Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles

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  • Peter Cox,

    Brendon:

    but if we are to have the filmic version of a Chinese sweatshop, then I think we need to go back to the drawing board.

    Even if that were true (and you might see why certain producers might take offence to the suggestion they're running the equivilent of a Chinese sweatshop), do you think that the way AE/MEAA have run this boycott is a good way of effecting the 'going back to the drawing board' type notion you suggest? If not, then don't tell people that agree with you that they are 'union bashing' please. It makes them get angry, and I think we've got quite enough of that floating about.

    @Mike, yup, pretty much, and depressing it is. But there's something to be said also for some genuine idealism going on with the way Helen Kelly/CTU have tried to defend AE which is commendable I think. Obviously, though, it's important to be concerned about all the unions and memberships involved rather than just the one, and unfortunately this Hobbit thing has rather become the one and only Union story in town. Which kinda sucks, not just for the CTU, but all the Unions, particularly those in the film industry.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Pat Hackett,

    Wednesday will be truly weird. Nationwide peaceful protests by ordinary workers are going to be condemned by the Unions and left-wing blogs like The Standard.

    And weirder still, they will be the first protest marches in recent memory that won't be joined by the usual suspects such as Minto, Bradford, Darroch, Rocky. or any Labour or Green MPs. Maybe NZ really is Middle Earth.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/60139/union-can't-promise-no-strikes-during-world-cup

    More to the point, they bloody shouldn't. While it gives my black Tory heart the flutters to say this, if a union takes legal, properly notified industrial action then it is fucking irrelevant whether it happens during the Rugby World Cup or Jane Austen's Birthday (which is a high holy day in this house).

    Anyway, I really doubt (just taking a random example) the unions covering public transport staff would stage a walk out in Auckland the day of the final. You don't need to be a fricking genius to realise that the (inevitable) backlash is something you'd court at your peril.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    if we are to have the filmic version of a Chinese sweatshop, then I think we need to go back to the drawing board.

    This is just so untrue. I worked on LOTRs in 3 different departments in 1999/2000. In every case I was basically filling in, and entirely the bottom rung no experience guy. Doing one or two days here and there in between my regular cafe job was luxury. Long hours sure, but the pay was pretty good for unskilled labour as far as I'm concerned.

    I know lots of people who became much more involved than me and certainly the way film worker contracts were so open ended could be stressful. The hours could be insane, and sometimes you'd be working out in the mud and rain all night and so on. So yes, sometimes the crew felt like they were doing a pretty hard job. But I they were always fed well, paid well and kept safe. Furthermore, I remember vividly how much people wanted to work on this films because they wanted to be part of something big.

    The use of the word 'sweatshop' is ridiculous.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 299 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    Working NZ actors may not earn as much as their counterparts in Australia, the UK or the US. But name one area in NZ where this isn't also the case.

    NZ has a small population, market and funding base. The revenue available to a successful NZ production (I'm talking TV here). is relatively miniscule. I believe there's a mistaken assumption among many actors that 'success = big bucks'. They're not seeing the big bucks, therefore someone, producers, must be ripping them off.

    In my experience, successful NZ TV actors would earn in a year sums that most New Zealanders could only dream of. They are also extremely well looked after in the workplace.

    What we're witnessing is the unfortunate side-effect of success in a small country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Perhaps Equity New Zealand/MEAA should have an open casting call to replace Whipp. Choose between. --

    Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile,
    And cry, ‘Content,’ to that which grieves my heart,
    And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
    And frame my face to all occasions.
    I’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
    I’ll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
    I’ll play the orator as well as Nestor,
    Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
    And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
    I can add colours to the chameleon,
    Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
    And set the murd’rous Machiavel to school.
    Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
    Tut! were it further off, I’ll pluck it down.

