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Negotiations: a done deal!

April 19, 2005 (20:23) | 2005, SAG Politics | By: Arlin Miller

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This post has been updated and edited!

A “Deal” has been reached in the AFTRA/sag Negotiations with AMPTP! No one is talking on this one, so I guess we’ll just have to wait for the particulars! (See SAG Release and Variety Article Below!)

What can I tell you,the ‘Ol Dog is “barking” that somewhere in our fair city, right now, The AMPTP Gang is having a Merry ‘Ol Whipsaw Party while they dance the night away in their DVDs!

Fasten your seat belts folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !


Unions Secure Historically Lucrative Deal;
Across-the-Board Gains for Performers Working at Scale

(Los Angeles, January 20, 2005) Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) announced today that they have negotiated a sweeping $200 million agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on a new three-year television and theatrical contract.

Delivering the most lucrative deal in the history of actor/producer collective bargaining, the tentative agreement includes gains across-the-board and for every category of performer series regulars to day performers, background actors to stunt performers, dancers to choreographers with the most significant advances coming for performers working at scale who rely most heavily on union protections.

In addition to a 9% across-the-board minimum pay raise over three years, the deal includes the largest ever inflow of employer money into the unionshealth and pension plans, protects residuals for WB and UPN actors on one-hour shows, increases residuals for made-for-pay TV programs, and puts in place the framework of an innovative ‘bankingsystem that will provide ongoing health coverage for series regulars after shows are canceled. The unionsalso negotiated the largest increase in background jobs and wages in over a decade, higher wages and better safeguards for stunt coordinators, greater protections for dancers and new health and pension coverage for choreographers. SAG and AFTRA also agreed to join writers and directors in a critical partnership to combat the onslaught of reality programming.

SAG and AFTRA began talks with the studios and networks on December 6, 2004. A SAG/AFTRA negotiating committee of 26 individuals all of whom are members of both unions participated daily in the talks. Leading the negotiations for the unions were SAG President Melissa Gilbert and AFTRA President John Connolly, along with chief negotiators Bob Pisano, the national executive director/CEO of SAG, and Greg Hessinger, the national executive director of AFTRA. The tentative agreement, approved by the joint negotiating committee today, would run from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2008.

“In an era when the entire labor movement is under attack from employers, we negotiated the richest deal in SAG’s history,said SAG’s Gilbert. ‘We locked in raises for all performers, shored up our health plans and improved working conditions for critical constituencies. After another year in which reality television devoured more primetime hours, we partnered with writers and directors on an initiative that will promote scripted programming an antidote against the further demise of the ensemble cast while ensuring day performers and guest stars remain protected. We met the expected obstinacy from producers on DVDs and fought the issue until the very end. But it would be neither wise nor responsible to pursue our only alternative shutting the town down and risk losing the historic gains we achieved.”

AFTRA’s Connolly said: “I am proud of what we accomplished in this agreement. We live in a labor environment today where working people are forced to strike and often unsuccessfully ‘just to retain what they have. In our case, we achieved the richest deal ever for our members. We made gains in nearly every priority area wages, health and retirement, residuals, stunt and background performers and further unification of our TV agreement. We went at the producers hard on the DVD issue; it was an uphill battle from the start, and the next round would have been a lockout or a strike. Under the current formula, DVD revenues to working actors were up 54% just over the last three years that have been reported. It would be irresponsible to force working actors to put their careers and families on the line through a work stoppage when we were able to negotiate a deal that makes sense for so many working performers. We just picked up $200 million without a strike. That’s a victory.”

Gilbert added: “Before the ink is even dry on this deal, opponents will cry out defiantly that we did not fight to the bitter end. They are wrong. Just a few years after a strike over the commercials contract, their approach would bring working actors to the brink of another work stoppage and recklessly gamble with the careers and lives of our working members. In the face of a $200-million deal, the members of our negotiating committee chose to focus on the undeniable fact that the vast majority of working actors will be far better off under this deal.”

