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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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Silmaril
Rohan


Sep 27 2010, 9:11am

Post #76 of 330 (2827 views)
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McKellen & co. support a boycott of the film? [In reply to] Can't Post

really?

"The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) says Hollywood stars Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving support a boycott of the film because actors may be employed on inferior non-union contracts."
http://www.stuff.co.nz/...bully-to-save-Hobbit


geordie
Tol Eressea

Sep 27 2010, 9:12am

Post #77 of 330 (2656 views)
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Europe? Whoo-hoo! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm encouraged by the thought that pJ thinks the production might have to shift to Europe (did someone say Eastern Europe?) See, I've changed my mind about the movies because of all the money available (for those in the leading parts anyway); and I've decided to audition for the part of Bilbo. (now that Freeman's out of the picture, figuratively speaking). Wink

I hear Transylvania is very nice in the Spring...


(This post was edited by geordie on Sep 27 2010, 9:15am)


Elven
Valinor


Sep 27 2010, 10:12am

Post #78 of 330 (2695 views)
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MEAA was struck off the list of Registered Societies this month - it can't negotiate as a registered union.... [In reply to] Can't Post

so says The Australian Newspaper who posted an article on the fiasco this afternoon ...
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/...frg8pf-1225930114562


Quote

Complicating matters is that the MEAA was struck off the list of Registered Societies this month, meaning it can't negotiate as a registered union.



If that is the case - how old is this story and when did it start? Was MEAA registered when it sent out the order to not work on The Hobbits?

from the article:

Quote

Jackson said moving the film, which has been dogged by a protracted development and the recent loss of its director Guillermo del Toro, would leave New Zealand humiliated on the world stage.

�It sure feels like we are being attacked simply because we are a big fat juicy target - not for any wrongdoing,� he wrote. �We haven't even been greenlit yet! It feels as if we have a large Aussie cousin kicking sand in our eyes ... or to put it another way, some might see this as opportunists exploiting our film for their own political gain.�



Hold your head high NZ - and hang onto 'the Prize' - dont let them take Middle-Earth from us.


(This post was edited by Altaira on Sep 27 2010, 3:07pm)


merlwynd
Rivendell


Sep 27 2010, 10:22am

Post #79 of 330 (2618 views)
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unions [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a member of the MEAA and previously a member of the HSU in australia. These memberships, unfortunately, were both through necessity. In order to get work on Australian based productions, you have to be a member of the MEAA. I remember vividly with my very first agent I was told that in order to get professional work I had to be a member of the MEAA, but in order to be a member of the MEAA I had to have had professional work! make any sense to you guys?

Unions do a wonderful job in protecting peoples rights, unfortunately they can also be incredibly damaging and political. I emplore Peter for his honest response. There is always a bigger picture! In this case - a much bigger picture!

Not only can, and will this jeopordise this production and the potential 400 workers involved (actors included) but also potentially destroy the film industry in the greater Asia pacific region. I see NZ as a creative bastion of film making - the Australian market has all but dried up with the aussie dollar being worth almost as much as the greenback of late and the over unionisation of our industry. It protects the pay rates yes - but where does the creative go - it is forgotten quickly. Certainly in Australia we see the same group of actors repetively appear in tv serials etc as they are the most heavily union identified and associated. The little guys never get a look in despite their forced union memebership! Where does an Australian actor go to crack it big! To hard to get work in oz because you cant get into the tight circle - most aussie actors that are stars have much greater success in the USA and england! It is said the 98% of australian actors are out of work at any given time - that means that that 98%, in theory, are paying union fees on no acting income - paints a picture really doesnt it!

I hope for these wonderfully creative people that this production is allowed to proceed so that we may all benefit from it and that a bunch of politically agended beurecrats do not threaten its potential.

There are laws protecting workers in nz and aus and such interferance would only jeopordise these moreso.

This saddens me immensily. As an Aussie actor whom has tried in vain to get an audition for the hobbit - this is really like the final nail in the coffin. Yes the MEAA are protecting their big stars bank accounts - what of us unknowns - unfortunately this only steps on our efforts and dreams.

Well done Peter - stick to your guns mate!

