(any WGA members reading this like to comment? <cough><cough>) Some television series are trying to stockpile episodes leading up to this winter, but some close to the negotiations between writers and studios say the first Hollywood writers strike in nearly two decades is imminent by Nov. 1. At issue is new technology facing both television and movies, including the Internet and DVD sales, that members of the Writers Guild of America feel its members are not getting a fair share, according to San Jose Mercury News reporter Charlie McCollum. At the same time, however, studios want to change language where union members continue to collect residuals on television episodes and movies that puts a check in their mailbox (even if it’s a small one) every time something they worked on is re-released. On top of that, contracts with between the studios and the Screen Actors Guild along with the Directors Guild of America also will be up in early 2008, and if the WGA matter isn’t resolved, all of Hollywood could end up walking out. "It’s like we’re talking two different languages," an unnamed television writer told the San Jose paper. "We want improvements; the studios want give-backs." "Those with long memories may recall the last WGA strike almost two decades ago," McCollum wrote. "It lasted five months, effectively shutting down the fall TV season and putting every show from soap operas to late-night out of business." One series obviously effected was the second season of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which aired an abbreviated season that year. Producers even dipped into the old "Star Trek: Phase II" script vault and resurrected scripts from a decade before and modified them to fit into the TNG universe. There is a silver-lining in the talks, however. Because the SAG and DGA contracts are up early next year, it may make more sense for the WGA to wait until spring to walk out, which means that this current television season could be saved. However, a mass walkout may have the entire fall season beginning in 2008 in jeopardy. Source: (syfyportal.com)

The Los Angeles Times Patrick Goldstein writes about the uncertain future of New Line Cinema in his column this morning, but one thing that he can be certain about is New Line’ attempts to woo Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson back to somehow participate in the studio’s planned adaptation of The Hobbit.

Studio head Bob Shaye, who famously once told SciFi.com that Jackson would never work for New Line again while he’s running the studio, told Goldstein, Notwithstanding our personal quarrels, I really respect and admire Peter and would love for him to be creatively involved in some way in The Hobbit.

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The software giant is one of the most prolific presenters at the SIGGRAPH 2007 show.

Think of companies doing state-of-the-art research in computer graphics, and you might guess names such as Industrial Light & Magic, Adobe Systems Inc., or Nvidia Corp.

But at this week’s SIGGRAPH 2007, for more than three decades the most prestigious international conference for academic and industrial computer graphics research, Microsoft researchers will be presenting or co-presenting one out of every eight papers.

A federal court has struck down as unconstitutional a California law to label violent video games and prohibit their sale to minors, Reuters reported.

The decision, by Judge Ronald Whyte of the District Court for the Northern District of California, said, "At this point, there has been no showing that violent video games as defined in the Act, in the absence of other violent media, cause injury to children." He continued, "In addition, the evidence does not establish that video games, because of their interactive nature or otherwise, are any more harmful than violent television, movies, Internet sites or other speech-related exposures."

Animation fans and Oscar pundits are abuzz following the Comic-Con preview of Beowulf, Robert Zemeckis’ latest foray into "mo-cap" (motion capture) animation. The  bottom line is whether the "digitally-enhanced live action" of the film will qualify it as an animated feature under the Academy’s newest rule stating "any film that begins with live action performance and  then uses digital animation to enhance or augment that performance is not eligible."

Daytime activities at Siggraph are all about work: Programmers and technology people meet with vendors about upcoming products; HR departments as well as artists ‘work the booth’ to recruit new talent. They also ‘work the suite’ – interviewing prospective candidates in plush ’secret’ hotel suites; Fresh out-of-school noobs & seasoned veterans alike ‘walk the floor’ and job fair looking a job; etc, etc, etc.

I’m back from Siggraph. It was pretty silly of me to think I’d have time to post at all while I was there.

To answer Jac’s question and expand on Gabe’s reply, yes, Siggraph is the annual week-long computer graphics conference with about 30-40,000 people from around the world for everything from games to visual effects. There are extensive courses in the latest technology and innovations, “emerging technologies” (hands-on exhibitions of new stuff that most people won’t see for years, if ever), a huge convention floor with software and hardware vendors in addition to studios that are hiring, etc. And then there are the parties. All in all, it is non-stop, morning through night, resulting in the need to recover for a good week afterwards.

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