Actors only getting $5k a week

October 2nd, 2010 at 6:08 am by David Farrar

I’ve been saying since the beginning that the stoush over is not over wages,but about a union trying to force people who do not want to be in the union to join it.

The Herald reports:

national director Simon Whipp said actors could be let go with just one day’s notice, and there were concerns producers would not pay fees in standard union contracts, such as payments from DVD sales.

Sir Peter maintained the residuals on The Hobbit will be worth “very real money” to the Kiwi actors who are cast in the film.

“This is the first time ever NZ actors have had residuals, and we are proud that it’s being introduced on our movie. The level of residuals is better than a similar scheme in Canada, and is much the same as the UK residual scheme. It is not quite as much as the SAG rate.”

So the first ever time NZ actors will be paid residuals.

Sir Peter said fees New Zealand actors were paid favourably here compared to what they would receive overseas. An actor contracted to appear in a small supporting role would receive around NZ$5,000 per week, whereas the Screen Actor’s Guild of America’s published current minimum weekly rates for the same role is NZ$3,800, he said.

Gasp. $5,000 a week for a “small” role.  This is the reality of what is being offered, while some idiot is talking about how actors could be paid $1/day and forced to work 24 hours a day.

The New Zealand Actor’s Equity, who operate as an autonomous part of the MEAA, have since acknowledged the Commerce Act prevents a union-negotiated agreement with performers who are independent contractors, following advice from the Attorney General Christopher Finlayson.

“My knowledge of the producers is that they are people of goodwill. I am sure they would want to explore all lawful means by which these issues could be moved forward and resolved.” said NZ Actors’ Equity President Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

Well if there is goodwill, why not get the MEAA to call off the global boycott, which is explicitly linked to what they now acknowledge is an illegal demand?

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21 Responses to “Actors only getting $5k a week”

  1. Michael (909 comments) says:

    As we are seeing with the PPTA, some unions forget common sense and get over-ridden by power and greed. This seems to be more about muscling in on the growing NZ film industry now that the Aussie one is in decline.

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  2. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    I remain sceptical about the utterances of both sides in this dispute and Brownlie is simply making the issue worse. The so called actors representatives have indicated they want to meet Jackson. I suspect that both sides would be better to do this prior running major media campaigns

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  3. Gwilly (158 comments) says:

    This is why unions should be banned.

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  4. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Everyone should have to be a member of a Union, and all Unions should have to extort money for Political Levies, which must only b paid to the Labour Party. It is the way forward.

    As we have seen all around the World Union officials never abuse their positions, fiddle their expenses or lie to the Media to make a point.

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  5. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Mark

    Jackson wanted to meet and attend a meeting but the union wouldn’t let him. I wonder why?

    Usual story the memmbers would find out first hand that the union was full of it and actually doing them more harm than good, actually doing nothing for the memmbers but acting politically.

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  6. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Surely they (the actors) are entitled to meet to discuss whether they want to pursue action before they have dialogue with Jackson. I do not know who is right here as I do not have all the facts. However, I am not naive enough to think that Jackson and Warner Brothers are not blameless here. His media responses are designed to put pressure on the Actors and gain public sympathy. There does appear to be a difference of view between the Auckland group of actors and the Wellington group with the Auckland crowd being a bit more militant and vocal. I would hope that both sides stop posturing and trying to negotiate through the media and get round a table. They might just find some common ground

    Guy Fawkes if you think that employers are exempt from corruption, do not cheat financially for personal gain or lie to the media you must still beleive in the tooth fairy.

    I am an employer and business owner and have had some interesting discussions with unions. In a few situations I have found them helpful and in getting common sense to prevail. Sometimes reality and ideology just seem to be disconnected.

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  7. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    I’ve been saying since the beginning that the stoush over the Hobbit is not over wages,but about a union trying to force people who do not want to be in the union to join it.

    And you’ve been wrong from the beginning.

    Pauleastbay (351) Says:

    October 2nd, 2010 at 7:42 am
    Mark

    Jackson wanted to meet and attend a meeting but the union wouldn’t let him. I wonder why?

    Paul, Jackson was invited to meet with union leadership and declined a meeting. He then attempted to invite himself to a union member’s meeting.

    Put it the otherway, what would you say if Jackson invited the union leadership to a meeting and they declined, then attempted to enter a Wingnut board meeting?

    DPF – So the first ever time NZ actors will be paid residuals. And about fucking time, and I can assure you this does not come from the goodness of a movie mogul’s heart. This is a fight we began in the 1970’s in Oz.

    …New Zealand remains virtually the only country in the western world not to have standard union contracts for actors.

    So it looks as though Jackson’s Eastern Euroeans may be getting a better deal than his fellow countrymen.

    It is understood the Outrageous Fortune cast members want certain working conditions enshrined in contracts and are also concerned about “residuals” payments for repeat screenings of the show and a share of proceeds of DVD sales and the like.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/1762138

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  8. Fot (252 comments) says:

    Again MNIJ is being economical with the truth.

    Jackson quite rightly refused to meet with the low life union leadership as he knows that what ever message he is trying to get across to the actors will be twisted by the leadership.