Highlights of the agreement, worth an estimated total $200 million, include:

Increased Minimum Wages For All Performers
A 9% raise over three years 3% each year of the contract beginning on Oct. 1, 2005, identical to the recent DGA deal worth approximately $144 million that comes on top of the 2.5% increase in minimums negotiated as part of the one-year agreement now in effect.

United Front to Promote New Scripted Programs Over Reality TV
Under this deal, SAG and AFTRA would join their sister unions in allowing networks to rerun the first three episodes of a new series within 60 days of its launch without additional payment to the series regulars. SAG and AFTRA achieved a compromise that exempts day performers and guest stars, ensuring they are fully compensated since they are not assured future employment should the added exposure help the program find its audience.

Increased Residuals for WB, UPN Players
The agreement closes a loophole created by technology that gave employers an opening to dramatically lower residuals for WB and UPN performers on one hour shows. The new contract will ensure the present higher residual rates for series performers on one-hour shows on the WB and UPN will continue. It also will include the newly secured 3% annual increase in minimums.

Increase in Residuals for Made-for-Pay-TV
For the first time, the unions achieved a reduction 25% in the number of video units, including DVD, which must be sold before residuals kick in for made-for-pay-TV dramatic programming.

Unprecedented Expansion of Jobs for Background Actors
The eight new background jobs secured in the agreement five for film and three for TV marks the most significant increase in the number of covered background performer jobs in 13 years. The gains bring the total number of background jobs that must now be offered under a union contract on a union film to 50 and on a union television show to 20. This represents more than a 25% increase in television jobs secured this calendar year alone, which includes this agreement and the additional background job gained in the one-year deal currently in effect.

Higher Wages/Better Safeguards for Stunt Coordinators
The deal raises the rest period to 10 hours for stunt coordinators, a critical increase that provides a safer working environment. Also negotiated was a wage package for all stunt coordinators above and beyond the across-the-board raise all other performers received.

Major Increases in Employer Contributions to Pension and Health Plans
A 1% increase in employer contributions to the unionspension and health plans for all performers in film and television raises $60 million and the employer contribution from 13.5% to 14.5% on initial compensation. When combined with the 0.5% increase achieved early last year, this represents the largest inflow of money into the funds since its inception.

Earnings Bank Continuity of Health Benefits
For series regulars who see their roles or series end, the unions secured an agreement from producers to develop jointly with SAG and AFTRA a credit system that allows actors to ‘bankeligibility credits while working that can later be used to maintain health coverage the year after their series gets cancelled.

Greater Protections for Choreographers and Dancers
For the first time ever, choreographers can qualify for pension and health contributions and dancers will receive a 23% increase in hazard pay.

Acknowledgement and Respect for Performers with Disabilities
The unions secured a commitment from producers to work toward including performers with disabilities in the annual casting data report provided to SAG and AFTRA.

“We secured a strong deal while averting a work slow down or stoppage that would bring significant upheaval to our members and cost us significant leverage at the bargaining table,added Hessinger and Pisano, the union’s chief negotiators. ‘We delivered a wage increase and residuals hike for our members. We’re taking a stand, alongside the directors and writers, for scripted programming, while protecting our most vulnerable members. We delivered real pension and health gains and more opportunities and protections for the majority of working actors who depend on this contract to look out for their interests. Ultimately, we were able to use the producersintransigence on DVDs to create the leverage necessary to advance the interests of the vast majority of working actors on many fronts.”

The tentative deal will be considered for approval by the SAG/AFTRA joint board on January 29. If approved, the agreement will be put before the unionsrespective memberships via referendum. The unions will hold a series of informational meetings for members in select cities across the U.S. in advance of that vote, which has not yet been scheduled. Dates for the informational meetings will be announced in the coming days. Members and other interested parties can visit www.sag.org for further information.

About SAG

Screen Actors Guild is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artistsrights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 working actors in film, television, industrials, commercials and music videos. The Guild exists to enhance actorsworking conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artistsrights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at www.sag.org


The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists — affiliated with the AFL-CIO — is a diverse national union representing nearly 80,000 professional performers, broadcasters and recording artists in 32 Locals throughout the country. AFTRA members work as actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians and disc jockeys in all aspects of the media industries including television and radio, sound recordings, commercials, industrial non-broadcast, interactive games and the Internet. More information on AFTRA is available at www.aftra.com.

