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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
From Variety: Unions to thesps:" Don't work on The Hobbit"
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dormouse
Half-elven

Sep 28 2010, 4:01pm

Post #176 of 330 (2282 views)
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It seems ironic, really.... [In reply to] Can't Post

... so far as we know, no actors have been engaged yet, this being a film which still has no green light. I'm sure some have been approached informally, but still no contracts, nothing in writing.

So there are unions lining up to negotiate for the non-union actors, and high-profile union members are being urged to boycott the film in support on the non-union actors - but does anyone actually know who these non-union actors are? Or whether they want the support of a union they don't belong to? They might just like to see what sort of terms they're being offered first. In any case, it would be nice if someone were to wait and ask them ....


(This post was edited by dormouse on Sep 28 2010, 4:05pm)


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 4:03pm

Post #177 of 330 (2252 views)
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Indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

It's like crying "Fire!" before anyone's broken out the flint and tinder.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


Gildor
Rivendell

Sep 28 2010, 4:05pm

Post #178 of 330 (2291 views)
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Sounds reasonable to me [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you.


macfalk
Valinor


Sep 28 2010, 4:06pm

Post #179 of 330 (2279 views)
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Sorted out? Sorted out? [In reply to] Can't Post

To what cost? These unions should be ashamed, they really should. Playing with the hopes of millions of fans for the sake of few.

"It's just a movie"

No, it's not. For me, it's not. I visit this site every day, and update the main page 10-15 times a day and have done so for 2 years.Myself and all other fans deserves something better.


Eruonen
Valinor

Sep 28 2010, 4:10pm

Post #180 of 330 (2202 views)
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Right, the union sees this as its biggest and best chance [In reply to] Can't Post

to force the issue. They realize the impact and want to play a high stakes poker game. However, as has been made clear, the issue is an internal NZ legislative concern, not a studio one. The union is playing a PR war.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 4:14pm

Post #181 of 330 (2273 views)
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Nothing is reasonable or unreasonable yet [In reply to] Can't Post

They could just decide to pay a proper wage , the unions would be satisfied and allow their members to work on the project, no law changes necessary, nobody paid like a slave in the process.

The movie hasn't been green lit yet and wages haven't been offered. So wages aren't the issue. Union control is the issue.


King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


squire
Half-elven


Sep 28 2010, 4:14pm

Post #182 of 330 (2303 views)
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With so few big films in NZ, there is a lot of project-specific employment even in scenic shops [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure you are right that model makers on LotR worked for Weta, not directly for Jackson's production. However, I believe Weta hired very large numbers of technicians solely for LotR, and kept them on for several years; and then was forced to lay them off again until the next big film came along. This is the way scenic shops work everywhere - only the core workers are kept on the payroll during slack times. As such, Weta probably preferred to hire those extra workers as independent contractors. We don't know the details of the case where the court said this worker had to be considered an employee instead of a contractor - I would guess it had to do with how long he or she worked there, and on what terms, such as being given supervisory duties, etc.

The problem seems to come down to inappropriate scale. Jackson's films are like the NZ film industry winning the lottery: there's more money than it can spend all at once, and then it's back to the same modest wages as before.



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Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 4:21pm

Post #183 of 330 (2223 views)
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Good points squire [In reply to] Can't Post

I may add that PJ's tried to keep the work coming to Weta with projects following LOTR like King Kong. Which of course is completely irrelevant to the point but I felt like saying it anyway. It's how I roll.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


sphdle1
Gondor


Sep 28 2010, 4:40pm

Post #184 of 330 (2218 views)
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There's a time and a place [In reply to] Can't Post

And this is not the time or place for MEAA to be doing this. Opportunists trying to take advantage of the situation at anyone's expense and at any cost.


sphdle1
Gondor


Sep 28 2010, 4:45pm

Post #185 of 330 (2182 views)
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I agree ... Let's hope [In reply to] Can't Post

they are just trying to get the attention of the NZ government, and call this off soon, if the NZ government agree to work on their concerns. NZ government should step in immediately and tell MEAA they will work on it if they stop the boycott...else there will be little left of the movie industry in NZ.


