Quote of the day: Paul Hagis

The rumor mill seemed to be working overtime today, with that paragon of journalistic integrity, Daily Variety — who reap untold millions off the AMPTP’s pricey “For Your Consideration” ads each year — reporting that “…a letter directed to WGA leaders has been circulating among top-level screenwriters in recent days with the message that while the scribes remain committed to the strike, they also believe the guild toppers need to narrow the thrust of their efforts at negotiations to hammering out terms for Internet pay.”

While that may be true, the notion that WGA jurisdiction over reality and animation is a new addition to the negotiations is patently false. Both issues have been on the table from the get-go, and while I’m sure they are not deal breakers for most writers on the lines, they remain important.

Paul Hagis wowing the crowd @ the Fremantle Rally in Burbank (Dec. 7, 2007)

It’s carefully planted stories like these that, true or not, are designed to divide our membership by scaring us into believing that support for our leaders is eroding quicker than the hillside behind Eddie Van Halen’s house. This is just not true…well, not the part about the WGA at least. Sorry, Eddie.

And to illustrate that fact, two-time Oscar winner Paul Hagis (“Crash”) issued a statement of his own that was so cool, I had to pass it along. So, enjoy!

“In my 25-odd years in the guild, I have honestly never seen it more united,” Hagis said. “That is our great strength, and we all know it. Now if we want to get a fair deal, we need to use it. We need to be smart enough to act dumb: Shut up and keep walking. We need to stop inspecting every move and wondering why our negotiators aren’t doing this or are doing that. They are doing a great job. We put our trust in them; we need to support them. If they tell us the best thing we can do is walk in circles, that is what I will be doing, every day. Until we win. And we will. See you on the sidewalk.”

Even though I kinda hated “Crash”, I gotta give Paul credit for his mad sound bite skills. So, rock on Paul Hagis! See you on the sidewalk indeed, amigo…

And in case you’re wondering, I snapped the picture above on Friday during Paul’s speech at the Reality & Game Show Rally outside Fremantle Heaquarters in Burbank. That’s my rocking Strike Captain Aaron Solomon (who gave a rousing speech of his own after Paul finished) on the left behind the lectern. Go, Aaron!


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7 responses to “Quote of the day: Paul Hagis

  1. I couldn’t disagree with Paul Hagis more. I think it’s important that the members of the union question the union leadership (albeit privately and not on through the media). Sometimes union leadership ranks saving face higher than its members best interests.

    I’m not saying this is always the case, but union members must have some oversight over the union leadership, and not simply “act dumb, shut up and keep walking.”

    I’ll step off my soapbox (or shinebox as you would tell me, Tommy). 🙂

  2. yeti9000

    I hear ya, amigo, “acting dumb” never sounds good to me either, but I think his quote was more in response to rumors of high-ranking members of our guild breaking ranks over the sticky reality and animation issues included in our contract discussions. While the evidence for this actually happening is anecdotal at best, I think Paul was really trying to say: support our leaders.

    We elected these guys recently (in one of the largest voter turnouts in WGA history) to do this job for us. And while I think it’s always important to challenge our leaders, even in the best of times, I do think the writers on our negotiating committee are a very diverse lot, with the needs of our equally diverse membership foremost in their minds.

    Having had a number of these guys (Patric Verrone, Ed Solomon, David Weiss) visit us on the picket lines recently to answer questions, I can tell you that they are very smart dudes who’s primary objective right now is ending this thing quickly and fairly for us all.

    So, while his wording may be unfortunate in spots, I think the message Paul was trying to impart is that he has so much faith in these guys that he’d follow them anywhere. And on that issue, I firmly agree…in the word’s of Buzz Lightyear: “To infinity and beyond!”

  3. Melissa

    From the president of the Word Nerd Society: Thanks so much for calling that thing a lectern, instead of a podium as most people do. You’re awesome!

  4. Melissa, I, for one, would appreciate hearing your thoughts on the comparisons and contrasts between a podium, a dais and a predella.

    You can present this dissertation after Tom’s thoughts on the works of Satyajit Ray and before my oral history of the preceding versions of the film Cabaret. 🙂

  5. yeti9000

    Ha! I’m so glad you noticed my use of the word lectern, Melissa. I actually looked it up to make sure I was using the term correctly, so, whew…guess I did!

  6. By the way, I hated “Crash” too, but I recently read in “Going Clear,” that book about Scientology, that Paul Haggis himself was displeased with how the movie turned out. So I don’t hold it against him!

  7. Good to know, now if Haggis would kindly hand his Best Picture Academy Award to Ang Lee and his producers for “Brokeback Mountain” all would be right with the world! 🙂

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