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February 06, 2009

Comments

Further from anotherrecordingmusician:

And as for the 85 MILLION 802 talks about, since only about .5 percent share that money, the other 99.5 won't miss it.

And how many of the "other 99.5%" actually work as full-time musicians? It's just great when a union president better represents the people not working in the profession than those that do. As I've said before, the AFM is more of a hobbyist's club than a true union.

Antony,

Get your story straight, if you were ever told the real story that is. When Phil and Marc allowed Lee to enact that 2% tax they thought they were buying themselves a president to do their bidding. When he dared to continue to do the work for the whole membership and not bow down to the mightly Ayling and Sazar, the war started. Get your facts straight.

And I do disagree with downbeat on one point. Alying has no interest in making anything work, he is out to destroy Lee, and the AFM in total if that's what it'll take to take Lee down, such is the obsession for Phil if he doesn't get his way like a petulant kid.

Pete and the new board would do well to throw Alying and Sazar overboard while they still can. They are poison to the RMA and any future they may have within the federation,

And as for the 85 MILLION 802 talks about, since only about .5 percent share that money, the other 99.5 won't miss it.

And remember boys and girls, Your boy Dennis Dreith himself said in a Local 47 meeting, "You do the work, you pay the dues" end of story. There ain't no free money.

From anotherrecordingmusician:

"As well as being a studio player, I'm a composer and when I have to go there it's because of the BACKEND, skippy"

First - no one posting on this blog has the name of skippy.
Second - since "anotherrecordingmusician" is such a big-time studio player and composer, he can surely write a check for the $85+ million to replace the fund he's advocating decimating. BTW, that's just for this year.

Well well,

Antony's blowin' smoke again. As well as being a studio player, I'm a composer and when I have to go there it's because of the BACKEND, skippy. Keep making stuff up to excuse your self-imposed blindness. And, in case you didn't get it, London has had library scales for over 20 years and it hasn't affected their film scoring.

Also, save us the crap about going their for tax breaks. Are you insane? Lucas going there for tax breaks? They go for the name, they go for the strings, they go for the ensemble, they go for the lack of players trying to out-excerpt each other for attention, they go because there's no BACK END, they go for the attention to detail, they go because when you take a break, the principals of every section go back to hear wants going on tape, not just the concertmaster. They're there for excellence, not goose-eggs and a paycheck. Who exactly do you think you're fooling here?

Whatever you're smokin' there buddy you'd better lay off of it for a while. Keep it up, and in 5 years you'll be living in Seattle, or teaching at a music store.

I hear the RMA is having a meeting on the 12th. I'm sure you'll be able to keep your lemmings all in a row as you force them over the cliff so the selfish few can keep getting those July checks.

As Rick said, you're all a disgrace and poor excuses for human beings.

OK, Antony, fair enough - another interesting post. When you aren't attacking people, you've got quite a lot to say!

So here's my question for you: How do you propose the AFM deal with music libraries? I have to believe there's a better option than writing off an entire industry, a position which certainly costs AFM members some amount of work.

1) London has no back end on film, and no back end on library. So there’s much less downside in that respect. Comparing their situation to the US is apples and pineapples.
1) London scores mostly films shot in England. That’s natural.
2) Film scores from the US that go to London on occasion are due primarily to large government tax breaks. The buy out is not always the incentive there.
3) Other reasons include composers that reside there who like to stay home.
4) Some British films get scored here. If the buy out was so sweet, why would they do that?
5) What they do have that we do not is PPL, that pays them very nicely for record work. Look it up on the web.

AFM does not do research regarding all of this. Would you like to know who does? You guessed it, RMA. Why? It’s their business.

The sad part of all of this is that the propaganda spread around about library and buy out work comes from AFM leadership including NY and SF. The AFM responds to musicians outside of LA who “want more film work” rather than respond to the needs of the people actually engaged in the work in LA.

That propaganda, as has been stated many times on this blog, is unfounded and with no research, just emotions. Actual research is constantly being done by the players in the business.