Elladan
Rivendell

Sep 28 2010, 4:49pm

Post #186 of 330 (2191 views)
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True. [In reply to] Can't Post

But then any temporary staff brought on for a specific film would be padding out an existing work force, where as actors are brought on temporarily for temporary work. As such a model maker can be either employed or contracted, where as actors can only fall under the contracted status. Which muddys the waters somewhat in reguard to the model maker, but remains very clear in regaurds to actors.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 4:59pm

Post #187 of 330 (2173 views)
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Any news of a New Zealand Government response? [In reply to] Can't Post

Indeed sphdle1 - that instantly made me curious about what's going on over there government-wise. Certainly they also have to be concerned.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


Gildor
Rivendell

Sep 28 2010, 5:02pm

Post #188 of 330 (2215 views)
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Sounds reasonable to me... [In reply to] Can't Post

"it is not all on the unions if the they don't make the film."
Seems reasonable to me...there is more than one side to this situation. Takes two to tango. I think that's reasonable.


"They could just decide to pay a proper wage"
Wages might not be set, but I think it's reasonable to pay all workers a proper wage.


"the unions would be satisfied and allow their members to work on the project, no law changes necessary"
If they pay the proper wages, seems reasonable that no laws would have to change.


"nobody paid like a slave in the process."
Seems reasonable to me that no one should be paid slave wages. And yes, this is figurative.


Yes, wages have not been set and the movie is not green lit, which I suspect is one reason for the unions getting involved now: they'd like to take care of this now instead of in the middle of actual production. Would you prefer this situation to be dealt with now, or for it to stop filming in the middle of it all? Yes, the unions are clearly targeting TH because it's a big name and big money. That's just smart though, they want leverage so they can better help workers.

Maybe, PJ and co. will pay everyone exactly what everyone wants and deserves. And that would be great. But, from the union perspective, given the horror stories from LOTR, I think it is prudent and reasonable to interject themselves now.

Films aren't made on the time schedules of fans. I know that's a bummer, but we just need to be patient; a difficult prospect when we've waited relatively long (Star Wars prequels took a lot longer before they came out) and have followed this as closely as we have. And for those out there for whom this is "more than just a movie", I suspect the waiting to be even more difficult.






sphdle1
Gondor


Sep 28 2010, 5:14pm

Post #189 of 330 (2150 views)
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especially since [In reply to] Can't Post

it's now international headline news, and they have many people not employed because of this...I don't think it would be particularly good for their economy...my hope is that the government recognizes this soon and acts right away, by promising to work with the unions to change legislation for 'future' films, as long as MEAA and co. back down on their current boycott.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 5:15pm

Post #190 of 330 (2164 views)
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Two to tango normally but in my mind this isn't totally normal [In reply to] Can't Post

Seems reasonable to me...there is more than one side to this situation. Takes two to tango. I think that's reasonable.

In this case it's against the law for there to be a tango. I can understand PJ being pissed because the union's problem isn't with him, it's with New Zealand. Should have been taken care of a long time ago because now really the only ways out are:

1. The New Zealand government acts in super-speedster-never-before-seen-of-speed fashion and re-writes law or

2. The unions back off or

3. The production leaves New Zealand because it's illegal to negotiate with the unions there.


King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


Rogash
Bree

Sep 28 2010, 5:49pm

Post #191 of 330 (2309 views)
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*Update* ''Talk to us, Kiwi actors tell Hobbit film's producers'' [In reply to] Can't Post

''After last night's three-hour meeting, NZ Actors Equity president Jennifer Ward-Lealand read out a statement:
"As a result of tonight's meeting, Actors Equity members have overwhelmingly resolved that its delegation meet the producers of The Hobbit to hold negotiations in good faith, taking in the terms and conditions for performers working on the production."
Ms Ward-Lealand said the union had been trying to meet the producers for more than a month.''

What's that mean ?


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 28 2010, 5:53pm

Post #192 of 330 (2180 views)
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It means we're right back where we started from [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ has said he's always been happy to work with union actors and has contracted with them per their union agreements. So, there's no beef about NZ Actor's equity negotiating for union members. The beef is still that they can't, under NZ law, negotiate for non-union actors. If that's what that statement means - that they still want to negotiate for all the actors, whether they're union or non-union, then we're still at a complete stand still.


