NEW PASADENA POPS PLAYER COMMITTEE/FILMMUSIC EVENT A SUCCESS/COMMENTS

Greetings Colleagues!,

I. PASADENA POPS ELECTS NEW PLAYER COMMITTEE
II. RECENT FILM MUSIC WEEKLY EVENT CONSIDERED A SUCCESS
III. MEMBER COMMENTS

Colleagues!,

Don’t forget the General Membership Meeting on July 23rd! We need
your participation to make sure our Local represents all of us! The meeting
starts at 7pm. Don’t be late!

At the AFM Convention, representatives of the committee were frankly
surprised and encouraged by how far and wide our e-mails were being distributed throughout the federation. From big and small locals, we received encouragement to continue pressing for a union that works for all its members
and for accountability of its officers. We found that the issues we deal with
in Los Angeles are shared by many locals around the federation.

If you are receiving this mailing second- or third-hand, and wish to be added
to the mailing list, reply to: [email protected]

The COMMITTEE

I. PASADENA POPS ELECTS NEW PLAYER COMMITTEE

Members of the Pasadena Pops showed up at Local 47 on Monday, July 2nd,
to vote for the Orchestral Committee that will take part in the negotiations
between the Pasadena Symphony, Pasadena Pops and Local 47. At stake are
the jobs of 65 musicians in the Pasadena Pops. Initially described as a merger
(much like the LA Phil and the Hollywood Bowl), it wound up being the
dissolution of the Pasadena Pops, with the entire summer season going to
members of the Pasadena Symphony.

The members of the new Pasadena Pops Orchestral Committee are:
Paul Castillo
Bob Carr
Phoebe Ray
Barry Socher
Doug Tornquist

Hopefully they will keep the Local’s feet to the fire on behalf of the tenured
and contracted musicians who have been in the Pasadena Pops over the past
20 years. We will keep you informed of what transpires.

II. RECENT FILM MUSIC WEEKLY EVENT CONSIDERED A SUCCESS

Last Tuesday, June 26th, 2007, Mark Northam and Charles Fernandez
moderated a panel discussion of film recording in Los Angeles.
Those invited were:
*The AFM (American Federation of Musicians)
*NES (New Era Scoring)
*The PMG (Professional Musicians Guild)

The PMG found they had no one to attend on their behalf and chose not
to answer written questions to had been shared with the audience.

Though Local 47 had turned down the opportunity to participate a few weeks
earlier, they arrived expecting to be seated on the panel. AFM President Tom
Lee insisted that Local 47’s rep John Accosta be included, so with the
permission of the organizers Local 47 took the PMG’s place on the panel.

Below you will find the Article recently printed in the Film Music Weekly
concerning the meeting:

AFM, NES, Local 47 Speak Together at Historic Event in LA

American Federation of Musicians (AFM) International President Tom Lee;
Greg Townley and Yoav Goren from New Era Scoring (NES); and AFM
Local 47’s John Acosta spoke together about unions, buyouts and more at
a landmark event in Los Angeles sponsored by Film Music Magazine.

For the first time in history, top representatives from the AFM and Local
47 sat at the same table with representatives from New Era Scoring, an
organization promoting buyout recording, at a public function and openly
and candidly answered questions about their respective business models,
buyouts, special payments, unionizing composers, and much more. The event
was moderated by Film Music Magazine’s Mark Northam and composer
Charles Fernandez.

The panelists were first asked prepared questions they had been sent in
advance about areas of industry concern, including their views on why
many recording jobs leave Los Angeles and are done non-AFM, and how
the AFM can recapture lost recording work. After a short break, the panelists
participated in a 90-minute open question and answer session with questions
from the audience.

AFM President Tom Lee spoke at length about his desire to work with
all parties involved in recording work to find answers that would
create more employment for AFM musicians in Los Angeles and
elsewhere. When asked about the subject of buyout agreements,
Lee was supportive of preserving those gains which had been won
over decades of negotiations, but made it clear that given the realities
of the marketplace today, he believed reform was needed in order
to create more recording jobs for AFM players. Lee said he was open
to all ideas about how to move forward and noted that he believes
the newly elected International Executive Board (IEB) of the AFM
shares his views about the need for reform.

Greg Townley made it clear that NES was focusing its efforts on
those companies who required buyout recording agreements and
were not AFM signatories, and said NES had no interest in work
from those companies already working with the AFM. Townley
added that just this past week NES had turned down work from a
client who had previously been recording using AFM contracts.
Townley and NES co-founder Yoav Goren emphasized that neither
NES nor the AFM were in the business of obtaining work for
musicians, and discussed the fundamental difference between the
AFM business model of musicians working as employees and the
NES model where musicians are hired and paid independent contractors.

