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#1 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:02 PM

I found this article about Larry Levinson Productions... once again IA is left out. How does that happen when we represent the largest number of people on set?

Resident Republican/Capitalists will be rejoicing at Larry's success at f***king over workers! <_<

Anyway, I have more current film news from all over the world at RealFilmCareer.com for anyone trying to keep track of where the work is (and isn't).


http://www.laweekly....and-peter-bart/
Unrest on the studio, union and trade fronts
By Nikki Finke
Published on April 08, 2009 at 4:12pm

I also broke the news that IATSE’s Hollywood locals have declared war on TV programming supplier Larry Levinson Productions over issues of unfair labor practices. When IATSE declared a strike, LLP fired and replaced all the union-repped crews on its big-budget miniseries Mega-Storm, which NBC is purchasing. Picket lines have formed at LLP’s sound stages and shooting locations in Simi Valley.

LLP, unaffectionately known as “Lining Larry’s Pockets,” has been a longtime IATSE holdout, and I know Local 600 has been after the company for a while. Levinson does all those low-budget Hallmark movies nonunion. But the locals are joining to try to organize more work. And now that LLP is doing larger projects, I hear that it has become a prime union target.

IATSE accuses LLP of asking its crews to work 16-plus-hour days, and often six-day weeks, for less than minimum wage and without job security. LLP has signed contracts with both DGA and SAG but has been quoted as saying it will never sign with IATSE. The picket lines form at the anticipated crew-call and wrap times in an attempt to identify and contact the scabs, sitting inside a van with blacked-out windows, who are brought in by the production company.

Meanwhile, LLP security people videotape the IATSE picketers. “Larry has been taking photos and video as well to identify the picketers so that he can continue in his unfair labor practice of discriminating in future hiring based on his employees’ desire to join a union,” a IATSE e-mail alert claims. The locals also are picketing Larry Levinson Productions offices in L.A. The union is trying to pressure NBC not to purchase LLP product.

By the second week of the strike, IATSE Hollywood locals 728, 600, 80, 399, 40, 44, 700 and 705, representing below-the-liners from cinematographers and sound engineers to film editors, were picketing. There has been no solidarity expressed by either the AMPTP-compliant DGA or the SAG National Majority–controlled Screen Actors Guild. In fact, picketers have identified the smiling stepsons of former SAG president (and SAG National Majority supporter) Melissa Gilbert; the young men break the line daily to go to their sound jobs at LLP.


Edited by Brian Dzyak, 09 April 2009 - 10:03 PM.

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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 11:14 AM

I found this article about Larry Levinson Productions... once again IA is left out. How does that happen when we represent the largest number of people on set?

Resident Republican/Capitalists will be rejoicing at Larry's success at f***king over workers! <_<

Anyway, I have more current film news from all over the world at RealFilmCareer.com for anyone trying to keep track of where the work is (and isn't).


So Brian just for clarification purposes....is there a law in CA that says LLP must use union labour for its productions?

I'm not trying to pick a fight on an obviously sensitive subject, but since I don't work in LA I'm just trying to understand what LLP is doing wrong exactly.

R,
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 11:18 AM

I think it was firing the Union crew for a strike, which if not illegal is at least immoral, and videotaping the picketers which could lead to them being discriminated against personally also raises some concerns. I'm not 100% on cali law, being here in Phila, but regardless of legality, it is quite immoral and something to really worry about. That's my take on it at least.
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 01:03 PM

So Brian just for clarification purposes....is there a law in CA that says LLP must use union labour for its productions?

I'm not trying to pick a fight on an obviously sensitive subject, but since I don't work in LA I'm just trying to understand what LLP is doing wrong exactly.

R,


No, certainly not. There is no law requiring him to hire union crews. What is "unfair" is that he hires SAG and DGA, but not IATSE. He takes advantage of young or "hungry" crew who are willing to work truly atrocious hours at less pay. It is truly a case of someone taking advantage of others for personal profit. Illegal? Not on the surface. Abhorrent? Sounds like it.

Of course those who choose to be abused and taken advantage of are mostly to blame for enabling a "pure Capitalist" like this to profit. This is just another example of the way the Milton Friedman school of Pure Capitalism has helped erode economies all over the globe in the name of obscene profits for a scant few.

That he sneaks his crew in to work behind dark glass is proof enough that he knows he's doing something "wrong." Illegal? Sometimes laws don't really keep up with the way things should be.
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#5 John Sprung

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 01:07 PM

The picket lines form at the anticipated crew-call and wrap times in an attempt to identify and contact the scabs, sitting inside a van with blacked-out windows, ....
Meanwhile, LLP security people videotape the IATSE picketers. “Larry has been taking photos and video as well to identify the picketers


Maybe the picketers should arrive in a blacked out van and wear masks and disguises? It looks like both sides want to identify the other guys without being identified themselves.



