Hard News by Russell Brown

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

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  • nzlemming,

    My theory concurs with your theory. Their children will be beautiful.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1769 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I think NZAE would have been aware of the boycott's participants, just perhaps not thinking it through enough.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    I have it on good authority that there was no meeting of the general membership before the "don't work" was issued.

    It would be hard to have a membership meeting for an unregistered, legally non-existant organisation, wouldn't it?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Anyone notice that Jonathan King has never returned since asking for the access to The Thread of Doooom?

    Did I hear my name mentioned?

    I've bowed out of all this for my mental health -- the post mortems all too distressing / infuriating / mobius-strip-like ... and now I pretty much feel like I don't really want to talk about The Hobbit again until the day it opens!

    I have to say Thread of Doooom was -- after the build up -- a bit of a disappointment: Jeez, it got bitchy real quick, didn't it? :-) Some of the early ones linked to within it were a better read ...

    Still -- many thanks for having me. I hope I can contribute again when I have something worthwhile to say.

    JK

    Since Sep 2010 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    A real 'Return of the King"!




    sorry

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    nice

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Anyone notice that Jonathan King has never returned since asking for the access to The Thread of Doooom?
    - Did I hear my name mentioned?

    The Return of the King, hmmm... *
    that's got a Ring to it!
    ;- D

    ps: anyone interested in my Hitchhikers Guide... sequel pitch - The Two Towels

    *[edit] dang! beaten to the punchline by my betters!
    It was the Golden Apples that slowed me down, honest...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Maybe just The Once and Future King. For now, retired. ;-)

    Since Sep 2010 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Heather W.,

    @Jonathan King

    Thanks for your return comments, search party now stood down. I was wondering if the "Thread of Doooooom" might appear to have been slightly oversold in terror factor. You had to be there at the time to get the whole vibe of the thing. Plus the worst of the posts were deleted so how some of the people here remember it happening is not the same as how it would seem events unfolded to someone viewing it now.

    North Shore • Since Nov 2008 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    ps: anyone interested in my Hitchhikers Guide... sequel pitch - The Two Towels

    If you open your front door you'll find me asleep on the mat.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Dozer the breaks...

    If you open your front door you'll find me asleep on the mat.

    I'm just going to get the male,
    i hope you're okay with beer
    and crisps for breakfast?
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4555 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    beer and crisps for breakfast

    Once a roadie, always a roadie. :- )

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3327 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    It would be hard to have a membership meeting for an unregistered, legally non-existant organisation, wouldn't it?

    Actually, no, it's perfectly feasible.

    I was on the committee of a car-club for several years, near the end of which, we became an incorporated society.

    I assure you, before registering as an incorporated society, we had committee meetings, all-members AGM's, collected membership fees, and we thought we existed as a club. (I'm unsure of our legal status at the time), but we did all the things we kept doing after incorporation...

    Actors Equity could definitely have had meetings with it's members regardless of the status of it's incorporation or it's legal ability to act as a bargaining agent. (note especially, it's pretty obvious they were either unaware of, or denying their current status.... so they would have continued to behave as if it hadnt changed).

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 786 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Simon Bennett - congratulations on last night's ep of OF. The fight scene was hilarious!

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Simon Bennett - congratulations on last night's ep of OF. The fight scene was hilarious!

    nanananananana, I can't hear you, haven't seen it yet nananna(ears are blocked)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Managed to dig up more on the Economist ''star wars' article from 1997:

    Hollywood's fading charms

    Home alone in Europe

    And that was even before the rise of mass broadband and the Rings trilogy.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4063 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    Thanks Jacqui. One more to go!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Oh bugger, Sofie. Never even entered my head! Sorry :(

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    It's ok, the shorts did suggest a fisty cuffs. Just that it coincides with Gravity of which I am enjoying also. Can't touch that, but OF allows it to be recorded, so I get to watch it tonight.
    No worrying to be had. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5924 posts Report Reply

  • Pat Hackett,

    An excellent, concise summary of the saga has been posted by a Pundit reader/actor:

    http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/the-hobbit-exposes-the-failings-of-nz-inc#comments

    by Tabitha on November 03, 2010

    Hi

    I joined Actors Equity in the early 80s. I remember a strike in about 1983 actually, which I was part of. I remember a colleague's sign reading "Ya pay peanuts... ya get monkeys." I thought we were well paid, but I was young and he was a career actor. Anyway, industrial action by actors dates back a long way in NZ - well, back to the primitive, fledgling, infantile production days anyway... maybe not so long ago after all.

