Hollywood on Strike

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Writers Strike
Commercial Actors Strike

Film and TV outside Hollywood
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Writers Strike

RIGHTS TO ANNE FRANK: "Who owns the rights to Anne Frank's life? Some of the controversy has been simmering for years: Has Anne's Jewishness — which, after all, was the reason she perished — been muted, even neutralized, to turn her into a universal symbol? The latest flashpoint is a four-hour ABC mini-series, Anne Frank, to be shown on May 20 and May 21." The New York Times 04/10/01 (one-time registration required for access)

HOLLYWOOD WRITERS' STRIKE? MAYBE NOT: "[T]he two sides' bargaining positions aren't really all that far apart. When contract talks recessed on March 1, the negotiators for the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers were only about $70 million-$80 million apart on their proposals for a new three-year contract. That's a difference of only about $25 million a year -- chump change, by Hollywood's standards." Backstage 03/20/01

TOEING THE UNION LINE: The battle between the big Hollywood studios and the Writer's Guild is ongoing, and with a strike looming if a settlement is not reached soon, analysts are weighing in on the union's chances. "While studios dig in their heels against what they say are unprecedented union demands, both sides must weigh the realities of a slowing economy, changing industry, and labor relations in Los Angeles." Boston Globe (AP) 03/16/01

NO DEAL: After nearly six weeks of haggling over a new contract for Hollywood’s writers, negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and film and TV producers broke down on Thursday, making the prospect of a summer strike even more likely. "There's still one major factor keeping them apart: Money." E! Online 3/01/01

US STRIKE A MIXED BLESSING UP NORTH: A strike in Hollywood will have a pronounced ripple effect in Canada, where some 300 US movies and TV shows are shot every year. There will be less big-dollar work from the south, but it may re-focus some energy on the Canadian culture. As one Toronto film maker noted, "From a strictly selfish point of view, this would make it a lot easier to make a movie." Globe and Mail (Canada) 03/02/01

WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: One of the major gripes the Writers' Guild has with Hollywood studios is the "A Film By..." credit that directors of motion pictures love to tack on to the beginning of a movie. In the television world, where directors are considered expendable, that type of all-encompassing credit could only go to a writer, and the Guild would like the same to become true of the big screen. Los Angeles Times 02/28/01

BEFORE THE STORM: "If the doomsayers are right, the next six months could be the last happy times for Tinseltown for quite a while. The Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild contract expire with the movie studios and major film and TV producers. With the very likely prospect of two crippling strikes shutting down movie and television production over the summer and into the fall, Hollywood is on a frenetic pace to green-light and rush into production as many films as possible." Los Angeles Times 12/31/00

HOLLYWOOD WORRIES: Yet another twist in the likely Screen Actors Guild strike this summer has surfaced. Hollywood's marketing machine is wondering if such a work stoppage would also shut down their most effective means of selling their product. "The issue, or rather, fear at this point, is whether [SAG] . . . would forbid its members to participate in promotional and publicity activities during a strike." Inside.com 02/21/01

WRITING ON THE WALL: Everybody's talking about a possible Hollywood strike by screen writers this summer. But the president of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees denounced the WGA's strike goals as hazy and wrongheaded: "You can't disrupt an industry entirely like that. You're not even dealing with egos here. You're dealing with megalomaniacs." Variety 02/16/01

LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT: The Writer's Guild has extended its negotiating deadline with Hollywood's movie and television producers, in the hope that further discussions may avoid a crippling strike. Observers are hopeful that the move means that the two sides are closer than previously thought. Inside.com 02/03/01

BRACING FOR IMPACT: Many American movies and TV programs are currently filmed in Canada, because of the favorable exchange rate, and the film and TV industry is worth a cool $4 billion per year to Canada's economy. But with massive strikes threatening to cripple the American entertainment megaplex this summer, Canadian production companies are preparing for a season without U.S. assistance. CBC, 01/31/01

LAND OF OPPORTUNITY: The British movie industry is hoping to cash in this summer if Hollywood's actors and writers go on strike. "With the dollar so strong and Hollywood winding down as the strikes loom, relocating films to London - with its large and relatively low-paid pool of both acting and writing talent - has never looked so good." The Guardian (London) 1/30/01

THE INEVITABLE STRIKE: Hollywood producers say they think a writers' strike is inevitable this year. "While unanimous in their opinion that a shutdown would have disastrous consequences for the industry, the toppers also had only one answer when asked whether they believed there will be a strike. 'Unfortunately, yes'." Variety 01/15/01