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"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase



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Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 6:18pm

Post #193 of 330 (2230 views)
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To make matters more interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ claims that NZ Actors Equity isn't even a union:

– It starts with “NZ Actors Equity”. This is a tiny organisation that represents a small minority of New Zealand Actors. They are not a Union, and have none of the legal status of a Union. They are a … well, a smallish group who have some New Zealand actors as members. How many actors are members of NZ Equity? They guard that information very closely, but various reports I’ve seen put their membership at 200, although somebody in the know swears it’s nearer 100.

– How many professional actors are there in New Zealand? Somewhere between 2000 and 4000, depending on just how you describe a “professional actor”. Obviously most Kiwi actors have other employment too, but there’s certainly over 2000 actors available to cast in a film production.

– So taking the most generous numbers, NZ Actors Equity represents 200 out of 2000 Kiwi actors, or 10%. Perhaps I’m wrong, and if so, NZ Equity will no doubt reveal their real membership numbers.


So one of the REAL questions is - what are the majority of Kiwi actors saying? Laugh

If these guys aren't already a union - PJ can't talk with them collectively. It's against the law. So Ms Ward-Lealand needs to try to meet with her New Zealand legislature - not the producers of The Hobbit.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 6:45pm

Post #194 of 330 (2179 views)
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NZ Actor's equity's response to PJ statement [In reply to] Can't Post

is here. In response to PJ's claims that he can't negotiate with the non-union members (contractors) collectively because of NZ law they respond:

However NZ Actors Equity has obtained legal advice that there are a variety of lawful means which could be used to establish the minimum wages, working conditions and residuals for performers on the production. A copy of this advice has been provided to the lawyers for the producer. So somebody has their facts wrong

Either this is poorly written or it misses the point. The point is not establishing minimum wages, working conditions, or residuals - it's that it's illegal for PJ to deal with them collectively. I'd like to see a copy of this advice and see if it addresses THAT point.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


Altaira
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 28 2010, 6:48pm

Post #195 of 330 (2164 views)
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That must be why [In reply to] Can't Post

The Aussie MEAA was brought in to help, as they *are* a union.

Good point made as the result of careful reading, Tim.


Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.



"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase



TORn Calendar


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 6:50pm

Post #196 of 330 (2164 views)
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And PJ's claims that they aren't even a Union is presented with a genuine non-answer [In reply to] Can't Post

"As I said earlier, money and power lies behind this threatening behaviour from our Australian cousins, and to fully understand that, you simply have to step back and look at the greater picture in context. It starts with “NZ Actors Equity”. This is a tiny organisation that represents a small minority of New Zealand Actors. They are not a Union, and have none of the legal status of a Union. They are a … well, a smallish group who have some New Zealand actors as members.

Just some of those New Zealand actors are Dame Kate Harcourt, Jennifer Ward Lealand, Bruce Hopkins, Tandi Wright, Michael Hurst, Cameron Rhodes, Elizabeth McCrae, Stephen Lovatt, Kirk Torrance and Lisa Chappel. Not small names in New Zealand.

Rattling off the names of actors doesn't in any way refute PJ's claim that they're not legally a union.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.

(This post was edited by Tim on Sep 28 2010, 6:51pm)


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 6:54pm

Post #197 of 330 (2159 views)
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Interesting I wonder if that helps their union status [In reply to] Can't Post

because as I point out in my previous post they don't refute the legality of their union-status. Curious Hobbit fans need to know what be up yo.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


Ruijor
Rohan


Sep 28 2010, 7:45pm

Post #198 of 330 (2095 views)
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I believe... [In reply to] Can't Post

... this is an attempt to sabotage "Wellywood", this a political fight for power not justice...

The One Ring leaves indeed greedy people along his path.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 28 2010, 7:55pm

Post #199 of 330 (2138 views)
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They also can't seem to agree how to classify The Hobbit (union or non-union) [In reply to] Can't Post

I point out in the comments on the article here:

Your article is also self-contradictory. It opens with this statement:

"Members of Canadian Actors Equity, US Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild, UK Actors Equity, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Australia) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists have been advised not to accept work on this non-union production."

A few paragraphs down you answer one of PJ's points with this statement:

"No claim has been made suggesting The Hobbit is non union - simply that the production is aiming to employ New Zealand performers on non-union contracts by refusing to negotiate with NZ Actor's Equity."

So which is it? Is it a non-union production or not?

I humbly suggest they re-check some of their facts.




King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Sep 28 2010, 7:57pm

Post #200 of 330 (2120 views)
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And there's our first neeker-breeker article for The Hobbit. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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