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April 08, 2009

Comments

"If your skills justify your wage, you will be able to keep your wage." - Anonymous

Precisely, and which finally acknowledges recording musicians are actually worth their keep. Unfortunately, some damaging concepts being recklessly bandied around for film work would decimate *everyone* livelihoods in the recording business. A decent living would disappear for everyone, regardless of a film's budget, and one can only conclude that this is the idea.

Meanwhile, those who run around saying that the RMA dictates who works, and for what, is totally without merit. This is neither its role, scope or desire. Don't believe those who claim otherwise, and have said it so loudly and often that many AFM members actually believe it.

Oh, but they'll be back with more. Just watch.......


aREALrecordingmusician doesn't seem to understand that no one wants to stop rewarding excellence in the marketplace. Some of us simply object to top-down control of an industry, i.e. work conditions and access controlled by RMA. We have a union to represent our industry-wide interests; RMA represents only parochial RMA interests. And now that the RMA has met resistance it has become destructive -- most self-righteously I might add. We all believe in a competitive marketplace where merit is rewarded. We want the marketplace to be more open, not less -- more competitive, not less. And we recognize that the marketplace is an international phenomenon not restricted to Los Angeles, however superior and entitled you feel you may be.

Should ICSOM be blamed because everyone cannot be a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra?

Funny you should say that, because actually, *IF* ICSOM were, through the AFM, preventing anyone in the Chicago area from doing orchestral work for less than 120k/year, then yes, people *would* be blaming ICSOM and the AFM for being unemployed, and rightly so.

In the orchestral world, there is room for good, better, and best. People who want the best can support and pay for it. People who are satisfied with less, perhaps can't afford the best or honestly can't tell the difference, can chose a lower tier. Despite lower wages and high quality playing, I don't see the Grant Park Symphony or Symphony II or Chicago Sinfonietta or the Elgin Symphony creating a race to the bottom with the CSO. If your skills justify your wage, you will be able to keep your wage. If not, well...

"oh i'm sorry I think the Chicago Symphony has blind competitive auditions for seats in that orchestra." - RealMusician2

Apparently you think there is no competition in the studio world, where complete bozos somehow manage to fool everybody that they can deliver all manner of goods time and time again, whenever the red light goes on, in all situations and circumstances - and where getting called again reflects one's success in the daily audition. Such disrespect of a remarkable and unique professional pool is remarkable amongst your crowd, and only reflects upon you.

You mean some films are scored non-AFM?!!?!!?!! Duh!! You guys are amazing in your hatred of anyone successful, and your race to the bottom. Should ICSOM be blamed because everyone cannot be a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra?

oh i'm sorry I think the Chicago Symphony has blind competitive auditions for seats in that orchestra. Nice try though.

You mean some films are scored non-AFM?!!?!!?!! Duh!! You guys are amazing in your hatred of anyone successful, and your race to the bottom. Should ICSOM be blamed because everyone cannot be a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra?

To: Antony Cooke

"FMSMF monies do not come out of film budgets, but are generated primarily from sales, rentals and secondary releases"

do you know anything about the movie business? Many projects are held up or not released at all in theaters due to the AFM obligations. Occasionally a first time producer will sign these documents, then have to take a smaller asking price when talking to distributors, and then in the future are so disgusted with that they never come back to LA to score when they realize there are other options. That's why nowadays "NO AFM SCORING" in in composer contracts' deal memos from DAY ONE. Why on earth would they have that in there, Tony? Are they accidentally typing the wrong words when they actually mean "We love AFM scoring"? Are you an idiot?

Maybe, when all of the scoring stages close, and signatory studios only DISTRIBUTE 3rd party product (meaning nothing will be obligated to be scored AFM), and physical dvd media goes the way of LPs, will Tony et al realize that the business model might need to change. MAYBE they will realize that. Not sure though.

In fact, note to FOX, WB, and SONY: close your scoring stages. See how fast the AFM adapts then. There is absolutely no law that states they have to subsidize a stage that holds 100 musicians. When they do that, Seattle and London will be more than ready to take over the work. We are already 40% there (Todd-Ao, Paramount: gone).

Have an answer for that Tony? What if they all close down, citing economic reasons? Where will the orchestras record then? Your living room?

"why did Terminator 4, Nine (musical), 9 (animation), Coraline, Defiance, Knowing, Inkheart, Twilight, Madagascar 2, Milk, Monsters vs. Aliens, Crank 2, Taken, Last House on the Left, Haunting in Connecticut, and The Reader all decide to score their films anywhere but Los Angeles? That's a pretty impressive list. That all chose to record under buyout agreements. It was their choice. they could have recorded AFM. They did not."

Finally a breath of fresh air around this place. The truth is shown for all to see as the lame spin attempt of "The success I was referring to was to show that LA film recording musicians have been working as much as always" is blown away by the truth and the facts.

Half the large scoring stages in LA shut down over the last few years, MP/Film work dues are down almost 12% last year, and a growing list of major feature films choose not to record AFM.

Yet a small group of delusional recording musicians continue to believe that things continue to go great. For them, perhaps, but for the rest of us?