A SAGGING UNION: Just out of one strike and on the verge of possibly calling another that could shut down Hollywood production, the Screen Actors Guild has another problem on its hands. A consultant's report, a "two-inch-thick document, paints a relentlessly unflattering picture of the world's best-known performers' union" and says it suffers from "organizational chaos." Variety 01/08/01

BRING OUT YOUR DEAD: "With the Screen Actors Guild strike threatening to paralyse Hollywood, this year could be boom time for dead thesps. Many of the greatest (deceased) actors in history are as busy as ever, toiling overtime, doing everything from celebrity endorsements to cameo film roles. Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, James Cagney: all are proving veritable cash cows for their respective estates, digitally reanimated for a whole new audience." Sunday Times (London) 01/07/01

HOLLYWOOD NEGOTIATES: Increasingly worried about threats of major strikes by writers this summer, Hollywood producers are anxious to negotiate. "With less than four months left on its current film-TV contract, the Writers Guild made a surprise about-face Tuesday, saying it was ready to hold early talks with producers for two weeks beginning Jan. 22." Producers respond: "We'd meet them in a parking lot if that's what they want." Variety 01/05/01

WAR OF THE APOSTROPHE: It looks like the writers' union is going on strike against the movie industry next year. Why? Among other reasons, to get more credit for writers in the film credits. Writers want to abolish the line before the title that says "So-and-so's film." "The credit that says `A film by' makes it sound like one person, a director, is responsible for the film, and it denigrates the writer." Chicago Tribune 11/19/00

THE UNION LABEL: The Screen Actors Guild may have recently settled the strike with Hollywood's commercial producers, but an internal report says the union is fractured and lacking focus. "SAG lacks a clear, shared mission and strategy, which is the foundation of an effective organization," the report says. "There is no consensus regarding SAG's mission, which is essential for establishing a shared consensus about SAG's goals." Backstage 11/16/00

TORONTO'S BIG MOVIE PLANS: "Despite an 87 per cent growth rate over the past five years, Toronto ranks second to Vancouver in terms of film production." That's why a new mega-studio proposed by Toronto's mayor is controversial. CBC 11/12/00

THERE’S POWER IN PRECEDENT: The settlement of Hollywood’s six-month-long commercial actors’ strike may embolden members of the Writers Guild of America to hold out for better deals when their contracts expire next spring and summer. "This year's success is likely to lead to more strikes next year since the deal essentially validates the unions' hardline stance." Variety 10/24/00

Commercial Actors Strike

THE COST OF A STRIKE: According to the Screen Actors Guild’s latest earnings report, SAG members lost more than $100 million in income during last year’s six-month strike against the advertising industry - and that doesn’t include the losses suffered by SAG’s sister union, the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, whose commercial earnings losses are estimated at another $15 million. Backstage 3/29/01

HARD TO SUPPORT THE COMMERCIALS: Why did last year's major strike by actors in TV commercials go largely ignored in the general press? "Most television commercials are regarded as cultural offal to be ignored, muted and clicked away from at every opportunity. One might enthusiastically support sanitation workers who rid the streets of garbage. That same level of support or even sympathy is unlikely for someone perceived to be making a good living by helping to create cultural pollution, i.e., commercials." MediaChannel 01/13/01 

ACTORS STRIKE OVER: The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists reached a tentative agreement with the advertising industry to end their nearly half-year-long strike. Inside.com 10/23/00

THE COSTS OF NOT WORKING: The 19-week strike by actors against commercial producers has cost the Los Angeles economy $200 million, says an economist. Variety 09/12/00


CELEBRATING TV: Television is the most popular medium of our age. Yet it is constantly denigrated. "Is it an art? Well, artists certainly work in it: writers, directors, actors, cameramen, film and tape editors. Whether an agglomeration of artists turns a medium into an art form is a nice point. No doubt theses are on their way." The Observer (London) 04/01/01

HOW KIDS WATCH TV: It used to be that teenagers all watched more or less the same TV programs. No more. "This fragmentation of viewers has become a disturbing fact of life for television executives, especially at the three traditional broadcast networks. Once they could ignore teenagers, figuring that they would watch the networks because they had no choice. The changes in the past decade have left those executives feeling rather like children after a visit to the planetarium, realizing that they are not the center of the universe but only a speck in the cosmos." The New York Times 03/13/01 (one-time registration required for access)

