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Unions and movies


Sepiatone
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No, this ISN'T a thread about movies that dealt with the issue of labor unions.

 

 

It's about unions AFFECTS on the movie business.

 

 

I'm thinking it's NOT religion, and not REALLY politics, so it might be safe.

 

 

I came about this idea while watching old movies. They would START the same way most movies do today; Title of the movie, cast members, a list of set designers, music composers, make-up artists, cinematographers, fashion designers, producer and director. Sometimes, an EXECUTIVE producer would be named.

 

 

But the ENDING of movies changed radically. Old movies, when they reached the end, simply had "THE END" come up on the screen, and then that would be IT!

 

 

NOW, and I'm told this is due to union requests, there's a list of names that has the closing credits run longer than the OPENING credits. AND they go largely ignored. Which begs the question, "Then, WHY bother?"

 

 

I don't care who catered the shoot. I don't care who was the head carpenter. Or who the "gripper" was. ( Did you ever go to a movie thinking, "Hey! Bob Maxwell's the Gripper on this one! It's GOT to be GOOD!"?). I'm not interested in who the "Best Boy" was. I don't even know what a "Best Boy" IS( I hope it's nothing homoerotic!).

 

 

It seems a huge waste of time and expense( and film) to list a 30 minute roster of names that nobody sticks around to see. The name of the guy who scoops the poop of animals that were in some movie is something I can sleep without knowing.

 

 

As a 26 year retiree of General Motors, who's done almost everthing from auto assembly, driving, fabrication, pinstriping Cadillacs, to building engines, and still a member of the U.A.W., I come from a long heritage of union organizers. And as one who thinks the current crop of "anti-union" twerps who think if unions are done away with all will be kittens, daisies and unicorns have their heads up their butts, I'm still a firm believer in strong labor representation. But I will admit that many times over the years unions HAVE overstepped, and caused many things to be more complex than need be. And movies are one area where they've gone too far.

 

 

Are there MORE ways unions have gummed up movie making that I've overlooked? And what are YOUR thoughts on the whole issue?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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I, too, was (I guess still am) a long time union member and strong advocate of collective bargaining. That said, I don't pay much attention to the credits, but it's no skin off my nose if every person involved gets screen credit. I really don't know the reason for it unless it prevents non members for taking credit for productions when they contributed nothing, or fraudulently representing their credits. I know there's a couple of regulars here that could possibly be members of one or more of the unions involved in moviemaking. Maybe you'll get a response from one of them.

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I had a lot of bad experience with IATSE union TV news cameramen when I first started out as a free-lance cameraman in the early 1960s, and then later I learned that the Hollywood movie unions were worse and were CLOSED to everyone except relatives of union members, close friends, lovers, and heavy bribers.

 

However, from the quality-of-film point of view, I think the Hollywood studio/union films were mostly the best films ever made, since all the on-staff union workers were very good and got to work with each other on a daily basis, year after year. No film lighting technicians have been as good a they were in the 1920, 30s, and 40s.

 

One of the problems with a lot of bad films in the late 60s and the 70s was because they were made by rag-tag and incompetent non-union crews.

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I think a Best Boy is an assistant Electrician. In the credits for *Airplane* Adolph Hitler was credited for for Worst Boy.

 

 

I work for my Mom. It's about as non union as you can get. My negotiation was saying ok after her telling me how much she was going to pay me.

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>I work for my Mom. It's about as non union as you can get. My negotiation was saying ok after her telling me how much she was going to pay me.

 

Well see, your problem seems to be that while you might have heard of "COLLECTIVE Bargaining", it appears you're painfully unaware the of practice of "CORRECTIVE bargaining" and where you just keep correcting your mother when she wants to low-ball the value of your services to her.

 

Btw, they also use this "Corrective Bargaining" principle in Japan, but of course in THEIR case it DOES in fact mean to pool the bargaining power of a workforce together in order add strength to their cause. They just have a little different way of pronouncing the process over there, that's all. I know, kinda confusing, huh!

 

(...hey, I never said I was "PC", ya know..nope, I'll use ANY method to get a laugh ANY way I can, and EVEN IF I have to resort to somethin' like THAT!!!!) ;)

 

LOL

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You're right on both points finance. The surrounding populace of the Detroit area was largely auto related. I imagine at one time, union wise, the BIG THREE were the U.A.W., followed by the Teamsters, then the United Steel Workers. I imagine the % IS lower than before, but if you count retirees, not as low as you think.

