Monday, 12 May 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #94: Of course you realize, THIS MEANS WAR!

So far there hasn't been any major news on the impasse between the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG), and the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers (AMPTP) and we're facing the possibility of another showbiz strike hot on the heels of the Writer's Strike. In a past post I discussed errors made by SAG in the run-up to these negotiations and I brought in ancient Chinese strategic philosopher Sun Tzu into the equation.

Well, he's back, so to speak with some more advice, because when negotiating with the AMPTP, it's more than just talk, it's war.

Sun Tzu's classic work The Art of War should have been read by SAG leadership right after the signing of the last contract and they should have begun planning for negotiating this contract then too.

And here is what Sun Tzu says they should have considered when planning for these new negotiations:

(1) The Moral Law

(2) Heaven

(3) Earth

(4) The Commander

(5) Method and discipline

But what do they mean?

It's simple really. In the context of the SAG negotiations they mean:

(1) The Moral Law: Essentially it's about coordination. Is the leadership and the rank and file in accord about the rightness of their cause, and in agreement about goals, and the stratagems needed to achieve those goals.

(2) Heaven: No, it's not about having God on your side. It's about knowing the conditions you will be acting under. Essentially you must weigh the influence of the environment, both ecological, and economic on your plans and their outcomes.

(3) Earth: Logistics, plain and simple. How to get bills paid, people mobilized, media relations organized, and every other potentiality you may face whether you end up locked out, on strike, or going back to work.

(4) The Commander: Who will be in charge of the negotiations, planning, and propaganda. This person must be intelligent, skilled, and above all calm, and not likely to get carried away and emotional by enemy tactics.

(5) Method and discipline: Taking an objective measure of how well organized your group really is. Making sure everyone is on the same page and not liable to go off on tangents of their own, and preventing divisions that the enemy is liable to take advantage of.

Sadly, my little bit of Monday morning quarterbacking seems to have come too late. Oh, well, we can take heart in the inherently schizophrenic nature of the media conglomerates. They were able to bury coverage of the Writer's Strike, but there's no way they'll be able to ignore the beautiful people if they end up on the picket line.

It just goes against their DNA.

But hopefully, if things go bad this time around SAG will take my advice to heart and start planning for the next contract.

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