Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ZenTiger One contract to bind them all

One contract to bind them all? The last time that was tried, things went terribly wrong. Hobbitses was hurtses. And it seems it might happen again, with the Hobbits being moved off to the land of mordor, somewhere near Hungary I think.

I'm actually not sure what all the fuss is about, but I'll give it a go: An Australian union for Actors want to establish a minimum set of hiring standards and wages for NZ actors for the Hobbit production. Due to the current employment laws in NZ, apparently, this cannot be used as a binding contract, so it might be pointless. But the Union is fine with that, because it feels it necessary to establish a non-binding baseline. Except there is already some pink coloured book that does this. Nevertheless, the union just wants to have nice friendly informal talks with PJ to draw up a contract template. Until those nice friendly talks eventuate, they have encouraged the hobbits, treants, rangers and wights to go on strike. And apparently Gandalf approves of this.

Also apparently, this act of worker solidarity could actually threaten our solid reputation as a great place to make movies, and turn hundreds of millions of dollars of Hollywood income totally invisible and untouchable.

Except that this Hollywood income is actually turning invisible by the rising NZ dollar, and a meager 15% tax deduction (well, meager compared to figures like 25% being offered by European countries that come complete with Vampires, Castles, rustic countryside and presumably peasants like Borat that can be hired dirt cheap for dirty deeds and whatever else extras and grips do). So naturally, John Key needs to tax us more to give Hollywood bigger tax credits so we can get hired to pay the extra tax, and be grateful for it. But he hasn't resorted to this just yet.

In a Hollywood first though, the non-guilded NZ actors are being offered a share of Smaug's treasure, a percentage of a percentage of the profits. Given the price of movie tickets and merchandising, that could add up to a decent bonus. Given the accounting methods of how Hollywood calculates profits, it could also add up to nothing. There's a glint of gold, but it could be iron pyrite.

So the Government of the day is now worrying about private employment contracts when previously, in the Telecommunications industry for example, it wasn't. Maybe if PJ just puts the ring on, and accept the one contract that binds them all, all these problems will simply disappear?

Alternatively, maybe the studios will conjure up CGI actors? I'm assuming the dragon and the pile of treasure it guards isn't going to be real, unless IRD loan the GST tax take for October out on the set and we cast Paul Henry as the Dragon, or has he been slain already?

2 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Having been blog-perusing for a couple of hours, this is by far the best thing I have read all morning, I am both amused and informed :-).

ZenTiger said...


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