August 13, 2011 11:32am PT by Jonathan Handel
WGA West Alerts Members to Non-Compliant Producer (Exclusive)
In an apparent attempt to forestall future problems – and up the ante on non-compliant producers – the WGA West notified members Friday about several companies “owned by or related to” strike-listed producer Courtney Solomon, even though the companies are not themselves on the strike list.
The companies in the advisory are After Dark Films, LLC; Autonomous Acquisitions, LLC; and Autonomous Films, LLC. The email describes them as “dominated by or related to an individual who is on the Strike List and who has engaged in unfair business practices against Guild members.”
Attempts to reach Solomon Friday night were unsuccessful. The Strike List is the WGA's way of informing members about producers that do not comply with the guild agreement or arbitration awards. Members are prohibited from working for companies on the list.
According to the WGA, the listing of Solomon and several of his Sweetpea companies resulted from their noncompliance with a federal court judgment totaling more than $500,000. The email says that the judgment resulted from the failure of Solomon and the Sweetpea companies to pay residuals to the writers of the 2000 film Dungeons & Dragons.
The carefully worded email alert is an apparent first. It acknowledges that members are permitted to work for companies not on the strike list (so long as they are signatories to the guild agreement), but says the advisory was sent in order to “provide members with information, which they may take into account as they see fit.”
The email reflects a policy established – within the last year, according to a source – by the guild’s board of directors. The email says the policy will be to issue “periodic advisories notifying WGAW members of companies or individuals who have engaged in employment practices detrimental to writers.”
Of course, the effect will be to warn writers of the risks of working for such companies or selling spec scripts to them – and, probably, to discourage some writers from doing so.
Also listed in the advisory are Solomon himself, Sweetpea Entertainment Corporation, Sweetpea Entertainment, Inc., and Sweetpea (BVI) Limited. All four appear on the strike list, which bars WGA members from working for them.
Solomon produced and directed Dungeons & Dragons, a 2000 film that was distributed by New Line and grossed about $15 million domestically, according to IMDb, and almost $34 million worldwide. The WGA describes Solomon as primarily a horror producer, and IMDb lists 23 producer or executive producer credits for him.
The publicly-accessible WGA web page relating to the Strike List references no parallel list of companies owned by or related to strike-listed producers, although it could not be determined whether such a list is posted in a members-only area.