After all the haranguing and rhetoric, the ad campaigns and endless comment threads, stories surfaced that SAG has decided to forget the whole vote to authorize a strike thing altogether, citing they didn’t feel they could get the 75% majority they would need to move forward. *Eyebrow raised up into the hairline* WTF?
If the story proves to be true, one could argue they saw the light in the wake of California’s recent state of bankruptcy (in case you live under a rock, the state is handing out I.O.U.’s in lieu of tax refunds and most road work has been stopped, two buck chuck is no longer as a tax on wine is being implemented, the list goes on…) or perhaps they folded under other pressures.
Visiting the official SAG site at SAG.org, however, provided nothing to substantiate this claim. I read the story in various places including E Online, but now I am beginning to wonder if it was just a PR campaign by those who oppose the strike.
UPDATE: It is official: SAG loses support for strike vote.
Meanwhile, the nominees for the 2009 Oscars was announced. I’ll likely chime in on my podcast at KeramCast.com about my thoughts on the nominations. As I predicted in episode eleven, Man On Wire got a nom for best doc.
Here is the list for your consideration. Would love to hear your opinions on this year’s contenders.
(technical categories excluded):
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader
In late 2008 I wrote an article about some of Hollywood’s most powerful and influential A-List actors opposing their own guild’s vote to strike in its ongoing negotiation with the AMPTA (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers).
Now I present the other side of the argument by way of several videos featuring well-known actors including Elliot Gould, Rob Schneider and Martin Sheen strongly arguing for a YES from fellow guild members on the vote to strike.
Rob Schneider revealing how FOX TV plans to broadcast reruns exclusively online and not on TV airwaves (but without paying actors their current royalty/residuals rate, but instead only 3% of that for online play)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T26kxvjkPE8
Elliot Gould makes an emphatic appeal and argument in favor of SAG moving to strike as he explains the media wash employed by the AMPTA to control the perception of the actor’s fight for a fair deal.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ktHm39rdp0
And Diane Ladd:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weJUW8Rt5kc
And Martin Sheen:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv2sT9KrLXg
And me, Keram, who has been a professional actor for almost 30 years and who has given seminars and been invited to speak at conferences about the arts and new media can strongly state that SAG has my full support in moving to strike if it should require it. The AMPTA claims that it needs time to understand and assess its online broadcast strategies and will be willing to renegotiate in three years.
That’s what they said about DVDs and it never happened.
Presently, the broadcasters are already streaming their programs, even the newest episodes in high-resolution, full screen, online and forcing the viewer to watch 15 second ads at regular commercial breaks, and yet they do not feel that actors should receive the same royalties (or in some cases, any at all) for these presentations.
SAG represents some 150,000 actors nationwide of which roughly 2% earn the majority of the money. When one considers that the top 1% is earning twenty million dollars per picture, then it clarifies that the remaining percentile are not necessarily slouches, but they are mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and people who contribute to society and work many other jobs. The idea that actors live some sort of fantasy life or that they would want to strike out of greed is a gross misrepresentation of the reality.
The concern that many actors presently share about the downturn in the economy and California’s massive financial crisis making it a bad time to strike must remember that the renegotiation of this contract has been known for several years and the possibility of a strike has already slowed work for as long. My feeling is – we are here, lets get it over with: thinking that delaying this for another three years will suddenly create confidence in the production landscape seems absurd – the only thing we will lose is the momentum and bargaining position. As cinematographer Steve Gainer said on my podcast (and I am paraphrasing here) – do what we have to do, but let’s just get it sorted out so we can all move forward. I agree – once a fair deal is struck we can just go back to making movies, television and online content and not suffer from the concern of mounting a production that could fall apart as the result of a looming strike.
So if you read this and are an actor or have dialogues with people who have the ability to vote on this, consider both positions but recognize that the time to get this deal done is now and the the guild needs the support of its members.
"Keram makes excursions into almost every style of music imaginable here and does it with such flair that these very pleased ears, he could have settled on any of these genres and made just as brilliant a record." - Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio