Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Buried by Work

I thought that I could keep up the blog and get work done on the farm. Didn't happen.

The past few weeks have blown by, like they weren't anything more than leaves in the wind.

Since the heat is now stratospheric, I'll be spending more time at the keyboard. I can only work a couple of hours, maybe four at the most, in the early morning. Then it's too hot and humid, with the heat index easily over 100F. I've seen air temperatures over 103F, in the shop, in the shade. Yes, I know that it's hotter in the desert. Here, it's the humidity that can kill you.

I've been expecting an earthquake down here, but LA got one before us. Glad to hear that it wasn't serious. You know what they say about earthquakes.

It's usually really hot before one hits.

We had one in Ohio about thirty years ago, a very mild one. I would rather not repeat the experience, thanks.

Back to the novel for me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Outrunning the Avalanche

This is like downhill skiing, in front of an avalanche.

The faster I go, the closer the towering wall of snow draws to me.

Have a couple of more posts to do on the "You Wanna Be In Movies" series. but who's making movies right now? Only the independents. Most of Hollywood is shut down due to the SAG/AMPTP fiasco.

Plenty of work to do on the farm. It's only hot as hell with humidity approaching sauna levels. Work for about an hour and I'm soaking wet. Great way to lose weigh.

Still, I love it! Think of all those hours I could be sitting in traffic out in LA or riding the subway and NOT writing...rather be writing than riding. Especially with the speed limits we have.

If we go back to 55MPH, I'm gonna have to fix my old VW Baja Bug. It's got a top speed of about 85MPH and it takes all day to get there.

I'll be back yet this week.

If I can stay away from Nikki Finke's blog.

Contract News of the Future



24 JULY 2017

In yet another advance for creatives planet-wide, after years of ‘New Media’ study, the AMPTP announced their last, best, final ultimatum to the Creatives Guilds Alliance. The CGA, composed of reps from the WGA, SAG, IASTE, DGA and AFTRA, were gifted at the confab with a 55 gallon drum of Kentucky jelly, to be liberally shared among the members.

With the contract due to run out on 31 July 2017, AMPTP spokesdevil Santa Spawn commented, "This is a back-breaking opportunity for these unworthy creatives. In the darkness of our hearts we have decided to give up our claims on all of their children, only demanding their first-born. Further, we will now increase their already bountiful rations to include bread with the recycled sewer water we now provide them.

Asked for comments, at their idyllic island retreat on Alcatraz, a lone dissenter demanded to ask a question. He was immediately shot and run through the Ferti-Loamer machine.

When questioned, Santa Spawn admitted the incident, "It’s sad, but we must keep the creatives isolated from society, rather than chance that they infect the loyal, orderly, working drones. After all, once they reach 27, 28 years old, they’re over the hill and really only good for plant food. A bit acidic though, I might add."

A creatives bystander, shook his head and remarked, "He knew better, they told us they would review the New Media provisions back in 2008. Don’t people realize this stuff takes time?"

Santa Spawn smiled and slapped him on the back, "Sheeply, you’re great! We’re still working on that DVD formula from back in the ‘80s and hope to have it figured out by the next contract."

Rumors that Santa Spawn danced off singing "My North Pole Is Gonna Be In Your South Hole" could not be confirmed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Nikki Finke, Attractions and Distractions

It's been a typical week and then again, it hasn't been typical at all.

Get some hours on the computer, writing. Unending work up at the shop, too many projects to list. Try to keep up with cutting the grass, which is growing like crazy, due to the heat and all the rain.

I've been sending writing work out to different agents, production companies and whoever else I think might be interested. Doing the hardest job of being a writer, self-promotion. Which can seem to take forever. Then there's this blog.

The SAG/AFTRA/AMPTP dust-up has grabbed my attention. If you have read my book and I honestly don't expect anyone to claim that they have, you would know that I've got more than a little background in the union/labor contract/negotiating arena.

Nikki Finke writes a blog on all the Biz news in Hollywood;

She does a great job. It doesn't mean that I always agree with her. The fun part is reading comments by other people who follow her work. Sometimes, I have to shake my head. Ignorance and arrogance is not confined to the sticks.

My comments probably don't win me any friends, but my experience is that if you expect people to meet your needs and don't do anything to oversee their actions, you can bet on them NOT doing everything as you expect it.

Allow me to qualify that statement. In a group situation, you usually have a common goal. There will be discord, but majority rule usually determines the direction of the group. Which still doesn't mean that the head man or the group assigned to do the bargaining are going to deliver your contract like a hot pizza. In thirty minutes and just the way you ordered it. It will be a committee pizza.

As an individual, if you hire someone to represent you in a negotiation, whether it's a lawyer or an agent, then you have more direct input. You're paying the bill and if you don't get what you're paying for, you should either fire the representative or demand to know why they have not done the job. Maybe both, if they get paid and still don't deliver. Be polite and try not to rant when you terminate the contract.

After all these years, I can't believe that people still think that if they let things go, without making any effort to advance their agenda, it doesn't matter who represents you, those people are somehow going to do what's in YOUR best interest. They are only going to listen to the people who bend their ear.

You better be ready, willing and able to stand up for yourself. Or be ready to get shipped down the river.

Start building that life raft now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Unions, Contracts and Con Jobs

I'm spending way too much time reading about the SAG/AMPTP contract situation.

It would be great, if someone had a plan to end the mess that's going on in Hollywood, but...

In my humble opinion, SAG is not using it's members to get the word out. I don't know what individual SAG members are doing to build up support from the marketplace, otherwise known as the TV and Film audience. It's pretty obvious that major stars haven't done too much, if they have, it's not showing up on major media coverage.

AMPTP is doing the least work with the most results. I read their press release and it's a very good job of placing all the issues and the resulting slowdown in movie production on other people. We all know that the good-hearted people running the studios and corporations would never do anything to crush the employees.

Maybe I'm being too polite about all of this, but I can't get into rant mode.

If you are dumb enough to believe everything that is advertised, then you're probably still waiting for E.T. to come back and visit.

Wanna buy a bridge?