Friday, April 07, 2006

Research Tidbits ...

I do pretty extensive research for facts within my articles and in particular my feature posts ... such as the current Do You Love Movies, But Hate Watching Them? series.

I have to pour over articles that contain facts I need and completely unrelated facts.

A couple of interesting tidbits that I have stumbled on while searching the net for you trivia buffs:

- The "No Animals Were Harmed During The Making Of This Film" disclaimer at the end of movies, has been part of the ending credits since 1989, when it first showed up in the Paul Newman movie "Fat Man and Little Boy." In fact ... it's trademarked and licensed. The American Humane Association (AHA) is the only organization authorized by Hollywood to monitor animal use on movie sets, and it gets $1.5 million annually from the film industry to do so. This phrase and certification is required if any real or fictional animal is pictured within an MPAA rated movie for more than 10 seconds on the screen or if any animal is pictured as being rabid, harmed, or killed. The cost of this monitoring and certification is roughly $15,000 per film.

- Apes are not considered animals protected by this disclaimer and therefore not monitored by it officially.

- When you see the end credits and wonder how it's possible that each of those hundreds of people were paid ... take into account that often these are contract laborers who work on dozens of films each year. So ... one movie may net a worker $3000 - $4000 for a month's work. 250 people working on a film would only be $1 million of the budget. The average film shoots for about 2 months ... most dramas shoot for about 30 days, big budget movies shoot for 3 months on average.

- Professional, union film work is governed by the rules and guidelines of the film union - the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). This union establishes minimum salaries for different levels of performance - leads, supporting players, background, etc. Salaries can range from $115/day for "background actors" ("extras"), to $700/day for "day performers" (those with lines), and up to $4,000 a week for major roles. These are minimum rates. Only about 7% of actors are able to negotiate any of these salaries to high five figures and six figures. Only 5% are able to acheive million dollar paydays for movies.

i'll post some more after I complete the last installment this coming weekend.

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