To Antony Cooke; Then why did Terminator 4, Nine (musical), 9 (animation), Coraline, Defiance, Knowing, Inkheart, Twilight, Madagascar 2, Milk, Monsters vs. Aliens, Crank 2, Taken, Last House on the Left, Haunting in Connecticut, and The Reader all decide to score their films anywhere but Los Angeles? That's a pretty impressive list. That all chose to record under buyout agreements. It was their choice. they could have recorded AFM. They did not. Was it the quality they desired in London or Eastern Europe? Was it cheaper upfront? Can you please answer that? The budget for Terminator 4 was estimated to be $200 million dollars. They could have recorded anywhere. They snubbed Los Angeles/AFM. WHY? Back end payments and package deals for the composer. It was healthier for them to NOT do it AFM. Independent films are not required to score AFM, therefore the conditions have to be desirable for them to choose that option. Also note that that MP/TV work is down 12% from last year. That is not an encouraging number either. Please spin all of these facts to your liking.

Are we speaking the same language? I didn't call you a liar -- I question the numbers being thrown around. It's like being told not to trust your own eyes and ears. As for your characterization of my argument, it really has nothing to do with anything I've said. But maybe you are not familiar with the arguments I have in fact made. You can be assured I never said anything to support the basis of your argument.

It's a funny thing to be called a liar by one who goes on to acknowledge my argument, followed by proving its basis by his own words. The desire to see the livelihoods of fellow musicians decimated - in exchange for nothing he has shown or has substantiated - is the sophomoric part. The common good is not served by dumbing down the contract to make it worthless for everyone.

Figures lie and liars figure. Antony's argument is really sophomoric. No one disputes that the current business model is satisfactory for some people. Visit any despotic regime, any oppressive dictatorship anywhere in the world and you will find that the contemporary business model works for some. That's not the issue. The issue is the common good. The RMA makes the argument that their way serves the common good. Some buy that, many of us know better.

I might add that the purpose of my original post of April 11 - in the wake of the cacophony coming from 'downbeat' and 'another' - was to lend weight once again to the value of the FMSMF, and to the film contract, as it exists. The success I was referring to was to show that LA film recording musicians have been working as much as always, perhaps even more because of the various AFM scales for different budgets. The FMSMF continues to grow, which compensates for any shortfall in scale wages up front.

Certainly, there has been no evidence of film scoring work leaving town in droves, as the caustic two keep insisting. The film business is in a constant state of flux, depending on many variables including current subject tastes, the world economy, countries and agreements involved in film making, and so on and so forth. Budgets for films therefore vary from period to period - a factor completely outside the AFM's jurisdiction. However, production companies from or all around the world increasingly come to LA to record, and not because they like travel or hate the FMSMF! FMSMF monies do not come out of film budgets, but are generated primarily from sales, rentals and secondary releases.

Either these points are lost on those who attacked the messenger, or they just don't want anyone to understand the success of the formula. They would have the cost of initial recording be increased (thus negatively impacting the cost to the production), and do away with the FMSMF, both factors guaranteeing to knock the stuffing out of the recording business as we know it. It would not eliminate work, but make sure that a good living could no longer be made in this market by musicians in general, AFM or otherwise.

Drawing attention away from the purpose of my words does not negate the reality of the situation, nor does it disguise their motivation.

ANOTHERRECORDINGMUSICIAN:
"And just out of principal I'll make sure he's never on a session of mine."

I'M SURE ANTONY IS THANKING YOU. PLEASE INCLUDE ME ON YOUR SHIT LIST TOO. FROM WHAT YOU'VE TOLD US ABOUT WHAT YOU DO IT'D PROBABLY BE A DARK DATE ANYWAY.

I feel for the RMA -- they are such victims. They are just trying to control the marketplace and the union and having so much damn trouble.

From downbeat:

Would you call the creation of Seattle as an established buyout film scoring orchestra a "success by any measure" as well?

I'd call the creation of Seattle an act of stupidity by a former AFM President. Funny how they keep doing stupid things........

'Another' - you are the delusional fool. Your brazen statements, made with such poor spelling even a child would be ashamed, reveal you know nothing about me or the work I do.

Downbeat,

Antony is a delusional fool. He's now having to play sessions he'd ahve turned his nose up at only 5 years ago. Demos,... Low Budget,... Indie,... and even having to play in live orchestras. It was exactly the jerks like him who said no a few yeras ago that "Only those who record full time for a living are REAL musicians, and look at em now. Even doing sideling!

They are a joke, but a dangerous one. WHen the day comes that Phil or Marc throw him overboard because a younger or cuter or more well connected player comes along, I will gladly point and laugh. They deserve no better. And just out of principal I'll make sure he's never on a session of mine.

Antony wrote, "a piece of sociopathic self-serving hatred-spewing narcissicism"

Sticks and stones, you big bully! Sorry you didn't see the humor in my last post!

Seriously, the whole thing would almost be funny if it weren't so tragic. If the RMA crowd spent 10% of the energy helping players who have been put out of work by the sessions leaving town that they do preserving the wealth of the richest musicians, I might feel differently, but compassion just doesn't seem to be in the vocabulary... such an intense focus on preserving benefits for the richest musicians while showing utterly no compassion for those musicians who are suffering due to the same policies that keep the "special payments" flowing to the "special players" is something I simply cannot understand. That kind of mercenary "take no prisoners" approach, while effective in corporate politics, is hardly what trade unionism should be about.


