AMPTP does NOT take money out of its pocket that you have already allowed to reside in there (see DVD deal of 20 years ago).
And they will be working this bad contract just the same as Voter Type #1.
THe third voter will feel happy to vote his conscience, but soon find that the New Majority on the SAG National Board is not at all prepared or willing to walk back into the AMPTP and demand that concessions be made. A fight from Hell will ensue to make sure the membership does NOT vote 75% to authorize a strike (strange) and if one is attained, the New Majority will never vote in the Boardroom to actually CALL a strike, so the leverage will have been for nothing.
At this point I believe the AMPTP has the ability to just implement the contract, but don’t quote me.
And then Voter #3 will also be working this bad, bad contract.
BUT, the good news is that the TV and Film business is undergoing it’s most dramatic change since the beginning of film. The bottom of the distribution pyramid has dissolved with the arrival of Internet distribution and the Media Corporations have lost control of the flow of content. We are now free to establish a New Grid, New ways of doing business in entertainment, New models of funding and distribution, New levels of ownership of our content, etc.
I have a production company (www.fm78.tv) with my partners and we like, for example, that early TV model wherein the sponsor funded the entire episode or series. So, we are currently pitching the sponsors themselves to fund our scripted content that we would have otherwise taken to NBC or HBO. We have distribution deals set up with all the main players in Internet distribution as well as an A-list cast and a high-powered PR film ready to launch the shows with the same effort they give Theatrically-released films or broadcast-TV premieres.
All our budgets are an independent film model. We don’t give a shit WHAT The AMPTP eventually gets SAG to agree to, we are NOT paying people in ANY of the unions just California State minimum (about $100 a day). We are paying people something they can live on.
What I’m saying with the above is that the real story here is the massive change Entertainment is going through and the Creative Renaissance just on the other side of this change. Actors will no longer be able to make a living as just actors; they will need to multi-task. They will need to not only act, but ALSO know how to do at least one of the following: build a website, edit on Final Cut, write, direct, know how to deal with sponsors, know how to grow a mad following on social networks, have relationships with bloggers, be able to reach out to Internet Distribution sites and create ad-revenue deals for back-end monies.
You have to bring more to the party.
I think it’s THE most exciting time to be in Entertainment since FIlm began. It’s historic.
I sincerely apologize for the length here, but now you have all my current thoughts on the matter, for what it’s worth.
Best, Justine Bateman
I have to say I am really impressed with these videos! (Yes, and even though the YES videos are heavily scripted and I disagree with them completely, it is civil.)
THANK YOU !
just posted to FB page…
VOTE NO. if you want to vote YES, all I ask is you read and comprehend what you are signing yes too, any lawyer would advise you to READ a contract and UNDERSTAND it before you signed your name right?
so if you cannot understand it, or this does not really affect you, please tear it up and let us who it does affect and us who have read it and do understand what it all means do the voting and be responsible.
ballots due June 9th.
“Risk with you” is fair.
Thanks for posting my last comment. But I wanted to let YOU know that I just got off the phone with Jay Fernandez at the Hollywood Reporter. I explained to him that I called SAG governances and asked to talk to someone who could explain to me why the NO videos have not made it on to the SAG.org website. she passed me to Pamela Greenwalt who then said she would call Legal and have them send me a statement. This is the first time in SAG History that an important vote on the THEATRICAL CONTRACT has come up in this new age of the internet, this is the first time a member has taken this to the legal department and asked the question why not post the NO videos starring Ed Harris, Martin Sheen, Esai Morales, etc. is their opinion not as important as Tom Hanks?
Is it legal to only represent one side on this website? that is my question and should be any actor’s question …Even if a small percentage of the board agrees with this contract it seems to me that posting a Tom Hanks video and not the others is unjust and unfair and completely biased…I would love you to raise this question of fairness and have this issue resolved for any future voting. Thank you for your time and attention….
Well done video. Good idea to mention what additional changes are being requested (“1% of profits they make, if any”) and other specifics on how the new K will work. Any compromise on product placements, clip consent, etc.?
anon v.o. actor – Agreed. No one should ever sign or vote on a K without reading and understanding completely.
clear, factual and to the point.
happy to see rance howard and nancy sticking up for seniors.
I don’t always take the union side of things in the world, but this is crazy. Image protection? How can your union want to give that away? It almost makes you think the producers put that in there knowing they would give it up, so you think you are getting something! Is the union talking with Silicon Valley as to where they see the next generation of TV/computer???? What is “new media” now will be everyday media is short order.
Thank You Nancy,Rance and Esai for your standing up with the rank and file and middle class actors.
SAG members remember your ballots have to be received by the 9th of June. One week from tomorrow! NOW IS THE TIME TO VOTE. Don’t put it off any longer. Read the contract material that came with the ballot, watch the videos and understand the importance of this contract to our future and then join the rest of us in VOTING NO!
