Saturday, December 08, 2007


Although it appears negotiations have hit the skids, I'm reminded of Tom Schulman's email last week. In it he said, "I went to a dinner party where I happened to be seated next to a gentleman who until recently had been for decades the chief negotiator for the Companies in another segment of the entertainment industry. He was a wiry guy, and he had a sense of humor. When I asked him if he was the Nick Counter of that particular part of the industry, he smiled and said wryly that he thought he was better than Nick but, yes, that was a fair comparison. He said he knew Nick and admired him. For an hour and a half, sprinkled in with the small talk, he told me about his negotiating strategy." Tom details that strategy:

Strategy for Hardball Negotiations:

Piss off the leaders and spokespersons for the other side. A leader who loses his temper loses something in negotiations. Why?

1) Anger clouds judgment.

2) It’s human nature to want to be liked, even in a tough-as-nails negotiator. A person who loses his temper is embarrassed, usually comes and apologizes, and always gives something away to get back into the good graces of the other side.

The end game is the money, but hardball negotiations aren't about money, until the end. The real game is dividing and conquering.


* Lower the expectations of the other side, divide and conquer.

* Raise and lower the expectations of the other side, divide and conquer.

* Do everything possible to destroy the credibility of the other side’s leadership, divide and conquer.

* Use confidants and back channels to go over the heads of the stronger leaders to the softer targets. Divide and conquer.

* When you figure out the other side’s bottom line, offer a fraction. It’s surprising how many times that stands.

Sound familiar? If you examine the recent "leaks," comments, and press releases from the other side, you'll realize this is exactly the strategy the Companies are employing against us today. And why not? It's worked for them for the last 20 years! They are putting us on an emotional roller coaster by raising and lowering our expectations, attacking our leaders, trying to pit the town against us, refusing to move on the issues that matter to us, bragging about their generosity when the opposite is true, fear mongering and claiming we're going to ruin this industry – hoping we'll splinter, lose faith in and attack each other, negotiate against ourselves, and cave.

___ ___ ___ ___

Although the recent negotiations seem to have collapsed, let's keep in mind that AMPTP's "fuck you and the proposal you rode in on" is part of the deal-making process. Unfortunately, we're gonna have to take it in the ass before we're given some of that Big Media love.

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