    (Henry VI Part II, Act 3, Sc. 3)

    or,

    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
    And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
    Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
    And now,--instead of mounting barbed steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,--
    He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
    But I,--that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
    Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
    I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
    To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
    I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
    Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
    Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time
    Into this breathing world scarce half made up,
    And that so lamely and unfashionable
    That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;--
    Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
    Have no delight to pass away the time,
    Unless to spy my shadow in the sun,
    And descant on mine own deformity:
    And therefore,--since I cannot prove a lover,
    To entertain these fair well-spoken days,--
    I am determined to prove a villain,
    And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
    Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
    By drunken prophecies, libels, and dreams,
    To set my brother Clarence and the king
    In deadly hate the one against the other:
    And if King Edward be as true and just
    As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
    This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,--
    About a prophecy which says that G
    Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
    Dive, thoughts, down to my soul:--here Clarence comes.

    (Richard III, Act 1, Sc.1)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    'Saturday night at the movies who cares what picture you see"
    I doubt anyone fight's over the back row anymore.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1227 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Yay! It's Labour day weekend.
    oh...
    I'll get my coat....

    On another note, Fran O'sullivan has the reason for the whole fiasco.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6263 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    "Wednesday will be truly weird. Nationwide peaceful protests by ordinary workers are going to be condemned by the Unions and left-wing blogs like The Standard.

    And weirder still, they will be the first protest marches in recent memory that won't be joined by the usual suspects such as Minto, Bradford, Darroch, Rocky. or any Labour or Green MPs. Maybe NZ really is Middle Earth."

    Because it is a march for what is effectilvely the holding down the wages and conditions in the film industry.

    Dont you guys know what you are doing? You are destroying forever any chance of we have of a film industry which provides decent wages and conditions, and where workers are expendable. Do you want workers to be expenable in this country. That march will be against unions, high wages, overtime, holiday pay, job security, anything.

    "On another note, Fran O'sullivan has the reason for the whole fiasco.
    "

    Quite frankly, Fran can piss off the China. God forbid that us worms get high wages.

    "and here it comes...

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/60139/union-can't-promise-no-strikes-during-world-cup"

    God forbid that hospitality workers want their share of the world cup boom. But if the likes of Lowe had their way, the workers will still work long 14 hour days for minimum wage and if they complain, thy are out the door. The RWC is going to be all about low wages. According to Lowe, Jackson and the like, all workers are expendable.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Skinner,

    How does NO pay...NO catering...NO security...NO respect sound??? Because that is what the "crew" of students that are "Generously" given work experience and opportunities by Ms Ward Lealand et al on their theatrical endeavours can expect to receive!!! (all the while depriving others of paid employment)..... Hypocrisy thy name is...

    Deepest Whitest Remmers • Since Oct 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    "..Because that is what the "crew" of students that are "Generously" given work experience and opportunities by Ms Ward Lealand et al on their theatrical endeavours can expect to receive!!!..."

    That is genreally another issue that needs to be address.

    The creative industry is rotten to the core with these things, and it needs a good shaking out.

    Quite frankly they wont go away.

    Were I be giving advice to a school leave today, I would be pointing them in the direction of the meatworks, not the backlot.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Were I be giving advice to a school leave today, I would be pointing them in the direction of the meatworks, not the backlot.

    Oh, quite. Because my screen industry friends are always coming around saying how they wish they were doing valuable but backbreaking work slaughtering animals all day instead of practising the crafts they love. Even the vegetarians.

    I'm really not sure you're adding any value here, millsy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    I thought the Emergency Measures of the RWC would have banned strikes, if not, there does still seem to be room to move further to the right.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1147 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Brendon, the meatworks being a better place to work than the film biz is a consistent theme of your posts. Might I, respectfully, suggest that people pursuing a career in film have some different priorities (above, say, secure and continuous employment) than those who perform the valuable service of chopping up animals for a living.

    1500 film workers gathered on the streets of Wellington last week to say they're happy with conditions and just want to get to work.

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I thought the Emergency Measures of the RWC would have banned strikes, if not, there does still seem to be room to move further to the right.

    Don't tempt them, please.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    I was just using the meat works as an example.