Thanks to all involved for speaking out. And thanks to Nikki for getting the real story out.
The paradigm for adults making an informed decision to become a professional actor has been based on contracts that have realistic earning minimums to qualify for heath insurance, realistic compensation for a days work and realistic residuals to carry us through the lean times, the auditioning, the show cancellations, the ultra-low budget films, and throughout retirement.
Most adults choose a feild where they can make a living, afford health care, and have some type of retirement plan. As actors, we all likely made our decision, knowing the work may not be as steady as the work of an undertaker, but knowing we had a contract that made our way of life, our career choice possible.
If you made those decisions based on a fair contract you need to look seriously at this unfair contract offer. This contract offer by the AMPTP makes the playing field so uneven you will no longer make a living as an actor, unless, like series regular Kate Walsh you make a reported $3 million a year. Ms. Walsh may not need residuals if she invests well for her old age when work will slow down. If I made that money I might be inclined to vote yes, provided I was able to ignore my conscience.
But those of us who have made a living with a basically fair contract for years, used it as our model of how we would financially navigate the industry and the future, are faced with a contract that will ruin us.
Please learn the facts and vote. With the facts I think you will see to survive we need to vote NO.
I’m not a senior. I am a junior. I am with the real artists. VOTE NO!!!!
If a low budget non-union pilot gets picked up by a network, can’t SAG & the WGA negotiate that the nets must Taft-Hartley the existing talent into the unions? It seems pretty shitty to insist that a showrunner must abandon the actors and writers that helped get his or her project noticed in the first place.
The interesting thing about that $15,000 per minute threshold in New Media is that they do not include a bunch of development costs and other fees in the total calculation – producer and packaging fees I would imagine. Imagine a completion bond company agreeing to that bullshit.
They really do think we are a collectively stupid bunch of imbeciles. Prove them wrong – VOTE NO.
As always, Justine Bateman offers a cogent analysis.
Concerning the AMPTP simply implementing the contract, as I understand it, that could only work if the membership hasn’t turned it down. If we vote the offer down, it would make no sense at all that the AMPTP could simply implement it. I assume we would continue to work under the old contract.
In this scenario, the bad is that the old media gains in the AMPTP offer would not be realized.
The good would include:
– No non-union new media space for the AMPTP, at least on the SAG side
– Keeping clip consent, at least for now
– Keeping the entire issue of new media on the table (again, Wall Street hates instability, so the pressure they’d place on the moguls is a plus for the actors)
– Actors owed force majeure millions would be free to pursue their money in court
– Forced Endorsement remains on the table
I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed.
What the AMPTP may be able to do is tweak some aspects of the offer a little, call it a different deal, and try to implement that. SAG membership again could vote, and possibly turn down such a deal.
IMHO, a no vote is worthwhile to keep these issues in play.
I’d love to see TOM HANKS facing his friend’s (Ron Howard’s) father RANCE HOWARD in this issue. What would you say then Tom?
There is a simple reason the “vote no” videos do not appear on the SAG website. Those videos are not the unions videos, but independent pieces. The union’s position is to approve the contract and the union is making videos in support of the contract. It is no different than when the union took the position of opposing AFTRA’s contract last year, all you saw was “vote no” and there was nothing representing the other side. Neither position was adopted unanimously by the board, but once the board votes the majority position becomes the 100% position of the union itself (not necessarily the members).
After reading Justine Bateman’s post all I want to do is crawl under a rock. Not only does she paint a gloom and doom picture, but her assessment of the growth of the industry is inaccurate. For years people have spoken of the new mediums and how they will explode to create a new entertainment landscape. The truth is that the old landmarks; the film studios and the TV networks remain the stalwarts. So, if you’re on the outside of those mediums you’re really not in the game. You’re just spinning your wheels. Sure, people will make a little money in internet ventures. But how many of them are taken seriously? (Note: I also find it curious that people who are financially secure marshall a no vote and work stoppage.)
The truth is the vote on this contract, one way or the other, will not make one bit of difference. That is the one thing that Justine is correct about. So, all of our efforts should be put into keeping people in the work place. Keeping the business in production. Right now a no vote does nothing but threaten a strike or work stoppage that will decimate the economy. Even if it’s a threat it still slows the machine down. The ripple effects, as we’ve seen with the fruitless WGA strike are compounding. The economy has lost billions of dollars. If there was no WGA strike we would be in a much better place. And, that will be the same case for the SAG contract situation. Let the entertainment economy catch its collective breath before thinking about a no vote/work stoppage threat. For we all need to keep working and feeding the economy. Then when we’re all back on our feet in two years we can revisit the new media fight with a more informed approach. Thanks for allowing me to voice my opinion here.