Local 47’s John Acosta spoke about the encouraging increases in
film and television scoring work seen by Local 47, and the need for
AFM enforcement of current union agreements. Acosta and Lee
agreed on most issues discussed at the event, which may signal a
thaw in the chilly relationship between Local 47’s recording musicians
and the AFM International, most recently involving Local 47
President Hal Espinosa’s unsuccessful campaign against Lee for
the AFM Presidency.

Film Music Magazine’s Mark Northam commented, “This was indeed
a historic event. These two organizations with very different business
models came together and answered a lot of hard questions. Perhaps
most importantly, it was clear that both organizations shared the goal
of wanting to create more recording jobs. After all the AFM election
rhetoric of the past few months which got unnecessarily personal and
ugly, the industry was able to see Tom Lee, Greg Townley & Yoav
Goren, and John Acosta as the passionate professionals and concerned
leaders they are. They certainly did not agree on all the issues, but there
was an open and candid dialogue, and that kind of candid communication
is the key to progress. We were honored to have them with us for this
important evening.”

Co-moderator Charles Fernandez said, “We keep hearing so much
about the conflict between Local 47 and the AFM, but after seeing
the agreement at this event between Local 47 and Tom Lee on the vast
majority of issues discussed, we have to wonder what the real source
of this conflict may be. The fact that the President and the Secretary
Treasurer, Sam Folio, of the AFM International traveled to this event
to speak to composers says a lot about this event, the AFM’s commit-
ment to Los Angeles composers and musicians, and their desire to work
with everyone to create more AFM recording work.”

Highlights from the event:

-Lee suggested that current union recording contracts may need to
be updated to make them more competitive with the global marketplace.

-Townley said NES is now ready to do buyout recording sessions and
had assembled an orchestra of top Southern California players.

-Lee suggested that based on what he heard at the event, he would be
willing to sit down with NES representatives to discuss issues.

-Acosta emphasized the growth that Local 47 was seeing in recording
work for film and television.

-Lee suggested that the AFM was interested in discussing the idea
of the AFM representing composers on videogame contracts and possibly
on other contracts, including film and television.

-When asked about the rates NES is paying musicians, Townley said
the base hourly wage is $75 per hour, with higher rates for section
principles and the concertmaster.

-Lee, Townley and Acosta all agreed that Los Angeles musicians were
the best in the world.

The Professional Musicians Guild, a new group formed by Los Angeles
recording musicians, was invited to participate on the panel. PMG
President Andy Malloy indicated that the PMG’s leaders were unavailable
due to work and travel commitments, and declined an invitation to
provide written answers to questions that would have been distributed
at attendees the event.

III. MEMBER COMMENTS

The comments below represent only the views of the writer and not necessarily
the views of the COMMITTEE.

I see the RMA is back to doing what they do best, playing the blame game.
They ought to look in the mirror.

————-

When I started elementary school, I was taught that 1+1=2, not 3. I use
this analogy, because based on the information I have heard over the last
few months and have been reading in e-mails from the Committee,
something does not make sense to me. In addition to the revelation that
Marc Sazer is the Secretary of the PMG as described in the last Committee
e-mail quote from PMG President, Andy Malloy, “The PMG president
wanted us to let you know that Mr. Sazer is most certainly NOT the
PMG Secretary-Treasurer; Mr. Sazer is the SECRETARY of the PMG”
(which I assume is a factual statement), I have also been reading in the
Overture and heard stated publicly by our Local 47 President, Mr. Espinosa,
that our union considers the PMG a threat to the union.

Now if President Bush were addressing the Senate, giving an anti-terrorism
speech, and Osama Bin Laden stood up in the Senate chamber and asked to
put forth a piece of legislation, what do you think would happen? (OK, bad
example, we are after all, talking about George W. Bush!). And for that
matter I don’t even take as extreme a position against the PMG or Mr. Sazer
as Mr. Espinosa does – in fact, despite the fact that organizations such as the
PMG and NES are in competition with the AFM, in this political climate, a
little competitive motivation might be in order.

What I am talking about is that after hearing the board’s strong position
against the PMG, it was interesting to be among the 400+ at the last general
membership meeting as I watched Mr. Sazer submit his proposals for tripling+
the quorum, etc., and hold the floor for a good portion of the evening without
being challenged even once by Mr. Espinosa about his position in the PMG.
Are we to believe that Mr. Espinosa is in the dark about Mr. Sazer’s involve-
ment in the PMG or is it just bad union etiquette for the board to confront a
member in a public forum (and wait until later to bash the PMG in the union
paper)? Or is it something else?

