« Some unconnected thoughts | Main | Is suing the AFM wrong? »

February 27, 2009

Comments

In case downbeat posts an idiot response to my latest entry (as he did on the 'Data vs. Mantra' page), let me put the same response here too I did there in advance:

'I just knew 'downbeat would blow off any hard facts presented as as irrelevant. What a blowhard. The good news is that no-one is listening to him or talking to him any more. We all know it's just not worth it.'

And talk about game set and match! Take a look at the addendum to the FMSMF White Paper - released March 10 (fmsmf.org). With the actual numbers now published, 802fiddler stands completely vindicated in everything he claimed, a state of being that most of us (who actually work in the movie business!) knew all along. But I don't expect an apology or retraction from 'downbeat' and his pal 'anotherrecordingmusician' anytime soon.

Realrecordingmusician: Thank you. When more quantifiable data comes out - and it will - downbeat will find another hook to gyrate around.

Hey Real,

Apparently your own recording musician leaders are doing non-AFM jobs too.

OOPS!!!!

So you just keep on ignoring that fact, and 802fiddler just keep on posting your blatant lies as "verifiable facts", and the rest of us will discuss reality and the truth.

Until your own leaders stop doing Seattle, London, Skywalker, etc non-AFM jobs, you have no business criticizing anybody else for the SAME thing.

"Attack dogs"? Those would be the attorneys paid for by the recording musicians to attack the AFM in federal court.

802fiddler: You are wise indeed to decide against further debate with downbeat. Between him and his sidekick, it's a complete waste of time and effort. All they do is talk in circles all around their tired old mantra. It's the reset button syndrome. And they actually think they are entitled to answers to any challenge they raise.

I guess what frosts me the most - and countless others like me - is to work our entire careers upholding our end of the AFM bargain, only to see others, like these two blog characters, proudly touting that they pick and choose their obligations. These self-appointed, pious defenders - of all the AFM stands for - are the very ones undermining it at every turn, while they lecture us, and justify it by claiming "everybody does it"! B...S...!

Meanwhile, we find ourselves attacked and vilified for our principles, called selfish prigs, 'little twerps' (I suppose this is better than being a BIG twerp), as we witness the ongoing efforts by these characters to sabotage the contracts we honor.

They can get lost. I'm with you 802fiddler. These two attack dogs have no business being in the AFM, let alone speaking for it. Let them keep spinning here; they were made for each other.

Game, set and match. Over and out.

And the latest smart-Alec challenge from anotherrecordingmusician: "Dare you say that YOU'VE never done dark dates?"

Not much of a dare, but emphatically, NO, I NEVER HAVE DONE A DARK DATE. Happy now, Skippy???

Downbeat writes,

"Look, the RMA blames the AFM, the AFM blames the RMA, and on and on and on it goes in a giant pissing match that's hurting ALL musicians. The end game? The recording musicians will never leave the AFM, since they can't take their contracts with them. Lee knows that, and Ayling knows that - it's obvious. That being said, the RMA faces two losing choices: take a giant gamble and leave the AFM and negotiate contracts from scratch while competing with the AFM who is ready to offer more competitive terms to the producers and still has tons of great recording musicians even if the entire RMA left, or remain part of the AFM and continue the costly, nasty financial and legal battle that is only alienating them from the vast majority of the rest of their own union. A third option, apparently ignored by the recording musicians, is to negotiate a settlement with Lee & Co. that represents an appropriate and competitive compromise from the current "special payments for all film/TV" isolationist position and opens up more AFM recording jobs with benefits to more musicians.

Perhaps once the AFM gets competitive with the rest of the world and facilitates entire industries like music libraries that are shut out of AFM work now, we'll see a much larger and more reasonable group of recording musicians that aren't tied to the past like a ball and chain. "

Bravo Downbeat. Perfectly put.

