Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"The Dirty 30" & "The Cieply Scenario"

Insightful piece in the LA Times on the "behind the scenes" drama unfolding during the WGA Strike.

Private Overture's Lead To Strike Breakthrough

Studio executives and leaders of the Writers Guild of America were barely on speaking terms a month ago when John Bowman took matters into his own hands.

The head of the guild's negotiating committee, a onetime writer on "Saturday Night Live," Bowman asked a talent agent friend to arrange a private meeting with adversaries in Hollywood's languishing labor talks.
From "United Hollywood"

In the wake of the LA Times article talking about the "Dirty 30" and the events leading up to the final agreement, we're going to be running some pieces ourselves concerning those events and, to us more importantly, where we all go now.

From NY Times reporter Michael Cieply:
Even as Mr. Bowman became more vocal, Mr. Young was listening closely to Ms. Kalogridis, who had become a guild confidante. Described by associates as vibrant and impassioned, Ms. Kalogridis — whose credits include the “Bionic Woman” television series — had joined with a half dozen associates to make their United Hollywood site (unitedhollywood.blogspot.com) a rallying spot for striking writers. As recently as last week, the Web site shook the continuing talks by posting a strong critique of the directors’ deal by Phil Alden Robinson, the writer and director of “Field of Dreams” and a board member.

Ms. Kalogridis and her friends, in fact, had become a pipeline to the guild members holding out for sizable gains, whose support would be needed if any deal was to be reached. And she, like Mr. Bowman, had become convinced that the current round of talks must not be allowed to fail.

Rescuers Script A Possible Ending For The Strike

A New York Times reporter turned the Hollywood writers strike into a battle between good and evil. But was it true? David Blum doesn't think so.

The Cieply Scenario

How the story of the strike was shaped as it was going on.

Last Thursday night, as Michael Cieply put the finishing touches on his gripping 1,260-word narrative for the next day’s New York Times, he felt a mix of exhaustion and exhilaration. His scoop on a possible endgame in the crippling three-month writers’ strike would, without a doubt, captivate everyone with its cast of characters. A little-known screenwriter who’d been brought in to jump-start the negotiations. A powerful agent who’d brokered the peace. A union representative who’d almost blown the entire deal with his obstinacy. Two Hollywood studio chiefs who went eye-to-eye with labor in search of a deal. No one, not even those whiny WGA leaders, could dispute that Cieply had put together a compelling insider’s tick-tock of the strike’s final days. This piece would, at last, earn him the industry respect he so clearly craved—not just for his reportage but also for his skills as a Hollywood-style storyteller.

How did Cieply know all this? In the midst of a media blackout, who could his sources have been? As usual, despite his employer’s rules that reporters either identify their sources or at least characterize them (and explain the reason for their confidential status), he didn’t do either.

In the end, that was no different than any other story Cieply had written in the previous three months about the Writers Guild strike poised to end, at last, this week. With no sourcing to jam up the works, Cieply was free yet again to present his version of events as though it were indisputably true. Anyway, who was to say it wasn’t true? Who would ever doubt it, and why? He was, after all, Michael Cieply, a reporter for The New York Times, the most powerful newspaper in America.
Read: The Cieply Scenario


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