The only thing embarrassing is downbeat's ridiculous comeback: quite a piece of sociopathic self-serving hatred-spewing narcissicism. If I knew as little as he does I'd know to keep my mouth shut. Once again, he is exposed for all that he is. Enough said. I will not be drawn into a pissing contest.

Antony,

I guess you must have been given an extra-extra-helping of kool-aid today, what with your embarrassing, godlike tribute to Phil and attempt to spin an 11% drop in work dues as "a success by any measure"! The growth and establishment of Seattle as a major film scoring town is a direct result of RMA-based policies regarding not discussing, offering, or negotiating about buyouts - that's why people go to Seattle - it's certainly not for the weather. Would you call the creation of Seattle as an established buyout film scoring orchestra a "success by any measure" as well?

I think I'm finally getting a better picture of the RMA playbook: Phil is god. Phil can do no wrong. Phil is selfless and only wants to help other musicians. Tom is evil. Tom only wants to hurt musicians, especially the wealthy ones. Tom wants to destroy contracts and the musicians who work under them. Ignore Seattle. Ignore Seattle. Ignore Seattle. Work dues going down? A SUCCESS! More work leaving town? A SUCCEESS! Major films now being scored in Seattle and Eastern Europe? A SUCCESS! Recording musician leadership plus top orchestrators and composers recording non-union in London? NO PROBLEM! Indie film scores lining up to record union? VERIFIABLE FACT! IEB is evil. They only want to take our money away, and we won't let them! Work dues? Those are for the "little people" - we certainly won't pay them on our "special payments" and promulgated agreements. They want us to pay our fair share? SUE THEIR PANTS OFF! They want to offer buyout agreements for videogames because that's what that market demands? MORE LAWSUITS! Not getting called for work because the buyout work's being forced to leave town? PRACTICE HARDER. Lose your health insurance because not enough session hours this year? PRACTICE HARDER. Not being called because you dared speak up against the RMA or its monopolistic contractor buddies? YOU'RE SCREWED - SHOULD HAVE KEPT YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Now a part-time musician because of all of the lost work? YOU'RE A HOBBYIST NOW AND DON"T MATTER AS MUCH AS US FULL-TIME "PROFESSIONAL" MUSICIANS (who kept our mouths shut).

Robert, it's a fact of life that once a lawsuit is filed and lawyers are involved, that fact alone impedes the ability of the parties to communicate freely. Everything goes through the lawyers, and communications is reduced since anything said "can and will be used against" either party.

Most lawsuits never get to trial and are settled. It's not rocket science to reach a settlement in a legal action, but it does require a desire to settle and not merely to win.

I suspect that the AFM doesn't want to settle for one, or both, of the following reasons. The first is that Tom and the IEB think they're right and find the idea of settling (not to mention negotiating with members) offensive. The second is that what it would take to settle – either not charging work dues on promulgated agreements or submitting those agreements to ratification votes - is more than Tom and the IEB are willing to accept.

But I think the whole argument is disingenous. Any union president risks being sued by a member or subject to charged filed with the NLRB. Tom's been a union president for way too long not to know how to deal with that risk, or not to know that that's simply the reality of life as a union officer

The poster, 'aREAL' is right on the money in his latest response. But I might add that LA work dues are only down because low budget film scoring is making it a larger share of the whole - a success by any measure, as big budget scored films become fewer. Many of these productions come to LA to record from other places, but don't let that stand in the way of a good tirade against those musicians doing the work. 'Another's' resentment at being on the outside is never more apparent by his bitter remarks, typified by words such as "sounds like he's just getting a taste of the same medicine he's (Phil Ayling) used against musicians in the recording area for decades."

And db's words, such as "I guess it's your position that we should sacrifice any and all "other" work in order to keep the wealthiest recording musicians happy", only speak to the same old attitudes he has pounded on this blog for months, just honed to the latest 'hook' - a term someone already aptly coined.

These two veiled characters would never acknowledge that Phil Ayling is the overwhelming pick by recording musicians' to be their representative, not only for his selfless contributions to them, but also his knowledge and 'smarts'. There is no-one better, more dedicated, and more clued in to every aspect of the business than Phil. He never picked a fight with anyone, or excluded anyone from anything. But you'd never know that according to the gospels of 'db' or 'another'.

Again, why is anyone listening to, or communicating with two individuals who aren't even in the business, absent any meaningful data except diatribe, and enabling them to monopolize virtually every blog post? What is more ridiculous than that?!

Hey REAL,

One area of recording that is working well? Work dues collections down every year for at least the last six more likely over the last 15,... and 2008's dues down 11.84%? Oh yea, your business model is working great, for only about 200.

Keep that head buried REAL, or get real.

Phil complains of being shut out or driving 50 miles and then being barred. Sounds like he's just getting a taste of the same medicine he's used against musicians in the recording area for decades.

How's it feel, Phil?

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