Real,

What exactly is incorrect about my previous post about Pete Anthony? Dare you call me out? Of course not, because you know it's true.... hypocrite...
Rules only apply to others,.. not your and yours, right REAL? Dare you say that YOU'VE never done dark dates? Everyone who posts here will know your nose is growing if you do.

802fiddler, speaking of obfuscation, what do you call trying to sell your "verifiable fact" that Dennis' report utterly refuted? I can certainly see why want to turn the attention away from that particular subject. I was honest about doing dark dates, perhaps it's time for you to be honest and retract your blatantly false statement.

As far as player conferences go, I don't see any of them suing the AFM at every turn. Speaks volumes.

Look, the RMA blames the AFM, the AFM blames the RMA, and on and on and on it goes in a giant pissing match that's hurting ALL musicians. The end game? The recording musicians will never leave the AFM, since they can't take their contracts with them. Lee knows that, and Ayling knows that - it's obvious. That being said, the RMA faces two losing choices: take a giant gamble and leave the AFM and negotiate contracts from scratch while competing with the AFM who is ready to offer more competitive terms to the producers and still has tons of great recording musicians even if the entire RMA left, or remain part of the AFM and continue the costly, nasty financial and legal battle that is only alienating them from the vast majority of the rest of their own union. A third option, apparently ignored by the recording musicians, is to negotiate a settlement with Lee & Co. that represents an appropriate and competitive compromise from the current "special payments for all film/TV" isolationist position and opens up more AFM recording jobs with benefits to more musicians.

Perhaps once the AFM gets competitive with the rest of the world and facilitates entire industries like music libraries that are shut out of AFM work now, we'll see a much larger and more reasonable group of recording musicians that aren't tied to the past like a ball and chain. In the meantime, the true intentions of those who choose to attempt to destroy the AFM with lawsuits are clear, and may we all hope that growth and opportunity win out over bullying, intimidation and fear - the hallmarks of lawsuits.

Bottom line: We can either embrace the future and find ways to make it work, or fight the future while we cling to past, outdated business models that are unsupportable in today's global competitive marketplace. Like many other labor unions, the future in this case means dealing effectively with global competition which may make past union deals unworkable and uncompetitive. This trend is by no means limited to recording musicians!

We can choose to "protect" a tiny, relatively wealthy minority of players doing a shrinking number of "big orchestra" sessions, or open up entire new industries of work, potentially enabling far more work for a far greater number of players complete with good union benefits. That's the choice, and by this point I think we all know where we stand on this. The question is: what will be left of the AFM once the recording musicians are done with their attacks, and what will Lee & Co. do to deal with those who engage in blatant attacks in court on the AFM?

From downbeat :

"As for me, obviously I'm not neutral on things, and do not believe I ever claimed to be."

Sorry, I mistook his friendly "informational" queries for someone who just desired to learn rather than his true anti-royalty "create (dilute) work" agenda.

"Sorry if discussion about the RMA, PMG, and its leaders is disturbing to you. Recording musicians are attacking the AFM with costly federal lawsuits - that makes it the business of every AFM member who cares about the survival of the AFM."

Constant talk about the RMA, PMG, etc. is not discussion - it is obfuscation and misdirection. The RMA started with the strategy of "change the AFM from within." It has watched the "Blue Ribbon Committee," the "Unity Committee," and the "Futures Committee" come and go at various AFM conventions without adoption of their major recommendations. At the rate the AFM is going, it will eventually fall of its own weight with or without lawsuits. In actuality, the player conferences have the most to gain by the AFM's survival - just not in its present form.

Nothing can be gained by further "discussion" with downbeat.

Amazing to watch the gyrations of these two - their whole energy is spent trying to bring everyone down to their level - and they think just by saying what they do, often enough, makes it so. God forbid one should call them on anything.