-- J.S.
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 02:17 PM

No, certainly not. There is no law requiring him to hire union crews. What is "unfair" is that he hires SAG and DGA, but not IATSE. He takes advantage of young or "hungry" crew who are willing to work truly atrocious hours at less pay. It is truly a case of someone taking advantage of others for personal profit. Illegal? Not on the surface. Abhorrent? Sounds like it.

Of course those who choose to be abused and taken advantage of are mostly to blame for enabling a "pure Capitalist" like this to profit. This is just another example of the way the Milton Friedman school of Pure Capitalism has helped erode economies all over the globe in the name of obscene profits for a scant few.

That he sneaks his crew in to work behind dark glass is proof enough that he knows he's doing something "wrong." Illegal? Sometimes laws don't really keep up with the way things should be.


Well here in Ontario union crew members can work on non-union shoots if they choose to, is that the same in CA?

The union members who choose to work non-union are not neccassarily "young and hungry" they can often be senior crew that simply need or want to work. If they are being paid a decent wage and they agree to it of their own choosing, I don't see what harm has been done.

I'm not sure I see a way out of this for the film industry, "going union" adds an incredible amount of money to a film shoot and puts the medium well out of reach for up and coming film makers who don't have studio money to spend.

And even those that have a lot to spend can't really be forced against their will to spend it if they don't want to.

And people that want to work can't be forced against their will to not take a job if they want one.

Quite the quandary :blink:

Oh BTW as to this point:

"It is truly a case of someone taking advantage of others for personal profit. Illegal? Not on the surface. Abhorrent? Sounds like it."

I'm afraid this situation exists in hundreds of industries, not just the film biz. Does that make it right? No. But it is every where. The fashion industry for instance can make film look like the most ethical business on the planet!

R,
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 02:25 PM

As I understand it, the crew who is striking is doing so mainly because of constant long hours abuse on a contract that didn't pay overtime. Combine that with (allegedly) no second meal on 16-17 hours days where they're not making any more money than they would have wrapping at 12 and it makes an irate crew.
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 06:37 PM

As I understand it, the crew who is striking is doing so mainly because of constant long hours abuse on a contract that didn't pay overtime. Combine that with (allegedly) no second meal on 16-17 hours days where they're not making any more money than they would have wrapping at 12 and it makes an irate crew.


Well, if that's the case, then it does appear that this production company is breaking California labor laws (http://www.dir.ca.go...AQ_overtime.htm). I'm not a lawyer, but I couldn't find any provisions that would allow that company to be exempt.

Toss in that this is not a case of a "new" filmmaker who is working with low budgets trying to break into the business and this is a clear example of a Producer who is just taking advantage of people for his own profit. Sad. On a personal note, I wonder how people can become so selfish. I have no doubt that this guy sleeps at night. <_<


And yes, except for the possibility that he's actually in violation of any laws, it is the choice of workers to accept those terms in the first place and agree to work ridiculous hours without appropriate compensation. This isn't bumF*** Iowa where this is happening. Southern California happens to be a relatively expensive place to live, so there is a really good reason that union rates are what they are. $90,000 here is roughly the same as $50,000 and less in a lot of other places. We shouldn't have to compete with cheaper wages in parts of the world that can live on a buck a day. :angry: That's "globalization" at work. Producers continue to make growing profits while scouring the globe and f'ing us over for cheaper and cheaper labor.
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:34 PM

That's "globalization" at work. Producers continue to make growing profits while scouring the globe and f'ing us over for cheaper and cheaper labor.


Well come on now Brian, how many IA members from S. Cal where flown to India to make Slumdog Millionaire? I'm guessing they used a lot of local crew based on the end credits and those guys where not making what IA guys in S. Cal make.

Fact is movies are shot all over the globe, they always have been.

I'm not sure your argument that S. Cal is expensive as hell is justification alone for high wages on a film set. After all there are a lot of personal choices at work in this scenario, i.e. people choose to work in the film industry they are not forced, people know it's a difficult industry to make a living in but they do it any way, people choose to live in S. Cal they could live in Utah or New Mexico and pick up what ever work comes their way. We do after all have members of this very board who do live in Utah and New Mexico with their vastly lower costs of living.

I agree with many of your points Brian but blaming producers for all of ones ills is not really productive.

After all, you live in America...if a group of poor and downtrodden Jews from the East coast can start Hollywood, pretty much any thing is possible, no?

