Monday, October 30, 2023

AMPTP Talks with Sag/Aftra get Closer to a Contract

 

Deadline Update; October 29th, 2023, 11:08 PM: After a busy weekend of negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP to close a new three-year contract, the striking actors union and the studios are stepping back for a day.

In a missive sent to members earlier tonight and obtained by Deadline, Fran Drescher said: “Over the course of the weekend, we have discussed all open proposals, including AI, with the AMPTP.” The TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee of the 160,000-strong union went on to say: “Both parties will be working independently Monday and re-engage on scheduling at the end of the day.  Join us and flood picket lines in the morning. Make your voices heard.”

Talks between SAG-AFTRA and the major studios had broken down, as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers felt the gap between the sides is "too great." (Deadline-dot-com)

Back then, the union said: “We have negotiated with them in good faith, despite the fact that last week they presented an offer that was, shockingly, worth less than they proposed before the strike began,” SAG-AFTRA told the membership. “These companies refuse to protect performers from being replaced by AI, they refuse to increase your wages to keep up with inflation, and they refuse to share a tiny portion of the immense revenue YOUR work generates for them.” 

On the studio side, an insider disputed that these nuances were presented in the negotiating room, insisting that the stated fee would be $1 per subscriber per year.

“They have either intentionally or non-intentionally misconstrued the cost of the proposal,” Crabtree-Ireland said. “I told them how and why they decided to leak that incorrect valuation in their press release. The correct valuation is about $500 million – a little bit less than 57 cents per subscriber per year. Less than a postage stamp per year per subscriber is not that much of an ask.”

This subscriber proposal made no sense to CEOs Zaslav, Sarandos, Disney CEO Bob Iger and NBC Universal’s Studio Group chairman Donna Langley. They felt they had already offered significant raises to actors in their negotiations up to that point, and that a flat levy to the guild on their subscription revenue was, as Sarandos later put it, a bridge too far.

They also worried they’d need to give a similar deal to other guilds, which would cost even more in a portion of the industry – streaming – where most studios are losing money.

It was an economic model they could not accept.

The strikes have brought the entertainment business to a standstill. The Writer’s Guild strike, which began in May, ended on Sept. 27, but the SAG-AFTRA strike, which started in July, continues. Writers, actors, set decorators and production coordinators have all slid back into the industry that serves as Hollywood’s shadow partner: restaurants.


In Los Angeles it’s a clich√© that the ranks of hosts, waiters and bartenders are filled with aspiring comedians, actors and writers. And while the rise of gig work like driving for ride-share companies means that food service is not necessarily the default job for newly arrived dreamers, the strike has supercharged demand for restaurant jobs.

Talks between the performers’ union and the studios restarted with the majors offering a rise in minimum rates and increased bonuses based on the success of streaming content. 

Working off their WGA deal, the studios proposed a 7% increase in minimums, with SAG-AFTRA offering on Friday a self-described “comprehensive counter” moving from an 11% rise to 9%. The studio’s success-based metric was in response to SAG-AFTRA’s ask for a 57 cents per subscriber annual charge on Oct. 11 which Sarandos called a “levy on subscribers” and “a bridge too far”. 

 “There is a feeling of optimism” a guild source told Deadline today. “Looks like we’re in the final stretch,” a senior studio source added.

Both sides expressed confidence a deal may be reached within days, but as before cautioned the situation is still fluid.

(As featured in Buzzfeed) Of course, while the actors' guild is still striking during the Halloween season, the union has recently announced its guidelines for union members' Halloween costumes. 

It basically says, that members shouldn't dress up as characters from struck content — i.e. most movies and TV shows — and instead suggested folks refrain from posting on social media or as "generalized characters and figures."


Union leaders stressed that "We are on strike for important reasons, and have been for nearly 100 days. Our number one priority remains getting the studios back to the negotiating table so we can get a fair deal for our members, and finally put our industry back to work,". So, Buzzfeed featured some celebrities who went ahead with their movie-inspired costumes this year anyway: Find out who's who and what's with an unveiling of a few more celebs sporting their All Hollows' Eve creativity.


  

with: Stefan Nadelman

Let's see what's goin on in the clean world... of Stefan Nadelman. Those familiar with Stefan's animation work know him as the Go-to-Guy for conceptualization in the Movie & Doc world. He's been little affected by the WGA or SAG/Aftra strikes. We sometimes think of Stefan as our resident animation graphics designer and 21 century titlist insider. You heard it here first. Off the record, on the q-T and very Hush-Hush. Or so says Danny DeVito in his narration role in L.A Confidential.

Yep, Stefan's the guy who's got the inside track on La La-Land... and he's been working overtime. His dance-card is brimming with (5) assignment titles at once. First one up is Devo, if for no other reason 'cause we have art...pictures with the help of Sunday's NYT's Art & Leisure section. They did a story (Oct.15th) about Devo's new book "Celebrating 50 years of De-evolution 1973-2023".

Devo isn’t overjoyed about being prescient. The band got started half a century ago as a satirical art statement. But by now, much of what Devo mocked has become inescapable. Gerald Casale, who founded Devo with Mark Mothersbaugh, said, “If somebody would have told you 50 years ago where we would be at as a culture now, you probably wouldn’t have believed it. Neither would I. But here we are.”

Devo’s lone hit, Whip It in 1980, only reached No. 14 in the United States. But the influence of Devo’s clipped rhythm synthesized tones, its robotic moves and its re-contextualized retro graphics has grown ubiquitous, from commercials to cartoons and perhaps even into K-pop, where synthesizers, uniforms and tightly synced dance routines reign. This year, with a continuing world tour and a new, 50-song boxed set, “50 Years of De-Evolution” — a knowing assortment of hits and obscurities — Devo is savoring and reasserting its legacy. (NYT's)

Next up for Stefan we can look forward to is, Don't Die; being offered as a Sundance contender.

Don't Die is film about centimillionaire Bryan Johnson, a 46-year-old tech entrepreneur, who's obsessed with letting AI determine his health regimen to de-age himself. 

He has spent millions on a team of experts with the goal of making his organs look and act like those of an 18-year-old through a strict diet,which he combines with a one-hour exercise regimen, a rigid bedtime routine, blood transfusions and daily health tests.


Still to Come - Stefan had let me know about a docu-series called Con Queen, that is nearing the final stages, and may get picked up by Apple.

Eternal Values is another docu-series on its way to completion. It's about a new age cult of supermodels in the 90s, run by Frederick Von Meiers. As a cult leader of the group Eternal Values, Frederick Von Mierers, claimed to be an alien from the star Arcturus. Mierers believed in impending doom and that he and his fellow aliens had been sent here to help earthlings.

And Monkey Business (not a remake of the 1952 version with Cary Grant And Ginger Rogers) is a doc about the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT scandal. Stefan's on the job but aspects are still in development. We'll follow up as soon as we hear further. Or you can always go to Stefan's IMDb page.


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