Downbeat!,

I nearly spit out my hot chocolate when I read REAL's comment about you doing dark dates! Almost every A lister does dark dates. Show me an a-lister who says he's never done a dark date and I'll show you a world class liar. A top a-list trumpet player I know does them on a regular basis as do top string players, ww players, perc players et al. ALL of them, especially since the downturn.

and the gall of the little twerp REAL playing all high and mighty when their own president Pete Anthony was filmed conducting the film "The Waterhorse" at Abby Road in London. While they're always ready to hang anyone who dares play non-union who isn't one of them, their own president does it and the hypocrites say nothing. Remember, only THEY are above the law, right? (Cheney/Bush) Also, since the Local 47 board is owned by the RMA they didn't do their job and file charges against Pete, such is the corruption of Local 47.

Not to mention that before Pete found his royal gig, he was the King of Seattle conducting and orchestration yet now heads the group ready to crucify anyone who dares work there.

Hypcrites galore....

So Real, when you're done with your nasty personal attacks, just WHO do you think it's "pretty clear" I am?

As far as dark dates go, we need look no farther than the leadership of the RMA-LA, a frequenter of Seattle in years past, and conductor in London more recently, all non-AFM. Recording musicians long ago lost the ability to criticize ANYBODY for doing non-union work when those precedents were set time after time, film after film.

And we also get the ultimate admission from downbeat, the great defender of unionism, principles and integrity:

"As far as dark dates, like most recording musicians, I've done plenty of those."

So much for trust. This is a pretty astounding revelation. I'd like to remind him of the oath he took when becoming an AFM member. And I'd like to see him quantify his charge of "most recording musicians", just like he always demands of everyone else about everything else. Oh - and just in case he wants to make another 'smart-Alec' challenge - I have never done a dark recording date.

Nothing coming from downbeat ever can have any credibility again, if indeed it ever did. He has been caught red-handed in the final act of his deception. Just look at him spin. It's pretty clear who he is; it's now pretty clear what he is.

Well, well - 802fiddler - glad to see you're back. Are you ready to retract your "verifiable fact" that most of the new special payment fund contributions are from indie films, especially when Dennis' report utterly demolished your so-called "fact" with this bit of fuzzy logic:

"There is little doubt that the ability to capture significant numbers of low-budget and independent films has been a major contributing factor to the recovery of the market share. This, in addition to capturing a number of foreign produced films gives rise to the speculation of a continuing increase in the market share. It is very difficult at this time to quantify what
percent of the overall contributions to the Fund collections are coming from these films. "

Perhaps you're the disingenuous one here, trying to peddle your opinion as a "verifiable fact", apparently hoping nobody would read the report and find you out.

As for me, obviously I'm not neutral on things, and do not believe I ever claimed to be. Dennis was the one who was claiming neutrality earlier in this thread, that's his business.

And no, I don't get checks from the FMSMF, as most of my union work has been for film/TV advertisements and my reuse checks do not come through that fund.

Sorry if discussion about the RMA, PMG, and its leaders is disturbing to you. Recording musicians are attacking the AFM with costly federal lawsuits - that makes it the business of every AFM member who cares about the survival of the AFM.

From downbeat:

"You apparently suffer under the misimpression that ALL union film/TV recording jobs pay FMSMF residuals. Perhaps for the "nifty 150" that's true, but not for the "rest of us"."

Since 18,000+ musicians and dependents receive annual checks from the FMSMF with over 2000 musicians receiving checks of four and five figures (pg. 15 of the FMSMF White Paper downbeat claims to have read), I find his statement - quoted above - disingenuous to say the least (I'm being kind). His claim that he is a neutral, interested party belongs in the dustbin along with his oft-repeated mantras of "PMG, RMA, Ayling, Sazer,London, Seattle, elite, etc.

Hey Real,

I think you've got a bit too much time on your hands, but I'm flattered you're so interested in me and my posts that you'll dig through months of history to try and find your own little "Perry Mason" moment.