Maybe someday the AFM can find the wisdom to embrace some real facts and research, rather than emotional propaganda from those who want to be in the business. It’s readily available by those who are in the business, and who make it their business to know so that they can stay in business!

Antony: Thanks for the education, and as much as you speculate I'm an AFM insider (I'm not), 80% of what your post contained was new to me. It's given me cause to reflect a bit. Ultimately, the buck must stop with Lee, no matter what he thinks of others, including those he disagrees most vehemently with. It's his responsibility, as AFM President, to find a way to make it work. That's his job. That doesn't change my opinion that the recording musicians lawsuits were a very bad idea that have completely changed the complexion of whatever communications and negotiations may have been happening between Lee and the RMA, but ultimately it's Lee's responsibility to find a through all of this.

802fiddler: Yes, I'm aware of the London situation and that they don't have full-time recording musicians, however my point was that their Musicians Union library scale has not destroyed their film/TV recording work. They have found a way to accommodate both industries, and so can the AFM. As I said before, I do not believe there is any reasonable justification for shutting an entire industry out of AFM recording contracts.

And now I’ll bite:
db: “Instead of battling him, treat him like a peer and approach him that way.”
An excellent idea.

A little history is in order here:
RMA supported Lee’s election at the 2000 convention.
RMA invited Lee out to sessions and dinners during the following year to nurture a professional working relationship. Good faith was plentiful from the RMA and seemingly from Lee. Lee was very much approached like a peer.
By 2002, Lee had changed his tune. He stopped responding to RMA in every way. By 2003, RMA aired their concerns publicly and Lee responded by sending a nine page diatribe to the entire AFM trashing the RMA, both members and leaders; a defining moment. That was the time for Lee to be a leader and sit down face to face. Instead, he engaged Bredhoff & Kaiser (George Cohen) to do battle with the RMA. There is a file in the archives called simply “RMA file”. Over $50,000 of dues money was spent by Lee. And for what?

Two-Way Street

Meetings have been going on ever since. They are most often initiated by RMA, and sometimes by concerned IEB members, but never by Lee. What’s vitally important here is for Lee to initiate, and with Ayling. The results might astound him. A leader can’t be a leader if he hides behind the “I don’t like Ayling’s personality” excuse.
We’ll approach Lee like a peer. Lee should then approach Ayling like a peer. Two-Way Street! Compromise! Will Lee compromise? To date, has he ever?

Accountability

Does a good leader admit when he’s wrong? He should. No WMDs, and Bush looked stupid, dishonest and insincere.

* Lee and the IEB create an inferior/no protection VG agreement, and the PMG is born.
PMG didn’t rise from thin air.

* Lee and the Canadians tax recording musicians beyond reasonable limits, without their participation, knowing they themselves would barely be subject to, and lawsuits are born. Lee and the Canadians knew exactly what would ensue. They all had to have wanted this war, assuming they would win and just collect the money from an enraged community. This is unionism?

Actions of the AFM leadership provoked drastic reactions. The AFM must recognize their accountability in what has taken place. Will they admit mistakes, or stubbornly stand by them forever? Can we have a two-way street and accountability?

Action/Reaction

The pattern here is clearly established:
The AFM attacks, they label the reaction as an action and they use that reaction as a political tool. Then they scream at the RMA to tell the players involved to reverse those reactions, preaching that these reactions are the root of all the AFM problems with the RMA. Clever politics, but inherently dishonest.
Will the AFM offer to reverse the actions that actually led to the reactions? Is this a two-way street? Or not?
The big denial is that these obstacles that they want to go away are all reactions to their actions.

And yes, I read “The Art of War”. But the AFM has no business having a warfare mentality towards its own members.

I’m all for approaching Lee as a peer. Lee might take note that peers don’t favor buyouts, they don’t obsess over personality differences, and peers don’t consider controlling their own business "extortion-like behavior".

