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Old 02-14-2008, 12:52 PM   #41
William Cloud Hicklin
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Fraud must first be proven in a court
Fraudsters *and* deadbeats. If you don't pay your bills, you're a deadbeat.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:16 PM   #42
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from WCH

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If you don't pay your bills, you're a deadbeat
Very true. And from that I take it that the Estate gave an itemized bill to NL to pay? It could be that because of the deal that JRRT himself signed, NL feels that the royalty threshold has not yet been reached. In that case, they can make a legal arguement for not having a bill to pay.

As I have said, I am all in favor of the Estate getting every dollar owed to them. I am totally and completely against any kind of legal ruse or claim that would restore the rights to both HOBBIT and LOTR back to the Estate over the legitimate claim of Saul Zaentz.

The cynical part of me suspects that something like that may be part of all this. And that same cynical part also suspects that the Estate would not mind preventing any more films being made for year after year while this winds it ways though a series of courts.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:12 PM   #43
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Not to takes sides, but I'm not sure why the Estate would not want more films to be made. Surely the glory and fame of Peter Jackson's films has died, or at least has waned, and so for the Estate, another go at the movies can only increase books sales and cash flow (whether or however they get a cut) - as the other movies obviously did.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:24 PM   #44
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Alatar ... my statement that the Estate may not want additional films made is based on many posts here and on other sites where people of a Purist stripe keep saying the films should not have been made and do not want the others made either.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:32 PM   #45
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Maybe I'm misunderstanding things. This thread, which I've been reading, has had lots of talk about the Estate getting their due. In cash. Why then wouldn't they want more?
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:14 PM   #46
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Alatar ... my statement that the Estate may not want additional films made is based on many posts here and on other sites where people of a Purist stripe keep saying the films should not have been made and do not want the others made either.~Sauron the White
They may not want movies to be made at all, but they aren't trying to block The Hobbit from being made, they are trying to block New Line from making it. Quite understandable, if New Line didn't honor the contract, you wouldn't want those figure fudgers involved in The Hobbit where they can "forget" to pay your proper due yet again.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:16 PM   #47
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22. Under the 1969 agreements, United Artists obtained the right, among other things, to make films based on the Literary Works and agreed, among other things, to pay [Tolkien and his publishers] a total of 7.5% of the "Gross Receipts" from any films based upon the Literary Works after a contractually-defined "Artificial Payment Level" is reached (hereinafter referred to as the "Gross Receipts Participation" or "Participation"). The 1969 Agreements expressly define "Gross Receipts" to include "all moneys derived by the distributor of the photoplay" less certain defined "off-the-top" expenses. The 1969 Agreements define the "Artificial Payment Level" as that point at which the "Gross Receipts" exceed 2.6 times the defined "final cost of production of the photoplay," plus certain other defined costs.
The repeated use of defined implies that each of these terms is defined within the four corners of the contract.

Allegations of New Line financial shenanigans tomorrow.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:45 PM   #48
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Well it looks like we are closer to having more information.

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The 1969 Agreements expressly define "Gross Receipts" to include "all moneys derived by the distributor of the photoplay" less certain defined "off-the-top" expenses.
So based on this clause, is money taken in by a theater showing LOTR but not sent to NL part of the gross receipts?

And hopefully we will see those definitions of expenses.

Sadly - or happily, I will be gone from the electronic world for one week so will catch up on my return.
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:43 PM   #49
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So based on this clause, is money taken in by a theater showing LOTR but not sent to NL part of the gross receipts?
No.


Unfortunately the original contracts were not appended to the Complaint (grr- here they'd have to be); so unless and until they're filed with the Court we're still in the dark as to the actual contract language.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:10 AM   #50
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Earlier, someone posted something about the Tolkien Estate's 'official position' issued by Christopher through lawyers in 2001 or so('...thinking evil of those involved are wholly without foundation.'). I'd like to point out that when you're the head of a private company or foundation, you have to maintain a neutral, non-inflammatory 'official position' towards the public that may or may not be your actual opinion.

This is mostly guesswork on my part(basing it mostly on a few things like the 'source close to Tolkien family' revealing that he is 'catatonic' over the films success and thinks that all popular entertainment is unutterably low') but I feel that the older members of the Tolkien Estate(who are the ones participating in the lawsuit) harbour a feeling of resentment and anger towards the movies and would rather not have any more made(hence the audacious 'seeking a court order banning the Hobbit'). I feel relatively sure that if they win the case with New Line they'll turn their attention to Saul Zaentz and try to regain the rights from him.
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:25 AM   #51
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but I feel that the older members of the Tolkien Estate(who are the ones participating in the lawsuit) harbour a feeling of resentment and anger towards the movies and would rather not have any more made(hence the audacious 'seeking a court order banning the Hobbit'.)~zxcvbn
Hearing from some friends, the Tolkien Estate has always been pleasant and helpful but the same can't be said for New Line. This is coming from an administrator of a forum who had to deal with both the Estate and New Line to avoid any sort of legal issues). Also, as I believe davem mentions the Tolkien Estate has given millions of dollars to several charities, whilst New Line has had a tendency to cheat people out of their due money.

Think of it this way...it's going to be a slightly different scenario, but it's virtually what the argument is here.