Well, there you are folks! That’s the stuff you can expect to get get in those emails and fliers you are so used to!

They say this contract is worth 200 Million! What they DON’T SAY is that if the AMPTP stopped taking 80 PERCENT off the top of DVD Revenue while doling out actorsshare from the remaining 20 PERCENT, members take over the next three years would be OVER…




You give members numbers like that you wouldn’t need a twenty paragraph press release! One line would be sufficent!

SAG/AFTRA reach deal sans DVD
Pact endorsed after 17-9 vote


Faced with rock-hard resistance from studios and nets on changing the two-decade-old DVD formula, Hollywood’s actors unions have opted instead for a three-year deal worth an estimated $200 million in increases.

The tentative pact, reached late Thursday, was endorsed by a badly split SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee on a 17-9 vote – foreshadowing a possible fight over ratification of the deal.

SAG and AFTRA had been expected to make such a deal without DVD gains since the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America agreed this fall to contracts without a hike in the formula for DVD residuals. The formula allows studios to exclude 80% of wholesale revenues. Studios have insisted that soaring costs of filmmaking have made it impossible to increase DVD payouts.
SAG and AFTRA said that the deal contains the richest increase in the history of both unions. Proposed pact includes gains across the board and for every category of performer, with the most significant advances coming for performers working at scale.

In addition to a 9% across-the-board minimum pay raise over three years, proposed deal includes $60 million in increased producer contributions to health and pension plans via a 1% hike to 14.5% of compensation.

The unions also asserted the deal protects residuals for WB and UPN actors on one-hour shows, includes a 25% increase in residuals for made-for-pay-TV programs and puts in place the framework of a system to provide ongoing health coverage for series regulars even after shows are canceled. It also includes higher wages and better safeguards for stunt coordinators; greater protections for dancers and new health and pension coverage for choreographers.

The tentative deal will be considered for approval by the SAG/AFTRA joint board Jan. 29.




April 19, 2005 (20:23) | 2005, SAG Politics | By: Arlin Miller

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As Negotiations continue, SAG has NO evidence that the current DVD agreement, as bad as it is, is being honored by AMPTP members!

Although it has been recently revealed in the press that studios and producers have been getting kickbacks in the form of revenue and stock options from video rental companies for the last 10 YEARS, they failed to inform SAG. And not only are Studios racking in *moneyBILLIONS from sales and rentals they are even sharing in LATE FEES!

Today’s Hollywood Reporter, reproduced below states that

“For Nearly a decade, LATE FEES have accounted for as much as 10% of a studio’s net rental revenue take and 15% of Blockbuster’s gross revenue, according to several major Hollywood studio financial executives and Blockbuster’s Securities and Exchange Commission financial reports.”

Now, if you think that this revenue sharing only amounts to chump change for the studios, read on.

According to the same article,

“The studios virtually gave major rental chains — such as Blockbuster, Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery — their most popular hit movies on CONSIGNMENT*, deferring their monetary compensation until after the video had run its rental course. Then the two would split the rental revenue on a 60-40 basis, with the studios receiving the lion’s share of money. The tapes and, eventually DVD discs, were then sold on the used market a month or two after release for $5-$15 with those profits then split on a 50-50 basis between the studios and the rental chains.”



According to a declaration made by Jo Sisson, Associate director of SAG’s residual department in the Bower/Wilson “Pisano, Conflict of Interest” suit that information didn’t come to light until April of 2004.

Ms. Sisson states,

“Sometime during the beginning of 2004, I became aware of the fact that Netflix might have entered into financial arrangements with distributors by which Netflix was transferring Netflix stock to those distributors as a partial payment for DVDS!”

Sisson continues,

“Although documents pertaining to home video, including REVENUE SHARING AGREEMENTS, have been requested by auditors, Universal has NOT YET PROVIDED THOSE DOCUMENTS TO AUDITORS!”


