“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
~ James Gray
By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Another Nail In The Coffin For The Acting Middle Class
You know, this new AFTRA/SAG contract was never going to be a game changer. The big point of pride offered by “Unite for Strength” is that the negotiations weren’t contentious. Kinda like when a woman is abused enough by a thug to “unite” without any argument. It makes perfect sense that they leaked out this grease at 4am on a time-changing Sunday morning.
With a 2% a year increase in minimums, this United With AFTRA regime shows, again, that they don’t much care about actors who make minimum, even as the number of established actors forced to work for that number continues to increase. Of course, the game was already up when the last contract was pushed through, as those same actors are now facing the loss of most of their re-run payments.
Focusing on keeping Pension & Health solvent with increased payments is fine… but the bigger problem is members making the income cut to be eligible for the very good SAG healthcare plan. That was one place where the abandonment of the middle class by SAG took place.
I am fascinated that United for Strength has been able to create this fallacy that merging with/submitting to AFTRA is the moderate position when it’s a radical position. Thing is, they have slowly made this an inevitability. If you embrace AFTRA as AFTRA seriously undercuts what it took SAG decades to establish, then you end up with – and you now do have – serious competition between the unions.
AFTRA has become the studios’ choice, over SAG, for contracts with actors whenever possible. Why? Because they cut better deals for the studios/producers, at the cost of actors. It’s not complicated. But United and its ilk have conspired with AFTRA to undercut “Membership First,” authored the end of SAG as a sovereign union, and now, yeah, fighting off AFTRA is virtually impossible.
And that’s what passes for “moderation” these days.