Greetings 47 COLLEAGUES,

It’s been a while since we have sent out general comments
from the members. We’ve received several comments concerning
the letter from the secretary-treasurer Serena, but we will save
those until the final comments come in.

Also, in the next few days we will give you a short report on the
caucuses before the negotiations this past week. You should
find it interesting as much for the denial going on as for the
caucuses themselves.

As always, your comments are welcome, encouraged and

BELOW YOU WILL FIND RECENTLY sent comments from the
last couple of weeks. Interesting to be sure!


Who are you? Why do you hate the RMA? Who supports your
organization? I keep getting e-mails from you, Commresp47,
and do not know exactly who you represent, or what your
connection is with the recording industry I work in.

(Editor’s Note: Once more…. We do NOT represent the RMA,
we are a group of members concerned with the locals future.
As for Hating the RMA? Nonsense,… many of the committee
members are member of the RMA.

What we detest is a monopoly that has through it’s actions
and it’s support of others policies given impitous to the work
leaving our city. Almost without exceptions, monopolies are bad
and without competition a healthy work environment is


As a member of Lo. 47 and Lo. 369, I can see that the film
industry is going through what the live work in Vegas went
through 15 years ago. Even though the musicians in Vegas went
on strike for 8 months to support live music, in the end, over
300 lost their gigs permantly to technology (recorded music)
and the rest of the musicians that worked celebrity rooms went
back to work.

Eventually most of the remaining musicians that survived, lost
that work also. In Vegas, it’s down to Circus gigs with 6 live
musicians with backing tapes to lounge gigs, mostly non-union.
Occasional celebrity gigs with union benefits, and a few
Broadway type gigs and some industrial shows. But for the most
part, the musician union work force in Vegas is a shadow of what
it once was. ( In the early 70’s, the working Vegas musicians,
those working full time with families and bills to pay, were over
1,200. Today, musicians supporting themselves with gigs only,
are well under 100.)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: These number relationships sound familiar?
They should.)

Although I am not a musician working in film, I know a lot of
musicians that do, and they are admitting that the hey-day
is over. It’s going to take someone with the balls to look these
musicians in the eye and tell them they if they don’t change the
work rules, it will only get worse. No one likes change, especially
the older cats that have made a nice living in film.

It’s the young ones that need the guidance to understand that
the change is necessary to survival of the union. If you
(musicians union) don’t change with the times, you will lose
these musicians to non-union work. May not
happen now, but down the line these young cats will be making choices that
will affect the union and all that you worked for.

Understand what happened to the Vegas cats, bottom line is not only what
the employers understand, it’s what you must understand.
The future is with the next generation of musicians. The old cats
will reminise with war stories of the old days and the young
cats will smile and know that was yesterday.

If you demonstrate that your are willing to change, the studios,
producers, composers, and accounts will understand.
Otherwise, status quo… death to another union.

You’ve got some smart members that know the way. Find them,
give them the chance to express themselves without fear,
and get on with it. As for President Espinoza. be the leader
they need, suffer the bullshit that will surely come, and know
that some day, when we are long gone from this world,
you did the right thing.

As far as the virtual orchestra instrument. You can’t stop it. You
may slow it down with bringing charges against theatre
owners, but it will prevail.

Look at it this way. The future is in the hands of people that
want to try everything new that’s under the sun. If you tell
them they can’t, you’ve made an enemy. If you approach them
with understanding that you realize that they (composers,
producers) are trying to survive by cutting costs, you will gain
an edge You go after these people with a hammer, you will lose
in the long run. I’ve looked at this from both sides and this
thinking has affected me big time. You may enforce all the
rules and make the heavy money now, but I assure you, the
hip accountants see the costs and know how to cut. The more
money they save their employers, the more they make.

Everything the union has negotiated for with endless
compromising is good. But be flexible and know when a new
instrument comes along, hip employers want to remain hip.
If it means putting guys out of work, so be it. Hard truth to
swallow. Very hard. Alternative…. none. Perhaps things will
change in the future where more new instruments will
come along and employ more musicians. Who the f— knows.
You may prolong the inevitable, you may save some gigs,
and the members will thank you for saving their gigs…but you
can’t stop change.

As far as the “Elite” cats that get all the money gigs,
more power to them. God knows what they had to go
through to get those gigs, let alone to keep them.