TV TURNS TO THE STAGE: The next few weeks will see an astonishing number of stage plays make their debut on the small screen. And while the struggling world of theatre is certainly in need of the boost TV can provide, there is always the risk that the dumbed-down, sound-bitten world of the tube can suck the life out of a great stage piece. San Jose Mercury News 03/18/01

DOES THIS MEAN OUR COLLECTIVE TASTE HAS IMPROVED? A few years ago TV tabloids were all over the set competing for viewers and sensational stories. Only one remains - "Inside Edition" is readying its 4000th broadcast. It's even outlasted the "tabloid" label. Washington Times 02/14/01

TV TURN-OFF: A new study in Britain says that audiences may be getting tired of violence on TV. "Sixty per cent of people questioned for the report complained there was too much violence on TV. The study showed that increasing numbers of people are switching off programmes which disgust them." BBC 10/23/00

TURNING OFF THE TUBE: The amount of time Canadians watch TV declined in 1999. "Average TV time fell to 21.6 hours a week, an hour less than in 1998 and well below the peak of 23.5 hours set in 1998. All age and sex groups watched less, and only Newfoundland and British Columbia showed small increases." Ottawa Citizen 01/25/01

BLACK AND WHITE TV: The racial divide between what blacks and whites watch on American TV seems to be closing. "According to a fall 2000 study of American television, released this week, 'Monday Night Football' was the No. 1 series among blacks, while 'ER' was tops with whites. That marks the first time in years that the top choice with blacks also appeared in the top 20 among whites, and vice versa ('MNF' is No. 14 among whites, while 'ER' ranks No. 8 with blacks)." Variety 02/12/01

SEX SEX SEX (AND MORE ALL THE TIME): A new study says sex on American TV is on the rise. Three-quarters of prime-time TV shows last year had sexual content; two years earlier, it was only two-thirds. Most of that increase was in sitcoms. Dallas News 02/07/01

TOO MUCH SEX? Sex sells, doesn't it? Evidently not for the American Fox TV network. Fox is getting big-league ratings with the likes of 'Temptation Island'. But "the racy content in the current wave of reality TV is making some advertisers question the line between good marketing and good taste. As a result, many big-name companies have chosen to vote themselves off shows displaying questionable content." Christian Science Monitor 02/05/01

OOOH BABY BABY BABY: New study reports that sex on prime time American television has tripled in the past ten years. Oh yes, violence and bad language are up too. MSNBC (AP) 03/30/00

TV'S GOLDEN AGE? No question a lot of what plays on TV is schlock. But amid the vast wasteland, there are many quality programs, and the current lineup of TV dramas suggests we may be in the "Golden Age" of TV theatre. Los Angeles Times 01/15/01

THE LATEST HIT IN RUSSIA: A current affairs show where the female reporters are topless has become such a surprise hit on Russian television that politicians are lining up to be interviewed. "Svetlana Pesotskaya, the blonde actress who reads the news while playfully taking off her top or having it removed by a pair of hairy male arms, insists that the program is a serious news show." The Age (The Telegraph) 06/05/00

Film and TV outside Hollywood

THE FAILING FRENCH: In the 50s, 60s and 70s French cinema was a vibrant art that caught the world's attention. No more. The industry is in the doldrums. "Last year, for the first time in history, the share of French films at the domestic box office dropped below 30 per cent - and at the same time, it's getting harder to export French cinema." The Telegraph (London) 03/24/01

CHINESE CINEMA LANGUISHES AWAY FROM HOLLYWOOD: "Chinese cinema has come into the media spotlight in the wake of Taiwanese director Ang Lee's martial arts box office smash 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.' But while Chinese directors in Hong Kong and Taiwan have wooed international markets with a vision of China gone by, mainland cinema is in the doldrums and getting progressively worse." China Times (Taiwan) 03/19/01

MAD FOR MOVIES: The audience for movies in Korea grew by 12 percent last year. But that audience wasn't wild about the home team. "The audience share of Korean films decreased 3.2 percent to 32.6 percent, with foreign films attracting 67.4 percent of the audience." Korea Times 02/28/01

HOME FIELD (DIS)ADVANTAGE: Heralded as the rebirth of the martial-arts epic, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" has wowed audiences all over the world - everywhere, that it, except Hong Kong. "It might look exotic to foreign audiences but it has been done before, and better, in other Hong Kong films." China Times 2/15/01

CAMBODIAN CINEMA CPR : With a daring new film about to open, director Fay Sam Ang is hoping to breathe new life into Cambodia’s almost defunct film industry. "Considering the recent history of the land of the Killing Fields, few countries have more stories to tell on film, but no one's telling them." Time (Asia) 2/12/01