Getting back to the national stage, Bill Maher made in my opinion a brilliant
comment one night when talking about all those who have been loyal to President
Bush despite scandal after scandal – (I paraphrase), “I can understand being
loyal to your country or an idea, but you’re not just supposed to be loyal to a
person”. Of course, if we all lived in England, the latter might be true; but in
a representative democracy, when an elected official is no longer loyal to an idea
that is the basis for your involvement in a union or other organization, only in a
true democracy is it reasonable (and often healthy) for a grass-roots movement
such as the Committee, NES or even the PMG to arise. I truly wish I could be
more proud of the job my Local 47 leadership was doing and be able to
say that they are representing the interests of the entire membership. If the
union and its board were doing its job for the benefit of all, we would not
likely see such organizations gain the momentum they have. But lately all
we hear from the board is “stick with us”, “show unity”. We don’t need
more slogans, what we need is a change in leadership.

————-

Lennie Moore has been a friend of mine since College & I think the Mr.
Babcock’s attack on him is unwarranted. What is it with people in this
business? Do they reach a certain degree of success and develop selective
amnesia when it comes to their own career? Please, Local 47 leadership,
please publish, if you can, a list of people working today that have never,
never ever, done a non-union job.

————-

Thanks. Not sure what you meant about Phil Ayling, although I am aware
he basically ran that meeting. I still noticed that Sazer had a lot of ‘air time’
that night – plenty of opportunities for Hal to say, “Hey, aren’t YOU a member
of the PMG!?”.

————-

Dear Committee for a responsible 47,

Thank you for keeping me on the mailing list. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet
any of you at the Convention.

After hearing the arguments from the RMA, both publicly and privately, I
was convinced that they are making a mistake in following the path they
are on. In fact the more they talked, the less sympathy I had for their position.

————-

Hi _________,

Thanks for posting my last diatribe. Now, here’s a good one:

I spelled it right this time. I would like to share with the rest of the union
what the PMG (which is not part of the union), has in store for Local #47.
And to think that the Pacific Symphony Committees threats to it’s musicians,
Local 7’s threats to members of Pagent of the Masters, and Local 47/RMALA’s concerns, are all directed at New Era Scoring, and the legal status of was is
now called Fi-Core.
Boys & girls, here is a threat that will destroy the union forever. Please
read the goals and purposes of this organization who promise fair dealing
and equal opportunity for all. (Hey, that means me too!!! I’m sending
’em my hundred bucks right now! I can’t wait for my first real gig. Never
mind if it’s illegal, everybody’s doing it! Besides, I want to get mine. Even
if I have to abandon my freinds who don’t make the grade.)

“It’s more about personality than hardly anything else. You have to be
out there to sell yourself ­­ it’s really not so much about the music.”
-That’s right folks, some one important actually said this. If they are
right, may be you don’t have to be hot _ _ _ _ to play on film scores.

————–

Qoute from PMG:
“The Professional Musicians Guild is a new labor union dedicated to
the democratic and effective representation of the world’s finest musicians.”
I can think of a few musicians in world-class orchestras around the world that
would find that statement amusing and absurd. It does however, reflect exactly
how inflated they are of their own importance.

————-

Hey Bruce Babcock

Food for thought

Have you ever thought that we wouldn’t be in the mess we are if all of the
composers banded together and TURNED DOWN that non-union score
slated for out of town?? – then the job just wouldn’t get done would it?

BUT NO……….we have all the big names being sent elsewhere just so they
can get their front end money and back end royalties, with no regard to me
and my freelance musician career here in LA

ADDRESS YOUR FELLOW COMPOSERS and get them to TURN DOWN
non-union work too…..

Let’s start with that Bruce…….

————-

A question for the RMALA: HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

And one for LA musicians: HAVE YOU NO SPINE?

And a rhetorical question: HOW LONG WILL THIS CRAP CONTINUE?

Rick Blanc
(please attach name)

————-

BRUCE BABCOCK – come up with a solution please – to make LA competitive
again

It’s not status quo with the same contracts with back end crafted well before any
of the technologies that are available today

When the secondary markets plan was drawn up – years ago – You had to record
movies in the US, mostly in LA and it was just the way it went.

Technology has rendered OLD AGREEMENTS NULL AND VOID – sorry –

————-

When I sit here as a player/contractor year after year, and wonder where my
larger orchestral recording sessions have gone, all that I have to do is look at
the movie credits and see Seattle, and London and Prague listed.
Yes there are still many large and small budget movies being scored under
current AFM agreements in LA but mostly but the same people week after
week – because those producers “GET” the profit sharing equation.

The producers that don’t “GET” the profit sharing equation should have an
option as well – and that is exactly what
TOM LEE and these new deals are going to provide – AN OPTION at a VERY
desperate time in the scoring industry

If you are a big session player – than these jobs will not be of interest to you…..
so you will not get the call and let the work come back to the young player,
the passed over player so they can work too….they will have a higher pension
as a form of back end – PERIOD – GET OVER IT

Ask some of your other unions like IATSE if they punish their members for
doing a job that is not on contract…. they are encouraged to take it between
their union jobs –

A union job regardless of back end – done in LA instead of non-union job
in SEATTLE should get the vote of ALL AFM members – defect PMG and
see how you fare by yourself out there

————-

Dear COMMITTEE FOR A MORE RESPONSIBLE LOCAL 47,

Thank you for sending this update.