You apparently suffer under the misimpression that ALL union film/TV recording jobs pay FMSMF residuals. Perhaps for the "nifty 150" that's true, but not for the "rest of us". Many union recording jobs, even for film & TV, pay no residuals for various reasons.

You also assume that FMSMF are the only residuals that AFM union jobs whose music is destined for film/TV can generate, another wrong assumption - ever recorded on an AFM contract for advertising/jingles? I have.

As far as dark dates, like most recording musicians, I've done plenty of those.

But hey, I guess since I'm not suing the pants off the AFM and trashing its leadership at every turn, and since I'm not a dues-paying member of the mutinous PMG, that doesn't make me a "real" recording musician, huh?

Oh yeah, and I don't go to London to record non-AFM while complaining about people who go to Seattle to record non-AFM. Guess I won't qualify for RMA membership either.

Downbeat - in your own words, December 29, 2008:

"I have worked for several different contractors in LA on film, TV and a few videogame dates........."

To say now that you are "not a member of the fund" - if you are a recording musician, and unless you only played dark dates, you are a bold-faced liar. There is no way you could NOT be receiving back-end payments. Say no more.

Thanks, Dennis - very helpful. Actually I am not a member of the fund - that may have been someone else who was posting here, in fact I suspect many who post here are members of the fund. I applaud your transparency and appreciate you taking the time to address my questions here.

Any one who has been an observer of the Fund should know that since my being “installed” as Administrator as one poster put it, the Fund has been run with unprecedented transparency (not my opinion but that of two different independent auditing firms who have examined the books and records of the Fund). To promote this, even though much of the information requested is readily available elsewhere, I will nonetheless gladly answer Downbeat’s questions, even though I don’t believe that they have anything to do with the state of the industry. I should also point out the while the White Paper contains a great deal about the “back-end,” it does define a market share and compare scoring between the major scoring venues.

* Who is currently on the oversight committee? Your report states "up to 3 producers".

Currently, Nick Counter, President of the AMPTP is the sole member of the Committee from the Industry, although there have been additional members of the Committee in the past. Also, I understand that the AMPTP plans on appointing 2 additional members to the Oversight Committee later this year.

* Who, other than the oversight committee, oversees the operation of the fund? For instance, who decides what your salary is and who would you go to in order to get a salary increase?

Most of the oversight of the Fund is handled by the Oversight Committee and the Liaisons to the Committee. The Liaisons currently consist of AFM President Tom Lee, and RMA President Phil Ayling, with additional participation by AFM general counsel. My Employment Agreement is traditionally re-negotiated every three years. Generally, the AFM Liaisons, AFM general counsel and the entire AMPTP Labor Relations Committee (the same group that the sits at the bargaining table during negotiations) reviews and approves my agreement.

* Do members have online access to their distribution details so they can track their specific earnings?

The Fund established a website with a secure private area for Participants to access a wide variety of personal information literally years before the Pension Fund or the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund established their websites. The Fund’s website, in addition to posting general information for Participants, beneficiaries and Producers, has a secure Private area where Participants can access to their individual current and prior annual statement, view their tax status, make changes to their beneficiary status, and many other useful items. We don’t keep a running track of statements until we are close to making the distribution as it is not possible to generate a statement until all allocations, deduction of expenses and taxes are finalized.

I seem to recall that Downbeat stated in an earlier posting that he/she was an active motion picture musician who received annual payments from the Fund. As such, I am a little surprised that he/she is not aware of what is available on the Fund’s website and urge him/her to sign up for Private Area access to better satisfy his/her stated curiosity “…in how the fund works, how it's managed, and what benefits it provides, including how technology is used. ” Most if not all the questions about this area would be answered by active use of the website especially access to the Private Area.

* Are non-AFM musicians eligible for fund distributions?

If you take note of the chart at page 15 of the White Paper, you will see that for the most recent distribution roughly 19.4% of those entitled to a distribution were non- members of the AFM. As has already been explained by Robert, there are a number of legal reasons why this transpires.

