Thursday, January 17, 2008

The DGA deal and other topics

The DGA just announced a tentative agreement with the AMPTP. As a writer and a director, I'm waiting for more analysis before I decide whether that's a good thing or not.

Meanwhile, could Nikki Finke have picked a worse week to go on hiatus? Now I have to get my strike updates from the crank who stands in front of Jamba Juice.

There’s a new kid on the blogosphere. Earl Pomerantz, writer of TAXI, CHEERS,THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, creator of MAJOR DAD, BEST OF THE WEST, and one of the original producers of COSBY, now has a blog. He’s very funny. Here’s a sample from his first post:

I’m proud of my credits, except perhaps for one. I acted in a movie called "Cannibal Girls." Pretty girls pick up hitchhikers, lure them home promising certain enticements – I can’t remember what they were, though I remember the pretty girls didn’t button their shirts all the way up. After serving us a sumptuous banquet, the pretty girls kill us and eat us. I can’t recommend "Cannibal Girls", since I haven’t seen it all the way through.
You can check out Earl’s blog here.

Lock your doors and hide your daughters and football memorabilia. O.J. Simpson is out of jail again. Who needs to write jokes when the actual bail bonds firm he used is named “You Ring We Spring”?

Jack Bauer is out of the hooskow next week. He’s staying in the Emmy winner’s wing of the Glendale jail.

Picketing highlight of the week: Elvis Costello was marching with us Wednesday at 20th.

Expected temperatures for the two NFL championship games: New England 23 degrees with 20 mph winds. Green Bay 6 degrees. Might we have Ice Bowl 2? Why in God’s name does anyone go to those games? Brett Farve gets $9 million dollars. The idiot fan with the cheese hat gets frostbite and trench foot. Can you not be a real Packer fan if you haven't lost the tips of three fingers? Do these people know the games are ON TELEVISION?! Starting price for a ticket to Lambeau Field (I kid you not): $588.

Great headline in THE ONION: “Phil Simms Mistaken for Life-Sized Cardboard Cutout Of Phil Simms”.

Because SEINFELD is Giant quarterback Eli Manning's favorite show, the Milwaukee affiliate will not air it Saturday night, figuring Manning will be in his hotel room and probably would be watching it. Maybe they should also send Jessica Simpson up to his room.

By the way, new nickname for Jessica Simpson among Dallas Cowboy fans: Yoko Romo.

I will be guesting Friday with Paul Harris on KMOX, St. Louis from 2-3 pm. I imagine we’ll be discussing the WGA strike and ways to make a chicken.

How perfect that up against the season premiere of AMERICAN IDOL NBC aired THE BIGGEST LOSER.

Mac users: is there anything worse than seeing that damn little spinning beach ball?

Woody Allen is often criticized for churning out a movie a year but at least his premises are fresh and original. His new one CASANDRA’S DREAM is about two brothers who kill someone in the act of a crime. And before you say that’s the exact same premise as BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD just know Woody Allen’s movie is completely different. It's set in London.

They have “Open Mic” nights in comedy clubs. How about “Open Knife” night at Benihana’s?

35 comments:

gwangung said...

My totally useless snap judgement?

Might be good for directors, but real potential for screwing the writers and actors (um, what else is new?). Capping internet residuals at $1200? Bleh.

Delicious said...

They have “Open Mic” nights in comedy clubs. How about “Open Knife” night at Benihana’s?

That's like that the perfect companion for a "sing-along" Messiah at Christmas is a "dance-along" Nutcracker.

Jake Hollywood said...

Re: Phil Simms, a cardboard cutout of a cardboard cutout, how ironic.

Green Bay in a walk (Eli will feel the pressure of being the Manning that has to win and he'll fall under its weight).

The Bolts actually prove that the Pats are not invincible. San Diego by five.

And the DGA deal? Ummm...not so good for the WGA as presently constituted, but a starting point. Of course, it remains to be seen if the AMPTP is actually serious about returning to the talks--even "informally." I'm guessing it's another stall tactic.

And the real highlight would've been if Diana Krall had marched with Elvis.

And that damn Mac beachball has been annoying me all week.

Tim W. said...

Speaking of Macs, no comment on the new Apple rollouts? Especially considering how much of an impact I think Apple TV will have on the future. I think it's going to be one of those things that most people take little notice of, but ends up being groundbreaking. Jobs apparently wants to do to DVD's what he did to floppy discs. That should be fine with the WGA since they already got jobbed on DVD residuals.

Breckgrrl said...

Jake,

The Bolts by five? Rivers has a partially torn ACL. He is reportedly going to play but how effective can he be? LT is injured also. I don't think it bodes well for the Chargers

And, yes, I despise the Mac beachball too. We call it the beachball of death at work.

