Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit

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  • DeepRed,

    @Jono King: I am reminded of the 1997 Economist article "Star wars", which explored the malaise of Hollywood at the time, and of Europe's then potential.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    It's very hard to move a coalmine offshore.

    Actually Thatcher's strategy for the miners strike was to (a) anticipate it and (b) stockpile huge coal reserves, which the government could import from Poland cheaper than the British could mine it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    I've just had an email that includes the phrase "your treachery will not be forgotten".

    Russell: for every person who sends a shitty email, there are 10 more who don't send emails, but who think that your POV is fair and balanced (and not in a Fox News kinda way), and salute you.

    Don't let the twatcocks get you down. :)

    People are kinda stupid sometimes.

    Tell us something we don't know! :p

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    @Jacqui

    Anyone tell me what I've done wrong by looking at the above?

    Link does work, it just doesn't look right. Its two square brackets at each end and not round brackets and no spaces.

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    As for The Herald, I stopped reading that rag when they hounded me over a comment I made here back when I first signed up. Which is why I removed my email link, and stopped posting. They then had the gall to try and fish me out of my silence by publishing something I didn't say with a slant that they knew I didn't agree with. Fortunately, I took my father's advice (first time ever!) and didn't respond to correct them. I also had to put my phone number on "super secret" 'cos I was getting anonymous threatening calls. It was quite scary!

    ('twas all over Louise Nichols and 1980's police culture in Rotorua - I'm a cop's kid).

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Here be Dragons!

    It's all Matthew Poole's fault. He started it, mum!

    Actually, blame Russell. He asked me to write a guest piece about Lessig's lecture. And, having re-read it just before, rather eloquently I did write it, even if I do say so myself.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    @ Heather W. Thanks for that, Heather. Even with brand new glasses, I couldn't tell that those were both square brackets. Sigh.

    Blow these tiny laptop screens.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    And, having re-read it just before, rather eloquently I did write it, even if I do say so myself.

    You did, Oscar, you did.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2198 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    I personally am not particularly proud of his recent behaviour

    I might not be "proud" of his behaviour wrt this, but I can understand that he would be hurt, angry, and spitting tacks.

    The guy has a rep for being a fairly magnanimous employer and does a lot for the NZ film industry across the board. The way he was targeted and made to look like he was just a cold, money grubbing slave driver who couldn't give a shit about his employees - especially when another production in NZ has a rep for being exactly what NZAE was supposedly railing against, yet NOT targeted, would really stick in his craw - I know it would stick in mine!

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    If one, just out of interest, wanted to read this, so-called, 'Thread of Dooooom', where would one find it?

    You've been warned. It's considered to be PAS's ultimate self-referential discussion. If posts ever turn toward matters of copyright, someone will inevitably say "It's turning into one of those threads!" and that's normally enough to settle things down. The "all threads turn to copyright" dictum is like a Godwin's Law for PAS.
    It's over 2,000 comments, but after about the first 15-20 pages it gets pretty dire. I posted the opening story, and I stopped reading it after about 20 pages of comments! It also has the dubious distinction of being the first thread that Russell closed to comments; on the day he finally got the power.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    'twas all over Louise Nichols

    *sigh* Yeah, that was an epic masterclass in media slut-shaming wasn't it? Welcome to the New Zealand Herald: Where they're going to party like its 1899!

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Scott, the way I read it is that s6(2) is not touched, and that's the section that says that the true nature of the relationship must be examined. So s6(1) is modified to say that film workers aren't employees unless their contract says they are, but does nothing to stop an application under s6(5) and nothing to stop a judge looking, per s6(2), at the true nature of the relationship. You're the lawyer, I'm just a geek with a Commerce major in Commercial Law, but I don't see how the proposed changes block judicial examination of the whole relationship. They're ostensibly trying to stop another Bryson, but to paraphrase badly I don't think the words they're inserting mean what they think they mean.

    Matthew, I’m not an employment lawyer, so am not really an expert on who is or isn’t an employee, but I think it comes down to statutory interpretation.