Double Duh! **

Now, it is bad enough that the AMPTP has taken a MILITANT position in regards to renegotiating an antiquated revenue sharing deal, that has not changed in 25 years, a deal that allows them to take 80 PERCENT off the top of a venue that grossed about *money25.95 BILLION from sales and rentals last year–but they refuse to open their books to offer ANY PROOF that we got a single cent of that *moneyKICKBACK money!

Look our contract does not expire for several months!


Let’s make sure that the AMPTP is honoring the current agreement before we rush to sign off on a NEW AGREEMENT!

It would seem to the Ol’ Watchdog that we would be in a much better negotiating position to get OUR FAIR SHARE OF DVD BILLIONS if we could GET THE GOODS ON THESE GUYS!

Mr. Pisano/Mr. Hessinger, and SAG/AFTRA committee members STOP THE NEGOITATIONS–


A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

Yikes! The next thing you know the “go-along-to-get-alongs” on the committee will want us to give up some of our residuals!

Hollywood Reporter 1/19/2005

2004 home video wrap

Sales and rentals of DVD and VHS piled up $29.95 in revenues.

By Brett Sporich

Now that more than 75% of North American households own at least one DVD player, home video generated about $25.95 billion in total consumer spending from the sales and rental of movies on DVD and VHS last year, according to an independent survey conducted by The Hollywood Reporter.

That compares with a North American (U.S. and Canada) boxoffice take that industry sources estimate as high as $10.2 billion for the year. The Hollywood Reporter has projected 2004 U.S.-only boxoffice at $9.53 billion (HR 1/3). Canada’s theatrical boxoffice on average is about 7% of the U.S. total, giving credence to the $10.2 billion North American estimate. The MPAA usually announces its tabulation of U.S. boxoffice figures in March at ShoWest.

Consumers spent about $22.5 billion buying and renting home videos during 2003, making it a phenomenal year of growth for the home video industry (HR 1/6/04).

Of the $25.95 billion generated from sales and rental of home video product last year, about $16 billion came from DVD sales. That compares with $14.3 billion in DVD software sales during 2003 (HR 1/6/04).

Meanwhile, total consumer spending on the sale and rental of movies on VHS fell more than 50% last year, generating about $3.3 billion compared with about $6.5 billion raised during 2003 and relegating the elderly format to a mere 1.3% of the overall annual home video market.

Perhaps the most controversial outcome during the year was the decline of movie rentals on both DVD and VHS by a staggering 11%, from about $9.8 billion realized in 2003 to about $8.8 billion, according to home video industry analyst Tom Adams, author of “The Future of Video Rental: A Strategic Analysis.”

Adams and his associates at Adams Media Research have long been considered to be the most credible video industry analysts by the preponderance of Hollywood’s major studio chiefs. Adams’ most recent accounting of the home video rental business comes on the heels of several Wall Street analysts’ claims that the rental industry was virtually flat last year, losing a mere 0.4% in annual consumer spending.

Adams’ 11% estimated decline flies in the face of the most recent Wall Street analysis and those of rental industry reporting stalwart Vidtrak as well as the nation’s top video rental chains like Blockbuster, which initially reported that revenues from video rentals were down about 4%-6% last year and, later, revised its estimate to 0.4%, saying that it hadn’t taken into account the online video rental subscription business, led by Netflix.

“Fools’ names and fools’ faces,” said one major Hollywood studio chief regarding Wall Street analysts’ rental revenue estimates. With the nation’s second-largest rental chain, Hollywood Video, on the auction block and Nos. 1 and 3 rental chains Blockbuster and Movie Gallery, respectively, vying to acquire Hollywood Video, no one on Hollywood’s movie supply side is going to come out from behind the curtain and publicly say that video rental is on its death bed, but “anyone who knows anything knows that to be true,” the studio chief said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In addition, the burgeoning consumer phenomenon of DVD movie trading is expected to add to the rapid decline of the video rental industry this year and beyond. Movie trading refers to consumers purchasing movies on DVD and, after watching them, trading them in at retail or rental stores for cash or store credit, giving consumers the opportunity to recoup a portion of their original investment while providing store owners with low-cost, previously viewed DVDs that they can then re-sell at a profit not shared by the studios.

