hey all- i'm just giving out a heads up regarding the movie i'm on in spokane. the union has come in and set up a picket line and work stoppage due to "unfair labor practices". they are trying to turn this show and may get it done. the problem is that the production company, north by northwest, is calling around to find another crew and not telling anyone what the situation is. if you receive a call regarding a movie called "home of the brave" starring sam jackson please let me know. also, please let them know that you are aware of the situation and are not willing to cross a picket line. i can be reached at 310: 880 2233 at any time. thanks.
the show is indeed non-union. i made a deal with a local production company in spokane who i have worked for a few times over the last 5 years. they sub out jobs for larger companies. they are a little slimy, but if you know that going in, you can deal with it. (an example being, i cut a deal with them for this job and a day or so before i travel, the upm calls me and says that they are lowering my agrred upon rate by 20%. it took some work, but we worked it out. just extra stress that is unnecessary.) i took this job because the director is irwin winkler, the d.p. is tony pierce-roberts, the lead actors are samuel l. jackson, 50 cent, christina ricci, & jessica biel, and we are shooting 2.35 on a viper. the admitted budget is $12mil.. this is not a small picture. well, they failed to tell me that the mother company is millenium pictures, avi lerners company. the union and avi are old rivals. there is much animosity on both sides. the union was already here when i showed up and they were rearing to go. they called a lunchtime walk out/work stoppage yesterday, 4 days into local production. now while they were "negotiating", the local company, north by northwest, was busy rounding up a new crew to replace us. they wanted people to fly last night. many of the people that they called were our friends in l.a.. these friends immediately called us and told us what was occurring and that nxnw was not notifying them that there was a labor strike in effect. in my opinion, unionizing the local company is a bad idea. there is not enough of a market to support them doing so as most of their projects are in the $3mil and under range. but they are dealing with us very poorly. leaving us in the dark or starting false rumors among us or literally outright lying to us (and getting caught, which is amusing). on the other hand, i think the walkout and negotiation was handled mediocre at best by the union. the ideals are correct, the performance poor. we are feeling a bit like pawns at the moment, unhappy with both sides. a no win situation, it feels. going home seems the best alternative sadly. since i am the one who makes/agrees to my deals, i live and die by my deals. this job can't seem to live by it's deal on any side. hope that provides some insight.
wow thanks for sharing that out in the forum geoff! i have been in a similiar situation as yorus but there was no striking.. the show was non union but then turned union once a certain large distributor jumped on the bandwagon at the last hour...
hope all works out. there is a lot of buzz on this show on IMDB....
" in my opinion, unionizing the local company is a bad idea. there is not enough of a market to support them doing so as most of their projects are in the $3mil and under range."
Keep in mind that union contracts can be done on a job by job basis, so the local company is not committing to anything except for making a picture that should be union, union! I'd also add that the union does offer very competitive low budget contracts for films made under $3mil. While the crew may make a little less than the same film if it were non-union (in terms of hourly rate), they are getting hours towards their benefits, which is a great situation because the Producers get union crews & the crews get health insurance, etc. The crews are also guaranteed the working conditions of a union show.
I hope the situation is resolved to your liking. Good luck.
I'm not surprised to hear about the situation up there. As I think you're aware, I did a movie for North By Northwest and Millenium last year. The simple truth is NXNW are very slimy (they refused to pay me my travel money to get home....just one example) and they should be held responsible for their actions. I understand your unfortunate situation concerning the union, but a movie that has a budget over $10 million should be union. The movie I did with them had a $20 million budget, and still managed to stay non union (because the producers managed to make the union believe their lies), but they siphoned off so much of the money that it seemed like a $2 million movie. The lead actor actually apologized to me 6 months later for getting me involved with those people.
Unfortunately, I doubt they'll turn the show union. They're such liars and so unconcerned with their crew that I can't see them making any concessions that might help the crew.
I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully this time will be the exception. I'm actually very surprised that they're still managing to convice people to bring movies up there. Eventually the word will get around enough and no on will want to shoot up there anymore. Anyone who's considering working for NXNW should run away.
brad- i know what you mean. i know better than to believe their lies. but, i took the job for the d.p. and the director. this one is worse than imaginable. they have failed to reach an agreement and i am on my way home tomorrow. millenium and nxnw are the problem. irwin winkler and his producer, rob cohen, have been nothing but upstanding gentlemen. irwin even tried to pay the difference out of pocket, but a medium could not be found. now my problem will be getting paid for my expenses and my rate/rental, all of which i have in writing. we'll see how far that gets me. they have decided to scrap the project and take the loss instead of finishing(they being millenium and nxnw).
alec- believe me, i know that union movies can be done for less than $3mil. i completely get that. the problem here is that no one locally thinks that they would benefit from being in a union or really worries about how hard they are being screwed on benefits. the local company even went so far as to offer to pay all exissting union members scale and keep their workers at the local rates. that is illegal . and to further that, we came to find out some of those flat rates that the locals have been working for work out to below state minimum wage. honestly, they are not professional film folk and just like the extra income. sadly, they do not see how badly they are being taken. they are weekend workers and it shows. i seem to have become an expert on the area, unfortunately. i think they would benefit greatly, but they do not want to bite the hand that feeds.
i will keep you all appraised of the situation as it further unfolds.
Wow. They're scrapping the whole movie? That's too bad. It's nice to hear that the director and his producer were standing behind the crew. I know the people that you'll have to get that travel money from.....good luck! Meanwhile a lot of that local crew will grovel at the feet of NXNW hoping that they'll have the honor of being taken advantage of on the next one.
oh, sorry boys, i was wrong. they aren't scrapping the movie, they're moving it to vancouver. all the viper equipment and accessories are already on their way. still sorting out all the details of who, what, where, and how, but it feelslike there are 5 sides to the story and every one of them is actually true. i'll post more on this one later.
Hi guys, just got a letter to all 669 members ( thats vancouver local) from Thomas Short International President of Iatse ordering all members not to service the production Home of the Brave. Just FYI. thanks for the heads up from this forum, when the letter came in my e mail tonight I knoew it had to be about the job from Spokane Washington. Geoff, I really hope you get a reasonable settlement from production. It's too bad that these things seem to happen, perhaps it will clarify the working conditions and financial responsabilities of professional film production. We had one of these come through toronto last year and it had dodgy validation and the union shut it down effectively too.
Brad ( just wanna get paid something reasonable) Hruboska