    What I am saying that if we are to advance economically, and ensure a rising tide lifts all boats (I'm not keen on that term, but it needs to be used.), then we need to decide what industries are the bet fit if we are to have a decent standard of living.

    And from what I see, we are better of sticking to the likes of oil + gas, environmentally friendly farming (though i do acknolwege that a lot of employment practices in the farming industry leave a lot to be desired for), and the export sector, based in part on kiwi innovation.

    We will never get there in some race to the bottom aspect of the film industry.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    Quite frankly they wont go away.

    This it what I tell the kids I teach about trolls on the internet. Every response they get feeds them.

    Yet a trolls 'devils advocate' posturing inflames forum participants to rationally account for the position they are debating. And these accounts make for interesting reading as they add quality and quantity to the thread narrative.

    The former NZ EA executive would do well to appoint someone the role of devils advocate within their committee meetings. They would do so in an effort to avoid future group think errors.

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    Brendon, you might want to actually read my posts before responding.

    According to Lowe, Jackson and the like, all workers are expendable.

    Say what you like about Lowe, but don't go demonising Peter Jackson into a sweatshop owner. It's offensive, stupid and ignorant. It takes a fair bit to get my hackles up, but you're sure getting there, mate. Statements like that are what is causing the march on Monday. Do you think I'm thrilled to see that march? Hell, no! Do I want to see assholes like Lowe or Gery or Fran take advantage of it for their own ends? Hell no too! But I don't blame anyone for wanting to do it, after hearing ridiculous stuff like 'PJ runs a sweatshop where all workers are expendable' spouted about by people that should know better. It's completely unconstructive and damaging to our industry, so if perhaps you might understand why some people are suggesting they bugger off out of it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Brendon, as someone who's given 15 years to film I can tell you: it's not a good fit for a good standard of living. Right or wrong, people choose it for other reasons (which may include fantasy, delusion or even madness).

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    We will never get there in some race to the bottom aspect of the film industry.

    Yes, people should be paid as well as possible, that's what Unions are for, to do what they can to instigate that change on behalf of their members, by acting collectively. But there are far better, constructive ways to do that than the way this has gone down. In my opinion, that collective power and responsibility extends out past a single union, to other unions and workers in that industry, including, obviously the techos, and arguably PJ too. In this case we're seeing the effects of that responsibility not being taken, and the collective power of the union suffering as a result. If you're going to pick up the big stick you damn well better use it responsibly. That's the problem, and the discussion here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think it's time not to feed the troll.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    As I understand it fulsome is losing its old hold on being just a pejorative term

    Mmm, must be. Prince Charles used it in thanking a local somebody here for the welcome speech they gave (when he came here during William's babyhood), to the amusement of many academics and vocab lovers.

    My Mac has packed a sad and obviously needs the doctor, so doing this on a pc (yuk yuk yukity yuk!). Since I last looked here, many comments, but no answer to my question on these residuals, and nobody suggesting that Robyn Malcolm, in her haste and probably nervousness during the interview, stumbling over so many different thoughts that she did, for a time, sound totally muddled, was being totally truthful and sincere. However, my memory of what she said - and forgive me for not going to the relevant sound/video clips given above (there are just so many things this computer doesn't want to do at a speed faster than duh!!) - was that there was never a boycott/blacklist, it was a directive not to sign. When Sainsbury hauled her up on that, she corrected what she said. So I for one think that the terms "boycott" and "blacklist" have been a kneejerk reaction quite uncalled for.

    But rather than dig around to find out who said it first, I think it's time to regroup. For everyone in the film business, no matter what one does.

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

  • nzlemming,

    [edit] point taken Russ. Post removed

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2146 posts Report Reply

  • Brendon Mills,

    I will edit my post as well as it has lost all context.

    Agree that this is one big f**k up though. Just as the CTU/Labour were gaining a bit of traction with their fairness at work campaign.

    New Plymouth • Since Oct 2010 • 33 posts Report Reply

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