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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: Possible strike by writers and actors
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2000 9:28:00 AM  

Message 1 in thread 

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>Will the rumored strikes by the Writers Guild and the actors affect any of
>your projects?
>

Depends on the production schedule and other factors. There will doubtless be
some impact, however; the question is one of the extent of that impact.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: Possible strike by writers and actors
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2000 10:44:00 AM  

Message 2 in thread 

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>Can anybody give more info on this? When might it come down? What are the
>issues?

Early summer, I think the current contract expires around June. The issues are
complex and lengthy, but some of the highlights include....

To help get new cable and broadcast networks going, the WGA gave them big
breaks on scripts and residuals. I.e., a script for a syndicated, or basic
cable show pays about *half* what you'd get on a network series, and the
residuals are also about half. This needs to be fixed now that they're making
billions of bucks.

Foreign buyouts are typically about five grand for an episode *in perpetuity*,
when we now see episodes running forever in overseas markets, as many as 500
times per episode in many cases. This needs to be fixed.

The biggest scam the studios have, now that most of them own their own cable
networks (as Universal owns USA Network for instance)...the current contract
states that a writer's residual on an episode is a small percentage of the per
episode fee paid by a network for the rights to run the show. This worked fine
when there was competition. But when Universal, for instance, is selling a
show to *itself*, it has a vested interest in selling it for the lowest
possible price so that the residuals are next to nothing.

Example: on a Murder She Wrote episode of mine, on its fourth run, it should
pull in about $5,000 in residuals. The fourth run figure that I got off USA
(owned by Universal, the producing entity of MSW)? About $50.

These inequities and a dozen others need to be addressed, including the vanity
director's credit.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: Possible strike by writers and actors
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/12/2000 11:43:00 AM  

Message 3 in thread 

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>Vanity director? Probably somebodys brother in law or something, right? Can
>you explain the problem aside from artistic vexation?

Vanity = "A Film By," in cases where the director just directed, he didn't
write the script.

>And what does the WGA contract have to do with the actors? Would they stage
>a
>sympathy strike?

The contracts expire close in time to one another.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: Possible strike by writers and actors
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/14/2000 7:05:00 AM  

Message 4 in thread 

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>Uh, my understanding of it was that (at least partially), she didn't want
>to be *on contract* for the whole season--JMS gave her a gentleman's
>promise that she'd be written out as necessary, but she'd still have to
>sign for all 22 eps--TNT rules and the like, I believe. That wasn't good
>enough--she wanted contractural assurance, which JMS couldn't give.

The reason for this is very simple: if you contractually pay someone 22
episodes worth for 18 episodes, that is a de facto per episode salary increase,
which would violate our agreements with all the other actors who had favored
nation status. Some of the cast came to me privately and said that if she were
to be allowed to do that and come back, *they* would leave the show.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: ATTN JMS: Possible strike by writers and actors
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/14/2000 11:56:00 AM  

Message 5 in thread 

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>Hmm. So when you wrote out Stephen Furst so he could do that film, but he
>was still contracted to do the whole of the season, did people threaten to
>walk then? Or is this situation different?

No, it's totally different. Stephen said he'd really like to do this sitcom,
and could we let him out of his contract enough to do it? We said yes, and he
told us he'd be available for x-number of episodes. We said great, and he was
paid for the number of episodes in which he appeared. So we were always
willing to work that out.

jms

(jmsatb5@aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
http://www.thestation.com
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)

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