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October 2007 Archive

New WGA Proposal Included Movement On DVDs, New Media, Jurisdiction Issues

I’ve obtained an internal (not for public consumption) WGA account of today’s negotiations and the guild’s new “Comprehensive Package Proposal” put on the table: “Today, just hours before the expiration of our contract, the AMPTP brought negotiations to a halt. The companies refused to continue to bargain unless we agree that the hated DVD formula be extended to Internet downloads. This morning we presented the AMPTP with a comprehensive package of proposals that included… Read

IATSE Sends Warning Memo To Members

IATSE President Thomas C. Short today sent an open letter to all IA members and locals working in film and television who might be affected should a strike be called by the Writers Guild of America. What a different tack from the Teamsters‘. The current IATSE motion picture contracts have the same no-strike clause that has been in effect in previous contracts. The IATSE is an International Union that represents members employed in the stagecraft, motion picture and… Read

URGENT: Talks Come To An Abrupt Halt; None Scheduled For Thursday Or Friday; Tomorrow's WGA Meeting A Strike Call?

The AMPTP issued a statement tonight and the WGA’s is below that. The negotiations broke down today not because of the traditional DVD residual issue, but about residuals for the Internet such as electronic sell-through — i.e. Internet downloads. The AMPTP keeps saying electronic sell-through is synonymous with DVDs. The WGA says they’re different and wants to negotiate a new residual formula. AMPTP refuses. Everyone knows that New Media and the Internet are… Read

DHD UPDATE: Strike Comments Starting!

Beginning with this advisory, DHD will allow comments that relate to the pre-strike stories I’ve been posting here. Since the current Writers Guild of America agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers expires tonight at midnight, and this is so important to everyone connected with Hollywood even in a remote way, I want to provide a forum to express your opinions, rants, sorrows. You can comment on every pertinent post. But I own this website… Read

WGA Fingers Agents “Lying” To Writers

URGENT! I just received this email from a top WGA source: “There’s a campaign of fear and lies being waged by several top agencies today, telling TV writing clients that if they’re co-producer or above, they are a hyphenate and have to report to work during a strike. This is false. Evidently, instead of pleading with the companies to make a reasonable deal, some agents have resorted to attempting to scare their clients out of complying with the strike rules. It’s really… Read

Is 'American Gangster' Original? Yes & No

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: most NYC media know squat about how Hollywood really works. A perfect example is this screaming headline from New York mag’s Vulture blog today: “Universal Claims American Gangster Is Not an Adapted Screenplay?” (What about Imagine?) The magazine is pissed because the pic is based on Mark Jacobson’s NYM piece “The Return of Superfly” and as a result Steve Zallian’s script shouldn’t be eligible for a Best Original Screenplay… Read

Update: New WGA Proposal On The Table

Everyone’s waiting on pins and needles for details of the WGA’s big new “Comprehensive Package Proposal” put on the negotiating table this morning. Not much else to report right now. I’m told that yesterday’s so-called bargaining “modifications” revolved around pension and health. There has been no movement on the real strike issues. More letters from studios are being received by screenwriters, some as threatening as Disney’s, some less scary like New Line’s and Fox… Read

Ted And Rupert Break Bread Together…

When two Big Media moguls meet, a chain restaurant is not the usual venue. But I’m told that last Friday Rupert Murdoch had lunch with Ted Turner at the Atlantan’s bison-serving eco-friendly Ted’s Montana Grill in NYC’s Time-Life Building (one of 51 locations). Sources said to me that the lunch was requested by Turner (est worth $2.3 bil) in an effort to “bury the hatchet” with Murdoch (est worth $8.8 bil). It came just days after a GQ interview was published with the… Read

WGA To Offer New Proposal Tomorrow: Expect A Few Days' Strike Delay?

I’m hearing writers may work without a contract for at least a few days while negotiations continue. This is not because showbiz writers are typically pushing back a deadline, as Variety‘s lede unfairly asserts, but because “the WGA wants to give the studios every opportunity to present a reasonable offer before instituting a devastating work stoppage. As if the studios haven’t had that chance since July,” a top WGA source tells me tonight. Insiders all along expected a… Read

Crime To See 'American Beauty' Or 'Lolita'

Several U.S. Supreme Court justices expressed doubt today that a law barring child pornography could be applied to popular award-winning movies. News reports say the justices appeared to support the pandering provision of a 2003 federal law that makes it a crime to promote, distribute or solicit material in a way intended to… Read