FIRM Discussions

June 5, 1998 - June 8, 1998

Back on the Path
Joe Goldenberg
3:03 am Friday June 5, 1998
Okay, you're right John, maybe I was getting a little off the
beaten path of film industry reform; I'll try to keep it a
little more focused.

Joe Goldenberg

FIRM in the New York Times
Joe Goldenberg
4:09 am Friday June 5, 1998
Here's what I propose:

After reading enough of the material posted here and on the FIRM
site, courtesy of John Cones (who has taken his valuable time to
do all this research and is getting nothing in return but a lot
of abuse from some), why don't you folks who feel that you
have been disenfranchised by Hollywood movies take out ads in
your local news papers inviting people to visit the FIRM Website.

In other words, if you are a Latino, Italian, Italian-American,
Asian, Asian-American, Arabian, Arab-American, Muslim, Christian,
White from the American South, African-American or any minority
who feels that they have been depicted in Hollywood movies in a
negative or stereotypical manner over the years or decades, here
is your chance to publicize the research from a 10-year study by
entertainment/securities attorney, John Cones, that could make a

Run what ever size ad you can afford - the important thing being,
you will get the word out to your friends, associates and
disenfranchised community.

Just run an ad. Say something like "Check out a sexy new site on
the Web called FIRM. It's at"

Or say, "Do you feel the Hollywood movie industry needs Reform?
Join in on an international discussion on the Web at"

Or, "Fellow African-Americans, tired of being depicted as the bad
guys in Hollywood movies and never getting to tell your story,
check out a new web site for Film Industry Reform at

Run as many ads, as often, as you want. Ads can cost between $20
and $200,000 depending on whether you are taking out an ad in
your local rag or a full-page spread in the New York Times. Both
are Welcome.

Make up your own copy, so long as it is a direct quote from
something that is actually published on the FIRM website by
either John Cones or James Jaeger, the FIRM founders. Email them
with proposed copy or suggestions.

If the above proposal is NOT OKAY, expect to see subsequent posts
from John Cones and/or James Jaeger as to why, hopefully along
with suggestions as to what WOULD be acceptable.

Joe Goldenberg

re: Hollywood's Ties to the Mob
Mr. Blank
5:49 am Friday June 5,
Well I didn't mean to offend you. I haven't read everything you've written. Reading part
of it I don't think you have enough to "prove" anything. It's not like the idea that
Hollywood is controled by Jews is anything new. If you don't have any new proof you
don't have enough. I also think you will not get anywhere simply blaming Jews. I
understand your frustration though. If I sound snobby it is because I am a little bit ahead
of you. I tried to challenge this a while ago and was also treated badly. If enough people
stood up this would break the system, but with the hiring policy they have now it will be

I've read some of the books you mentioned and may check out the others. Thanks for
listing these resources and other resources that you have on your site. It is a brave thing
you are doing. Your info will certainly help those outside Hollywood who want to
understand what is wrong.

re: Clarifications, Y2K and Frozen Heads
Mr. Blank
6:02 am Friday June 5,

I agree with you that the MPAA is basically a joke, but a very powerful joke. To rate
one movie doesn't mean much, but to rate ten thousand does. Over a period of time the
MPAA morals become the morals of our society. It scares me when I have to fight for
basic rights which were established by the constitution. This is where we find ourselves. I
believe the constitution was written exactly to prevent what is happening now from
happening. Yet, the media seems to have the power to dismiss sections of the
constitution it does not like.

re: Hollywood Disenfranchised Beyond Christianity
Mr. Blank
6:23 am Friday June 5,

I'm writing as I'm thinking so my ideas are not completely clear. I think you
misinterpreted a few things. The causes of WW2 are complicated, but important. It
bothers me to see the Catholic Church blamed for Nazism while we hear little about the
corrupt governments that existed in Germany and Eastern Europe in the early part of the
century. It's important for people to know this so that history does not repeat itself.
Corruption leads to violent revolution often times.

I focus on Christians because that's where I feel slighted. I don't represent Italians and
Southern Whites. Anyway, Jews feel misrepresented by Hollywood too. I think it will
work better to focus on yourself. Do you feel excluded from Hollywood? Are you
bothered by the hiring policy? What are your personal experiences?