MERLWYND
Bard's case to Thorin


sphdle1
Gondor


Sep 27 2010, 11:43am

Post #80 of 330 (2588 views)
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Where's BoB? He hasn't chimed in on this yet...!? [In reply to] Can't Post

 


sphdle1
Gondor


Sep 27 2010, 11:57am

Post #81 of 330 (2658 views)
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Here is Jackson's reponse on Variety [In reply to] Can't Post

Sounds like the Australian Union is playing dirty, as New Zealand law doesn't even permit what the MEAA are demanding.
http://www.variety.com/...s=1&ref=vertfilm


"I can't see beyond the ugly spectre of an Australian bully-boy using what he perceives as his weak Kiwi cousins to gain a foothold in this country's film industry," Jackson said. "They want greater membership, since they get to increase their bank balance."
Jackson said that his sympathy goes to the 1800 New Zealand actors who are not part of what he called the "Equity 200" but who will "suffer the fallout if this Hobbit thing goes nuclear."
"I also feel a growing anger at the way this tiny minority is endangering a project that hundreds of people have worked on over the last two years, and the thousands about to be employed for the next 4 years," he said. "Why is this endangered? Because the 'demands' of MEAA cannot be agreed to, or even considered - by law - and therefore the only options that remain involve closing the Hobbit down, or more likely shifting the production to Europe. It could so easily happen."
Jackson also said that he's been told that Disney no longer shoots in Australia because of frustration with the MEAA.


Dreamaster
Bree


Sep 27 2010, 1:19pm

Post #82 of 330 (2618 views)
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All is resumed to this... [In reply to] Can't Post

If the LOTR Trilogy had been a failure this won't be happening. They are not concerned about actors rights or jobs but only making their bank account grow.

I agree with Peter, if this crap continues, for my dislike, he must move The Hobbit to Europe. This is what happens when greedy ppl come into the scene, sad but true.

Close your eyes, look into the dream
Winds of change will winds of fortune bring


macfalk
Valinor


Sep 27 2010, 1:32pm

Post #83 of 330 (2586 views)
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Eastern Europe? [In reply to] Can't Post

This makes me concerned. As a european myself (Sweden), well, I suppose the landscapes can be found that fits Middle-earth more than well, but what about Hobbiton? What about Rivendell?


Elven
Valinor


Sep 27 2010, 2:50pm

Post #84 of 330 (2445 views)
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Welcome to Latvia Bilbo Baggins ... ;-) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Gildor
Rivendell

Sep 27 2010, 3:02pm

Post #85 of 330 (2573 views)
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I don't know him personally [In reply to] Can't Post

The only "honor" I was questioning was PJ's. I don't know him personally. I could care less about how 'nice' he is, or whether he's a great guy. His personal character is not what I'm here to defend...this is about movies, and the only thing that matters here are the movies. Just because he makes movies that happen to be among my favorite all-time has nothing to do with how 'honorable' he is. So let's not confuse the two.

I do know that several actors from LOTR have publicly complained about not making much money off the films. I do know that the films made PJ rich and that he also held up TH by suing in order to increase his piece of the pie. I'm not saying he wasn't deserving of the money he sued for, but maybe the actors in the film should have gotten more too. Consider that many of the main characters in LOTR were relative unknowns prior to filming and perhaps easily taken advantage of.

And I've been a member of a teacher's union, and thank goodness for that. As this is a message board about LOTR, I really don't want to go into all the details...the teacher's union defends teachers against ridiculous parents, administrators, and the public in general. Most teachers are not the problem, and yet the public, generally speaking, treats teachers as the problem.


(This post was edited by Gildor on Sep 27 2010, 3:11pm)


Elven
Valinor


Sep 27 2010, 3:13pm

Post #86 of 330 (2537 views)
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Update: MEAA Meeting planned in Auckland tomorrow ... [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.guardian.co.uk/...n-the-hobbit-boycott


Quote

MEAA members are set to meet in Auckland tomorrow to discuss the boycott.



Quote
The Hobbit films were due to be filmed in New Zealand, where sets from the production of the Lord of the Rings remain. The Australian union is involved because it is allied with a New Zealand actors' union, NZ Actors' Equity. Jackson claims the latter represents at most 200 of an estimated 2,000 actors based in the country.



This should be interesting. Though its another reminder of how well organized and planned this whole thing with the Unions seems to be. It has come on like a storm, and the publicity is fuelling it. It would not surprise me if an announcement to move the Hobbit becomes more than just a rumoured option - it must be weighing on PJ and everyone involved. I wonder if there will be any counter action at or after the MEAA meeting by the Studios and PJ - or actors and industry people.

This could be very serious - though I hope commonsense prevails.


Lark
The Shire


Sep 27 2010, 3:40pm

Post #87 of 330 (2518 views)
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I'm glad performers are being protected. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hate me if you want, but I am really glad they are taking a stand. The union is only protecting their members. Believe it or not, that's their job. It costs more to get a union performer then a non-union one, everybody knows that much. If they don't want to pay for it, they can get non union actors. You can't have it all for nothing! Have you ever had an employer take advantage and pay you less then you are legally entitled to? I have.

