Tag Archives: writers

The AMPTP walks out…again!

Replicating the strategy they used with us writers last year, the cheap bastards at the AMPTP have walked out of the negotiating room (again!) eighteen days into their negotiations with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). Claiming that SAG’s “unreasonable” demands for modest increases in payments for DVD sales and online downloads has left them with no other choice but to discontinue talks “at this time”.

And so, true to dickhead form, the AMPTP abruptly suspended talks with the actors, even after SAG announced on the website that they were willing to “work around the clock for as long as it takes to get a fair deal” and “keep the town working”. Sounds kinda familiar, huh?

Reverting to their union-busting handbook once again, the AMPTP is rolling out the old “unreasonable” bit in the media — which they totally own, by the way — and playing up the fact that they are also calling off talks to focus on their upcoming negotiations with SAG’s trouble-plagued sister union, AFTRA, which are set to begin today.

Hmm…kinda reminds me of that time the AMPTP abruptly called off talks with WGA leadership to focus on their upcoming negotiations with the Director’s Guild. And if I remember correctly, the AMPTP forged a quickie deal with the DGA and then left us looking like total jerks until we caved — Yes, I said “caved”. God love ya, Patric Verrone, but we totally caved — and took their lousy deal.

Complicating things further for SAG’s rocking negotiating committee — led by bad-ass actor/studio ball buster extraordinaire, Alan Rosenberg — is the fact that SAG and AFTRA had been at war with one another for years.

From what I’ve gathered, the feud centers around the fact that SAG feels they should have more of a say in their wobbly, co-union existence with AFTRA since SAG has more members who contribute more money to the union’s coffers. The far-less-powerful AFTRA — whose members work in such areas as radio, TV news, talk shows, and several soap operas — feels the decision making should remain 50/50 as it has always been. And therein lies the problem.

Many of the SAG members I met on the picket line — several of whom are members of both guilds — have a deep-seated mistrust of anything AFTRA does. And tensions grew so strained a few months back that AFTRA decided — for the first time in 27 years! — to break off from SAG and negotiate a new contract with the AMPTP on their own. Hmm…as Yoda would say: “Unwise this decision was.”

What really sucks for the actors is that now that talks with the AMPTP have predictably “stalled”, the studios are going to use their negotiations with AFTRA — as they so masterfully did with the DGA — to show how quickly the process can work when so-called calmer heads prevail.

Of course, AFTRA is so weak — with their concerns literally light years away from SAG’s — that they’ll probably take whatever crappy deal the studios shove down their throats. And if recent history repeats itself, I foresee the AMPTP joyously announcing a finalized deal with AFTRA in a week at the most. Hell, AFTRA hates SAG so much at this point, they might even take a shitty deal just to spite them!

Either way, SAG will be left looking like the “unreasonable” jerks the AMPTP is already painting them as, and they will more likely than not take a crappy deal to save face. I say, screw that! Whatever happens, in the next few days, I urge you, Mr. Rosenberg, to learn from our mistakes and stay the course!

To quote from an impassioned e-mail you yourself sent out to the entire WGA membership during the heat of battle last December: “…we know that this fight is for the rights of all creative artists, and our collective future is at stake. We share your sound and reasonable goals for fair compensation for new media formats and we believe you are doing the right thing by taking a stand.”

Of course when you said “we”, you were talking about actors. But those same words could just as easily apply to writers now. As the pictures above illustrate, you guys were out with us every day during our strike, so, no matter what happens in the coming weeks, know this…we got your backs, man. Seriously, I got a couple dozen red and gray shirts just itching to come out and play!

To paraphrase the finale of your rocking e-mail, Mr. Rosenberg, the WGA “will stand with you for as long as it takes”. So, keep on keeping on, actors…and remember, we’re all in this together!

Oh yeah, and for the record, that’s “Thirtsomething” icon David Clennon with Patty and myself in the first picture; “Freaks and Geeks” star Dave “Gruber” Allen in the second shot; and the fetching Penelope Whidmore from “Lost”, actress Sonya Walger in the final pic. I should also note that I saw all three of the SAG actors above on the WGA picket lines many, many times, so, gracias amigos!

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Golden Globes Update…

Wow…this week just keeps getting worse and worse for NBC. Not only are they not televising an award show — crews are actually tearing down the set for the show as I type — but they have also lost exclusive rights to their fake-ass “news conference” they were going to hold on Sunday! And that means, no picketing for us…yeah!

“Miss Golden Globes 2008″ Rumer Willis in a scene from an upcoming film!
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It seems the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the entity behind the Golden Globes, has re-assumed complete control of the press conference and decided that rather than give exclusive rights to the show to NBC, they’d open the event to all media outlets!

Wow…I guess NBC’s plan to reclassify their fizzy awards show as “news” actually worked. The show has become news and as such, is open to all. In the words of “The Simpsons” Nelson Muntz: “Ha, ha!” And while I think NBC can only blame themselves for the enormity of this clusterfuck, I gotta say I feel a little bad for this year’s Miss Golden Globes, Rumer Willis (pictured in the bizarre dunce cap get-up above and a more normal pic below).

“Miss Golden Globes” Rumer Willis in gold!
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For those of you not familiar with the tradition, Miss Golden Globes is the pretty young thing chosen each year to hand out awards onstage. The HFPA usually choses daughters (and sometimes, sons) of Hollywood celebrities. For instance, last year’s Miss Golden Globes was the daughter of Jack Nicholson, the year before that, it was the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith.

