As the NZ Actors Equity/Hobbit dispute continues, Phillipa Boyens, co-producer and co-writer has kind of implied a conspiracy by MEAA to try and get the films moved to Australia.

It is interesting that MEAA in Australia were the ones who seem to have instigated this drama and now that Warner is reviewing the numbers, Aussie is up with a big nice juicy offer to attract the films away from NZ.

Much like others have said, the damage has been done. Regardless of whether this was MEAA’s intention or not, NZ’s film industry has been dragged through the mud, all because of how poorly Actors Equity handled this problem.

I hate to be negative, but my gut tells me that it is too late to save the Hobbit films. They will now be going off shore, because this has been dragged along too long now. I hope to be proven wrong.

In their naïveté, Actors Equity foolishly believed that they had leverage and that Warner were only bluffing. I’m not sure it is an actor thing – many of NZAE’s senior members have been producers – they should have known that there was no bluff.

In my experience a producer rarely has the luxury to bluff. You need to get your project moving and out there before it is dated or the hype dies down. This means that any delay requires a backup plan, you simply can’t afford to be farting around for months if you can get things moving again.

I had no doubt that if Warner and SPJ were saying the films may have to go offshore, they were already looking around and preparing to replan their budget.

I honestly don’t understand how NZAE or MEAA seriously thought this was a bluff.

I wonder if Actors Equity genuinely thought that without their actors, films cannot be made. The reality is that while you need actors for a film, there are a LOT of people who want to be actors and if you’re paying – they will show up.

Which isn’t to lessen the importance of finding talented actors, but to stress that NZAE can’t afford to be precious. It is a tough gig being an actor, but this saga is going to make things that much tougher for actors, not better.

It just astonishes me how silly NZAE is looking and how foolish they are for putting the local industry into this situation.

Conan

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