R,
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#10 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 12:09 PM

Well come on now Brian, how many IA members from S. Cal where flown to India to make Slumdog Millionaire? I'm guessing they used a lot of local crew based on the end credits and those guys where not making what IA guys in S. Cal make.

Fact is movies are shot all over the globe, they always have been.


I'm not sure your argument that S. Cal is expensive as hell is justification alone for high wages on a film set. After all there are a lot of personal choices at work in this scenario, i.e. people choose to work in the film industry they are not forced, people know it's a difficult industry to make a living in but they do it any way, people choose to live in S. Cal they could live in Utah or New Mexico and pick up what ever work comes their way. We do after all have members of this very board who do live in Utah and New Mexico with their vastly lower costs of living.

I agree with many of your points Brian but blaming producers for all of ones ills is not really productive.

After all, you live in America...if a group of poor and downtrodden Jews from the East coast can start Hollywood, pretty much any thing is possible, no?

R,


That specific film isn't a fair comparison. One would expect that is set in a specific location would be filmed there (primarily). No argument there. BUT, how many movies that ARE set in specific places aren't shot there? Too many to count, I expect. Just one example that comes to mind is the recent film WANTED. Set in Chicago but about 99% of it was shot in the Czech Republic. Why? Money. The studio can go outside the US border (to Canada, Europe, Australia, etc.) and get (read: exploit) cheaper labor. They don't go for the locations. They go because they can find people who want to be in the business who are willing AND ARE ABLE to work for less money.

So yes, films are shot in a lot of places and in the "old days," they typically went out to location for a month or two, then returned to the base of operations in LA for the stage work because this is where the industry IS. But because of globalization (the lack of significant tariffs on imported goods as a penalty) US corporations are allowed to ship all the jobs they want overseas to exploit cheaper labor, then bring the product back here and charge just as much as they once did and more. So, they've been getting Republican inspired tax breaks up front (an incentive to "trickle down" to OUR economy), cheap labor from Canada and elsewhere, and higher prices on the back end. Corporate profit-motives ensure that the rich get richer (LLC Productions) and the workers HAVE TO make concessions just to keep working.

This is a question of ideology and for some, morality. For those on the winning end, it's all about profit and blaming workers for accepting the raw deal...the ONLY deal that is given them. It boils down to this: Agree to work under these conditions or just go away and do something else or die in a corner. Right?

I'm not blaming Producers. I'm blaming the mindset that suggests that labor is responsible for high costs. In the US, Executive bonus pay is defended because those executives have contracts that "shouldn't be broken." At the same time, auto industry labor is expected to change their contracts just to save their jobs and the auto industry. Police and other emergency workers are placed on non-paid furlough, that breaks the conditions of their contracts, because of budget cuts. The rich are encouraged to get richer while the rest of us have to bend over and take it.

And yes, we DO choose to work in a very difficult industry. That is a personal choice that so many of us do make. But should we be expected to have a second job in order to just survive so we CAN do this? I know a few people who "chase" the work, around the US and the globe, as the financiers continually play this game of chasing the best tax incentives. It's ludicrous!

MANY of us chose to move to Southern California because the film industry is really based here. Until the mid 90's, that IS the way it was. But for many reasons, production moved elsewhere. Should we all just throw away the trappings of "normal" stable lives and follow tax incentives around as if we were in the circus? Should those of us who established lives in So. Cal. be forced to compete with the lower wages that others around the world can afford to work for? If so, why? I could move to Prague... except that "Hollywood" has left there for the moment because the incentives are better somewhere else. How long does this "chase the work" mentality continue? Should auto industry people do that? Or those in the modeling/fashion industry?

Currently, in the US, health care cost is literally driving people into bankruptcy. In the film industry, medical coverage is governed by the hours that someone works...under a union contract. If we work non-union, the hours aren't reported and the worker doesn't get health care. Period. So... studios move work over our borders and those who can go there to work, don't get the hours and their families don't have health coverage. The work that is left... like LLC Productions... takes advantage of those who are here under the guise that this is the only work they can get. So, taking advantage of people who want to do this for a living, unscrupulous Producers and Studios essentially are saying, "F you!, we'll pay you what we choose and you'll like it." All the while they know that they are paying less than adequate wages (for the city they are hiring in) and that those families will be without health insurance. This attitude has been in place for a number of years and is now resulting in IATSE raising the minimum number of hours required to qualify for insurance. This effectively cuts out 25% or more of the workers who used to be able to make a living in the film/TV industry. So what do you think will happen to those people? Well, they'll either go get another job in a different industry or they'll go work non-union just to have an income. As the studios keep shipping jobs overseas and into the non-union realm, less and less workers will qualify for health insurance. That system will eventually completely collapse and those who have been drinking off the corporate teat all that time will finally look up from their morning paper and wonder what happened.