Who is the FIRM? This sounds crazy to talk in the plural. Don't include me in your
organization by the way. I am happy to share ideas and listen to your ideas but I'm not
going to follow you.

re: Hollywood's Ties to the Mob
Mr. Blank
7:06 am Friday June 5,
>>> When you have caught up on your own reading, Mr. "Blank" why don't you just
add useful information to the FIRM discussion, as opposed to playing games of
intellectual snobbery.>>> Reading history is important but my knowledge is first hand
and that's what you're lacking. Notice I didn't say you're wrong, but you're missing
important pieces.

See Joe's Horror Story!
John Cones
1:33 pm Friday June 5, 1998

Joe Goldenberg's recently posted "Horror Story" setting forth a theory of what's really
going on behind closed doors at the Hollywood studios, is quite consistent with my 11
years of experience with independent producers, and the thousands of similar tales they
have told about being ripped off by the studio system. Check it out.

re: This and your other posts
James Jaeger
3:25 am Saturday June 6, 1998
You don't have to join or follow anything Mr. Blank. Your views
are informative and appreciated and, as in any discussion, there
will be agreement and there will be disagreement.

That's what this forum is all about - let's put some things on the
table and sort them out.

Hollywood's Hiring Policy
James Jaeger
4:57 am Saturday June 6, 1998
:Are you bothered by the hiring policy? What are your personal

John may wish to address your other questions about who is FIRM,
and other experiences, but one thing I would like to comment on is
the hiring policies of the motion picture industry.

Having started my professional film career as a film editor, I
remember well the day I walked up to the Editor's Guild in Los
Angeles, in the early 1980's, and sat down in front of one of the
guild administrators and said: "Okay, here I am, I'm ready to join
the Guild; I have been editing professionally for 5 years and I'd
like to join the Guild." I was not ready for the catch-22 I was
about to be hit with, a catch-22 that is typical for all the
unions and other guilds.

                            GUILD ADMINISTRATOR
                 What signatory production company
                 have you just completed working
                 for and what feature have you

JAMES What do you mean by "signatory production company"?

GUILD ADMINISTRATOR That's a company that has signed up with the Guild. That company can only employ Guild members in good standing.

JAMES Oh, well I haven't worked for a signatory production company. But I have edited a feature, and 15 other films.

GUILD ADMINISTRATOR Sorry, to join the Guild you have to have worked for a signatory company. We're not concerned if you know what you are doing as a filmmaker.

JAMES But... how do I get to work for a signatory production company?

GUILD ADMINISTRATOR Well you have to be in the Guild before you can work for a signatory production company.

JAMES But... I thought you said I couldn't be in the Guild unless I had worked for a signatory production company!?


JAMES Well why can't I just join the Guild directly?

GUILD ADMINISTRATOR Because all our current members arenít even working, so how can we even THINK about new members?

JAMES Well when will all your current members be working?

Well that means I'll never be able to join my fellow editors as a member of the Guild then!?


JAMES Why can't you just allow anyone who wants to join the Guild to join and may the best editors get employed? Free market competition, you know like what everyone else in America does?!?!?

GUILD ADMINISTRATOR Look, I don't make the rules, I just work here. (turns aside) Next!

James walks out of the Guild forever, still waiting for an answer to his question.

Independent Producers' Investment Forum
1:26 am Sunday June 7,
A new Question and Answer site hosted by Los Angeles securities/entertainment
attorney John W. Cones and devoted to answering questions relating to investor
financing of the development, production and/or distribution of independent film projects
or multiple-film packages can be found at /useful.htm.

This is the same Q&A service carried for several years on the Hollywood Network site
created by Carlos de Abreau, before it was abruptly taken down, presumably due to
pressures applied by the Hollywood apologists who have falsely characterized John
Cones' views about the film industry as expressed on the Film Industry Reform
Movement (FIRM) site M.

Carlos de Abreau has offered no other reasonable explanation for his actions. In other
words, Carlos de Abreau was willing to sacrifice and do damage to the interests of
independent filmmakers throughout the country, just to satisfy the Hollywood interest of
squelching John Cones' criticism of what's really going on in Hollywood.

