Bartman: Not a blog, but a column
From a blog I used to have called Otherpeoplesblogs.
I’m usually not a fan of Peter Bart, (or any of the Variety columnists), but today’s column is pretty spot on.
He sounds like he’s hedging his bets on the Brad Grey-Paramount rumors. Not to tempt what Bill Cosby calls “Worse”, but things really cannot be any worse at Paramount. (Cosby used to have this great routine where he said that just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, “Worse” would follow you over to the blackjack table.) All the people I know who work there say it is one of the most depressing places to be at these days in Hollywood.
Bart also points out that Academy members are screwed when it comes to getting rid of screeners they no longer want, since they can be traced back to them. Throw them away at your own peril, because you never know where they could end up after you toss them in the trash.
He ends the column with what a mess SAG has become of late.
HARDLY ANYONE is paying attention, but there’s still a chance that the noisy, neurotic Screen Actors Guild could shut down the industry. As negotiations meander along, the following question is being asked by some of the grown-ups: When will professional actors take SAG back from the rancorous non-pros?
I looked at a confidential survey last week, which reminded me that those actors making under $1,000 a year cast more than 50% of the votes on recent ballots. For the nine elections since 1999, 70% of those voting earned under $5,000 a year from their trade.
In short, the fate of the working actor increasingly is being decided by extras or by those who may have had work in the past but are no longer active.
The upshot of this imbalance is readily apparent in SAG internal politics. Melissa Gilbert, the SAG president, and CEO Bob Pisano (both of them responsible leaders) cling to power by the thinnest of margins. Their asylum seems always about to be taken over by the outpatients.
Though there are several reasons for this, the bottom line is that the true professionals of the acting business — including the top stars — simply don’t take enough interest in the affairs of their own guild. Many are simply too self-involved; others have grown frustrated by the sheer nastiness of SAG’s internal dialogues. An example: Noah Wyle, who won a seat on the board, came to one meeting and, apparently disgusted by the vitriol, has never been seen again.
The structure of the guild is itself an obstacle, but other unions have reinvented themselves and SAG may have to bite the bullet — or risk being shot in the foot.
Suddenly, the WGA’s politicking does not look so bad.