HOLLYWOOD'S GIDDY NUMBERS AND DIRE CAUTIONS: Hollywood raked in billions last year - $7.5 billion in box-office sales, and a whopping $20 billion in video rental and sales. "After this record year, in possession of these gigantic numbers, studio chiefs should be slapping backs and passing out cigars; there should be hullabaloos up and down Wilshire Boulevard. Instead, they are battening down the hatches, composing secret lists of who to axe, and talking doomsday." Globe and Mail (Toronto), 01/26/01

OSCAR'S NON-AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE: A record 46 foreign films have been entered in the Best Foreign Picture Oscar category. China Times (AFP) (Taiwan) 11/22/00

TRANSATLANTIC ENVY: British film and media types are quick to criticize Hollywood fare as "too bland, too formulaic, too predictable, too dumb. If only, the argument goes, we had such resources: our films - edgy, relevant, cool and British - would surely sweep the world. But it's inescapable that America has the most diverse, intriguing and professional film culture of any country in the world. Their breadth and range shames our admittedly small film industry, which is obsessed by gangsters and clubbing." The Telegraph (London) 10/31/00

DOWN ON FILM DOWN UNDER: Why does the Australian film industry seem to be perennially in a state of crisis, in fear of cutbacks and dwindling audiences? And what exactly is the critic’s role in helping create a thriving local film culture? According to one critic, "they have a duty to make a positive contribution to film culture - otherwise, they are basically just glorified PR agents for the major movie corporations. Mainstream cinema is blinkered and amnesiac: it pretends that what's on screen, in the here and now, is all there is. Too many critics accept this pathetic reduction of cinema as their sole field of operations." The Age (Melbourne) 10/30/00

AND LITTLE PRAISE FOR THREE DECADES OF BRITISH FILM: As the London Film Festival opens this week, the first in a four-part series on the state of British film over the last 30 years. Don’t look here for aggrandizing praise. "British film has for the most part been second-rate, the culture of film-makers has been undernourished, the cinema-going public has been too shy of invention, and, without the brilliant, redeeming system of television funding and production in this country, British film would be dead in the water." The Telegraph (London) 10/30/00

SHOW ME THE MONEY: In India, where the average income is about $215 a year, the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" has become a wild hit. "Streets are half deserted when 'KBC' comes on, suddenly it's easy to get a seat at late evening movies, pubs in some cities say business has been hit, and bookshops are packed with books to guide you through the quiz programme." The Times of India 09/26/00

BOLLYWOOD v. HOLLYWOOD: As exported Indian movies get increasingly sophisticated (no longer just those epic musical romances), they are becoming big draws in Britain and are giving Hollywood a run for its money at the box office. Three Bollywood productions recently entered the UK’s top-10 list, and cinema chains showing Indian flicks are opening up all over Britain. The Age (Melbourne) 06/19/00

WHY MOVIES COST SO MUCH: A William Morris agent says big Hollywood stars are now demanding $30 million to be in big blockbuster movies - $25 million in salary and $5 million for perks. "Until recently, for instance, Travolta would only agree to do blockbusters if a private Lear Jet was put at his disposal, fuelled and ready for take-off 24 hours a day. Even Kim Basinger - who is not the draw she once was - demands $100,000 for her personal hairdresser. Most have entourages which also have to be paid for. The Guardian 05/17/00

HOLLYWOOD EAST? India already has the biggest film industry in the world. Now it is "riding a growing wave of television, internet and computer animation technologies along with an expanding international audience to become a potential alternative to its State-side big brother, Hollywood." New Zealand Herald (Reuters) 04/19/00

Production outside Hollywood

PUMP EM UP, MOVE EM OUT: Vancouver is the third-largest film-making city in the world (after Los Angeles and New York), and the second-largest TV-series factory. About $1.8 billion is spent on making movies there. But here's a secret no one talks about: they're almost all bad movies. The reason - the cheap Canadian dollar lures cheap, mediocre productions. Ottawa Citizen 03/12/01

RUNAWAY FILM: A new report says that the number of film and video productions leaving Hollywood to be shot elsewhere is increasing. "It cites one study showing domestic production of made-for-TV movies declined by more than 33% in the last six years, while production at foreign locations rose 55%." Variety 01/19/01

WHY ARE MOVIE PRODUCTIONS LEAVING HOLLYWOOD FOR OTHER COUNTRIES? "These countries are offering an ever-growing list of financial incentives to U.S. producers in an effort to build their own production capacity and increase their share of the worldwide production industry. There is no "free market" at work here. Other countries, recognizing the value of film and television production to their future economic health, are virtually bribing U.S. producers to make their films and TV series outside the United States." Los Angeles Times 10/09/00

