Thursday, May 08, 2014

Barry Bails

This is unfortunate.

... Barry Levinson, a card-carrying member of the WGA for 40 years, has resigned over what he termed “reprehensible” treatment he was given in an arbitration of screen credit for the adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Humbling. Levinson, who hoped to share credit with Buck Henry and Michal Zebede, said he didn’t quit because things didn’t go his way. He did it to protest the dismissive treatment he received after he read three opinions by the anonymous writers who acted as arbitrators. ...

And doubly unfortunate (with sprinkles) because this:

Award-winning screenwriter Barry Levinson will receive the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2010 Laurel Award for Screen, honoring lifetime achievement in outstanding writing for motion pictures, at the 2010 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony to be held on Saturday, February 20, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

“From Diner to Avalon, Rain Man to Tin Men, filmmaker Barry Levinson has long demonstrated a wonderful ability to create memorable movies that resonate with audiences by capturing a particular time and place,” said WGAW President John Wells. “A rare triple threat in the industry – writer, director, and producer – Barry has been the creative force behind many of this era’s defining films.” ...

What you learn in the organized labor game is that optics and story-lines are important. And that when the engine is firing on all cylinders, your members -- particulalry members who have leverage -- can be a strength.

But when the reverse, weakness and damage. And unions just now can't afford a lot of weakness and damage. There's enough of those awful things already.

I learned a while ago that communication with people carrying union cards, and services for same, are important. Sometimes events cause even well-crafted plans to go off the rails, but this looks as though it was something that could have been ... handled better from the Guild's side*.

Just saying.

* On the other hand, maybe the report is wrong, or maybe there are other facts that change the complexion of this. But from what's presented, it appears that somebody tripped over their untied shoe-laces.


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