Again, the PMG from downbeat:

"Now, if you've got some facts that can help me better understand the PMG and see some positives about it, I'm all ears. What is it's mission? Who are it's founders and leaders? And how, exactly, is the existence of the PMG in any way, shape or form in the best interests of the AFM?"

Well, I'm NOT biting into his big fishing expedition. His questions are of the "are you now or have you ever been" variety. The only facts I know about the PMG are that it exists and that no recording dates have ever been done under its aegis.

"Well, news flash, London has had union buyout scales for music libraries for decades, and fantastic orchestras like the LSO and others do quite well, attracting some of the top film/TV dates from John Williams on down."

I love comparing apples to oranges - While London "has had union buyout scales," what it doesn't have is any kind of a royalty structure in its contracts. London is London and LA, NY, etc. are LA, NY, etc. All London orchestras with the exception of the BBC and Covent Garden orchestras are essentially free-lance groups with a "right of first refusal" hiring list. As far as "doing quite well" is concerned, I know several London principal players who scramble for every last gig they can get because their pay is nothing like the living one can make here.There is no group of players there who do only recording work.

OK, 802fiddler, I'll bite. You want me to see the PMG in a new light? How about some facts, instead of the massive lack of information the recording musicians surround the PMG with.

Here are the facts I know about the PMG:

* It's mission, as detailed on its website, puts it into direct competition with the AFM, which incidentally isn't mentioned at all on its website. If that mission has changed, its officers sure aren't talking about it.

* It's founders refuse to be identified publicly

* The destination of the money raised from memberships is apparently a secret

* The number of members (paid and otherwise) it has is apparently a secret

* The organization's officers are the target of charges filed by Sam Folio relating to the PMG. If the organization was "dormant" as some here claim, I doubt those charges would keep on coming back time after time, and I doubt the website would be still be up advertising it's mission which, as mentioned before, puts it squarely in competition with the AFM.

* Its officers refuse to answer basic questions posed in public forums like this one about what the mission of the organization is and what its activities are.

* They were active at a previous Game Developers Conference attempting to recruit composers to record utilizing PMG sessions.

Now, if you've got some facts that can help me better understand the PMG and see some positives about it, I'm all ears. What is it's mission? Who are it's founders and leaders? And how, exactly, is the existence of the PMG in any way, shape or form in the best interests of the AFM?

And to respond to a different part of your post, Lee "bent on your destruction"?? I assume you're referring to special payments and/or the "threat" posed by initiatives like offering union buyout contracts to music libraries. Well, news flash, London has had union buyout scales for music libraries for decades, and fantastic orchestras like the LSO and others do quite well, attracting some of the top film/TV dates from John Williams on down. Hardly the "destruction" that some here seem so concerned about...


From downbeat:

" Lee is the opposite - he seems to be mostly a professional unionist, and those folks are only emboldened when threatened - it's the heart of old-school unionism, and those guys are fighters."

Yeah sure - Petrillo was a "fighter" and nearly wrecked this Union. We really need "old-school" people at the AFM to tear it apart once more.

"It means recognizing and respecting Lee...."

How does one "respect" a person bent on one's destruction?

"As I said, this will require some enlightened thinking."

Perhaps the "enlightened thinking" should start with the person singing the same tune about the PMG and the treacle about "new ideas."

Enligtened - "characterized by full comprehension of the problem involved"

Source: Dictionary

As I said, this will require some enlightened thinking. Is there not one person here who is interested in discussing new ideas, rather than focusing on personal attacks and allegations about comment posters?

Concern troll

A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user's sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.

For example, in 2006 Tad Furtado, a top staffer for then-Congressman Charlie Bass (R-NH), was caught posing as a "concerned" supporter of Bass's opponent, Democrat Paul Hodes, on several liberal New Hampshire blogs, using the pseudonyms "IndieNH" or "IndyNH." "IndyNH" expressed concern that Democrats might just be wasting their time or money on Hodes, because Bass was unbeatable.