I am a non union actor, and I want to keep it that way. there are restrictions to projects you can work on all the time as a union member, and in a recession, most people want non union, which means you have a better chance of working. You get paid really badly, and sometimes not at all (a lot not at all) But I still get to DO the project. If you join a union, you know that comes with a price sometimes. When work runs dry, you are limited to jobs for union only performers unless a non union production can afford you. In Canada, it also means you can only work a certain amount of hours a day, and you must have the correct amount of breaks. On a film like The Hobbit, as much as I want to see it made, the working conditions will probably not match up to standard.

I remember on the DVD Orlando Bloom saying he wold get home and have only 4 hours to sleep before he had to go to work again. And we all saw the animators bringing shampoo to work because they couldn't leave. It's the way it is, I know, and there are plenty of people (Myself included) that would gladly go through it all for a project like this. I'm just saying, they DID have every right to send that warning. That being said, I was be so disappointed if it means they can't shoot in New Zealand or if it doesn't get made. But I will be disappointed in the film makers, not the unions.

Lark


Elven
Valinor


Sep 27 2010, 3:45pm

Post #88 of 330 (2416 views)
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Just to clarify ... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I do know that the films made PJ rich and that he also held up TH by suing in order to increase his piece of the pie.


PJ and Co worked through to exhaustion on those films, while he also suffered some great personal losses during the filming, and the films at the time were not the hits they are today - he perservered, he lead a team into film history, he deserved what he made and there were other people who were involved in LoTR who have also benefited greatly by playing their part in the movies and then going on to better things using the LoTR as a springboard.

The money was owed to Peter Jackson as contract stipulated - this goes back a long way, before the Hobbit was a twinkle in his eye.
While PJ was trying to recoup what was owed to him - he did not want to be involved with any Hobbit Films at the time because he was in dispute with NL.
The Tolkien Estate and Publishers also sued New Line for their accounting practices and this was a hold up of over a year until the Tolkien Estate and the other plantiffs won the case and things were settled out of court. MGM has been another hold up. The restructuring of New Line into Warners ... the list is pretty long...

As for the Unions, I dont think the crux of the situation revolves around the Unions and what they do per say - in this case, its the timing, and the assumption that things will be bad finacially for those involved before this film is even greenlit.
When you consider that nothing has been set in stone (as to a date for filming), the Unions have jumped on this ....

and I question that motive, more-so than the purpose of Unions and memberships.

Smile


(This post was edited by Elven on Sep 27 2010, 3:48pm)


Lark
The Shire


Sep 27 2010, 3:57pm

Post #89 of 330 (2488 views)
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Jumped [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know about "Jumped" The unions would have to send out the warning now if there are about to be offers to performers. Also, it is a pretty educated assumption since they already contacted the film makers and they refused to agree to the minimum wage...actually, I'm not sure that can be called an assumption...


Elven
Valinor


Sep 27 2010, 4:27pm

Post #90 of 330 (2413 views)
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As Im aware ... [In reply to] Can't Post

This has already been going on for 2 weeks ... 'jumped' was about as fast as this whole thing is moving considering the pace of most things to do with it Wink
and Im not sure as to what the status is, but has the MEAA been re-registered so that they can negotiate at a Union level?

Im not sure, nor have I seen, but where does it say that the film-makers have refused to agree on the minimum wage? Just asking so I can look at it.
What I read was:

Quote

The seven major actors unions have told members not to work on "The Hobbit" due to the refusal of producers to sign a deal with local New Zealand performers.
The unions issued the admonishment Friday, noting that "The Hobbit" producers have indicated they intend to make "imminent" offers to performers.
"The makers of feature film 'The Hobbit' to be shot in New Zealand next year have refused to engage
performers on union-negotiated agreements," the member alert said.


I have posted already that I also think that contracts are ready to be signed and a greenlight looming.

Smile


dormouse
Half-elven

Sep 27 2010, 4:41pm

Post #91 of 330 (2498 views)
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Sorry, have I missed something... [In reply to] Can't Post

... seriously, I'm not getting at you, but where do you get the idea that Peter Jackson and Warners have refused to pay the minimum wage? They're refusing to allow the Australian actors union to negotiate the wages and other terms of the actors contracts, but it seems that under New Zealand law it's illegal for them to do that anyway.

Seems from all the comments and news reports about this that it's part of a much bigger argument and 'The Hobbit' has been caught in the crossfire. It's all very sad....


Lark
The Shire


Sep 27 2010, 4:43pm

Post #92 of 330 (2518 views)
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Dunce hat [In reply to] Can't Post

Aha! You're right, I misread this lol.

"The alert comes after repeated attempts by Australian actor’s union, the Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (Alliance), to negotiate minimum wages and other working conditions for New Zealand actors who are currently not unionized."