This IS a war of ideologies. One side says that everyone is in it for themselves and anyone who can't hack it should just go away and do something else or die. The other side recognizes that we are all in this together and if one part of the machine is allowed to die, the entire thing will fail. Larry Levinson Productions is taking advantage of the situation that has been created. The workers behind the dark glass get some income, but at what cost while those on top buy another vacation home and another Ferrari? It really is "class warfare" and our world has to make some decisions about whether we allow those at the top to take most of the money or if we will support policies that make our economies equitable for everyone.
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#11 Richard Boddington

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 01:26 PM

That specific film isn't a fair comparison. One would expect that is set in a specific location would be filmed there (primarily). No argument there. BUT, how many movies that ARE set in specific places aren't shot there? Too many to count, I expect. Just one example that comes to mind is the recent film WANTED. Set in Chicago but about 99% of it was shot in the Czech Republic. Why? Money. The studio can go outside the US border (to Canada, Europe, Australia, etc.) and get (read: exploit) cheaper labor. They don't go for the locations. They go because they can find people who want to be in the business who are willing AND ARE ABLE to work for less money.


So your philosophy is that US movies based in US locations must be shot in the USA? So you won't mind then if countries like Germany and Japan close their doors to the finished product because the US unions don't want any US productions shooting in places like Germany and Japan? After all it would only be fair. FYI, Hollywood desperately needs markets like Germany and Japan in order to stand a chance at making money back on these crazy 150 million dollar movies.

I don't think you'll stop globalization Brian, the ship has sailed. Good luck finding a shirt in an American Walmart that says "made in USA on it." They are all made in India or Malaysia. It's an impossible paradox to solve....Americans want high wages and low cost products, how can the two co-exist? Sure that shirt can be made in the USA, but it will cost $98.00 vs making it in India and selling it for $14.95. The public refuses to pay $98.00 so who do you blame more? The makers of the shirt or the consumers who refuse to pay the higher prices?

cheap labor from Canada and elsewhere, and higher prices on the back end.



I take particular exception to this comment Brian, where did you get this idea? There is no such thing as "cheap labour" in Canada. That's ridiculous! The minimum wage in Canada is far higher than in the USA. Auto workers in Canada earn much more per hour than their US counterparts. Same for the film industry, union rates in Toronto are the same or more than they are in Los Angeles. Cheap labour in Canada, yeah right!

Speaking of "cheap labour" I just got back from LA. As we drove past Home Depots there where dozens of Mexicans standing outside in the parking lot. Apparently they wait there and hope to get picked up as day labourers at construction sites. Now are you going to tell me that all of these guys are legal green card holders? Where the *bleep* is the mighty INS? Why doesn't the INS pull up with a van and arrest these guys, I mean they are just standing there.

The reason is because the S. Cal construction industry needs that cheap labour to survive so the INS turns a blind eye to all of it. Now can you get any more hypocritical than that?

Currently, in the US, health care cost is literally driving people into bankruptcy.


As usual it is no foreign countries fault that the USA refuses to join the rest of the industrialized world and set up a proper national health care system. The US could do it but so long as the insurance companies in the USA are the masters of the politicians I doubt you'll see changes any time soon.

R,
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#12 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 02:18 PM

So your philosophy is that US movies based in US locations must be shot in the USA? So you won't mind then if countries like Germany and Japan close their doors to the finished product because the US unions don't want any US productions shooting in places like Germany and Japan? After all it would only be fair. FYI, Hollywood desperately needs markets like Germany and Japan in order to stand a chance at making money back on these crazy 150 million dollar movies.

I don't think you'll stop globalization Brian, the ship has sailed. Good luck finding a shirt in an American Walmart that says "made in USA on it." They are all made in India or Malaysia. It's an impossible paradox to solve....Americans want high wages and low cost products, how can the two co-exist? Sure that shirt can be made in the USA, but it will cost $98.00 vs making it in India and selling it for $14.95. The public refuses to pay $98.00 so who do you blame more? The makers of the shirt or the consumers who refuse to pay the higher prices?



I take particular exception to this comment Brian, where did you get this idea? There is no such thing as "cheap labour" in Canada. That's ridiculous! The minimum wage in Canada is far higher than in the USA. Auto workers in Canada earn much more per hour than their US counterparts. Same for the film industry, union rates in Toronto are the same or more than they are in Los Angeles. Cheap labour in Canada, yeah right!

