Thursday, 15 January 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #214: On Thinking Ahead

Nikki Finke reports that the Motion Picture & Television Fund will be closing their retirement and hospital facilities by the end of the year, citing a $10 million annual loss for the organization as the main reason.

I think this is just awful. While every hears about the "A-List" and their overblown salaries, we don't hear about the thousands of Hollywood workers who toil in anonymity, who can barely pay their rent, let alone health insurance and retirement funds, and who rely on the MPTF as their safety net.

Now I could criticize the industry for not properly maintaining these institutions financially, I mean billions of dollars pass through the industry every year. $10 million a year is about 1/10th the budget of an average Hollywood film, without special effects, and only one major star. The money is out there, it's just not being managed right.

But knowing that Hollywood folks aren't really that good at seeing anything beyond their next paycheck, and aren't capable of realizing that one bad career decision, a bad accident, or a Bernie Madoff, could put them in need of the fund and its services, I've decided to do something constructive. I am offering fund-raising ideas to save the facilities.

1. Media outlets that do Awards Show red carpet spots should pay a fee to the fund. It doesn't have to be a big fee, but if you want a shot of Angelina Jolie's latest gown, or get the celebs to talk to you, then you gotta pony up some dough for the fund. And the unions should strictly enforce this with fines if they talk or pose to non-paying outlets.

2. A paparazzi tax. Get the state to pass a law that 30% of all fees earned by paparazzi get donated to the fund. It should help curb a lot of those semi-amateur paps who scurry around celebs like ants on a picnic when their profit margin after legal fees, trespassing fines, and overhead are paid.

3. Get celebrities to fake scandals. This will work in two ways. First, the money paid by the tabloids for the dirt will be donated to the fund, then when the celebrities sue for libel they can kick back a share after their legal fees are paid.

I'm pretty sure that'll earn enough to cover the losses, and leave enough for an endowment fund that won't be run by Bernie Madoff.

What suggestions do you folks have to save the fund and its facilities?

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