So they do want a minimum wage for non union actors. I'm not sure if they are asking for the same wages as union actors, or just a reasonable wage, so without knowing that, I'm really not sure what to think. What I DO think is that a standard wage for non union actors should definatly be agreed on, as it does have to be livable. (Unless they want to work around the schedule of their second serving job!) Of course, as a non union actor, I think it's great. It seems tome, a simple agreement to pay non union actors a fair wage would end this whole mess... but maybe there is more to it, and maybe they just don't want to do that. I guess to me, for a project like this, there is no excuse for unfair wages for any employee, even if it gives a rival what they want.


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 27 2010, 4:44pm

Post #93 of 330 (2528 views)
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Well the majority of New Zealanders (actors) are not union [In reply to] Can't Post

So in this case the union isn't protecting its members - it's trying to expand its base in New Zealand. In this case the union may not even be registered. We'll see what happens, ultimately it's up the people in New Zealand if they want to unionize or not. Even if they do, in the case of the The Hobbit, PJ can't go that route since it's illegal. In cases where an actor they've contracted is union - those contracts are complying with union regs.

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 27 2010, 4:45pm)


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 27 2010, 4:49pm

Post #94 of 330 (2496 views)
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PJ claims he's paying fairly [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course, as a non union actor, I think it's great. It seems tome, a simple agreement to pay non union actors a fair wage would end this whole mess... but maybe there is more to it, and maybe they just don't want to do that.

Even if PJ or Warners wanted to negotiate with this union they can't. It's illegal.


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 27 2010, 4:50pm)


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 27 2010, 5:01pm

Post #95 of 330 (2457 views)
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What do you think - do I understand this right? [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding of this MEAA boycott is not really that the MEAA has people The Hobbit needs - rather it seems to be convincing other unions to stand with it and some of these unions (SAG I guess) has members like Ian McKellan that could really cause problems. So I guess PJ is making his case to those actors whom he really needs. If he convinces them to work anyway, it doesn't seem the MEAA can do anything to stop production. Am I right? Anyone feel free to chime in. Smile

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


Lark
The Shire


Sep 27 2010, 5:07pm

Post #96 of 330 (2479 views)
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I understand that [In reply to] Can't Post

But that doesn't mean they are legally unable to pay a fair wage to non union actors. it doesn't have to be a negotiation, if that's really the issue. I mean I see both sides, production companies will always want to save money, and a good way to do that is cutting in payroll (heck, that's true for any company) Sure they can't enter official negotiations, fine, but is that what they say they can't do? or is it a way of saying they intend to pay next to nothing whatever they say?


Lark
The Shire


Sep 27 2010, 5:12pm

Post #97 of 330 (2472 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I think you're right, but I believe the members of the unions involved are now blocked from working on it whatever their opinion is. The warning statement told members to notify the union if they were asked to be a part o the project. So if they don't and accept a job surely the union will find out about it and put an end to it, if the issue has not been resolved by then.

I know of people who have secretly worked on projects that their union would not have allowed, and had to work under a different name, but somehow I don't think that would fly here.


FangornFriend
The Shire

Sep 27 2010, 5:29pm

Post #98 of 330 (2570 views)
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What we hear is that it's illegal in New Zealand [In reply to] Can't Post

for the collective bargaining to take place. I would think the Unions know this (how can they not). That means laws have to be changed in order for what the unions are asking for to take place. I don't know how New Zealand Parliment works, but I would think it would not be a quick fix. That means the unions have to know what they are asking for cannot be granted. They are willing to risk closing down the New Zealand film industry. All those people that they could have employed will basically be getting screwed by the same unions who say they are there to protect them.

And the fans (don't forget us, we're the reason everybody makes $$) are getting screwed too. If the unions were really interested in using the Hobbit as a platform they should have started a couple of years ago to get the laws changed. This is just mean and rude. Anyone or anything who stands in the way of this project should be eaten by a dragon, slowly.


Theodred
Lorien


Sep 27 2010, 5:37pm

Post #99 of 330 (2550 views)
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There are three video's about this subject at TV New Zealand, [In reply to] Can't Post

that you might find worthwile to watch:

Boycott Threaten's Jackson's Hobbit:

Code



Penelope Borland on The Hobbit:

Code




Claims Aussies jealous over Kiwi Hobbit films:

Code


http://dehobbithyve.hyves.nl/


Lark
The Shire


Sep 27 2010, 5:40pm

Post #100 of 330 (2532 views)
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Can't happen? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's not true though, if the unions are asking for a fair wage for non union actors, it's not rue that that simply can't happen because of New Zealand law. They are doing what they can to put pressure on them even if they can't negotiate. Just because they can't negotiate isn't a good enough reason to me to pay $1 an hour. Yes they made a big move going public with the notice, but it is not all on the unions if the they don't make the film. 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. Is this all so unreasonable?

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