Speaking of "cheap labour" I just got back from LA. As we drove past Home Depots there where dozens of Mexicans standing outside in the parking lot. Apparently they wait there and hope to get picked up as day labourers at construction sites. Now are you going to tell me that all of these guys are legal green card holders? Where the *bleep* is the mighty INS? Why doesn't the INS pull up with a van and arrest these guys, I mean they are just standing there.

The reason is because the S. Cal construction industry needs that cheap labour to survive so the INS turns a blind eye to all of it. Now can you get any more hypocritical than that?



As usual it is no foreign countries fault that the USA refuses to join the rest of the industrialized world and set up a proper national health care system. The US could do it but so long as the insurance companies in the USA are the masters of the politicians I doubt you'll see changes any time soon.

R,


For certain, this is a very complicated set of issues that no one set of sound bites can explain. But suffice it to say, we in the US have had the eight years of Republican Regime with a short interim of Democratic preceded by a Bush Sr. and Reagan legacy to contend with. For over thirty years, Pro Corporatist Ultra Capitalist policies have governed the US economy.

Thankfully, we finally have the hope of improvement, but it will take a while for the Milton Friedman Extreme Capitalist policies to be undone, if it is possible at all. (That's one man who should be vilified alongside such characters as Hitler and Stalin)

The bottom line right now is that our film industry has been taken over by corporations who value growing profit over artistic accomplishment. True, movies do cost a lot and they should make money (that's what keeps an industry alive), but the consistent pursuit of ever growing profits at the expense of those who actually manufacture the product will eventually kill the industry.

No, it's not the fault of other nations and their labor that the US has been continually F'd over by the ultra Right Wing that favors f'ing over labor for their own personal selfish profit motives. But the situation IS that if the movie industry is to survive with enough qualified personnel, then it eventually will have to recognize that there is some value to a human being beyond having the desire to work in the glamorous movie biz and a pulse.

I've seen productions give up on shots because the "foreign" crews weren't good enough to pull them off. Producers happily trade off quality from skilled crews for the cheap costs they get in return. To them, a movie is just a product... make it cheap and sell it high. If movies didn't exist, they'd be selling something else for as much profit as possible. Movies don't matter to Time Warner and Sony and every other corporation that owns the studios now. Profit is what they care about. But profit isn't enough. They have to make more and more and more and more, every quarter. Enough isn't enough. If last quarter's profit wasn't enough, they have to find a way to make more. So if the box office isn't delivering enough, then they have to take it out of manufacturing....so they search the world for better tax incentives or cheaper labor. Whatever formula delivers more profit is what is "right" no matter the cost to human quality of life.

Is that what you and others happily advocate? Does siding with that mentality let everyone who makes money sleep at night?

Like I said, it is a battle between those who only see this as a way to make money and the rest of us who want to do this for some sense of art or accomplishment... and make a reasonable living while doing it. I don't know that there is a middle ground. Sure doesn't seem like it now as so many people are willing to look the other way as Corporatist Producers F over workers who are willing to take it up the a** just so they can work in the glamorous world of the MOVIES! :rolleyes:
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#13 Richard Boddington

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 03:51 PM

The bottom line right now is that our film industry has been taken over by corporations who value growing profit over artistic accomplishment.


How do you feel about all these SAG members that demand 20 million dollars PER MOVIE.

Many of these same stars are democratic leaning people that oppose the kind of capitalistic motives you also despise, yet.....they demand 20 million PER MOVIE.

R,
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#14 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 06:25 PM

How do you feel about all these SAG members that demand 20 million dollars PER MOVIE.

Many of these same stars are democratic leaning people that oppose the kind of capitalistic motives you also despise, yet.....they demand 20 million PER MOVIE.

R,


Far be it from me to speak for them, but my conjecture is that they learned that Movie Studios and Producers can't be trusted to honestly report back-end profits, so anyone with the power to "demand" up front cash will do it. "Creative financing" isn't a myth, it's a well-known element in many industries and "Hollywood" is no exception. When a studio can manufacture costs above and beyond real costs in order to inflate manufacturing expenditure, those numbers reduce the back-end net profits which in turn reduce the income anyone with back-end points would receive. Given that, it's hard to blame anyone for taking all they can up-front when such dirty unscrupulous practices are used by those who hold the pursestrings.

Do I advocate that someone demand exorbitant amounts of money upfront for anything? Not necessarily, but this is the game, isn't it? We all want to make at least enough money to cover our bills and hopefully more if we can get it. But at what point does our individual greed begin to negatively impact others? Did Julia Roberts regret taking the lion's share of the budget (reportedly $15 million of a $25 million budget) for Erin Brockovich when the crew was working for less than the contracted minimums? Not likely and I'm sure that the idea of "profit sharing" never occurred to her after that movie earned over $256 million worldwide? ( http://www.boxoffice...nbrockovich.htm ) But the crew got to work for a couple months. They should be happy with that, eh?