    S6(1)(d) states (or will state, assuming the bill passes unmodified) that certain persons are not employees. It is an express exclusion.

    S6(2) allows a court or the ERA to determine whether a person falls within the scope of s6(1)(a). But if that person was a film worker under a contract for service entered into after the bill passes, they would still be excluded under s6(1)(d).

    The power of the court to make a declaration under s6(5) exists to help determine whether a particular factual situation is in fact a contract for services or an employment agreement. In making a determination the court will have to apply the law (i.e. s6(1)(d), which says that certain film workers won’t be employees).

    I don't read s6(2) or 6(5) as giving the courts the power to ignore s6(1)(d). But like all lawyers I'll cover my arse in case I'm wrong by reiterating that I'm not an employment lawyer.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Russ, I just noticed you closed the Anatomy of a Shambles thread, after only a week. That IS a record. The Thread of Doom took 2 years and spam to achieve that status. We're getting better at this ;-)

    To be fair to Russell, it was two years after the ToD started before he got the capability to close it to comments. Silencing the ToD was his first exercise of the ultimate power.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    An aside here, but for those interested in film of a different colour, Intellect Books (UK) have replaced their offer of a free pdf download of the Directory of World Cinema: Australia & New Zealand (now it is in print) with a free download of the Directory of World Cinema: Russia.

    Chris Trotter will be pleased but so should anyone with a general interest in film.

    From Intellect....
    To find out more, and download a FREE copy of the Directory of World Cinema: Russia (Nov, 2010), visit www.worldcinemadirectory.org and experience global culture through the magic of film...

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2329 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm not sure what you mean. Four years' work is considered a pretty good gig in the film biz.

    The inevitable question is 'what next?' After these movies finish, will we have to up our subsidy and who knows what else to keep the next four years of movie employees in work?

    There's an assumption that because we got some big movies here, that we need to keep finding ways to keep getting big movies here so that we can continue to do the next thing and keep as many of those people employed. We're tying ourselves to an industry where we're entirely reliant on the benevolence of overseas funders and the lack of competition from other countries, some of whom will always be cheaper than us.

    I wonder if our future lies in the post-production part of the movie cycle, which is much easier to just bring to NZ from whereever it's filmed, and which we've got a great reputation in, and in terms of actual filming we focus more on domestic productions.

    'The industry' keeps its revenues up by making fewer and fewer bigger and bigger films (like, I dunno, The Hobbit or Avatar) and pays another hundred mill or so to instruct everyone on the planet to go and see them on the same weekend. In 3D. For an extra $3.00.

    That's what is concerning to me about the way things are going. I don't mind it if big actors/directors/producers don't make a gazillion dollars per movie. Mostly because I don't think anyone in the world is so good that they should be making a gazillion dollars.

    But that's not the end of the movie business that is drying up. It's the diversity of the marginal stuff with small audiences - docos, arthouse, curious wee stuff largely only of interest to an audience in one country.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6221 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    @Scott, I certainly see what you're saying, and read that way I can see where your view and mine diverge. The problem I have with the interpretation you propose is that the Bill's (non-existent) language around judges examining the contract for service doesn't preclude a conclusion that, actually, it's an employment agreement.

    Were a judge to look at a contract for service that was really an employment contract in drag, as was pretty much the case with Bryson as I understand it, I can see at least one avenue for the judge to find that the person is "party to, or covered by, an employment agreement that provides that the person is an employee". After all, the determination that a person is an employee under s6(1)(a) is a matter of fact under s6(2).

    The "good" solution would've been a separate Act, not just an amendment, with s6(4) of the ERA amended to include the name of that Act, and the new Act actually setting down categorically who was and wasn't a contractor in the film industry. But that would take time, and time doesn't exist when you're trying to ram through a politically-expedient drafting error under urgency.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3925 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    We're tying ourselves to an industry where we're entirely reliant on the benevolence of overseas funders and the lack of competition from other countries, some of whom will always be cheaper than us.

