Friday, 29 August 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #158: Lincoln and Sun Tzu Went to a SAG Meeting


Tell that little Lincolnesque tidbit to the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG), they're not only divvied up into factions with names like United 4 Strength and Membership First, and making snide little shots at each other, there is also fighting starting between the Hollywood SAG and the New York SAG.

Now I'm not going to pick any side in these internal feuds, but I can off the sort of foresight that only an outsider can offer:

No matter which side you're on,
you are screwed.

I tried to prevent this, I offered advice, both strategic, and tactical to the members and leadership of SAG, but it looks like actors don't check out any blogs that don't offer gossip about themselves. So, in an effort to be helpful and prevent the chaos and financial reaming that SAG is setting itself up for, I will offer a condensed version of my advice where I hearken back a few millennia to the wisdom of Sun Tzu...

KNOW YOUR ENEMY & KNOW YOURSELF. You must understand not just the nature of your enemy, their wants, needs, strengths and weaknesses, you must also know that about yourself. The most common misconception about the studio moguls is that they're akin to sharks, but that's a myth. Sharks require constant action, and must be constantly moving forward in order to survive.

That's not a studio mogul.

Studio moguls are more like cats. Spoiled, fat, selfish, and narcissistic Siamese house-cats to be more specific.

And like cats they exist in a pampered world where their parent companies tend to their whims like overindulgent cat fanciers. They prefer maintaining the status quo, with them remaining pampered, coddled, and well-fed, taking time to swat at the occasional mouse for entertainment, as long as it doesn't take too much effort. They live in terror of any shift in that precious status quo that requires them to do work.

These divisions in SAG are catnip to the AMPTP, ensuring that no matter who wins supremacy over the union, they will be in no shape, financial, or emotional, to survive a strike, while the AMPTP can rely on their parent companies to support them, while SAG starves itself into submission.

THE 5 CONSIDERATIONS OF WAR. Sun Tzu said that anyone going to war, or negotiating with cats, has to take 5 things into consideration.

These are:
  3. EARTH
1. THE MORAL LAW: Where the leadership and the rank and file share the same belief in the rightness of their cause, the nature of their goals, and how to achieve those goals. SAG is not united in either the rightness of their cause, the goals they must achieve, or in agreement on how to achieve their goals.

2. HEAVEN: This doesn't mean prayer, though it probably wouldn't hurt. This is about knowing the conditions you will be operating under, both physical, economic, and ecological, and how these conditions will affect your operations. None of the factions seem to realize the importance of a war chest, the weather they'll be walking pickets under, or how their enemy (the AMPTP) can use those conditions against them.

3. EARTH: This is all about logistics. What are logistics? Well, it's about the seemingly mechanics of getting things done. Getting bills paid, strikers to their picket lines, getting them fed, sheltered in bad weather, etc., etc... So far, the SAG factions seem more interested in getting organised against each other, rather than the AMPTP. This will put them in a state of weakness when negotiations start over that they might not recover from.

4. THE COMMANDER: This is all about pragmatic leadership. What is the leader's ambitions, do they synch up with the greater good of the cause, and what plans and considerations does this leader make for the negotiations and the potential strike? This is not a position for an idealogue or a fanatic, because they tend to lose sight of the Earth and Heaven, thinking their own destruction is enough to prove the rightness of their Moral Law. So far the leaders of the SAG factions are more interested in proving themselves right over each other than providing victory for their union.

5. METHOD & DISCIPLINE: This means having a good, detailed plan, and the discipline and unity to not only see that plan through, but be flexible enough to handle any disasters that may befall the plan. So far the SAG factions appear to have neither method or discipline. They have no plan to take on the AMPTP, and they have no united front to even compose such a plan.

I guess this explains why I'm so cynical when it comes to SAG and this contract.

No comments:

Post a Comment