Paul Atkinson said...

I went to the last regular season Packers game (vs. Lions) and LOVED it. But I was on a trip from Atlanta. I can take 19 degrees for one day all bundled up. The whole winter? No thank you.

S. said...

Actually, there is something worse than the Mac beachball: the sand clock of Windows.

Lyvvie said...

Spinning beachball is most definitely a huge annoyance.

l.a.guy said...

"could Nikki Finke have picked a worse week to go on hiatus?"

I think it's more likely she's languishing bound, gagged and floating in a sensory deprivation tank in the basement of AMPTP head quarters.

Notice how fast the DGA & AMPTP were able to make a deal with her out of the way?

Bitter Animator said...

Hasn't the Windows sand clock been retired? I think it's a little blue circle now - like one of those fancy frisbies that came out years ago. You know, the ones that looked like they'd take a head clean off.

Didn't Apple start the hourglass thing? I seem to remember my old Mac Plus (I'm old) having one.

Ken Levine said...

Forget Apple TV. The BIG news at MacWorld was the introduction of Time Capsule -- a bay station with a hard drive for backing up your computer!!!

Okay, so one of the engineers was my son. But it's still neat!

Gridlock said...

Technical name for the beach ball: SPOD, for Spinning Pointer of Death.

The frisbee you're referring to is the Aerobie, which flew so far and was so thin that in most cases it was a "fire and forget" toy. I think whoever invented it didn't like children very much.

Didn't Britney's local K-Mart put a $1200 cap on her cough syrup purchases?

Bitter Animator said...

Ah yes, the Aerobie. That was the one.

The Crutnacker said...

Open knife nite at Benihana's? Gotta earn your chops somewhere. In fact, I think that is indeed where OJ got his start.

As for football, your views on this are clearly shaped by your years in that place where football goes to die, L.A.

DrBear said...

Hey, I live in Green Bay. Around here below-zero just means you can't go diving without a helmet.

As for the station - it's the Fox station in Green Bay, not Milwaukee - my suggestion was to run the last half-hour of "Fail Safe."

Adam said...

the mac bomb icon was ahead of its time.

did anyone read the semi-recent story of the chemist who invented some major blockbuster drug a while back (generating billions for the pharma company that employed him) and who just was let go? the thrust of the piece: as an employee, his work was owned by his employer. i'm just curious: are writers treated differently because they're independent contractors or something? or is the entertainment field just an exception to the (seemingly standard) practice that inventors/creators do not own their inventions/creations if created in the course of doing their job?

just curious.

John S said...

It's actually the Green Bay affiliate that's not airing SEINFELD.

Mary Stella said...

Who needs to write jokes when the actual bail bonds firm he used is named “You Ring We Spring”?

If you get arrested in the Keys you can call a bond firm with the slogan, "Arrive on Vacation, Leave on Probation."

Vermonter 17032 said...

Ken,

Before you go blaming the Cowboys loss on Jessica Simpson ("Yoko Romo"), I think you should check out the other -- much more likely -- suspect. The Curse of Flutie:

http://coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2061_Only_a_flake_would_doubt_the_Curse_of_Flutie.html

Tom Quigley said...

Aside from knowing whether or not what the DGA got in the new contract will lead to a re-start of talks, the PR spin on it will probably be from the studios and networks that now they can say that the Writer's Guild is the party that is dragging its feet ("See how easy it was for us to agree on a new contract with the directors?") when in fact the truth remains that they're the ones who broke off the negotiations...

BTW, Jake Hollywood: Agree with you wholeheartedly -- seeing Diana Krall out there would've certainly pepped up my spirits to keep on marching -- or maybe go home and take a cold shower...

Bitter Animator said...

>>did anyone read the semi-recent story of the chemist who invented some major blockbuster drug a while back (generating billions for the pharma company that employed him) and who just was let go? the thrust of the piece: as an employee, his work was owned by his employer. i'm just curious: are writers treated differently because they're independent contractors or something?<<

Adam, the law varies from country to country but in most countries, if you are a full-time employee, the company owns the work you create in the course of that employment.

Over where I am (the UK), that applies in theory to writers too. However, there are very few (I can't think of any off-hand) situations in which a writer is in what could be called full-time employment. Usually a certain number of scripts are commisioned, like contract work. In that case, the rights have to be legally signed over or the writer owns it completely and that's where contracts can be negotiated to keep certain rights or backend interests.

Not sure how that works in terms of the US and staff writing, whether that's considered full-time employment, but with the WGA, I'd say the writers already negotiated their way out of the 'employer owns all' situation a long time ago.

Kari said...