    Far better for Jackson to address the members directly so he can put his point of view.

    Would the unions allow that?….would they hell, no union is brave enough to let the sheep who follow them hear the entire story.

    On the issue of residuals, if the “actors” are going to take a cut of the profits can we assume that they will also take a cut of the losses when a movie bombs at the box office?

    As for the cast of that third rate show Outrageous fortune, they have no right to demand or expect residuals from that show until the entire cost of funding “NZ on air” has been returned to the tax payer, then and only then should they be able to put forward a case for a share of the residuals.

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  9. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    $5000 a week for an actor is not excessive. Most actors spend about 90% of their time out of work and auditioning for roles that they don’t get. In that context, $5000 amounts to the equivalent of the average wage.

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  10. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    BlairM – then they should get a real job. I thought they did acting because of passion, commitment, love of the art and to get on the Woman’s Day front cover..

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  11. Fot (252 comments) says:

    $5000 a week is excessive given the appalling lack of talent available in NZ.

    Nobody is forcing these people to be actors, there is nothing stopping them taking on part time work in between acting roles (as thousands of actors do all over the world)

    The simple facts here are that once again we are seeing the Kiwi sense of entitlement come to the surface, the mindset is “I am an actor therefore I deserve to be highly paid”

    I have no issue with the worlds best actors making a fortune, they do so because they have talent, should NZ ever produce a world class actor then they will also reap the rewards, but, I am buggered if they deserve to be paid the same as truly world class talent.

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  12. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    And about fucking time, and I can assure you this does not come from the goodness of a movie mogul’s heart. This is a fight we began in the 1970′s in Oz.

    Dumbarse! They were offered residuals BEFORE the union boycott! Can’t you bring yourself to congratulate Jackson for the benefit he has created for NZ actors? Or are you so twisted inside that you cannot bring yourself to acknowledge that a evil film producer has done this, and not some obscure union.

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  13. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    How about those that don’t think Peter Jackson is offering acceptable terms and conditions refuse a contract and stay at home and those that are happy with the T&C sign a contract and make a movie?

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  14. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    The revelation that our precious NZ luvvies won’t get out of bed for less than $5000 per week tells us a lot. It explains their bland performances when they do bother to show up – with both eyes on the pay-cheque it’s hard to get into the role they are supposed to be “acting”.

    Campbell Live last night – Robyn Malcolm’s tell-tale scratching of her nose while telling us “it’s not about the money” was more revealing than her bleating weasel-words about how hard done by they are.

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  15. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,069 comments) says:

    Gasp. $5,000 a week for a “small” role. This is the reality of what is being offered.

    The reality is more prosaic. My friends who acted on LOTR or King Kong would get work at a certain date (so they couldn’t commit to anything else), then get the date delayed several times, then get a days work, show up at 6 AM for costume and make-up, wait around until 8 PM, work until midnight, then get told they had another days work in a week, then that gets delayed, then cancelled, then they get another days work a week later . . . so in a month you might work for two or three days and get a couple of thousand dollars.

    On one hand they chose a job synonymous with uncertainty and poverty, but its not as if it’s unreasonable for them to ask for a better deal.

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  16. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Danyl

    Its called being an independent contractor, as I am.

    benefits, if I want to go fishing I can and not work ( no pay though), there are certain tax breaks.

    Against: Theres not always work there.

    If these people want to do the type of work as extras etc, they have the benefit of boring the shit out of their families by pointing out the nano second they are on screen and pick up some cash.

    They do not have the right to dictate to the producers when and how they will work , thats the nature of the beast.\

    If they do not like this arrangement, bugger off and get a job at new World or as a union official. Especially the union official because even when the members are on strike the union employees always get paid, by the members fees, who are on strike not recieving any income… gee thats a good deal, I may retire from contracting

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  17. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    [BlairM 9.07 am] Who is holding a gun to their head forcing them to become actors then?

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  18. Dazzaman (1,140 comments) says:

    5K a week!!!!

    Crikey! Peter Jackson, I will do an orc, hobbit (6′ 3″ & 125 kg so….maybe not that one), talking tree or any other role for the next several weeks as a scab actor/extra…..gimme a bell.

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  19. Swampy (191 comments) says:

    This is a newish campaign and it’s another industrial action brought because Labour changed section 33 of the Employment Relations Act in 2005.

    Section 33 used to say that there was no obligation to conclude negotiations for a collective agreement. It now says that the employer may not decline to negotiate for a collective agreement.

    This is one bit of the ERA that should be repealed at the earliest opportunity. Here is another example of a union demanding a collective contract purely because of the rights given to it under this law change rammed through against public opposition.

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  20. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    So what’s this all got to do with us?

    It’s a row between employer and employee/independent contractors. Let them sort it out. Our law is pretty settled, lawyers are a dime a dozen, so what’s all the fuss?

    And if Jacko wants to hop into his (Melbourne based) plane and upstakes, that’s his right.

    One more thing: I wonder if Peter Curtis of 10:10 fame ever saw Jacko’s splatter movies?

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