Here is just one more way the “Union discriminated against it’s members who question the yes vote.
On Facebook the union would post a video to support the new contract. Anyone who had any issue with it and voiced that in that thread had their entries deleted. I know because several of mine were deleted. Can i prove it> Oh Yessss! I have screen shot captures to back it up. That alone has to be some sort of AFL-CIO violation! I attempted to contact the Hollywood communications director (Damien) and was stonewalled. When I didn’t hear back from them for 24 hours I tried again, more stonewalling. To this day I have not even gotten so much as a “drop dead” reply from my own union.
If this mess should pass,Ihave to believe that there is sme legal action that could be taken with all of the underhanded tactics the so called “board” has taken.
I invite anyone to contact me that might need the information I have for furtheraction to protect the future of our union and the great actors who have already done so much for those of us who follow.
Awwww, “John”. So this is where the Saylor Co. is earning its money. Pure, shilly goodness.
“The truth is the vote on this contract, one way or the other, will not make one bit of difference.” Bull, and shit.
“…all of our efforts should be put into keeping people in the work place. Keeping the business in production.” More bull, more shit. There’s no “new” work, pal. What work are you talking about keeping? Contrary to that, all our efforts should be put into passing on this damaging, crappy, sucky offer.
“Right now a no vote does nothing but threaten a strike or work stoppage that will decimate the economy.“. Bullier – shittier. It won’t decimate the economy. It will wake up the AMPTP to the fact that SAG is interested in showing its true solidarity and power.
“…as we’ve seen with the fruitless WGA strike …” Dude, do you kiss your mother with that lying mouth? The WGA made accountable gains from their strike (though the greedy AMPTP hasn’t paid them yet). You are a straight-up liar. I digress…
“If there was no WGA strike we would be in a much better place. And, that will be the same case for the SAG contract situation.” Part true, part bullshit.
This isn’t your (or anyone’s) “opinion”. This is pure AMPTP spin/talking points. You sound like John McCain trying to make Sarah Palin palatable.
Yes. I am calling you out as a paid shill for the AMPTP (or ‘the vote YES people’ – same thing). Some others’ comments could be construed as misinformed; some selfish; some downright ignorant. But this – this is way too obviously planted spin.
You lose. Go away.
The bottom line is: entertainment, whether it be television, film or radio is going through MAJOR changes with broadband internet being a mainstream product. The days of big budget pilots and film will quickly dissipate as new media tools allow the same results as those “big budget” productions. Networks are no longer important – shows I watch on TV are usually through my digital video recorder – never really pay attention to what network they are on. If I happen to miss a show – I can watch it on the internet.
So – what is an actor to do? Adapt. Look at new ways of branding yourself. Ms. Bateman has been very proactive in redefining how she does her business. She is not reliant on any union or network. She is also not at the level she was when she was in the primetime biz, but everyone has an expiration date on their head when it comes to entertainment (on BOTH sides of the camera.)
Everybody in entertainment has gotten a bit greedy and in this economic climate, changes are happening everywhere. I understand actors want to be protected, but we all know there will always be a handful that are the lottery winners and the rest are just trying to make a living.
Voting yes or no – not going to really change anything. There’s a revolution happening and be prepared to adapt. I wish everyone the best of luck and in the end remember if you are fortunate to have made a living as an actor, remember…there are a thousand more waiting in a very long line just to get one shot.
Tom would say to Rance, Mr. Howard it was an interesting thing the actors of your generation did back in the 70’s to give away your right to residuals so that the pension and health plan could be solidified. That was a noble thing you did, and I know the Internet wasn’t around then, but they were given away for a cause. We can’t get them back, and to hold up 80 or 90 million dollars a year for $100,000 or so bucks just sadly doesn’t make sense. I’m glad you’ve got a great pension, and you helped build it.
When was the last time Nancy Sinatra actually had a job?
Esai — no facts, just guessing. You don’t know where it’s going, and you’ve quite conveniently forgotten the idea of “sunset clause” which has never been in the contract before. Maybe that’s because you don’t understand it. Okay. Let me explain it to you. In two years, this language about New Media means nothing. Nada. Burn it. Start over with a fresh, BLANK, sheet of paper. Blank? You don’t know what that means? Nothing written on it. Empty. Like your nonexistent AFTRA card, there will be nothing there.
Justine Bateman. Love her acting. But cogent she is not. Too many scumbags standing in her way.
You can’t be as stupid as you seem to think others are — sunset clause? Are you serious?
When the studios are already BREAKING THE LAW by not paying writers ANY residuals on New Media despite a contract, what makes you think they won’t laugh off a sunset clause?
History shows they NEVER renegotiate once they’ve won.