AUDIO: Listen to the April 19 Composer/Teamster Meeting

Film Music Magazine • April 22, 2010

Film Music Magazine is pleased to present audio from the April 19 Composer/Teamster meeting at the WGA theater in Beverly Hills. The meeting was attended by 250 composers and featured the Association of Media Composers and Lyricists Organizing Committee, Teamster Local 399 President Anthony Cousimano, Secretary/Treasurer Leo T. Reed and other speakers. Organizing Director Steve Dayan read a statement of support from Teamster boss James Hoffa and WGA Executive Director David Young told to the crowd that “The WGA will help out every way we can.” In addition to the WGA support, SAG sent actor James Cromwell to read a statement of support.

Of great interest and the raison d’etre for the meeting, was the WGA’s support. John Wells and the WGA Executive Board approved at their March 2, 2010 meeting the request from Teamster/Composers Organizer Steve Dayan that specifically addresses the abuse of music written on spec. The approved letter will be addressed to Showrunners and states, “The Guild believes once writing at any level is seen as ”free” it compromises writing on all levels.” The AMCL made it clear that the WGA letter has nothing to do with Teamsters’ negotiations with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

APRIL 19 COMPOSER/TEAMSTER MEETING AUDIO

Audio – Part 1 of 7

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Audio – Part 2 of 7

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Audio – Part 3 of 7

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Audio – Part 4 of 7

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Audio – Part 5 of 7

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Audio – Part 6 of 7

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Audio – Part 7 of 7

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RELATED LINKS

Letter Approved by WGA Executive Board March 2 that addresses the abuse of music written on spec
AMCL Website
Teamsters Local 399 Website

Composer/Teamster Meetings Draws 250, Strong Support From WGA
WGA Endorses AMCL – Partnership In Place To Address Workplace Conditions For Composers

Very special thanks to Steve Barden for providing the recordings of the April 19 event.

Comments

By Deane Ogden on April 22nd, 2010 at 7:28 am

Awesome, Mark! Thanks for this!

By Joel Ciulla on April 22nd, 2010 at 7:48 am

THANK YOU MARK!! I was unable to make the meeting, so this is perfect! Joel

By Jesse Hopkins on April 22nd, 2010 at 9:28 am

Listening now, but my first thoughts are that pushback from composers on working conditions are a result of composers increasingly relying on exploiting other composers in order to undercut Artists. The “lead composer” who gets the screen credit is now an employer, who will of course be just as anti union as any employer would be.

It’s the team composers versus the professional Artists. I just declined to pitch on a major project because they wanted free music as a condition of employment, because they were indicating that they may hire multiple composers (of course you’d be competing on every track once hired), and because the pitch pack dictated an incomprehensible mish mash of styles (we want Stravinsky meets Madonna meets OMD meets NIN meets Mozart meets Bob Dylan meets Dolly Parton). Is it a hazing at this point, or are they actually being serious?

By JONNICHI MYOUN on April 23rd, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Although I am not a working composer for this moment. I actually enjoyed so much and praise to the utmost the inspiring and diligent movement of the AMCL,SCL, along with the Teamster Union # 399. This will be a great step in history for so many wonderful composers who give the treasure of their art and are never appreciated or righteously compensated for their craft. My prayers and best wishes goes out to the success of this project. Many thanks to Marc and especially to Steve Barden for such a crispy clear recording of this meeting.

By Mark Northam on April 23rd, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Good points, Jonnichi. Unfortunately, according to Variety magazine, the SCL has not taken a position regarding unionization for composers. We can only hope that the organization becomes supportive of the unionization movement and takes a position.

By Jesse Hopkins on April 24th, 2010 at 9:54 am

I have to chime in again here after listening to the corrected recording:
So Mike Post and others say that Producers will just use library music instead of custom music if any of the workplace conditions are addressed. That bugs me for many reasons:

No professional composer should equate library music with custom composed music. Is he saying that his Magnum PI theme is interchangeable with his Riptide theme? I think it is a facetious stance. There’s a greater value in custom composed music, and OBVIOUSLY, producers see that. If they are threatening to go with only library music, call their bluff. Maybe reality shows have no need for custom music, but scripted shows will always prefer custom music for the way that a composer can create unlimited variations on specific themes to enhance the story.

Coming out to say that producers would chop up pre-existing music and get the same results is really saying that custom music is worthless. I think it is a scare tactic on Mike Post’s part, and I think he knows the real value of custom music on a show. I believe that his motivation is not to help the plight of other composers, but merely to take advantage of things as they are for as long as possible.

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