 

 

I'm wondering how much the added union forced credit listings drove up the production costs of film making, thereby driving up ticket prices.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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> {quote:title=Sepiatone wrote:}{quote}

> You're right on both points finance. The surrounding populace of the Detroit area was largely auto related. I imagine at one time, union wise, the BIG THREE were the U.A.W., followed by the Teamsters, then the United Steel Workers. I imagine the % IS lower than before, but if you count retirees, not as low as you think.

>

> I'm wondering how much the added union forced credit listings drove up the production costs of film making, thereby driving up ticket prices.

>

>

> Sepiatone

>

Maybe it's because I'm a retired union member, but my opinion and experience is that the increases in costs vs. increases in credits for union members have nothing to do with unions and everything to do with return on investors' money.

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>I'm wondering how much the added union forced credit listings drove up the production costs of film making, thereby driving up ticket prices.

 

Whenever I hear that argument about any person in any union, I wonder how much the person making the statement has their pay drive up the cost of what they produce, and maybe we can save money of all sorts of goods and services if we can just cut people's pay.

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>Sepia wrote: I'm still a firm believer in strong labor representation. But I will admit that many times over the years unions HAVE overstepped, and caused many things to be more complex than need be. And movies are one area where they've gone too far.

I hope you didn't mean to post what you just did, maybe after thinking it through. You read like a concerned troll. A pretense of support, then the kick behind the knees.

 

My son is in a union, in Hollywood. If it weren't for his union, he'd would be walking up and down god knows how many streets, knocking at shops (100's of them) for work after every production. It's not studio system anymore. Or worse, logging in at dozens of so-called employment websites, half of them out for money and not supplying work at all.

 

Unions do this much; they try to keep the field level. If not for union scale, everybody would be fighting to work for $10/hr. because that's what the producers would offer, and that's what the desperate would take.

 

Remember, your pay is not how much you're valued in the workplace. Pay was never based on skill.

 

It is this: *IF they can pay you less, they will.*

 

You left at the brink, Sepia. Be grateful. You don't have to trudge through the crap of the workaday now.

 

All those union bugs at the end of the credits, the ones that you think makes you ticket prices so high? I am grateful, for the technology has created more jobs for people and computer heavy productions. Sometimes my son is only part of a two man crew in his specialty; other times hes part of six, or eight, or twelve. It just depends on the production and their budget. Funny, you pay the same for that movie ticket whether it's Man of Steel or Firehouse Dog 2.

 

Unions are not the problem.

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AND, there is at least one MORE positive aspect to union membership which you didn't mention here Char, and here it is...

 

Well, at least in the case of THIS old union member HERE away, and THAT would be all those times I would walk into my various Managers' offices over the years and read THEM "the riot act" about what lame managers they were, and especially after they would make one ultimately to be proved later counterproductive business decision after another. WHICH during these "riot acts" I'd deliver to them WOULD explain in detail why their decisions would be an utter failure and counterproductive measures.

 

Uh huh, and I'd VERY often tell them during these little "riot acts" that classic ol' refrain, "LOOK Sir(or Ma'am as the case may be) just remember ONE thing here. As a Supervisor with this airline for over 20 years now and who has preformed almost EVERY function with this airline but fly the damn airplanes, I have probably FORGOTTEN more about the airline biz than YOU will probably ever even LEARN!"

 

Uh huh..I did THAT more than once during my airlines "career".

 

AND of course, the reason I brought THIS aspect up about "union membership" was that I COULD walk into their offices and DO that, and those freakin' lamebrains could NOT fire me for saying that sort of stuff to them AS LONG as I continued to my job as well as I did.

 

Uh huh..."personal/office politics", i.e.,"if the boss liked me or not" had absolutely NO bearing upon my continued employment!

 

And thus, ultimately allowing me to retire at age 55, some 6 years ago, with a reduced pension and so I would NEVER have to be in close proximity to any more of those incompetent "Managers" ever again...AND while receiving said pension check once a month!

 

(...yep, life is SO much better now!!!)

 

**** here

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Yeah, kinda sorta, I guess. LOL

 

(..but HEY, after all this time around HERE, and with you seein' how I usually don't take any "you-know-what" from some of the more, let us say, "pretentious" people around HERE who occasionally act like those old managers of mine, then WHY should THIS be so surprising to you, HUH???!!!)