Sadly, this year’s pick, Rumer Willis (daughter of Bruce and Demi) will now go down in the Hollywood history books as the Miss Golden Globes that wasn’t…

Sorry, Rumer. But who knows, maybe if you’re lucky they’ll let you hold some of the awards at the news conference!

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Missing Moguls!

Found these hilarious “Missing” posters of the six major Hollywood CEO’s — who pretty much control the AMPTP — last night on UnitedHollywood.com and had to share them with you…

My favorite is the scary-ass picture of Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone seen below. As if that fossil wasn’t freaky looking enough already, this “artist’s rendering” of him is downright horrifying!

Sumner Redstone!
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Oh yeah, and just heard today that the WGA may NOT be picketing the Golden Globes “news conference” after all. Things are still up in the air, but if and when we picket, you can bet your ass I’ll be there in my red or grey shirt, camera in hand. Until then, enjoy this rogues’ gallery of “Missing Moguls!”

Rupert Murdoch!
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Les Moonves!
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Barry Meyer!
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Jeff Zucker!
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Bob Iger!
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SAG support unwavering

With the WGA strike entering it’s seventh week today, I was pleased to find a really rocking e-mail of support from Screen Actors Guild (SAG) President Alan Rosenberg (“L.A. Law”, “Chicago Hope”, “CSI”) in my inbox this weekend.

Me & Debra Messing @ Hollywood Rally (Nov. 20, 2007)

I shouldn’t be surprised by the e-mail, as SAG has been a huge supporter of the WGA since even before the strike began, but the fact that their membership continues to stand beside us during this difficult time is really impressive.

I’ve met slews of SAG actors on the picket line in the past few weeks, some famous, some less so, but all of them have been ready and willing to stand with us in our fight for a fair deal from the AMPTP.

“Passions” star James Hyde & Me @ NBC Burbank (Nov. 16, 2007)

So, in honor of our super cool allies in the Screen Actors Guild, I’ve decided to post some of my favorite pics of my new BFF’s — seriously, that one-legged dude who won the first season of “Big Brother” (Eddie, McGee, pictured below) and I are like peas and carrots these days! — accompanied by the full text of the rousing e-mail of support sent out by President Rosenberg tonight. Enjoy!

“Big Brother 1″ winner Eddie McGee & me @ NBC (Nov. 16, 2007)

Dear Writers Guild of America Members,

I am writing to you on behalf of 120,000 proud members of Screen Actors Guild who stand with you in solidarity as your strike continues. We believe that now more than ever, we must remain strong and even more committed to achieving our common objectives. We are proud to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with you and SAG will be there for as long as it takes.

“Desperate Housewives” star Doug Savant hugs me & Wan @ NBC (Nov. 16, 2007)

Your fight is our fight. Our National Executive Director Doug Allen and I are working around the clock with Patric Verrone and David Young to coordinate our strike support efforts. I’m sure you have seen some of the thousands of Screen Actors Guild members who’ve been walking the picket lines in Los Angeles, New York and around the country for the last six weeks.

“Heroes” star Christine Rose, Wan & I @ NBC (Nov. 16, 2007)

I and other Screen Actors Guild representatives have attended your negotiations and your negotiators have been reasonable and professional. The AMPTP put draconian rollbacks on the table, wasting months of negotiating opportunity. The AMPTP walked out of negotiations twice…most recently after an unreasonable ultimatum that WGA withdraw six key bargaining proposals including several relating to new media compensation.

It is time for the AMPTP to return to the bargaining table.

“Lost” & “Tell Me That You Love Me” star Sonya Walger & me (Nov. 20, 2007)

I salute the cast members and rank-and-file SAG members who are so much a part of this struggle and have made their opinions known to the press, the public, and our employers. As most television shows and motion pictures have shut down, actors are not working. But we know that this fight is for the rights of all creative artists, and our collective future is at stake.

We share your sound and reasonable goals for fair compensation for new media formats and we believe you are doing the right thing by taking a stand.

“Desperate Housewives” stars Brenda Strong & James Denton @ NBC (Nov. 16, 2007)

As 2007 comes to an end please be assured, Screen Actors Guild will stand with you for as long as it takes. I wish you and your families peace, perseverance and patience during this difficult time.

In solidarity,

Alan Rosenberg
President, Screen Actors Guild

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Strike Cookies!

I didn’t make these bad-ass WGA picket sign cookies, but I did eat them today on the picket line at NBC Burbank, and man, alive, what a treat! These sweet, buttery picket signs — which I just realized look a bit like WGA crucifixes — were positively union-tastic!

Michaela Meyers’ strike cookies! (Dec. 6, 2007)

Donated by a crazy-nice WGA supporter, aspiring writer/actor/comedian, Michaela Meyers — that’s her in the photo by fellow striker, the Slackmistress below — these cookies rocked!

Sure, the frosting got a bit messy at times — it was like, Degobah damp out there today — but the buttery goodness of these cookies could not be denied. Not only were they the most original baked goods I’ve seen on the line so far, they were also the tastiest!

Michaela Meyers & her WGA strike cookies! As photographed by the Slackmistress (Dec. 6, 2007)

And when coupled with the delicious tuna salad sandwiches donated by a supportive Teamster’s wife — not pictured, but trust me, they were better than anybody’s momma ever made, and wrapped in wax paper to boot! — today’s picket line offerings could not be beat!

Thank you Mrs. Teamster & Ms. Meyers…your “food support” is appreciated by us all. But, um…maybe a little more by me, if you know what I mean…

Getting ready to devour a WGA strike cookie! (Dec. 6, 2007)

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