    I attended meetings about the merger with MEAA a few years back, but my heart wasn't in that. After researching the pros and cons I thought we were better off remaining autonomous. The industry here is generally pretty co-operative, responsive and respectful (in my experience). Around the same time I divaricated my skill base because I decided acting in this fishbowl of a country wasn't for me, unless mixed with other businesses / skills.

    Unlike many thumb-twiddling obsevers and confused idealists adding their two cents from the sidelines, I do have an interest in this. Late September / October was a fraught and scary time where although wages were being paid, we had precious little to do. Actors were supposed to be coming in for fittings, paperwork sorting etc. But we were hamstrung with the boycott. It was a scary time and if we'd been employees, then hundreds of redundancies were on the cards. As contractors though I guess 3ft7 could afford to hedge their bets on a weekly basis.

    An international actors boycott of The Hobbit was instigated by MEAA in June and implemented by FIA. No vote was ever taken on this action by NZ Actors Equity members in fact most of them didn't know about it. But it was done in their name. Why The Hobbit was singled out has never been clear. Except that MEAA would make a TON of money, with 15% commission on residuals if their demands for a collective agreement were met. In August MEAA sent the letter demanding to meet 3ft7 directors (NOT Peter Jackson, whatever the union actors said later), to confirm the collective bargaining agreement (illegal) for Hobbit actors. Their supposed leverage (blackmail) was the continued boycott. Jackson refused and publicly called them bullies.

    I know that NZ Actors Equity and SPADA have not always seen eye to eye, but there has been an open offer by SPADA to meet and re-negotiate the Pink Book (guidelines for actors' terms and conditions), and that they have been left hanging repeatedly by Equity who just cannot seem to get their act together on just about any front. Including not being registered since 2007 until they hurriedly rushed through the paperwork on October 14 this year, under MEAA's name. SPADA left messages again in early October for Equity to call them about terms and conditions but heard nothing back until much, much later in the month. Equity went to ground and the boycott stayed in place. The workers were panicking, PJ was furious, Warners started talking to overseas studios, battle lines in NZ were drawn, the government got involved, Simon Whipp went on holiday. The boycott created an impasse.

    Here's something to think about. Techos and actors MIGHT get paid the total same on this film. But the techos may work for 100 weeks, and the actors for maybe three.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2010 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    We have now been referenced on that pundit thread. But same old, same old :

    I get a feeling Tabitha is tail gunning for the producers camp here.

    At least he's been called on it.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1769 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett,

    NZAE Youtube video newsletter:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    That's been up there for a while.

    I particularly enjoyed the line about "the union is its members" Shame that wasn't more central to their activity around Te Hobbit...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 1769 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    To me, that Pundit article does a good and even-handed job of addressing the bigger picture and the interactions of the main players. Worth a read. Comments not so novel.

    If we'd really been New Zealand Inc. Sir Peter would have sat down and talked, perhaps with the government as facilitator; the MEAA wouldn't have issued an ultimatum; and perhaps most crucially, CEO John Key wouldn't played up the risk of losing the movies (which was always downplayed by the knowledgeable Hollywood media) and mused that the country would have to pay for the union's error of judgment.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    We'll never know how serious WB actually was when they threatened to take the movie away, will we? The media certainly bought it. And from memory Russell was amongst the first to reveal that the risk was very real. Without asking him to reveal his source, I'd be curious to know if it was a party that could possibly have an interest in fostering that perception.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

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