Friday, November 15, 2013

The Envelope... and money

Last week the LA Times started it's oscar race by putting out their own special addition to their paper called The Envelope. As in the Academy Award.

It's all about who's gonna win, who might, why they win, how they win and most importantly how many ads will actors, writers, directors, studios and anybody else with a horse in the race spend money.

And as usual; it's all about the actors.

Today's cover features Michael McConaughey once again with his movie Dallas Buyers Clubs. It also has the "Buzzmeter"which gives us some insight into who's being talked about in the circles that count. There's "the odds", for gamblers, what are the odds against who might win or lose.

There's articles about who's hot and who's not, who's out of rehab, who's in rehab, how actors lives are changed and how great Hollywood is. 

But there any articles on writers? 

I've never seen one but then I rarely read it. After all most people think actors make up their dialog. Really.

Yesterday I went to see Robert Redford's movie, All Is Lost, and got in for free with my WGA card. This is also the time that 20 or 30 movies want your vote and thus members of WGA, DGA and SAG get to see them for free.

But since I'm a nice guy and they're letting me in for free, I buy popcorn and a coffee or that rare soft drink (Dr. Pepper if available).

While WGA is for anyone in WGA, the studios do control the numbers of SAG (actors union) which has thousands of members. Only voting committee SAG members and only directors in DGA (this excludes assistant directors and other below the line members).

WGA members also get free DVDS delivered to our door as do DGA directors. The DVD comes with warnings that if you give the DVD to anyone, your wife or dad or dog... you will be destroyed. WGA is less paranoid.

To be honest, I rarely open the weekly Envelope, mostly because it's all about ads and stories about actors I really don't care for. Also it's information that's pretty much been passed around since January 2013.

They're even advertising movies that haven't opened yet, like Tom Hank's Saving Mr. Banks, about how Walt Disney saved Mary Poppins. It'll open soon as well as several movies that won't be in big release until January.  This is so they can qualify for Academy Awards which requires they be shown in at least one theater for one week before the end of the year.

I had my own experience with this when my old friend Phil Borsos and I took our little barrel-making short to L.A. in 1976 and had a theater play it for one week to qualify. It's not really difficult, for our short was played at the end of the last movie playing at the Los Feliz theater. We'd wait till the projectionist played it and rewound it and we'd take it back to the motel. It eventually was a finalist.

So the season begins, not Christmas, the money-spending ads that the studios will pay to win that golden statue.  "And the award goes to..."  $$$$$$.

Merry Christmas

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