I have been reading your emails with interest. One issue that
I haven’t seen discussed is: what exactly is the justification for
paying musicians back-end for motion pictures in the first place?
I can understand why actors, writers, cinematographers, editors
and even composers (and sometimes orchestrators) should be
entitled to get a piece of the pie when a film is profitable,
because of their creative contributions; but aren’t the
“creative contributions” of *most* studio musicians (who merely
show up to recording sessions and accurately play what’s
on the music stand) in the same league with other film
production professionals who receive no back-end,
such as riggers, grips and audio techs?

Now, when I say *most* musicians, I don’t mean to include
those who actually *do* make a creative contribution to a film
(such as Wayne Bergeron’s trumpet playing in “The Incredibles”).
But wouldn’t it make sense if only those special players who
actually creatively contribute to the score of a film get some
kind of perpetual back-end payment, while all of the
anonymous lower-stand violin players, etc., get a buyout?

obviously not a second stand violin player)


While I applaud the public forum and discussion of issues
that effect us all, there is something fishy about the secrecy
of it all.

Who is this so-called ‘committee’? It is a committee of one?

I find it interesting that you advocate pro-business
(yours?) positions, rather that pro-labor positions.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: To use a forum to promote the business
of the committee members we would have to CHARGE for the
business of sending these bulletins out, which we do not.)

Every major publication that I know of requires personal
identification before publishing letters or postings.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you for the compliment.)

And while postings are “anonymous” to all of us, YOU know
the identity of everyone. This is unfair and damages the
credibility of all postings. And it doesn’t pass the smell test.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: We consider it a great honor and compliment
that the posters trust us enough to say the things they do and
to know we will protect their identities. That
is a trust we will never betray.)

I would like to see this forum continue out in the open, with the
Committee’s identities revealed as well as the posters’.



Thanks for your response, however defensive. No, I am not from
the RMA, your enemy, (EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE ABOVE)
and do not have any ax to grind, or targets to hit. And, yes,
I would like to continue to participate in this forum. I think that
the free exchange of ideas is a good idea, even if I am
uncomfortable with the secrecy.


I’ve finished reading all the comments from the last two emails
and there are some pissed off and paranoid people out there.

Scarcity brings out the worst in people. It’s a complex problem.
I’ve always been fond of saying we should make friends with
technology. Some people (producers, composers, musicians)
will still want the human touch no matter how good a sample
gets…a computer can never sample the serendipity of a happy
accident, a lucky mistake made by a human.

Good producers and good musicians know and recognize that.
I can’t tell you how many young, upstart, slick-with-their-gear
composers/songwriters/producers and/or kids, who know their
way inside and out of protools and logic who become absolutely
giddy when I break out my instrument and play a real live sound
produced by a human. That desire will never go away. Technology
has just found a way to do it faster and with fewer people. Of
course, Prague has found a way to give that human touch
we all love so much for even cheaper. I’ve been to Prague to
record and while it’s not the same as doing it in LA, it’s definitely
faster (minus the flight time with connections & delays), cheaper
and less red tape. As others have pointed out, I’m not sure that
we’ll ever be able to compete with their rates. But why don’t we
eliminate some of the red tape? I think that’s one of the things
the buyout proposal is trying to achieve.

Obviously, the industry as we know it in LA has to be completely
reinvented. We have to be able to offer something different to
producers and composers and people in charge of making the
decisions where something gets recorded. We should capitalize
on the fact that we’re in close proximity to a creative vortex
in filmmaking, record producing, and TV-land and that we
have many wonderful studios in which to record. That is
something Prague or Budapest or Belfast can’t offer…location.

We should try to become partners and allies with each other,
with the organized groups that already exist and even with
technology, instead of fighting against “them” and ourselves.
So much fear and paranoia; it doesn’t get any of us anywhere.
Unfortunately, big business doesn’t care too much about quality
or risk-taking (aka, making something interesting or artistic).
If you saw Supersize Me, you’ll know what a fast-food nation
we are and that goes for music too. “Change or die,” said the
dinosaur with one foot in the grave.



The last few sets of comments have contained many complaints,
but not many solutions. One person, however, did suggest
combining forces with other strong entertainment unions
such as the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild.
This is, in my opinion, one of our best chances to secure
work in LA. Could the big movie houses really produce a great
movie without LA talent acting and directing their features?