As far as what people say vs what they actually do.... again, far be it from me to speak for them. I can't blame anyone for wanting to be successful...until they knowingly and willingly decide to take "theirs" when they KNOW that others are suffering at their expense. Movies shot in LA don't cost more because of labor (IATSE). They simply have cost more because of this attitude that a few movie stars deserve such extraordinary treatment upfront. Studio/Producers think that they have to pay these people this kind of money out of the initial budget so the entire price of a movie rises exponentially. Feeling that they can't do anything about that cost, Producers turn toward other avenues to reduce costs, like killing unions and seeking out tax rebates here and over the border.

It's a problem that starts with the perceived need to create larger and larger profits. A lot of money isn't enough. Corporate mentality demands that profits grow... status quo isn't enough. So even though "Hollywood" earned record profits in January 2009, it still isn't enough...Producers need to break SAG and IATSE and WGA. According to them, the workers are earning too much and making movies cost too much. :blink: Really?

If globalization is here to stay, then we all HAVE to be on the same currency so that it ISN'T cheaper for a Producer/Studio to go half a world away to find cheap labor to exploit. Larry Levinson is merely taking advantage (perhaps illegally) of the Republican/Capitalist/Friedman situation that has been built for the last thirty years. He's an opportunistic bastard and I'm sure he doesn't really care what others think of him so long as his bank account is overflowing. His crew is happy for the pennies they make in light of the current state of the industry that chases the latest and greatest tax incentives and giddy crew who are willing to work for whatever scraps are thrown at them.

SAG is fighting to get their contract renewal on the same schedule as everyone else...for a very good reason. ONLY when EVERYONE in the industry can shut down production, can any real progress be made FOR EVERYONE. But as long as the Producers are allowed to divide and conquer, everyone around the globe will continue to see wages fall beyond the point where an honest living can be made. Is that the kind of world we want to live in... where opportunistic greedy rich people get to exploit workers who have little choice or one where everyone has enough? Like I said, it's a question of ideology: being greedy vs being fair. We all have to decide which side we want to be on and make choices from there.
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#15 Richard Boddington

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 08:40 PM

As far as what people say vs what they actually do.... again, far be it from me to speak for them. I can't blame anyone for wanting to be successful...until they knowingly and willingly decide to take "theirs" when they KNOW that others are suffering at their expense.


I dunno buddy you are pretty lenient on the Hollywood superstars that demand 20 million while the crew scrapes by to make a living. You are really giving them a lot more of a free pass than the evil producers you despise so much.

Producers who by the way are the real back bone of the film industry, nothing gets done without them. Let's face it, actors, directors, DOPs, camera ops, grips, electricians, they are all a dime a dozen.

But a producer, well......now that is where the real talent comes in. People that can actually pull a movie together, hold it together, and get it made. They are the real heroes of Hollywood. Without them NO ONE else would have a job doing ANYTHING in this wonderful business we all love ;)

So Brian tell me/us....would you refuse work on a movie that is paying the star 20 million while you are making maybe $20.00/hr? I mean doing so would seem to be an offense to your anti-capitalist values. Just curious.

R,
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#16 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 01:56 PM

I dunno buddy you are pretty lenient on the Hollywood superstars that demand 20 million while the crew scrapes by to make a living. You are really giving them a lot more of a free pass than the evil producers you despise so much.


I don't intend to be "lenient." Just understanding. In light of the economic model we all have to exist in, it's difficult to blame anyone for getting as much as they can up front. Because screen-established talent is less expendable than crew, they have a certain power that allows the ability to make demands that the rest of us "dime a dozen" crew can. And that attitude...that crew is a "dime a dozen" is precisely the problem. All most Producers care about is whether a person has at least enough skill to accomplish the task...and if that person has a pulse. Producers put very little value on the skill and what an individual can bring to their project. Cameramen, for instance, aren't just monkeys who know which button to push to turn the camera on. There are varying levels of skill and artistic and technical ability...some guys are fairly rudimentary but others do what others can't. GREAT Producers recognize this difference. Hacks don't and just consider us all "a dime a dozen." I've worked for both types. The better ones tend to become more successful because they recognize that crew members are NOT just "a dime a dozen." If you want a hack with a pulse fresh off the boat, then yeah, you can pay any ambitious young knucklehead a buck a day and hope that he does the job at least good enough to not screw up the day. But a Producer who wants to create a quality project will know that people are worth more than just a pulse and the ability to show up on time.