HOLLYWOOD NORTH? The betting now is that Hollywood will be paralyzed by strikes next year as writers, actors and directors all negotiate new contracts. Will that stop the insatiable worldwide demand for entertainment? Not hardly. Much of the production figures to head north. "In Toronto and Vancouver, the main English-language production centres, directors, actors, technicians, casting agents and craft industries are already experiencing an unprecedented boom in demand - and reaping the dividends of Hollywood's woes." The Globe and Mail 10/05/00

Film costs

HOW TO MAKE AN AD COST $10 MILLION: With the continued blurring of the always-fuzzy line between entertainment and advertising, many of Hollywood's biggest stars have begun to pop up in high-end ad campaigns. In past years, movie stars considered such shilling beneath them, but ads are apparently now considered "art", and that makes it all better. New York Post 03/27/01

THE $10 MOVIE: As of Friday, movie admission will cost $10 in New York. How long until the rest of the country catches up? "Ten dollars has kind of been the magic number for a while that no one had hit yet. What remains to be seen is if people will go along." Chicago Sun-Times 02/26/01

HOLLYWOOD'S GIDDY NUMBERS AND DIRE CAUTIONS: Hollywood raked in billions last year - $7.5 billion in box-office sales, and a whopping $20 billion in video rental and sales. "After this record year, in possession of these gigantic numbers, studio chiefs should be slapping backs and passing out cigars; there should be hullabaloos up and down Wilshire Boulevard. Instead, they are battening down the hatches, composing secret lists of who to axe, and talking doomsday." Globe and Mail (Toronto), 01/26/01

GLOBAL SLOWDOWN: For the second year in a row, Hollywood's international box office take has tumbled. In an international marketplace plagued by depreciating local currencies, escalating marketing costs and a global exhibition slowdown, distributors will be lucky to clear $6 billion, down 10% on last year's $6.66 billion target and way short of 1998's boffo $6.8 billion." Variety 01/03/01

RECORD CANADIAN MOVIE AUDIENCES: A record 112 million Canadians bought movie tickets last year. It's the seventh year in a row that overall attendance has been up. But despite the record sales, profitability of movie houses is down. CBC 10/18/00

SERIOUS ABOUT SLIMMING DOWN: For the first time in 20 years the cost to market movies dropped last year. At the same time, ticket prices climbed an average 8 percent. Slimming down to a more profitable Hollywood. Variety 03/08/00


TAKING TINSELTOWN TO TASK: Critics and serious moviegoers have always complained about the lackluster fare coming out of Hollywood. But lately the grumblings of the discontent have reached a fever pitch. "You could look at any of these trends as proof of a new brand of adventurousness sweeping the land, as evidence that moviegoers are more open to non-mainstream pictures than they've ever been. But there's more than a whiff of sanctimoniousness in the anti-Hollywood sentiment that's been going around." Salon 3/29/01

IS HOLLYWOOD FUNDAMENTALLY CONSERVATIVE? "Look into the very heart of American counter-culture and you will find films like Taxi Driver and Blue Velvet, films which penetrated the mainstream with a spirit of the avant-garde. Yet at the core of their innovative visions there is also a spirit of right-wing libertarianism and rage against modernity." Prospect 04/01

A FILM BY... Hollywood directors have rejected writers' demands to end the practice of tagging a movie as "a film by" and crediting a director. Writers feel the practice belittles the writers' contributions. CNN 03/21/01

A NO WIN: The British Board of Film Classification is all over the news lately, and for two seemingly contradictory charges: granting two extremely violent foreign films certification, and recent remarks by its director that suggested the end of mandatory ratings. But is anyone asking if Britain still needs an official censor? The Guardian (London) 3/01/01

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MOVIES? This time last year movie critics were writing about a rebirth of the art of film. After years of lamenting what was widely seen as a decline in the art of filmmaking, 1999 surprised critics with several innovative interesting works. And this year? A big disappointment. Critics are still waiting for a movie to grab their imaginations, and even the commercial box office has been down for the first time since 1991... The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 12/01/00