We consider this to be a clear example of Hollywood's lack of tolerance for the opinions
of others and in the interest of protecting freedom of speech in this country and in the film
industry in particular, we are pleased to be able to support the continuation of John
Cones' Investor Financing Q&A sessions. We are also continuing in our efforts to gain
the cooperation of Carlos de Abreau in transferring the previous accumulated questions
and responses (some 400 plus) electronically, so that visitors to this site may benefit from
the discussions that have gone before. Unfortunately, Carlos de Abreau and the
Hollywood Network have been unwilling, thus far, to share that accumulated wisdom in
an electronic format. Independent filmmakers lose again.

We hope you will take advantage of this site and tell your friends. Hundreds of
independent filmmakers have benefitted from this service in the past. We also hope you

will let Carlos de Abreau know of your dissatisfaction with his decision to abruptly
dismantle the original site. He can be reached at hollywoodnet@hollywoo

Attorney John Cones' biography appears at

Sue Us
James Jaeger
6:57 am Sunday June 7, 1998
Check out this nice little excerpt from one of John Cones' books on how Hollywood
does business. It's called Sue Us - The Studio Litigation Strategy.

re: Sue Us
Mr. Blanko
3:42 am Monday June 8, 1998

That's an impressive collection of suits. Yet, I feel that the whole issue of net profits is really bs and even a smoke screen for real problems. So you sign a deal and they throw in net points. It's like if someone gives you real estate on the moon. You know it isn't worth anything when you accept it. I also doubt that studio accountants are as crooked as their reputation. I know the accountants at one studio and I doubt they try to steal money for the studio or even care to. Maybe at other studios it is different. From my experience it is the smaller companies that do this sort of thing. Eventually they get tied up in a knot of litigation not only from the artists but the guilds. Cannon was a good example of this. They got to the pont where there was a lien on the company by the guilds. Keep that in mind when you complain about the studios. There have been some studio cases regarding net points like James Garner and The Rockford Files.The Buchwald case was odd on a number of counts. Mostly it happened because Eddie Murphy was such a star. Generally the studios pay well. The flip side is they do threaten if you don't toe the line.

The most important thing to remember and what I think John misses is there are individuals within the studio. They behave in their own ways. Some of them might like to cheat talent, but that ussually happens when a company is in dire need. What happens more often is you have individuals who do arrogant things and get in personality conflicts.

What is more prevalient and a bigger problem is the hiring policy. As James mentioned the unions make this even worse. So does the MPAA. Jack Valenti is not above fanning the flames of religious hatred in order to protect the MPAA's monopoly on ratings. With Valenti labeling Christians as self rightous extremists it is not surprising few real Christians want to work in Hollywood. This sets the stage for continued problems.

Everything Valenti says is the opposite of the truth. He's an American Benito Mussolini. The MPAA is the greatest threat to free speech in our time, yet Valenti claims to fight for such. It is difficult to get information on exactly how the MPAA works as they will not reveal much, but the more I learn about it the more I think it is the cause for many of the problems of our time. It is at the center of fundraising abuses. The MPAA practically created modern fundraising abuses. At the same time the MPAA member companies operate above the law and are sometimes even open about their special status. This is the behavior of a ruling class before the revolution. I still have hope for the constitution, but with all the conglamoration things will likely get worse. Thank God for the internet.

No Problem Promoting Site
John Cones
12:03 pm Monday June 8,

No Problem Promoting Site

With regard to Joe Goldenberg's recent suggestion that concerned citizens take out ads
to promote the FIRM site, I have no problem with anyone doing whatever they think is
appropriate for promoting the FIRM site, after all, I sincerely believe that by doing so,
you would be promoting the truth about an important American institution (i.e., the
Hollywood-based U.S. film industry).
Also, so long as it is made clear that the ad or other form of promotional communication
is sponsored by a concerned citizen and not FIRM, there is no need to send ad copy to
us for approval. We would merely be third party beneficiaries of your desire to make
more people aware of the truth about Hollywood and how it affects each and every one
of us.

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