More reports, more mingling, and a fund-raiser in the evening for the IATSE's political action committee.
For me, the day's nuggets were
1) That sanity seems to have returned to the Screen Actors Guild with old hand David White installed as SAG's interim national executive director, and SAG senior advisor John McGuire as chief negotiator.
The reason this is important for the IATSE is that between the economic downturn (see below) and the de facto SAG strike (growing more de facto month by month), the film business has been steadily shrinking. Spot checks with different business representatives reinforce the already obvious: work is down and many long-time film veterans have been hurting.
This was struck home to me last Sunday night when I asked a veteran cinematographer what his next project was going to be and he answered: "Knocking sense into SAG."
2) The industry is getting beaten up by the ongoing recession. Downsizing, salary cuts, project cancellations are all happening in major ways.
One proffered example: Jay Leno's show shifting to ten o'clock Monday through Friday wipes out hundreds of IA jobs. (It doesn't do SAG, AFTRA, DGA or the WGA a hell of a lot of good either.)
Another example: Disney is going through more staff reductions, and it's anticipated that more will follow (some rumored to be in animation -- there's a surprise.)
3) The IA cocktail party, where the gloom and doom is replaced by shop talk, political talk, and salacious gossip (the best kind).
A wise old IA officer said to me: "I think the Employee Free Choice Act is going to pass, because it's got a lot of momentum. I think it's going to get changed, but I don't think the Senate Republicans can mount a filibuster against it." (I hope he's right. I'm a deep-dyed cynic who tends to think game-changing pieces of legislation almost always slam to a halt against the status quo.)
And another wise old industry vet offered: "I was driving a [big deal Hollywood star] around, and she says to me: "See that studio? I got a contract there because I s*cked off [the big deal studio chief] when I was underage. I should have had him arrested, but I didn't."
An old story, often told, but always good to hear when you're eating, drinking and working to take your mind off glum reports.