As musicians we tend to forget other business models could
actually work for our industry as well. Unions who combine
forces gain numbers strength and bargaining power, all of
which we need to secure more work for LA players.

I’m actually surprised these alliances have not been made before


(Today’s prize for most colorful e-mail goes to:)

To run a smear campaign against the ‘elite 150’ as you so
poutingly put it, and to use your obvious and short sighted
lack of experience to anonymously say things that will
ultimately bring ruin upon the LA scoring Scene, is a travesty
beyond comprehension. It also is done, I am of the
opinion, at the behest of Tom Lee.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: How much more RUINED can it get? )

A couple of points:

1. There is nothing more cowardly, or terroristic, if you will,
as committing atrocities, be they verbal or explosive, behind the
humiliating and weak veil of anonymity.

2. If you had any idea how seriously and completely you were
playing into the hand of a man whose only goal is to divide,
and then conquer the RMA, you would cease and desist

3. You are in effect acting as terrorists, blowing yourselves up in
a misguided, uneducated and inexperienced attempt to gain
employment by throwing verbal bombs at those whose success you
resent. If you think more work will come because you devalue
yourselves you are sorely mistaken.

4. I urge you to cease this non-sense immediately. Take a good
look at yourselves, at what you are doing. Understand that you
are being played, seriously played by people whose interests are
contrary to yours.

5. You ask the union to act responsibly when you, yourselves
are acting in a most irresponsible way.

Notice, if you will, that I have responded to you in my own name.
I believe in this business as it is. I worked extremely hard to
achieve what I have, to have built a successful business. I did not
put anyone down to get here. I, like the rest of the ‘elite 150’
did it with ability, hard work, and diligence. You might go back
and read that again. Ability, hard work, and diligence.


Thank you for writing *********,

No,.. Tom Lee as NOTHING to do with this committee. And we’ve
received a number of letters in a similar vein as yours, though
few are so vivid. Before you talk about TERRORISTS try to
imagine anyone who’s DARED to speak up against the Monopoly
that is LA recording and found themselves shut out, their
recording career at an end,.. for speaking the truth.

And *******,… what might you say on the day you may say
something wrong, or God forbid you find yourself replaced by
someone younger or prettier? You may still want to work in the
recording area but find there’s only ONE MAIN HOUSE. Will you
then say, “Wow, I guess monopolies ARE a bad thing! What will
you say then? EVERYONE and we mean EVERYONE in this union
knows that the letters printed here speak the truth for the most
part. Where we know that something is wrong we will point it out. EVEN IN THE RMA’S FAVOR. Can you deny the Monopoly?,… can you deny the loss of work the business practices of those elite contractors have brought to this town?

We suggest you do some research and find out what GOOD
your Patrons and RMA administration have done for the work
in town as opposed to the bad.

By the way,… We do NOT write the letters you see,
MEMBERS in GOOD STANDING do. Are you saying you and your
click wouldn’t go after them for daring to speak up? Are you
saying you wouldn’t do your best to make sure THEY didn’t get
on the same gig with you? You might be surprised by WHO has
been writing these letters, and many, many of them have more
experience in the business than most in the elite 150.

If this is a case where if you’re fine it doesn’t matter what happens
to anyone else, then so be it. There are hundreds of wonderful
players in town, FAR more A list player than those who call
themselves such. They deserve a chance too, and we cannot
continue to sit still as the world moves on.

Thank you for writing. Your letter IN IT’S ENTIRETY
will be included in the next comment roundup,…
without your name of course. We respect YOUR privacy as much
as anyone’s. FYI.

The Committee for a More Responsible Local 47.


Do I know you specifically? What are your names?

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Sigh! oh well…..)


I wish I could make it this weekend..(Refereig to the call for
member’s to attend the caucuses.) Youre doing great work..
Let me know how I can help.


How ridiculous is it to have someone outside of the recording
industry playing a part in negotiating recording agreements.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: OUR REPLY: Thank you for writing
Not ALL Agreement are RECORDING Agreements. BTB however,
How rediculous is it to have ONLY RMA PEOPLE, in fact,
only ONE RMA person, representing THEATER, ORCHESTRAL,
To have the SAME PERSON representing the RMA and the
RANK AND FILE MUSICIANS of LOCAL 47 is a stupendous
conflict of interest.



Thank you! Is this a free service to all local 47 members?
Please let me know.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Absolutely! And send us your concert
announcements as well!)



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