My comments to SAG and its members.
What is completely ignored by Alan Rosenberg and his self referenced SAG "children" is that the effects of their actions affect thousands of industry (as well as non-industry) individuals in several countries uninvolved in their fight! Yes "real" people! People that have to eat and pay their mortgages while SAG is out fighting for their "rights."
We could debate endlessly who has a right to what and really get nowhere. Where is Ayn Rand when we need her! The truth is SAG and WGA and even DGA members don't give a shit about anything but themselves. Its not about furthering the industry, its not about making good movies or TV - its really all about what one can take away from an individual project - the pound of flesh that they have decided is theirs!
On one side there is a handful of overpaid zealots, also slammed as the actor-producers. Then you have a very large grouping of really focused (rabidly so) individuals who seem to think that they have a moral right to more and more and more! Unfortunately both sides represent the folk who have ruined our industry to the point where it will be lucky to survive ultimately.
The cost of making movies has skyrocketed a mere 700% from the early 90's. Consider that in 1994 a big budget movie was 30 million. Now we are seeing movies with budgets of 240 million and climbing. Most of that is paid to a few individuals at the top - actors, director, and writer(s). This has, unfortunately, created a Lotto winner mentality. There is nothing real about it or the expectations that come from looking at life this way .
When you have two or three people skimming everything off at the top why should any of us care what happens to anyone in SAG? No one cares about the non-SAG lackeys! There is no consideration or attempt to share the good fortunes with those down stream.
These are the folk that drove up the price of making movies and made it necessary for Wall Street Corporations to become involved in an industry where traditionally it existed on the strengths of individuals with vision - individuals who could get their projects financed on the strength of their reputations.
Once that line was crossed only the corporate approach could feed the financial black hole that was created by greed! Yes! Point to the actors and directors and writers who are making stupid amounts of money every time out. NO ONE is worth that kind of money and NO UNION is ever going to make a difference at that level. EVER.
Clearly there is another side to this whole debate. The one where the studios didn't/don't provide honest accounting, where they are to blame for creating an atmosphere of doubt and distrust, an atmosphere that encouraged agents to leverage their star names for as much upfront money as the market would bear - that is another debate. Again both sides are guilty.
SAG, WGA and DGA have allowed this to happen by allowing overscale payments to begin way back in the dark ages. Now we all suffer! Is there any wonder about why union is a dirty word? Again, there is much to debate regarding that issue alone.
Who owns what morally, who has a right to the fruits of their labour. Should the parties who provide the finances and take the risks be the ultimate winners? The points that are always on the table - without a story no one has anything to begin with. Without someone to take that story and create a masterpiece there is no movie. Without actors there is no one to portray those characters. Ultimately its a grand collaboration between money, story, interpretation and performance.
In theory its easy. Everyone should share the risks. Make it reasonable to make the projects in the first place - back end the thing. Give percentages, not of net but of gross. Net takes us back to the underhanded temptations of studio accounting. Make it reasonable for all with minor percentage figures and then stick to the deals.
At the crux of it all are the lawyers. We need to get them out of the equation. When it became more profitable to sue than it did to work, the lawyers triumphed. As Shakespeare remarked - "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!" King Henry VI, Act IV, Scene II. Well maybe not kill them, but a good muzzle wouldn't hurt, that and a stint on a mid summer highway paving crew (maybe even in Death Valley)!
Truth be told you have ALL had a hand in the KILLING OF AN INDUSTRY! You are ALL GUILTY! Is there any redemption to be had?
And just wait - animated synthetic actors are coming and there is nothing to be done about it!
Don't just passively read these comments and get on with your day. Get into it whether you agree with the viewpoint or not! Make a comment. Find another blog and make further comments. Comment to the local newspapers. Comment to the network websites! We need to become proactive not reactive! Our industry is dying the death of a thousand cuts! We need to be heard and we can only do that if we have the numbers behind us!