* Are non-US musicians, such as European musicians, eligible for fund distributions, and must these go through some Euro society or can the musicians be paid directly?

Many of the non-union Participants are European musicians as well as musicians in other foreign territories. Often, they are attached to a foreign composer (orchestrator, etc.) or are a soloist a foreign composer requires as someone integral to the score. In other instances they are foreign musicians utilized for a unique foreign color (e.g. the Irish band The Chieftains who were featured in the film Far and Away). Payments to foreign musicians are processed by the Fund directly to the foreign musician and are not paid to any Foreign Collective or Foreign Society.

OK, anotherrecordingmusician, I was wrong. Over the last couple of months there have been more than 2 voices in your camp! You are actually a mighty army of 3.

However, as I review recent threads, there are at least 15 bloggers, not 4, who strongly disagree with you, and that's not all of them. And I'm being generous.

Meanwhile, downbeat continues to protest way too much.......

Another,

Interesting perspective. I get the feeling from the report that Dennis is purposely focusing on the backend stuff only, since that's the function of the FMSMF. It would be very interesting to get an entire picture of the current situation for recording musicians (front end + back end) but only the Local and the AFM have this data - you've been getting some financial reports from either the Local or the AFM as I recall from some previous posts - any data/numbers to post to add to the discussion? As detailed as possible, and please cite sources.


Real,

OK, you're right, you got me, my cover's blown, there IS a conspiracy, and YOU are the target, as you suspected all along. Admiral Lee will not be happy. We'll be arriving in a black helicopter per the Patriot Act in the latest act of rendition to whisk you to a camp in an undisclosed foreign country for interrogation!

They are basic questions, and now you and others are choosing to add all kinds of ulterior motives. Is that the cost of having an opinion about issues that doesn't always agree with the "party line" around here?..As I've said before, may we please stick to the issues, and avoid the conspiracy theories? I think the issues are important enough to warrant that.

The issues are indeed important. But they have nothing to do with the operation of the FMSMF. No one, including you, was raising any issues about the operation of the Fund until the white paper came out.

The white paper was not about the operation of the Fund, but about how much money it had to distribute, the sources of that money, and to whom it was distributed. So Dennis makes a contribution to the debate with some facts. Obviously not all the facts necessary to judge whether or not the current CBAs are working well are contained in the white paper. But some are. And Downbeat's response is to ask a bunch of questions about the Fund that have little or nothing to do with the facts the white paper presents.

I'm happy to "stick to the issues." As I see it, the issues are 1) the relationship between the RMA and the AFM, and 2) whether or not the current compensation structure is the appropriate one for the labor market in question.

Do the kinds of questions you ask about the FMSMF have anything do with either of those issues? I don't see how. And, not seeing how, I am led to wonder why they are asked at this point in time.

Downbeat,

They cannot stick to the issues because the truth is not on their side. they know their business practices are destroying their own market and know that if they try hard enough they can make it last just long enough for them to retire, leaving everyone else to burn. Bush/Cheney in LA

You called it exactly right, this white paper is a brochure for the like minded koolaide drinkers which talks far more about the money made on the back end and not the session money being lost day after day on the front end. Indie may be up, but the sessions pay far less and the income is down.

They only care about holding the fire back until they can get their money and get out.

Further, we all know here that Dreith with never give the full story if it doesn't work to the advantage of Sandy/Ayling/Sazar. He knows where his bread is buttered and who he's there to serve. They can cry their crocodile tears, but they know it's the truth as well as we do.

Also, as far as there being only 2 descenting voices here,.. there are only 4 on the other side, so by your thinking, not many feel like you do either.

I'll tell you this though. Push comes to shove, your leaders will drop you over a cliff in a 32nd note if it's to their advantage, while the rank and file will look out for each other. We've seen it time and time again.

The comments to this entry are closed.