Producers who by the way are the real back bone of the film industry, nothing gets done without them. Let's face it, actors, directors, DOPs, camera ops, grips, electricians, they are all a dime a dozen.

But a producer, well......now that is where the real talent comes in. People that can actually pull a movie together, hold it together, and get it made. They are the real heroes of Hollywood. Without them NO ONE else would have a job doing ANYTHING in this wonderful business we all love ;)


Decent analogy, but a better one is that a project is a machine. Every person is just a cog in the wheels and every cog is just as important as the next. Don't think so? Then watch what happens when one of the cogs DOESN'T do his job. Or watch when one cog thinks that he/she is more important than any of the others. The machine will grind to a halt pretty fast as everyone else struggles to make up for the failure in the machine.

Producers ARE important... but they wouldn't get sh** done without everyone else. To suggest that they are the "magic" that makes it happen in nonsense. It takes EVERYONE to do it. I am reminded of that parable in which the irate Writer throws some blank pieces of paper at the arrogant Director with the suggestion, "Direct this!" We're all necessary to create a movie. If Producers like Larry Levinson choose to undermine the ability of mere crew to make an adequate living at it, then eventually he and others like him will find that there is no one left to exploit as they (we) will have all left the business to go something that is worth their time. On that day, how wonderful will Larry be... he'll be the backbone of a project with no one left to do his bidding.


So Brian tell me/us....would you refuse work on a movie that is paying the star 20 million while you are making maybe $20.00/hr? I mean doing so would seem to be an offense to your ant-capitalist values. Just curious.

R,


Well, I'm not about to work for $20 bucks an hour. I know my skill and experience are worth more than that. And I imagine that talent that can command 20 million are aware that their talent/box office draw is worth a high dollar amount too. I know that IN MY GEOGRAPHICAL AREA, my skills are worth between $500 and $700 for ten hours. That daily rate times my average days a month gives me a moderate income for the Los Angeles area. I'm not living in luxury (don't even own a house yet), but I am able to pay my bills and send the kids to a decent school. But, because we are now forced to compete on rates with others who CAN live for less in less expensive areas, it is driving good people from the business and forcing those who are left to chase the work around the globe whenever they can... or to take work that pays far less than the cost of living here demands (in the case of LLC Productions).

Like I've said, global economics is a complicated issue and tossing out ultimatums like the one you attempted above, isn't in any way a fair way to address the issue. You'd prefer that I take NO work on principle and jeopardize the welfare of my children. Right? That's what your question above is really asking. So when does that line of thinking stop on the part of Producers, who are the supposed "backbone" of the industry? When do the rich stop believing that since they're throwing out a few pennies to the workers that the workers should be grateful for what they get?

The fact is that pure Capitalism equals pure selfish greed because to aspire to "earn" as much money as possible means that someone else (a LOT of someone else's actually) end up with far less in their accounts at the end of the day. So the question is, when is enough "enough" for Pure Capitalists? Is "enough" income to survive enough for people like Larry Levinson? Or won't he be happy until he has it "all"? How many Ferraris does he and others like him need? How many houses? How many luxury goods are enough? We all want a comfortable living, but when that greed significantly impacts others in a negative way, it may not be illegal, but it sure does seem pretty unnecessary. Doesn't it?

Larry can F over as many people as he wants as long as they allow him to get away with it. But the point of unions is to put the kabash on greedy selfish evil people like him. Yeah, he's a f'ing saint for being the "backbone" who gives so many people the opportunity to earn a modest living. <_< I suppose we should all just get down on our knees and worship guys like him for providing us a meager living while he lavishes in our praise.
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#17 Richard Boddington

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 02:14 PM

it's difficult to blame anyone for getting as much as they can up front.



I'm sorry I don't understand your logic at all? It's OK for an actor to get as much as they can up front but not a producer? Sorry, does not compute :blink:

GREAT Producers recognize this difference. Hacks don't and just consider us all "a dime a dozen."


What I am saying is that it is far easier to find a new grip than it is to replace a producer who is arranging for 25 million dollars of financing for a 50 million dollar movie. How many people do you know in your circle of friends that can arrange for 25 million of financing for a movie? Not many guys like that are there?

Decent analogy, but a better one is that a project is a machine. Every person is just a cog in the wheels and every cog is just as important as the next. Don't think so? Then watch what happens when one of the cogs DOESN'T do his job. Or watch when one cog thinks that he/she is more important than any of the others. The machine will grind to a halt pretty fast as everyone else struggles to make up for the failure in the machine.


