Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Hobbit Wars

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  • Grant McDougall,

    Good fisk of the Herald's hopeless editorial

    What does "fisk" mean, please ? Is it some trendy, new term in vogue in Auckland that has yet to get past the Bombays ?

    If someone could explain, it'd be appreciated.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 565 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What does "fisk" mean, please ? Is it some trendy, new term in vogue in Auckland that has yet to get past the Bombays ?

    As Wikipedia says, it's a point-by-point rebuttal of a written argument, internet styles. Nearly a decade old.

    The name derives originally from Robert Fisk getting such treatment from dumbass right-wingers when he probably wasn't that wrong anyway -- but it's transcended that. Mr Fisk just has to accept that he has donated a very good word to the online vernacular.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Fisking


    snap

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16268 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    TIL what the word "fisk" is evolving to mean

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fisk

    whenever I come accross new word I urban dictionary it and hope what I read won't melt my brain

    yesterday i learned the TIL means "Today I Learned"

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 77 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Most people can't eat that kind of stuff.

    No, they can't. But most people in New Zealand can't depend on relocating to LA or Sydney and hoping they're going to make it in pilot season either.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Most people can't eat that kind of stuff.

    Yes, but they might value it nonetheless.

    They might also get an SAG membership and more work out of it.

    You might. And you might win Lotto on Saturday night. Especially if you appeared on a non-union contract.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You might. And you might win Lotto on Saturday night.

    I submit that the odds are considerably better than those for winning Lotto.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Snappety snap

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16268 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Sorry - see my edit.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Yes, but they might value it nonetheless.

    Indeed - anyone who thinks Ainsley Gardner and Taika Waititi made the price of a good lunch at Prego out of Two Cars, One Night just doesn't know jack about short films. But the attention it got on the festival circuit (and the Oscar nomination) sure made everything that came afterwards a wee bit easier to get made and distributed.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I submit that the odds are considerably better than those for winning Lotto.

    Furthermore, in a free society, people are allowed to buy Lotto tickets.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Why pray tell are MEAA going after our good union man Sir Peter Jackson and not after MGM? Looks like its because they are a bunch of bully boy Aussie pricks who feel it is much safer to pick on one guy.

    Say there was a newspaper somewhere with its warehouse represented by the MEAA and the printing by EPMU. Warehouse gets pissed off with the better terms the printers have for themselves, so the MEAA march up to the head printer and tell her to divert money from her back pocket or they'll make her job impossible.

    Now as far as i can tell that is not how a real union would operate, but apparently i am mistaken.

    Irishbill at The Standard writes up glowing reports on how the MEAA operates. Irishbill at The Standard will fisk every statement that printer says. Irishbill at The Standard will call her a liar when she says she doesn't set the budgets and how she is totally so greedy for not reaching into her own pocket. Irishbill at The Standard will call her a bully.




    Was going to post this on The Standard, but they don't like criticism.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    One of the interesting 'rumours' that came for the LOTR years was that a lot of the NZers on set were employed by overseas companies. That makes for interesting situations. One biggie being that you are no longer coverd by ACC. I am aware of at least one guy being bashed over the nut with a sword and being invalided out of the movie and no ACC coverage.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1479 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Ross, by "no ACC coverage" I assume you mean income protection? Coz ACC is meant to cover treatment for all injuries that occur on NZ soil.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3889 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Asked around a bit more about the "Pink Book", which outlines standard pay and conditions for actors on SPADA productions (there's also a "Blue Book" for crews).

    It was renegotiated with Actors' Equity more or less annually until 2005, when the MEAA took over Equity. SPADA apparently offered to renegotiate it 18 months ago, but was rebuffed because MEAA/AE wanted to push for its collective agreement.

    So it does seem there's a case for saying that MEAA wants to change the basis on which actors have been employment in NZ for the last 15 or 20 years. They're welcome to try, but you can see why it might be difficult.

    Anyway, I got this from Helen Kelly of the CTU in an email. (She'd have posted it here, but even after I got a login done manually for her, it doesn't seem to have taken. Weird problem.):

    The CTU has advised Peter Jackson that the union is not set on a collective agreement, but that it wants an agreement on terms and conditions. We have also offered to be involved. We have told him that the union expects to negotiate in line with the New Zealand film making context - there has been no discussion about matching Brad Pitt conditions. Until the parties meet - no one can say what the actual point of differences are. What the performers are saying is that they want their union involved.

    Which is several notches down from all the screaming at the Standard. One would think that reasonable people could find some common ground there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ross, surely he could sue whatever company he was employed by, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    This does seem like a somewhat standard industrial dispute blown up all over the media because it's got an Australian Union involved, and it's Peter Jackson and the Hobbit. Seems like the parties should get together and have a wee chat and get it sorted.

