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Friday, February 06, 2009

READING MY OWN BOOK

Recently my blog was critiqued by a blog review blog. It was a favorable appraisal but I was struck by SutterInk's classification. While other blogs were listed as Music, Arts, Politics, etc, mine had its own category -- Miscellaneous Anger. Unfortunately, I can't argue with the label. Truth is most of my postings are either SOA updates or personal rants. That awareness got me thinking about my own book -- my reputation or the perceived point of view of who I am to my colleagues. It's an interesting inventory process to experience. Uncomfortable and humbling.

Last year I worked with a director who had a bit of a reputation for being a wild card. In my conversations with him, he went on the offensive and made sure that I was aware of my own station in the business. He let me know that I was perceived as a very intense guy, prone to sudden outbursts of anger (I prefer to think of them as very passionate responses to the inferior actions of others). The truth is that I'm a perfectionist who has a very low tolerance for ineptitude. I have a hard time accepting the half-measures of myself and others. In the past, my big reactions have almost always created more chaos than control. I'd like to think that I've learned from my mistakes and that my book is writing a new chapter. One where I am viewed as a mentor and a leader rather than a fire-starter. Age and meds are helping that rewrite.

All this bad buzz about Christian Bale has made me realize just how lucky I am. I don't know Christian, but I know the intensity of production and the ungodly stress that creative responsibility can bring. When the success or failure of millions of dollars rests on your shoulders it can bend your happy inside out. It's mind numbing. I'm not saying that tirades are a good way to communicate, but they happen. God knows they've happened to me. If any of my outbursts were ever documented and posted on the internet, I probably would be pulling espressos at Starbucks instead of running a show, writing and directing. I'm sure every one of us has exhibited behavior that we are glad was never recorded. None of us can know the burden of being a star. Look around you, pop icons and celebrities are imploding every day. The scrutiny is brutal. I know it's part of the deal, you want the cash and prizes, you gotta take the rest. I get it. But I also understand the occasional shit-losing and weight gain.

With this insight, I take a look at my most recent series of posts. I've ranted about the ineptitude of Alan Rosenberg's tenure as SAG President, so now I'm trying to take a step back and put on his heavy shoes. Let's consider that the man has been President of the Screen Actors Guild for over three years. He's put his career on hold and has sacrificed his time and now his marriage for his union. Whether you agree or disagree with his actions and his motives, the man is committed and invested. His tenure as president of the union IS his Hollywood legacy. Not unlike impeached governor, Rod Blagojevich, Rosenberg desperately wants to be remembered as a success. It’s human nature. Maybe his recent maneuvers -- lawsuits, the odd ballads -- are just a desperate attempt to go out with some dignity and prove that his efforts weren’t in vain. He wants to walk away with his head held high or at least pulled out of his ass. He's Nixon praying for a pardon.

Here's my advice to Alan Rosenberg and the new regime -- David White and John McGuire. Alan should officially resign, admitting that mistakes were made due to circumstances beyond his control. That the economic hardship of the country, the brutal WGA strike, the uncertain state of new media, have all created unforeseen obstacles for negotiations of a new contract. The new leadership should let Mr. Rosenberg leave with some dignity. They need to acknowledge his years of loyal service and perhaps allow him to remain an advisor in the ongoing negotiations. This lets Alan step down with some self-respect and still contribute. His legacy could be one of humility and service rather than ego and destruction.

Maybe I’m just a misguided recovering addict who’s deluded himself into right thinking, but I believe that at the end of the day, people want what's best for themselves and their fellows.

At least that's the book I'm trying to learn to write.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I WAS WRONG, HE'S NOT FIDDLING, HE'S STRUMMING

Alan Rosenberg took his struggle to song. Shared it on YouTube. Click the photo to listen. Lyrics: We don’t care about the future, we only care about us.

and if you don’t earn what I think I can earn,

I will throw you underneath a bus.

I sure do love my Union, it gave me my pension and my health,

but don’t expect me to stand up for nobody

till I’ve had a chance to accumulate some wealth.

I’ll stand up strong so that we might be weak

I insist you take that deal without even a tweak! (You bastards)

Al and Doug and Doug Allen?, they stand up way too hard.

If they keep fighting for my compensation,

I will bury them right in my own backyard.

Just tell my bosses that I’ll take what they’re willing to give,

‘cause I’m just so grateful that they even let me live!

I don’t care about nobody, I only care about me.

Lay down your weapons and stop all that nasty fighting,

don’t you know you should be glad to work for free!

I’ll stand up strong so that we might be weak,

I demand you take that deal without even a tweak.

Tell old CBS that I’ll take what they’re willing to give,

cause I’m just so grateful that they even let us live!

I don’t care about nobody.

No, I only care about me.

Lay down your weapons and stop all that nasty fighting,

don’t you know you should be glad to work,

shouldn’t even be mad to work,

sometimes you should prefer to work for free!

Sometimes as long as it ain’t me!

Meanwhile, come see me on TV!

Wow.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

HE WILL SOON BE FIDDLING

To any member of SAG who had any doubts about my aforementioned assessment of their flawed leader, Alan Rosenberg, I would hope after his latest legal maneuver, that speculation is gone. Rosenberg threw the brakes on the latest round of studio negotiations by filing an injunction to get ousted negotiator Doug Allen rehired. Of course AMPTP allowed the delay. Big Media is sitting back, gleefully watching this ego-maniacal asshole implode the union. Rosenberg clearly has lost focus of his appointed purpose -- protecting the livelihood of actors. This has become a personal war to him. I am convinced that his sole purpose now is to undermine the success and progress of the majority. The cry of a fallen Caesar -- if I can't have the empire, then burn it to the fucking ground. There will be no peace and no progress until Rosenberg and his inner circle are removed.

From SAG website:

Los Angeles, (February 2, 2009) – Screen Actors Guild today notified the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that the Guild had received a notice of intent to file a complaint tomorrow.

In light of this circumstance, both parties have agreed to a postponement of their meeting and will reschedule at a later date.

Screen Actors Guild has no further comment on the notice of intent received today or the postponement of tomorrow’s meeting.

From Nikki Finke's Blog:

Screen Actors Guild today received a document that our legal team is reviewing. We have no further comment at this time," SAG just informed me. Now sources tell me this document is a legal move by SAG President Alan Rosenberg and Hollywood Division 1st National Vice-President Anne-Marie Johnson (a Membership First'er) to obtain a temporary restraining order that would seek an expedited injunction prohibiting SAG from implementing the provisions of the written assent of January 26th. An LA Superior Court hearing for 8:30 AM Tuesday. That would reinstate fired National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Doug Allen as well as the SAG Negotiating Committee. This comes just as the Hollywood Division board meets tonight about the restart tomorrow under the aegis of the SAG National majority consisting of most of the NY Division and Regional Branch Divisions and a minoriy of the Hollywood Division. Since he was ousted, Allen's job has been split in two with David White the new NED and John McGuire as new chief negotiator.