 

**** some more here now!!!

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I agree with everything you're saying about the importance of unions in the film industry, but I still wish they'd can all those credit lines at the end of the movie, since they're largely there for vanity purposes only. The model for movie beginnings should be the Warner Brothers films of the early 30's: The studio logo, the title, brief clips of the half dozen or so leading players with their names under them ("James Cagney as Tom Powers", with a wink and a grin), the producer, the director, and then proceed to the film.

 

And at the end? "THE END". Period. The only exception should be when the movie is based on an actual historical event and they want to give "updates" as to what later happened to the characters in real life.

 

If they have to list the names of every 24th assistant hair stylist to the 10th member of the cast, let them revive the lost art of the souvenir movie program and devote several pages to listing everyone involved in the production. That way the 24th assistant hair stylist to the 10th member of the cast would have something to show off to his friends that wouldn't require a two hour prelude before it gets to his name.

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True, Dargo, many folks don't have a concept of what it really means to be valued. That is to say, self-valued. People would be shocked to learn you could speak up for yourself and your co-workers without reprisal. We used to have rights in the workplace because the union fought for them and had the numbers in strength, and now without a worker's representation, they are defined as privileges.

 

But there is something else that unions have and the is the real target. It's your pension. Wall Street powers would love nothing more than to sell your Union's portfolio back on the market. While there are retirees still able to get a stipend from it, it is representing a large block of securities and bonds that Wall Street wants to control, rather than leave it to a bunch non-working rabble just collecting in their retirement. That's what a union means to me, and I no longer have that security, and most people nowadays have no concept of what a secure retirement means.

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Andy, do you feel so honor-bound to sit through credits? Even in LA, I see folks get up and leave, and only a handful left in the theater to see the names of the crew go by.

 

I am concerned that some of us are not thinking this situation through, and just taking a quick reaction about it, and usually misled to believe things that are not actually accurate.

 

Now I can tell you with some authority that many of those people in the credits _do not_ have union representation. It is heavily vanity, and sometimes for those unrepresented (non-union) members of the crew, it's maybe the only mark that they worked on that production. Since the studio system is gone, that is the main reason the credits have grown gargantuan size.

 

My son works post production, so we sit through all the pre-production, shooting status, and support credits just to get to the end, with post-production credits where my son's name is listed. The production site is usually the last thing listed, and I like to see where they had the production shot.

 

And yes, I stand and applaud even now.

 

Edited by: casablancalover2 on Jul 13, 2013 10:28 AM

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>Now I can tell you with some authority that many of those people in the credits do not have union representation.

 

Sooooo. does this mean the poor saps can't occasionally tell their bosses how clueless they think they are and STILL keep their jobs, Char????

 

LOL

 

(...btw, and JUST for the record here...I ALSO have no problem sittin' through the credits, and really don't see a problem here...'cause I have the feelin' that the REAL reason the price of movie tickets keeps risin' is 'cause A-List actors today are askin' for AND receivin' salaries that are not commensurable with their talent...'cause if you ask ME, most of 'em SHOULD be makin' about 40 bucks an hour TOPS!!!)

 

Edited by: Dargo2 on Jul 13, 2013 7:43 AM

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>Andy108 wrote: If they have to list the names of every 24th assistant hair stylist to the 10th member of the cast, let them revive the lost art of the souvenir movie program and devote several pages to listing everyone involved in the production. That way the 24th assistant hair stylist to the 10th member of the cast would have something to show off to his friends that wouldn't require a two hour prelude before it gets to his name.

 

It is a good suggestion, but the cost would be a consideration. I have a sad feeling the production houses don't keep track (other than through the accountant -who''s also in the credits) of who actually works on the production. I guess it can be irritating to us who knows someone who's worked 100s of hours on a particular production gets listed after someone who's ran revised script back and forth, or someone who was in charge of hairstyle copying for 5 days on the shoot because the regular stylist had a death in the family and had to fly back to Atlanta, but I'm thinking there is no standard for production credits, so things can get inflated.

 

h4. SUBTOPIC: Well, we know what you were doing on July 20th now...

Now I am intrigued why there would be a list of "Production babies" - were they conceived during the production process or born during the production process?

 

Why not a list of *Production Marriages* ?

 

Why not a list of *Production Divorces* ?

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>Why not a list of Production Divorces ?

 

Very simple, my dear. Remember, these productions are most often filmed in Hollywood, and thus if they would do THAT, the credits would roll for ANOTHER 30 freakin' minutes!!!

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