    I hate the "but it might go to Eastern Europe if they don't sign up" crap that is going around. Yes it might. But it's the actor's incomes and careers as much as anyone else's. If we were to put them all on minimum wage they'd be plenty more work for them here in NZ, but they have the right to push for certain conditions and wages.

    "But it will go overseas!" is such an old response to industrial action. No shit sherlock, move on.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    there has been no discussion about matching Brad Pitt conditions.

    If Helen is reading this: First, hello there and thanks for contributing. But what do you mean by "Brad Pitt conditions"?

    What the performers are saying is that they want their union involved.

    Would be out of order to ask whether Equity/MEAA has actually does itself (or more importantly, it's flaxroots membership) any favours on that score? Bluntly, I wouldn't put my faith in a union that can't even keep its registration up to code, and isn't strategically media-smart enough to disavow a member distributing a factually inaccurate "rebuttal" that has had wide circulation.

    Believe it or not, I've belonged to one or two unions in my time. At the very least, they've been competently run and managed to retain a constructive and reality-based approach when acting on my behalf. Not too much to ask for, is it?

    I hate the "but it might go to Eastern Europe if they don't sign up" crap that is going around. Yes it might.

    Well, yes. Just as I rather doubt Robert Tapper based Spartacus: Blood and Sand here (rather than LA or Vancouver or Cardiff or Sydney) just so the wife and kids could see more of the in-laws. Nor does Weta attract work because that Peter Jackson is a real boss bloke. It's a simple reality that nobody is going to base a multi-million dollar production somewhere that lacks "workforce stability" (ugh). That doesn't mean actors don't "have the right to push for certain conditions and wages" and I've not seen anyone here suggest otherwise. But sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "I can't hear you", won't make certain brutal, intractable realities go away.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    #BradPittConditions

    Dare ya

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16268 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Dare ya

    I'm afraid Angelina Jolie will crush me with her pouty lips of doom and titanium-hard thighs.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "I can't hear you", won't make certain brutal, intractable realities go away.

    Yeah. But I don't think the actors at least have done that. The MEAA might have, but they seem like the mad players in his story.

    It just seems like the fringe parts of this story: "the world is going to blacklist this movie", vs "NZ will lose $3 billion a year industry" (see "industry heads here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4181258/Union-criticises-Nats-over-battling-for-Jackson) should get less play (including whatever Chris Finlayson thought he was doing sticking his nose in) and the representatives of the actors and the representatives of the movie getting together to have a conversation about conditions and pay should be moved up the scale.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    pouty lips of doom and titanium-hard thighs

    Not sure she's even on Twitter, is she?

    #youknowyouwantto

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16268 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And (I say this as a fanboy), if the production company insists on sticking to the line that they can't talk to the union because they're all contractors, then losing the movie here could be an option.

    Seriously, it's not that hard to employ a bunch of people on fixed term and casual contracts. Do we really want the largest player in a significant NZ industry avoiding unions entirely by making all his employees contractors?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6147 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    I felt queasy after reading most of the above comments (Jan Farr and Helen Kelly excepted) from the often caring sharing PA commenters, which basically put the slipper into the most vulnerable players in this “Hobbit project” drama. So, sent off a quick solidarity message from myself and family to local Equity.
    http://www.actorsequity.org.nz/contact-equity

    Gordon Campbell, Scoop, conveyed in his usual short thorough style the industry machinations that may ultimately decide the outcome.
    NZ tax breaks falling behind the international ‘race to the bottom’ levels, all sorts of hands out for a cut from Hobbit-Tolkien Estate, the departed director, New Line execs, MGM changes etc etc.

    I recall first seeing NZ Equity President Jennifer Ward-Lealand in a Renee play–“Pass it on” many years ago, plot concerned the 1951 waterfront lockout and Jennifer may have absorbed some of the values therein. It is incredibly brave of her to publicly front this given the high stakes and the ‘face fitting’ nature of the local industry.

    The almost instinctive anti unionism displayed here has got to be related to a generation of independent contracting by middle class kiwis. I am a freelancer too but I know where my loyalties lie.

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Kyle, one of the big issues here with actors is that you can't necessarily hire them on a fixed term on a film like this. The Rings shoot went on for years, with schedules (not to mention the script) constantly being rewritten and revised. You can't hire every day player (remember, we simply aren't talking significant roles in the film in here) on a fixed term, because you don't know if you're going be done with them in a few days or if they'll appear again later. The production will estimate the time they're needed and almost certainly do a deal with their agent for something like that ... but they may be called back for the odd day ... or three ... or not. That's movies.

    Since Sep 2010 • 172 posts Report Reply

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