THE NEW FILMMAKERS: "The American cinema's past has for the last 30 years been intertwined with the rise of American film schools. Many of the producers, directors, writers, cinematographers and editors making mainstream movies today are graduates of those schools, and, like me, most have made their movies on 35- millimeter motion picture film. But a friend who teaches cinematography at a major film school recently lamented that his students were refusing to shoot their projects on film. This generation of filmmakers-to-be grew up with camcorders, and they find it bothersome to learn what they call the 'technical stuff,' like focus and exposure. They relish the immediacy of video and consider its hands-on ease of operation a birthright." The New York Times 02/18/01

INCREDIBLE! UNPARALLELED! PHENOMENAL! And all bad. Teamed with the Oscars, the Razzies - annual awards for Hollywood's worst. Although John Travolta seems a shoo-in for individual honors, "Arnold Schwarzenegger picked up three nominations by himself for worst actor, worst supporting actor, and worst couple, all for 'The 6th Day,' in which he played a helicopter pilot named Adam Gibson and Gibson's clone." CNN 02/12/01

PLANNING AHEAD: The looming strikes by Hollywood's writers and actors may not be as devastating as some have predicted, since the industry appears to have a record number of big-budget blockbusters already in the can. The studios' effort to be ready to release new films throughout the strike was helped along by many major stars, who can't bear the thought of having their names out of circulation for months. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/09/01

WHO ARE THE BIGGEST MOVIE STARS? A new ranking system takes away all the subjectivity and reduces it to a formula. The biggest? Bruce Willis. Overpaid? Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Chicago Sun-Times 01/16/01

ART FILMS' TOUGH TIMES: "The art cinema in America is in crisis. Cable television has increasing muscle and, after contributing to the costs of a movie, wants the kudos of its premiere. There are more art film distributors than ever, yet this sector of the US box office is down 15 per cent over last year, and an alarming 31 per cent over the past decade — not allowing for inflation." The Times (London) 01/08/01

THE ART OF SELF-PROMOTION: "Once again, after a year of producing largely dreary commercial product, Hollywood has put on its straightest face to pretend that all it has ever really cared about is quality. And once again it can point to a (very small) handful of films that almost justify the chest-thumping pomposity." New York Times 01/05/01 (one-time registration required for access)

OVER THE HILL AT 40? "In a twist of irony over youth obsession in America's television dream factory, actors are not the only ones fretting over on-camera looks. They are concerns of the unseen talents who dream up the plots of TV sitcoms and dramas - writers. And the concern about age is not cosmetic: It's job preservation." A lawsuit filed last week alleges age discrimination in the movie and TV business. Nando Times (Christian Science Monitor) 10/30/00

BUT I CAN WRITE YOUNG: Television writers in Hollywood have filed a $200 million age discrimination suit against producers. The writers content that producers systematically discriminate against writers over 40. "According to the suit, writers over age 40 account for more than two-thirds of the Writers Guild of America membership. During the 1997-98 television season, however, writers age 40-plus made up one-third or less of the writing staff on half of all prime-time series." Dallas Morning News 10/24/00

SEA CHANGE: "Hollywood is in a panic mode. For the first time, unions are confronting networks and studios about how writers and actors should be paid when films and television shows are shown on the Internet and on the growing number of cable outlets. And they are threatening strikes that union officials and television and film executives all expect to define the issues that will shape the entertainment industry's labor relations for decades." New York Times 10/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

WHERE ARE THE YOUNG? Movie attendance in Europe and Australia for those under the age of 25 has fallen off. Movie theatre's blame the drop on the growing popularity of computers and cell phones. The Age (Melbourne) 09/18/00 

UN "PATRIOT"-IC: The British are protesting the gratuitous rewrite of history in "The Patriot," but there are other reasons to worry about this movie. "Thanks to the sheer raving outrageousness of 'The Patriot' - which climaxes with the use of an American flag as a bayonet; which evokes Waco in a scene in which a church-full of militia sympathizers are burned alive by the British; and which peddles a right-wing agenda so outlandish it would make Rambo blush - you'd have to be a flaming, wood-paneled idiot to miss the movie's politics." Toronto Star 07/14/00

SIX DEGREES OF SPIELBERG: Stephen Spielberg has decided on his next project. That one act reverberates around the movie world. "It's a kind of Six Degrees of Spielberg effect: He makes a single move, which sets off a flurry of activity at four studios across town, which sets off more flurries throughout the industry - ripples from a single stone cast in the movie pond by, as producer Mark Johnson calls him, 'an 800-pound gorilla.' Chicago Sun-Times 05/07/00

JUST WHEN YOU WERE WRITING THEM OFF: A number of critics are talking about a renaissance in Hollywood movies. There are a number of reasons, but one of them, ironically, was the success of "Titanic." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 04/16/00




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