Until last year, movie trading was only done by a handful of retailers and a minuscule number of savvy consumers. But that has changed exponentially during the past year, with mainstream North American consumers beginning to adopt the cost-saving practice.

Those retailers that participate in movie trading estimate the overall value of the business at $1 billion last year. Those same retailers expect that gross value figure to more than double this year as major rental chains like Blockbuster increase promotions of movie trading schemes that offer their customers $5 store credit for each used DVD that they bring in to any location nationwide.

The anticipated increase in mainstream consumer awareness of DVD movie trading effectively circumvents additional profits returning to Hollywood’s major studios in the form of rental revenue. In addition, the reduction of late fees recently initiated by Blockbuster, combined with the reduction and/or elimination of late fees by online subscription rental services like industry leader Netflix, is expected to hit the studios hard in the pocketbook.

For nearly a decade, late fees have accounted for as much as 10% of a studio’s net rental revenue take and 15% of Blockbuster’s gross revenue, according to several major Hollywood studio financial executives and Blockbuster’s Securities and Exchange Commission financial reports.

That said, studios like last year’s market-share leader Warner Home Video have been largely unaffected by movie trading because they moved early on toward discounting the wholesale and retail price of movies on DVD in order to effectively marginalize the rental industry by reducing the price-point of new, recent and catalog movies on home video to $10-$17 and even as little as $5 in the popular discount “dump bins” at such national retailers as Wal-Mart and Target.

Former WHV president and DVD pioneer Warren Lieberfarb has said that he and a select few top Hollywood studio executives created the popular rental revenue-sharing model in the U.S. during the late 1990s in order to boost consumer awareness of home video with the ultimate goal of moving consumers away from their VCRs and toward DVD, though a number of Wall Street analysts have credited that plan to Blockbuster chief John Antioco.

The rental revenue-sharing business model, adopted in large part in 2000, gave major video rental chains in the United States ability to stock hundreds of new releases on store shelves without having to pay an average of $40 per unit upfront.

The studios virtually gave major rental chains — such as Blockbuster, Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery — their most popular hit movies on consignment, deferring their monetary compensation until after the video had run its rental course. Then the two would split the rental revenue on a 60-40 basis, with the studios receiving the lion’s share of money. The tapes and, eventually DVD discs, were then sold on the used market a month or two after release for $5-$15 with those profits then split on a 50-50 basis between the studios and the rental chains.

This revenue-sharing paradigm shift in the rental industry so angered small mom-and-pop video rental store owners (who were effectively locked out of equivalent revenue-sharing agreements) that they filed several class-action state and federal anti-trust lawsuits, some of which are still pending in court.

Once DVD hardware market penetration reached about 50 million players in U.S. households by 2002, WHV and other major Hollywood studios began ratcheting down their rental revenue-sharing participation, while aggressively discounting the wholesale and retail price of movies on DVD.

The new popularity of DVD combined with low-priced hit new releases and classic catalog product energized consumer spending on home videos, resulting in a national average household buy rate of 15 DVDs a year at an estimated price point of $19 or more each. That consumer action translated into triple-digit revenue gains at the studios. At the same time, the paradigm shift had reduced in-store foot traffic at video rental outlets nationwide, taking a huge bite out of gross consumer spending on movie rentals, ultimately resulting in drastic declines in net profits for the nation’s largest rental chains, as has been reflected in those same rental chains’ financial filings with the SEC each year since early 2002.

However, the DVD buying boom is now showing signs of slowing as well, with last year’s annual buy rate dipping to about eight to 10 DVDs per household. Most industry analysts and Hollywood’s top studio chiefs expect this decline to continue this year and beyond, a key reason the home video industry is focused on the rollout of high-definition DVD, scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year and ramping up rapidly next year.

That said, 2004 was the year for franchise films in the home video industry. Films released on home video last year in the “Shrek,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter,” “Spider-Man” and “Bourne Identity” franchises were an unprecedented boon for Hollywood’s studios and DVD retailers, generating hundreds of millions of dollars each.