I appreciate the time you are putting in to help us understand the
situation.

————-

I truly enjoy reading this mail every time I get it. Keep it up.
Local 47 member since 1971

————-

PRINT THIS –

IT’S OVER FELLAS – the ability to do what recording musicians in
LA can do CAN BE done all over the world

IT’S OVER – how much are you working DeCresent studio musician?? –
enough front end money to support your same lifestyle? – I am not
talking bout that fat check coming up on the 1st of JULY either – I am
talking bout FRONT END – DAY TO DAY WORK –

Everyone who thinks that SEATTLE should continue to flourish write
back in……because that is exactly what continue to happen if you allow
the status quo recording contracts to remain

Everyone that thinks that SEATTLE needs to go away, and the only way
to squash them is to
BECOME COMPETITIVE – write back in –

It is not the rank and files fault the the recording environment has changed –
IT IS SIMPLE ECONOMICS and BILL GATES would tell you to go back
to work – or ride the TITANIC to the OCEAN FLOOR

And leave TOM LEE and his cronies alone – he is listening to the needs
of ALL MUSICIANS

————-

Bruce Babcock is living in a hole somewhere??

LIBRARY MUSIC IS A REALITY

Unfortunate BUT TRUE

————-

REALITY CHECK – RMALA ELITE AND BIG SPECIAL PAYMENT
CHECK PEOPLE

If I get one day of work doing a double session each week even at the
miserly LOW BUDGET scale
181.63- 3 hrs X 2 = 363.26 with NO BACK END
and do that for 50 weeks – 2 weeks vacation accounted for – it will bring
in to me…..HOLD ON NOW……

18,163 dollars more a year income –

36,326 if I do TWO days of “doubles” at LOW BUDGET rate…….need I
go on?

And how long would it take for my Secondary Market check to get up
to that size??

See why the rest of the NON RMALA ELITE want to just work!!

For all those that are holding on to the OLD business model of
residuals for EVERYTHING they do now – you can’t blame them
but…..

The music business has:
changed technology wise
changed from the producers perspective
been changed because of around the world scoring locations

my income form the big check (mid 4 figures) in JULY is always welcome
from the handful of jobs that I have done over 20 years that end up on the
residual train. In those last 20 years.
I have never worked a big session for the big contractor(s). I make low 6
figures yearly being a survivor and being very good at business. I suggest
ALL UNION MEMBERS get a grip on reality and GET BACK TO WORK
ANY WAY POSSIBLE AS FAR AS SESSIONS! GET BEHIND THE
AFM – even if you think they are not doing you right.

————-

Hello,

I would like to submit a letter, but have my name kept off of it.
How do I do that? (Sorry, I’m pretty naive about this stuff.)

Thank you!

[Editor’s Note: Unless specifically requested, such as Rick Blanc’s
letter above, the COMMITTEE always keeps the writer anonymous.]

————-

I always look forward to reading your emails, and I appreciate that
they are in TEXT format, unlike the slick HTML crap that Local 47
sends out.

Speaking of their emails, have you seen the “Open Letter To Serena
Kay Williams?” While I wouldn’t doubt that the writer could hold her
own as a player on any Sandy Session, the whole thing comes across to
me as a bunch of ass-kissing by someone who is hoping to ingratiate
herself with the “in crowd” and get more studio work rather than working
to improve employment opportunities for all Union members.

————-

I’m glad this is your final message. Each new one from your
nameless faceless committee turns me more against whatever you
might be promoting.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This was from an AFM member from another
part of the Country, responding to our last email before the recent
convention.]

————-

Hi ______,
Why would any union contractor want to be on a board of advisors
at the USC Music School? I’ll bet they have really good advice for
graduating musicians. “Join the RMA! We’ll get you enough work to pay
your rent (hee-yuk, hee-yuk)!” I am sure that the USC music department
appreciates the advice (and donations?) from people who know how to
give union members the business. Keep your fingers in the pie!
Why would Tambourine Studios say “The RMA is not the Union, but
they know how to work with the AF of M efficiently.” I guess I’m chopped
liver.
RMA, you are correct about the ‘Anger Train’ you were talking about at
the last union meeting. It already ran you over and you still don’t realize it.
By the way, using ‘shame’ tactics on musicians who have gone fi-core is
illegal. Get out your law books.

————-

What is the RMA and who is Phil Ayling??????

————-
————-

Local 47 Brothers and Sisters,
We’ll see you at the meeting on July 23rd!

THE COMMITTEE FOR A MORE RESPONSIBLE LOCAL 47

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