Careful readers of Vallywood will recall my comment here that it was significant that my fellow Northern Californian Peter Coyote came out in support of the AFTRA deal with the AMPTP.
Coyote is one of the industry’s long time independent progressive figures (stretching back to his days in the SF Mime Troupe) and his statement made it clear that Membership First does not have a monopoly on political correctness in this year’s bargaining process.
I wrote then:
The other name that stood out for me was Peter Coyote. Not an A-lister, of course, but Coyote has to be one of the most stalwart on the left in Hollywood (well, Marin County) for many many years. If MF had hoped to appeal through a strike to the wider liberal and labor community Coyote’s voice would have been a very helpful one to bring to the fore. The fact that he is backing the AFTRA deal suggests that, in fact, even the left is divided on the question and that will not be very helpful to Rosenberg with his friends on the west side of L.A. and Santa Monica.
Now Coyote has spoken out again, in the same vein as an earlier intervention by George Clooney, to the effect that to avoid a destructive strike in Hollywood, prominent SAG members must step up to the plate. His letter is described here at Blog Stage.
Of course, to get serious some important governance changes must take place at the Guild if it is to turn itself around and become a leader in the effort to rebuild actor power in a rapidly changing and complex global industry.
Two key reforms are necessary:
1) the formation of a genuine board of directors with perhaps no more than a dozen members who meet regularly with the NED to define Guild goals and vision as well as supervise the implementation of a strategy to achieve those goals; and
2) an end to the alternate system that allows prominent figures to run for the board only to hand the keys to the Guild over to alternates who implement a political agenda.
Perhaps this weekend’s national board meeting – about which I was interviewed by Bloomberg today – will be the starting point for a constructive debate about the future of the Guild.