DreamWorks Home Entertainment’s November release of “Shrek 2,” for example, was the industry’s No. 1 video release, selling a total of 24.2 million combined DVD and VHS units to both retail and rental stores across North America, realizing about $458 million in total consumer spending, according to DreamWorks executives. The film’s North American boxoffice last year was $436.5 million (HR 1/3). “Shrek 2″ generated about $44 million in gross rental consumer spending alone, according to DHE executives.

The popularity of “Shrek 2″ also had the affect of boosting sales of the original “Shrek” home video to 5.6 million combined DVD and VHS units, making it the top-selling catalog title of last year, according to DHE chief executive Kelly Avery and confirmed by other industry sources.

“2004 was our best year in the history of DreamWorks Home Entertainment,” Avery said. “We believe that our share of the home video market increased dramatically last year, from about 3% to 5%.”

Avery said DHE’s total revenue from home video reached $1.239 billion last year, with DVD sales accounting for $1.014 billion, representing a 73% increase compared with 2003. And the entire “Shrek” franchise has grossed about $1.6 billion in total consumer spending during the past three years, making it the fastest-growing home video franchise in the history of the industry, Avery said.

New Line Home Entertainment’s “The Lord of the Rings” franchise was the industry’s second-best performing home video last year, with “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” generating more than $415 million in total retail and rental consumer spending, according to NLHE’s sister studio and distributor Warner Home Video along with several other industry sources.

WHV’s “Harry Potter” franchise generated more than $350 million in retail and rental revenue with last year’s release of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” according to WHV and additional industry sources. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s “Spider-Man” franchise also scored big last year, with “Spider-Man 2″ generating more than $260 million in rental and retail revenue, according to SPHE and additional industry sources.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s “American Pie,” “Meet the Parents” and “Bourne Identity” franchises were a boon to the studio, with “The Bourne Supremacy” selling more than 5 million combined DVD and VHD units last year — boosting sales of “The Bourne Identity” to 1.2 million combined DVD and VHS units during the fourth quarter of 2004, according to USHE and other industry sources.

While 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment didn’t have any franchise titles last year, the studio still increased home video sales by about 2.8% to about $3.6 billion, according to Fox executives and additional industry sources. A significant proportion of Fox’s growth can be attributed to its leading role in the TV-to-DVD market, which grew on an industrywide basis by more than 50%, from an industrywide estimate of about $800 million in 2003 to more than $1.7 billion last year, according to several industry sources.

When it came to the performance of Hollywood’s mini-major studios, like Lions Gate, DVD sales and rental revenue boosted their bottom lines by as much as 20%, largely because of the overall industry’s annual growth of DVD rental, which increased by about 40% last year, even though the combined DVD and VHS rental revenue take was down by 11%.

Looking forward, most home video industry analysts and major Hollywood studio chiefs are counting on the introduction of high-definition DVD to fuel DVD sales in what has become a maturing market.

With increased DVD movie trading circumventing the studio’s retail and rental business models, industry observers believe that next year could be the year that Hollywood’s major studios will move aggressively toward video-on-demand, taking unprecedented action to collapse the home video industry’s sacred first-to-market sales and rental window and providing cable and satellite delivery channels an equal playing field for the first time ever, giving them their long-awaited day in the sun.

*Formatting in quotes is SW’s!



Fi-Core followers are stunned by image of Jon Voight on tortilla!

April 19, 2005 (20:23) | 2005, SAG Politics | By: Arlin Miller

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Character Actor and clown, Yoonyun Buster, who has an Internet Website encouraging actors to go financial core, has stunned the fi-core world with the announcement that he has discovered the likeness of their new savior, Jon Voight, on a tortilla.

Mr. Buster’s astonishing announcement has caused a pilgrimage of the Fi-core Faithless to the doorstep of his Simi Valley home. Police have reported that for the most part those waiting in line to view the tortilla are a passive group, but as a precaution ambulances are standing by because of their tendency of backstabbing.

In addition to the Voight tortilla, Yoonyun also claims to have a Chip featuring the likeness of Erik Estrada and a potato that resembles Wilfred Brimley. When asked if he had any eatables resembling Chris Mitchum, Mr. Buster, who spends most of his spare time watching movies and TV, said he couldn’t be sure since he hadn’t seen him in years.

