Monday, 26 May 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #101: ALL YOUR CLIPS ARE BELONG TO US!

As I've reported before AFTRA is having some trouble with their negotiations with the moguls of the AMPTP as well as SAG.

But I'm not going to talk about what's going wrong.

I did that yesterday in what can only be described as the blog equivalent of a clip show.

Which cleverly segues me to the topic of this blog, one of the main sticking points at this year's negotiations: Clips.

So I'll boil it down to the essence of the issue, because I'm basically lazy and don't want to write long explanations...

WHAT THE STUDIOS WANT: They want to use clips from their movies to be used for any reason and for any purpose outside of promoting the films those clips were taken from. And the cherry on top is that the compensation paid to the actors in said clips would be the steam off the studio chief's pee.

WHAT THE ACTORS WANT: To be paid some sort of compensations for the use of their images in clips used for anything beyond promoting the movie, and to have some sort of say in what sort of commercial ventures these clips could be used for, to avoid conflicts with pre-existing endorsement deals, or belief systems.

WHY THE STUDIOS WANT IT: There are several theories.

First is that they hope to sell pieces of movies to advertisers to use in commercials, of course using the image of an actor who endorses Coke in an ad for Pepsi, is just an invitation to litigation to corporations with deeper pockets, so it's potential as a revenue stream is tenuous at best.

It might be used as a way to release two hours of "clips" from a movie on TV/DVD/Internet without paying royalties, but even that will result in lawsuits and actors making loud and public declarations to their fans to not fall for the "clip" deal. In a business where audience goodwill is the difference between profit and loss, bad blood is bad business.

My theory is that the whole thing is just a territorial pissing contest on behalf of the moguls to show the world who's boss in show-biz, pitch those pipe dream revenue streams to their parent corp CEOs, and be gone with a golden parachute when the whole thing turns into a big steaming pile.

WHY THE ACTORS HATE IT: Basically for all the reasons the studios like it. It's a perpetuation of the "screw everyone" business plan that is currently making it impossible to do any real business in Tinseltown. Plus it could cost actors with endorsement deals millions in lost wages and legal fees if the studios use them in ads they don't want any part of.

So here we are, another strike is looming, when all that was needed to avoid it was a little common sense and integrity.

Too bad those things don't seem to exist in Hollywood.

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