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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
November 15

Entertainment News November 15 -TOP 3 Stories for Thursday

ALSO ON SITE

IATSE CALLS WGA 'STRIKE HAPPY'

Thomas Short, president of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, is blasting the Writers Guild of America and accusing its leaders of being determined to go on strike.

“It’s time to put egos aside and recognize how crucial it is to get everyone back to work, before there is irreversible damage from which this industry can never recover,” Short said in a letter to WGA West president Patric Verrone. (Click here to read Short's letter to Verrone on Variety's strike blog.)

IATSE, which reps most below-the-line employees, released the letter Wednesday, the 10th day of the WGA strike. No new talks are scheduled even though the guild and the companies have not met since negotiations collapsed Nov. 4.

Verrone was in D.C. on Wednesday along with SAG topper Alan Rosenberg meeting with members of Congress and other policymakers. In a statement issued in response to Short’s letter, Verrone said: “Our fight should be your fight,” and noted that “for every four cents writers receive in theaterical residuals, directors receive four cents, actors receive 12 cents and the members of your union receive 20 cents in contributions to their health fund.” (Click here to see Verrone's letter.)

WGA has continued to picket more than a dozen locations in Los Angeles and staged a protest outside the World of Disney store on Fifth Avenue in New York on Wednesday, drawing more than 400 supporters.

A large, inflatable, cigar-chomping pig stood at Fifth and 55th Street outside the World of Disney store. Barricades ran the length of the block between 55th and 56th when it became clear that the picketers would not be contained to the sidewalk.

“I’ve had a lot of pedestrians telling me, ‘Hey, good luck with this,’” said “Late Show With David Letterman” scribe Steve Young. “I don’t know if the approval of tourists is going to bring Les Moonves to his knees, but it makes us feel good.”

More than 50 TV series have been shut down by the strike, Short wrote in his letter to the WGA West.

“More will come,” he added. “Thousands are losing their jobs every day. The IATSE alone has over 50,000 members working in motion picture, television and broadcasting and tens of thousands more are losing jobs in related fields.”

The IATSE topper noted that he took issue late last year with Verrone over the WGA’s defense of its strategy in delaying contract talks with studios and nets until the summer.

“When I phoned you on Nov. 28, 2006, to ask you to reconsider the timing of negotiations, you refused,” Short said. “It now seems that you were intending that there be a strike no matter what you were offered, or what conditions the industry faced when your contract expired at the end of October.”

SPIELBERG TO RECEIVE DEMILLE AWARD

The Golden Globes will honor Steven Spielberg with the 2008 Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Spielberg has been nominated for Golden Globes 18 times and has won a total of six for four films: "Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," "E.T.," and "Letters From Iwo Jima."

Recent DeMille honorees include Warren Beatty, Anthony Hopkins and Robin Williams.

Globe nominations will be announced at 5 a.m. Dec. 13. The kudocast will air Jan. 13 on NBC.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. also announced that Rumer Willis has been named 2008 Miss Golden Globe.

WRITERS ARE WINNING OVER THE PUBLIC

There's an image war raging during the WGA strike, and the writers seem to be winning.

Public sympathy sides with the scribes, as a study, released Wednesday, indicates.

And during the past few weeks, mainstream media outlets have devoted significant coverage to the strike in news stories and op-ed pieces. Slate's Jack Shafer noted Tuesday that such coverage has been generally sympathetic.

It certainly helps the writers that the companies with which they are at war have CEOs that have to talk out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand, they have to claim everything is financially rosy so shareholders are happy. That includes profit forecasts from downloads and other digital platforms. Problem is, when it comes to the strike, that's the very area which they claim isn't monetizable at all.

But while writers may be enjoying their public standing, IATSE topper Thomas Short is swiping away, claiming that a strike was always pre-set.

"It's time to put egos aside and recognize how crucial it is to get everyone back to work, before there is irreversible damage from which this industry can never recover," Short said in a letter to WGA West's Patric Verrone.

The WGA trumpeted a pair of surveys Wednesday showing plenty of public sympathy with backing of 69% in a Pepperdine poll and 63% in a SurveyUSA poll, while the companies received a only a smattering of support with 4% and 8%, respectively.

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