Buster who is always out to make an extra buck says his items will go up for sale on Ebay! Bidding will begin at 30 pieces of silver.

A.L. Miller Editor & Chief WOOF !



SAG, producers to resume talks Wednesday

April 19, 2005 (20:23) | 2005, SAG Politics | By: Arlin Miller

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Jan. 15, 2005

By Jesse Hiestand

Hollywood Reporter

Less than a week after negotiations broke down, SAG/AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers said Friday that they will return to the bargaining table Wednesday to try to finish the new three-year contract.

An indefinite recess was declared Jan. 9, throwing the production community into high gear over the possibility that actors could strike on or before the June 30 deadline for the current agreement. Sources say the studios already were taking the first steps toward accelerating production so features would be completed before late June.

The two sides have perhaps until the end of the month to finish the deal before producers will begin to pull the plug on future projects because they can’t be guaranteed that union actors will be available.

Owing to an ongoing news blackout, the joint negotiating team of SAG/AFTRA and the AMPTP said they will resume the talks but did not elaborate.

The negotiators might be close to a deal, with only one or two final issues remaining, according to knowledgeable sources. One of those sticking points is believed to be DVD residuals, with the unions seeking a greater share of home video rental and sale revenue. It was not clear what the other potential issue was.

The AMPTP has refused to negotiate those terms with the WGA and DGA, leading to speculation that they will take a similar stance with the actors’ unions.

The studio negotiators have said that DVD residuals are so crucial to their finances that they are willing to risk a strike.

Negotiations involving SAG’s major TV/Theatrical contract and AFTRA’s Exhibit A opened Dec. 6 and covered about 10 days before breaking for the holidays. Five more days of bargaining ended Jan. 9 with an announcement that officials were not ready to make a deal on behalf of SAG’s 122,000 members and AFTRA’s 80,000 members.

The prospect of a production disruption is reminiscent of what AMPTP faced a year ago, when it started negotiating this contract with SAG/AFTRA but essentially postponed the talks for a year to turn its attention to major negotiations with the writers, directors and other Hollywood unions.

A similar situation played out in 2001, when the likelihood of a strike by SAG and/or the WGA drove studios to stockpile production. Those strike fears never materialized but led to months of production inactivity, or what was known as a “de facto strike.”

The Ol Watchdog predicts that those SAG/AFTRA negotiators including a minority of SAG negotiators in conjunction with a majority of AFTRA negotiators will accept a deal that will settle for little more than EXTRA money, while eschewing the SAG MAJORITY which has been battling to insure that members get their fair share of the Booming MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR DVD MARKET!

A.L. Miller Editor & Chief



Watchdog Exclusive: Fi-core member and SAG Award nominee, Jon Voight will NOT be invited to 11th Annual SAG Awards!

April 19, 2005 (20:23) | 2005, SAG Politics | By: Arlin Miller

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The SAG Watchdog has learned that Fi-core member John Voight, who has been nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for his role as Eddie in “Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” will not be invited to the “by invitation only” SAG awards because he has resigned from the Screen Actors Guild.

Oscar winner Voight’s problems with the guild began back in June of 2003 when he was confronted by dozens of union picketers for shooting a non-union production “A Deadly Course.”

At the time, SAG spokeswoman Ilyanne Kichaven stated “”We find that this is a most egregious violation of the ban against non-union work. This action is a part of our continuing organizing and contract enforcement programs.”

It was after the picketing of the non-union movie that Mr. Voight, ignoring the entreaty of some high profile SAG members, chose to resign from the union and go financial core: In affect becoming a dues paying non-member!

It is yet to be seen how the revelation of Mr. Voight’s financial-core status will affect his chances of winning a SAG award. But since most loyal SAG members see financial Core as a definite nail in the coffin of unionism, it is the Ol’ Watchdog’s considered opinion that Mr. Voight’s chances of winning a SAG award are about as good as him being, ah, one of “The Five People You Will Meet at the SAG Awards!

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

He definitely will not get the Ol’ Dog’s voight!