Ken, as a Wisconsin girl, I can tell you it's not a football game unless there's a pretty good chance you might die there.

John said...

Ken, I agree about Time Capsule -- Not as cool as either Apple TV or the new Air MacBook with the flash drive memory, but odds are it will be far more useful right away (One USB port on Air? Carry two attachments that don't have the ability to wirelessly connect and you need to buy a hub and lug that everywhere you go).

The only problem with Time Capsule is to get the full effect, you need to upgrade all your computers to Leopard. But if you just upgrade the sever, it still can double as an external backup hard drive, at $499 for a 1 tetrabite unit, which will store a hunka data. Tell your son congratulations on the product.

As for the NFL games on Sunday, the Giants already have played in worse weather this season, at Buffalo a month ago -- 35 degrees and freezing rain and sleet turning to snow is far more craptacular than five degrees, clear with light winds. They won that game, but Eli fumbled five times and threw two interceptions, so that part of the offense doesn't bode well. Green Bay by 5, but the Giants can win if they get Jacobs and Bradshaw going.

Chargers-Pats is supposed to be cold with winds between 20-25 mph, which is good for San Diego if LT can go, since New England's worst game on offense this season was when the winds effed up their passing game in Baltimore. But with their injuries, it's going to be hard to keep up with the Pats on offense under less than gale force conditions, so the Chargers might want to consider inviting Rachelle Washington to the game and having her stand in the back of whichever end zone the Patriots are driving towards. Also make sure the trainer puts a bandage on her finger. And some deodorizer.

SDT said...

Quick fix for the beachball: install more RAM. For $100 you'll never see it again ...

Anonymous said...

My only comment on the DGA deal... you thought writers really wanted to direct before.

Doktor Frank Doe said...

Hey! The forecast is several degrees higher in New England than originally thought! GO CHARGERS!

psychicman said...

Bank this...

Greebay - 21
New York - 17

New England - 31
San Diego - 14

Anonymous said...

I like to go to Open Mac night at the Genius Bar

mike bell said...

In our edit suites, it is know as "The Dreaded Spinning Beachball Of Death!!!"

I used to edit on a system called "The Turbo Cube." On my first day at work, the Production Manager told me I was to NEVER shut the Turbo Cube computer off, as it was so old they were afraid it wouldn't come back on.
I believe it was the original Apple that Jobs and Wozniak built in their garage.

In the event that the computer WAS shut off for any reason, we kept our eyes out for something much worse that the beachball.

I'm sure long time MAC users remember "The Bomb!!!"

Anonymous said...

Ken, have you seen Julia Boorstin's report on the DGA deal with the producers? She says "Now the pressure is REALLY on the writers--will they work off the terms of the producers deal? I haven't seen the terms yet, but I'm curious to see if the settlement can re-cast the issue as an amicable compromise and perhaps convince the writers that they can make a similar deal and save face." (Boorstin)

Can you believer her!! Why is it that the WGA's case is being totally misrepresented or worse yet --ignored. I haven't seen any media reports that present the writer's case like you do in your blog. Ken, something has to be done to keep these so-called reporters from getting away with this crap!!

Bob Lawrence

Tim W. said...

"Forget Apple TV. The BIG news at MacWorld was the introduction of Time Capsule -- a bay station with a hard drive for backing up your computer!!!

Okay, so one of the engineers was my son. But it's still neat!"

Your son was one of the engineers on it?? You just flew up a few rungs on the hero ladder for me. Hey,Time Capsule is the first thing I am getting from the MacWorld speech. I was just saying a couple of months ago that I wanted a hard drive to use with Time Machine, but really didn't want to plug my laptop into it every time. What I really wanted as a wireless hard drive, but couldn't find such a thing. Plus, we just got a new printer and though it was bluetooth compatible, you had to spend an extra $100 and the reviews I read didn't recommend buying it, because it didn't work well anyway. Gee, it would be nice if the printer were wireless, too....

Then I see Time Capsule. Please thank your son personally for me.

J.Alexander said...

Hmmm. Now it is kind of obvious. The producers really do not want to unionize reality shows and animation.

J. Alexander

Buttermilk Sky said...

You go to Packers games so you can wear the shirt that says "I Survived the End-Zone Snow Slide of ____." And of course the cheese hat.

Anonymous said...

My bailbondsman Art doesn't have a cutesy company name, but he does have a fine slogan: "I'll get you out if it takes 10 years."

Ken said...

Unfortunately for Microsoft, not enough people have upgraded to Vista to know the hourglass has been replaced by the Spinning Blue Aerobie of Death.

Not matter what is in the DGA agreement, would it have been as good for them if the WGA had not gone on strike?