A recently declassified World War II manual on sabotage recommends such techniques to derail any effective action: "Advocate 'caution.' Be 'reasonable' and urge your fellow-conferees to be 'reasonable' and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on... Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon." [14]

Although the term "concern troll" originated in discussions of online behavior, it now sees increasing use to describe similar behaviors that take place offline.

For example, James Wolcott in Vanity Fair[15] accused a conservative New York Daily News columnist of "concern troll" behavior in his efforts to downplay the Mark Foley scandal. Wolcott links what he calls concern trolls to Saul Alinsky's "Do-Nothings," giving a long quote from Alinsky on the Do-Nothing's method and effects:

These Do-Nothings profess a commitment to social change for ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity, and then abstain from and discourage all effective action for change. They are known by their brand, 'I agree with your ends but not your means.'

In a more recent example, The Hill published an op-ed piece titled "Dems: Ignore 'Concern Trolls'." Again, the concern trolls in question were not Internet participants; they were Republicans offering public advice and warnings to the Democrats. The author defines "concern trolling" as "offering a poisoned apple in the form of advice to political opponents that, if taken, would harm the recipient."

Souce: Wikipedia

OK, sessionman, I give up... what's "the key that would unlock the door and give them the solution"?

The overthrow of Tom Lee? Folio too for good measure?

AFM hands over the keys to the RMA guys who turn the federation into one big accounting office?

Certainly sounds like one party is controlling all the AFM's troubles (lawsuits, Fareplay, etc) assuming that they all can be made to "go away" if the AFM submits to the demands of the recording musicians that you allude to.

I would be amazed if Lee & Co. caved in for that kind of extortion-like behavior. In fact, I think you really read him wrong - while you're much more of a session player than a unionist, Lee is the opposite - he seems to be mostly a professional unionist, and those folks are only emboldened when threatened - it's the heart of old-school unionism, and those guys are fighters.

My suggestion: Instead of battling him, treat him like a peer and approach him that way. A consultational approach often works far better with people who are only strengthened and dig in when threatened or leverage is applied through power plays.

But that might actually involve a lot more thinking, a lot fewer lawsuits and personal attacks, and an end to the scorched earth policies like the PMG. It means being enlightened and finding new ways to communicate and work through issues instead of battling in federal court while only the lawyers get rich. It means recognizing and respecting Lee as the legitimate President of the AFM while at the same time strongly disagreeing with those policies he promotes that you object to. What's wrong here is that communications has broken down, and that will surely doom this effort. You guys need to find a way to restore communications one way or another.

You should read Sun Tsu - "The Art of War". All battles are won or lost BEFORE they are fought. A frontal assault on the AFM is a losing proposition for all, and that's exactly how it's playing out with the lawsuits, threatened RMA de-conferencing, etc. The recording musicians are outnumbered and outfinanced, so a frontal assault is a sure loser that will only result in major losses on both sides. There's a better way to do this, but it involves a much more enlightened approach to these differences between the recording musicians and the AFM. It means sticking just as hard to your beliefs, but ending the blame game and beginning to engage in a different way with those like Lee who you want to influence.

I don't understand. Why wouldn't AFM Leadership want to fix the mess. They've all been given the key that would unlock the door and give them the solution. I guess the IEB is basically spineless. They know where the problem lies but they are scared to death of you know who. In private ,many admit the dysfunction and the reason behind it but when it comes down to the real game they hide. The only two guys on the IEB that had a recording career, got run off by their own membership because they sold out.No one else on the IEB has any real understanding of the recording world.
No one on the IEB has the courage to stand up to the insanity that will ultimately destroy this Federation.

Cowards are even worse when they seek to harm others, when they seek power by dividing their constituency, when they resent anyone who is more successful than themselves and when they try to conceal their identities behind their words.
Many of us know who this poster is. Process of elimination is seldom this easy. There are very few who harbor such obsessive bitterness, which sadly includes AFM leadership.

Right on, Robert!

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