Everything I've read about it so far does nothing but confirm my disdain for both film producers and powerful unions. Does anyone have any idea what actually happened to make everyone - on both sides - so upset?
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This Sharknado thing
15 replies to this topic
Posted 17 March 2015 - 05:18 AM
At least secondary picketing is illegal here, if you could even rustle up enough British film staff to man a picket line, that is.
I believe the closed shop is even still legal in a lot of states. Unbelievable.
Edited by Mark Dunn, 17 March 2015 - 05:19 AM.
Posted 17 March 2015 - 12:08 PM
I think what happened is that Sharknado basically became really successful and so Asylum started playing at a level where they had union attention but they weren't ready for the transition to playing with the big boys so to speak and found it to be really difficult to deal with all the additional requirements. They probably need to start treating Sharknado differently to their other productions and finding a way to make it work for everyone. That's easier said than done however.
I think one of the basic problems is that people work at a certain level in the hope that it will lead somewhere and when it seems to be going somewhere they want to step up.
Posted 17 March 2015 - 12:28 PM
Let's just say that The Asylum has a long and colorful history with the unions, and most of the grievances that their crew have relate to pay and working conditions.
Posted 17 March 2015 - 03:00 PM
Yeah but I suspect that when a movie is having a lot of success in the mainstream like Sharknado, that the crew probably understandably feel it's time that The Asylum passed on some of the benefits of that success to their workers... or am I way off base?
Posted 17 March 2015 - 06:09 PM
Not really at all. I won't go into details because i honestly don't know them; but it has a lot to do with the fact that this is a production which has some money behind it, a certain level of success, yet they are still treating workers like craiglist pickups. I am pretty sure to there is an overtime dispute but don't quote me on that.
Posted 18 March 2015 - 12:02 AM
Paying people a living wage runs contrary to their business model. This is Hollywood, where hundreds of hopefuls get off the bus every day seeking work in the movie business. As long as there is no enforced legal sanction against companies who abuse employment law, this will continue.
Posted 18 March 2015 - 06:41 AM
This is becoming a bit of a weird thread as we all seem to be saying the same thing although it's good to look at it from all the different angles.
I'm not sure quite what you mean by "This will continue" here. Isn't it a good thing if the workers are fighting to get a decent living wage etc in this case? I'm not sure I see it as that bad, unless you are meaning some of the nastier union tactics here?
Posted 18 March 2015 - 07:33 AM
Honestly it's the same situation here.
The lower end of what's barely describable as the film industry behaves in much the same way here, and although it's more forgivable when "low budget" means £1,000 rather than $1,000,000 it's still not entirely forgivable.
Nobody enforces it and people get screwed.
Posted 18 March 2015 - 08:09 AM
Yeah that seemed like it was going to be a light the blue touch paper and step aside topic but mostly everyone seems to be saying the same thing but...
Okay now you've got a good argument going Phil!
Firstly I don't think it's anything like the situation over here.
The situation in the states with The Asylum is that they have managed to cobble along making low budget features films for a long time on other peoples good will and now they are having some success and people understandably would like to make enough money they can live on.
I can't think of an example of this really happening in the UK.
The only bit that happens in the UK is that people cobble together low budget movies on peoples good will.
Nobody enforces what??
I'm assuming you are meaning decent wages of some kind?
Trouble is where is that sort of money going to come from?
It isn't because the "film industry" over here is basically the cinematic equivalent of am-dram.
It's just a hobby for people for the most part unless you are working on big American productions.
I don't think people are getting screwed because of the hobbies they choose to engage in?!
If they are then they should just get a new hobby!
In the UK I think the low wage problem goes on a lot more outside of the film industry to be honest with you.
The government even seems to be encouraging it here... but that's a bit of a different matter.
Posted 18 March 2015 - 10:42 AM
The Asylum have not been 'cobbling along', they are a very profitable company, and were named one of America's top 40 media companies by Forbes magazine a few years ago.
In America there is minimum wage legislation. In California, it is $9 p/h with overtime at 1.5x after 8 hours. That makes a minimum of $126 for a 12 hour day. However, if you employ crew as independent contractors (as The Asylum do) minimum wage doesn't apply, and you can pay them what you want. The IRS and the Dept of Labor have both said that this is not allowed, as it not only removes wage protection from workers, but also allows employers to sidestep paying worker's compensation insurance and employer taxes. There are substantial penalties for companies who get caught doing this, but as I said, it is rarely enforced.
Posted 18 March 2015 - 04:30 PM
Isn't that all post having a hit with Sharknado??
Posted 19 March 2015 - 05:35 AM
Wow, that's quite a surprise to hear, I wouldn't have guessed that the B movies they put out were bringing in huge amounts but that was just an assumption on my part. Kinda incredible to think about when small independent filmmakers making good movies like Ti West are struggling to make work.
I guess it does kind of make sense tho. The amount of times I hear people say that there aren't any quality films or decent sci-fi movies for example and then they don't go to one when one comes along but those same people are the first in the queue to see the new Transformers movie even though they go on about how much they didn't like the last one.
Posted 19 March 2015 - 07:56 AM
If you make a bad enough movie, you're likelier to have a hit. Look at The Room. I recently tried to get a ticket to that at East Village cinemas and all 3 showings were sold out. STILL!!! People love a truly awful film. The same way they like a really great one. Make a good film? Meh. Too many of those.
Sharknado feels like it should have first appeared as a poster in the background in that Mike Judge movie Idiocracy.
Edited by Michael LaVoie, 19 March 2015 - 07:56 AM.
Posted 20 March 2015 - 03:21 PM
"However, dealing with the New York City locals was the worst experience we’ve had in making over 200 movies. After all of the manipulation and bullying, inefficiency, overcharging, lying and featherbedding, we had absolutely no desire to repeat this experience on Sharknado 3. The IATSE’s actions on this film have confirmed that we made the right decision.”
Good for you Asylum, stand strong against these union thugs. I have solved the IATSE problem, I am shooting 10, 000 miles away. Good-bye IATSE, too bad, so sad.