Well sorry but there is a "ranking" system on set based on importance. If the star actor shows up three hours late to the set because he is hung over from a drunken binge the night before what happens to him? Nothing. If a grip or electric shows up three hours late to set because of a drunken binge the night before what happens to him? He gets fired. The grip is not as important to the film as the lead actor, he can be replaced much easier. Fair no, fact yes.

You'd prefer that I take NO work on principle and jeopardize the welfare of my children. Right? That's what your question above is really asking.



Well actually....yes I do as a matter of fact. I mean on the one hand you come on here and argue very passionately against capitalism and producers in general yet you seem unwilling to put your money where your mouth is and walk away from the very work that by your definition is immoral. Lot's of great reformers practiced what they preached. If it means jeopardizing the welfare of your children then so be it. Would not your actions speak louder than mere words on a website?

No offense Brian, but you seem unwilling to put your philosophies into action.

How many Ferraris does he and others like him need? How many houses? How many luxury goods are enough? We all want a comfortable living, but when that greed significantly impacts others in a negative way, it may not be illegal, but it sure does seem pretty unnecessary. Doesn't it?


So tell me then, if you hit the 30 million dollar lottery tomorrow how much of the fortune will you give away? 29 million perhaps? 1 million should be enough, no?

R,
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#18 David Rakoczy

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 02:56 PM

?

Resident Republican/Capitalists will be rejoicing at Larry's success at f***king over workers! <_<


Way to dismiss your own argument Brian! ;)

This endless 'pro-union' dribble is tedious and tiresome. If you don't like your job, get another!

If someone wants to make a movie and people accept the rates then mind your own business! This is (was) a free country.... I guess now that O'blah blah is setting a ceiling for corporate pay are Actors next???.. how about DPs??? Grips???

You know why people are hiding as they enter. I have been on several Shows that 'turned' union.. They always show up with cameras recording the faces of the crew and taking license plate numbers.. no, not intimidating at all :o ... they then set up a sit down strike (unannounced) at lunch...no, not extortion at all :o ... they threaten people if they cross the line that they will never work on a big Star Wars or Independence Day like Film :o ... who frick'n cares! They then took my good friend (the Director/ producer.. his own $.. and I) and sat in a meeting and they flat out told him "New York wants their money.... $140,000 USD :o .. and no one will set foot on the Set until that is paid :o .. no.. not extortion at all :o .. perfectly legit.. especially in a Free Market Economy.. after three horrific days he paid the slimy bastards and we continued shooting. Some crew made a 'tad' more while others ended up making less... there you go. The real motivation was accomplished... 'New York' got their money.


How many Ferraris does he and others like him need? How many houses? How many luxury goods are enough? We all want a comfortable living, but when that greed significantly impacts others in a negative way, it may not be illegal, but it sure does seem pretty unnecessary. Doesn't it?


What a whiner. If this is your target.. there are FAR more folks living like this doing many many other things other than producing Films.. like making candy, soap, booking vacations, running a restaurant etc.. etc..etc... and so what if they do? They EARNED it.. if they want to live like greedy bastards that is their RIGHT.. your 'noble' notion of Stealing from those who EARNED and giving to those who have not is just as evil.

Brian... you should move to the Soviet Union... or pick your favorite socialist/ communist country and I'll give you a one way ticket ;)

If you don't love America.. then get the hell out - John Rich

Brian.. you seem to be a good guy but geeez!
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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 04:11 PM

or pick your favorite socialist/ communist country and I'll give you a one way ticket ;)


Socialist Canada will gladly take you Brian :D

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#20 David Rakoczy

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 04:42 PM

Unfortunately, he probably won't have to leave as it is just a matter of time before we are MexAmeriCanada and we move to a Chinese currency...
(not that I want him to leave.. and I wouldn't either if I lived as close to Kushi-Yu as he does... man, they have the best spicy tuna rice cakes!!!)

Folks, join a tea party while you can! Our freedom is under assault...

As a Free Market Libertarian, I love this country because ANYONE can come here (legally) and work hard and have an opportunity to strike it rich... now, success is not guaranteed, but we all have a shot! Look at out President. We can also worship or not worship according to the dictates of our own hearts. Anything that interferes with these two is a direct attack on the foundation of this great (not perfect) country. There are many things I dislike here in the U.S. but I will take the freedoms and opportunities offered in this country over any other country any day! Complaining about Levinson is as much a ruse as directing anger at the AIG execs who rightfully received their contractual bonuses as APPROVED by the O'blah blah admin... before they were stolen back... :rolleyes:

Brian.. forget Levinson.. produce your own Film!
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