    We're relying entirely on our building capacity whilst remaining competitive. And we'll always have the locations. The situation in Italy is not vastly dissimilar - even when our national cinema is in the doldrums there are a lot of foreign productions that come to us for our locations but also for the quality of our facilities (cinecittà) and the skills of our technicians and designers, even if wages and costs aren't low. It will continue to happen for as long as the industry has enough to offer.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7404 posts Report Reply

  • hamishm,

    This fecking movie appears to have driven everyone (except me) around the bend. We should give the fecking thing to Ireland.
    Interesting statement from Brownlee in Parliament that Warner's did not ask for the amendment. It was an offer then? What will happen when Petrogas says that our environment protection laws are too strict?Or actually doesn't say, Brownlee offers it to them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    *sigh* Yeah, that was an epic masterclass in media slut-shaming wasn't it?

    Yup, and I guess they figured that with me being a cop's kid and yet siding with Nichols that I might feed them with juicy tidbits. What they wrote made it look like I was against Nichols - I wasn't. Never ever trusted a damn thing they've ever written since. Filthy rag.

    And that begs the question - if they watch Russell's blog and read the comments from people "in the know", why do they still continue to lie and spin wrt this [Hobbit] story?

    Lying liars are liars.
    "When lies abound, telling the truth is an act of revolution".

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    The debate here while often not to my taste, has indeed been reasonably civilized albeit very well represented with producers.

    I think you'll find that the grand total of posts from producers out of 2-3000 or so is probably less than 10.

    I'm a screenwriter, Jonathan is a director (also Michael D), in case you were confused about us. The only producers I know who've commented have been Simon Bennett.

    And I'm sick of this 'us vs producers' mentality that people seem to trot out, as if to say 'any argument a producer makes must be wrong because they're a producer', or anyone who agrees with a producer must be a scab.

    That's not the way our industry works and I'm sick of this bullshit company/union ideological crap being thrust upon it, and having pricks like Trotter/Laws/Facebook/TheStandard/Kiwiblog assholes wade in with their mindless ideological crap. Pretty sure the actors are too by now.

    If that makes me a scab/company union type, then I'd suggest anyone who thinks so, please say it to my face, and see what happens...

    Deal with the substance rather than who's saying it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You've been warned. It's considered to be PAS's ultimate self-referential discussion.

    Also testament to my tendency to let trolls run on if they're largely only attacking me. I should have booted one particular individual long before I actually did.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    You seem to be tolerating Scott Hamilton's trolls pretty well too. That's above and beyond.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7404 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    I might not be "proud" of his behaviour wrt this, but I can understand that he would be hurt, angry, and spitting tacks.

    The way Peter Jackson was targeted? I think Actor's Equity made tactical mistakes (and possibly even strategic ones) - but as someone wrote, that's an industrial issue - not a moral one - and I hope they grow stronger as a result.

    With much shrill posturing, that largely drowned out balanced and informed debate, PJ, his friends and the media turned it into a moral campaign, against a tiny union. It's obvious, even from reading this intelligent blog, that some people are trying to broaden that out to the whole union movement.

    This position for example, was rarely encountered. (Thanks Giovanni)

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Jacqui:

    (Edit) Ah no. Bugger. Anyone tell me what I've done wrong by looking at the above? I'd be very grateful.

    The only way I can get it to work is by copying and pasting it from the side bar first - then replacing the words 'url' and 'link text' with the obvious.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    if they watch Russell's blog and read the comments from people "in the know", why do they still continue to lie and spin wrt this [Hobbit] story?

    I think one might have had more than a few moments of total confusion reading all the commenters. "In the know"? A bit hard to ascertain. People with opinions, yes. People with strong opinions, yes indeed. People talking about things they thought might be the case? Oh yes. Things they heard from someone else? Yup.

    But thankfully, sane voices - Peter Cox for one - wanting to wait for confirmation about things. I'm not surprised there was the threat of physical violence, nor vile threats made. Even on this normally friendly, tolerant site, things got rather heated, and it seemed to me that shooting off at the mouth before engaging brain happened a little too often for my taste.

    I'm flabbergasted (isn't that a splendid word?) that RB and GT should be singled out by other sites, though. However, it's more of the same really, isn't it? All heat and no light.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

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