As reported by Backstage:
Louisiana may be the greatest actor among the 50 United States. In countless films and television shows, the state has portrayed Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, the jungles of South America, London, and even Los Angeles.
Current and upcoming feature films shooting in the state include Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” the sci-fi adaptation “Ender’s Game,” and Dito Montiel’s “Empire State,” a heist flick set in New York City.
Louisiana film officials attribute the boom to an aggressive tax-credit program. The article adds:
News has been good as well for the region’s steadily increasing number of union members. A SAG-AFTRA local chapter, shared with Mississippi, has recently been established in New Orleans. The new local is a direct result of the union merger, according to SAG-AFTRA South Region Executive Jason Tomlinson. His New Orleans-based position was created in 2007.
The film official is quoted as saying that Louisiana ranks only behind New York and Los Angeles as a production hub in the U.S.
Actors’ Equity Association has announced the results of its elections for eight offices and 17 National Council seats.
Union members elected Nick Wyman for President, Paige Price as First Vice President, Rebecca Kim Jordan as Second Vice President, Ira Mont as Third Vice President, and Sandra Karas as Secretary-Treasurer. Each of these candidates ran uncontested for their respective offices and will serve three-year terms.
More information at the Actors’ Equity site. Backstage.
Among other actions taken this weekend at the first meeting of the new SAG-AFTRA board, National Executive Director David White’s contract was extended from an expiration in early 2014 to May, 2015 (three years out from now). The board also approved a $95 million budget.
The board set July 2 as the start date of Wages & Working Conditions discussions for the Commercials contract, as to which negotiations are slated to begin this fall. A W&W committee of 17 members and 9 alternates will be appointed by the board at its next meeting.
Official SAG-AFTRA announcement here. More from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.
We’re hearing that the first meeting of the SAG-AFTRA National Board has already resulted in the first rejection of a major plan from the senior leadership of the new union. Details aren’t fully available yet, but it seems that a proposed increase in initiation fees for those outside Los Angeles and New York got shot down hard.
At the time of merger the two largest locals were given initiation fees that went to $3000, because that was a number lower than the combined initiation fees for the two former unions. Smaller locals were left with initiation fees that were the same as before merger.
A proposal to raise the smaller local initiation fees drew fierce resistance, leaving the National Board with a potential problem that isn’t solved yet – figuring out what to do to make up for the loss in projected income, one that was expected to grow because of other proposals that the Board hasn’t heard yet.
More as details become available.
Rumors have been circulating on other sites that the Sheen v. Screen Actors Guild lawsuit, filed in January in an attempt to block the SAG-AFTRA merger, would be dismissed by the plaintiffs. We have commented before that the suit was essentially a dead man walking after the judge’s March 28 ruling that denied injunctive relief and expressed grave doubt as to the merit of any of the plaintiffs’ theories.
Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, formal dismissal documents have been drawn up and signed and will be filed with the District Court in the next day or two.
Of course this development will infuriate those who, against all reason, continued to believe that this lawsuit would somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat and prove . . . well, we’re not sure exactly what. The articulated reasoning for continuing the dead-duck litigation has been fairly incoherent.
In any case, it is timely that this should occur before this weekend’s plenary meeting of the SAG-AFTRA board.
As posted here:
Online television is creating new opportunities for the makers of television programs, creating new competition for broadcast networks and other content providers. Among the latest is Amazon Studios, the program development division of Amazon.com, which has announced that it is expanding into episodic comedies and children’s shows for prime time.
Independent TV writers and producers have been invited to upload series proposals that will be reviewed by the Amazon Studios team and, potentially, added to the company’s development slate. The best series will be distributed online via Amazon Instant Video.
Is this an actual threat? At the figures mentioned in the above article, the budgets surely are non-union all the way — not just actors, but everyone involved in a production. The buzz we’ve seen in the writer/director/producer community suggests that most consider Amazon’s terms pretty awful.
But this is something all the creative guilds must keep an eye on.
That’s the title of this blog post at the MediaPost site.
Once a quarter, Nielsen takes a break from ruining the mood of TV executives who can’t understand why their shows don’t get higher ratings, and delivers the calming message that all is generally OK in the TV industry.
Last week was no different. Nielsen’s Cross Platform Report for the fourth quarter of 2011 showed once again that for all the hyperventilating about Hulu, Netflix, Rokku, Apple TV, Blu-ray players, iPads, smartphones and other potential TV-busting devices, television viewing habits remain largely unchanged.
. . . .
Once again the report tells us that the average American watches nearly five hours of television a day, 98% of which is consumed on a traditional television. And with Americans still gobbling up HD television sets (eight million more homes have them than the year before), TV viewing numbers will probably stay high for the foreseeable future. After all, why buy an HDTV if you’re not going to watch it?
The mainstream news media, such as the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, placed emphasis on Nielsen’s report of a slight decline in the number of “TV households” in the U.S., and a slight drop of total television viewing in the fourth quarter of 2011. Variety also notes the latter statistic.