If a company wants to put your face on their merchandise and they say you will get 5% of the revenue they make from merchandise, but you don't see a penny of that money (or you don't get what they promised you) if they come to you again asking "hey can we put your face on our merchandise, you'll get 5%...etc) are you going to say yes a second time, knowing they cheated you before? Then why would the Estate let New Line continue to make these movies if New Line had not honoured their contract?
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:47 AM   #52
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source close to Tolkien family' revealing that he is 'catatonic' over the films success and thinks that all popular entertainment is unutterably low
That press report was a fabrication. Untrue. Either the 'pal' in question was lying through his teeth and doesn't actually know CRT, or the reporter simply made him up (as the British press have invented so many other 'facts' about CRT).

Consider: on a parallel thread we've been discussing the extent to which CT helped out with the BBC radio production, even recording a tape of Elvish pronunciation.

In point of fact CRT likes movies. Just not these particular movies.
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Old 02-15-2008, 12:15 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post

Consider: on a parallel thread we've been discussing the extent to which CT helped out with the BBC radio production, even recording a tape of Elvish pronunciation.
CT's participation in the radio production has to be kept in mind here - that adaptation was not a straight 'lift' from the books - new scenes were specially written (one in episode 1, where Sam brings post to Bilbo & Frodo in Bag End, another in episode 2 where Gandalf visits Edoras & asks for help after escaping from Orthanc). Other episodes & characters were omitted (Bombadil/Barrow Downs, Gildor, Imrahil, Elladan & Ellrohir). But the point is that before the production began the scripts were sent to Christopher for approval - which he gave. Sibley stated that Christopher was very sympathetic to the difficulties they faced in adapting the story into another medium.

In fact, a few years later one of the adaptors of the series, Brian Sibley, dramatised some of Tolkien's short stories (Niggle, Smith, Giles, &, interestingly, the Old Forest/Bombadil/Barrow Downs episode missed out of the series). Point being, Christopher is not stupid, realises that there is a difference between books & dramatisations - whether that's to radio or film - & appreciates that some changes are necessary. But not every change is necessary.

Of course, as far as I know, the movie makers didn't even bother to consult Christopher - which is hardly a sign of respect. And something else to bear in mind here is that the producers of the stage show requested, & received, access to all Tolkien's linguistic writings.

I can't help feeling that if the movie makers had consulted Christopher he would have been prepared to help out, & that the movies would have been all the better for it - and anyone who thinks that he would simply have demanded every single thing from the book should be included, & would have vetoed every change simply misunderstands him.
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:35 PM   #54
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34. Notwithstanding New Line's obfuscation, even the partial audit revealed that New Line has failed and refused, and continues to fail and refuse. to properly account, calculate and pay the Gross Receipts Participation due and owing to plaintiffs under the 1969 Agreements in numerous ways, including but not limited to the following:

a. Substantially understating Gross Receipts earned on the Films by, among other things, underreporting hundreds of millions of dollars in domestic and international home video/DVD receipts, improperly and intentionally excluding Gross Receipts received by New Line and its affiliates in connection with the Films. failing and refusing to calculate Gross Receipts "at the source" where New Line or its affiliates have self-distributed the Films or distributed it through a "rent-a-system," joint venture or other similar arrangement;

b. Substantially overstating purported costs and expenses associated with the Films by, among other things, improperly including hundreds of millions of dollars in participation payments and bonuses for certain talent. production companies and prior rights holders, including without limitation New Line's predecessors-in-interest Zaentz and Miramax, improperly including hundreds of millions of dollars in purported worldwide advertising, publicity and promotional costs; improperly claiming hundreds of millions of dollars of purported overhead, administrative, supervisory or similar charges; and accruing hundreds of millions of dollars of participations not yet due or payable;
...
d. Improperly charging plaintiffs with millions of dollars as a purported "overbudget penalty," phantom interest charges and/or other similar charges in calculating the Artificial Payment Level;
....
g. Failing and refusing to deduct from the costs of production amounts received by New Line and/or its affiliates in the form of production tax subsidies, rebates, and the like.
Seems the industry hasn't mended its ways since the Buchwald case.
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:07 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by davem View Post
Of course, as far as I know, the movie makers didn't even bother to consult Christopher - which is hardly a sign of respect. And something else to bear in mind here is that the producers of the stage show requested, & received, access to all Tolkien's linguistic writings.

I can't help feeling that if the movie makers had consulted Christopher he would have been prepared to help out, & that the movies would have been all the better for it - and anyone who thinks that he would simply have demanded every single thing from the book should be included, & would have vetoed every change simply misunderstands him.
My dear davem, I'm not sure if you'd been following the development of the LOTR films from the beginning(I guess not) but the filmmakers DID approach the Tolkien Estate for assistance(including approval of scripts). The Estate declined since they feared that their participation would be seen as an endorsement of the films, making them 'official'. I believe the old PJ interview where he says this is still up on AICN somewhere.
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:50 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by zxcvbn View Post
My dear davem, I'm not sure if you'd been following the development of the LOTR films from the beginning(I guess not) but the filmmakers DID approach the Tolkien Estate for assistance(including approval of scripts). The Estate declined since they feared that their participation would be seen as an endorsement of the films, making them 'official'. I believe the old PJ interview where he says this is still up on AICN somewhere.
That's interesting - I've got a tape of a South Bank Show (UK arts programme) where Jackson stated that they'd avoided getting involved with the Estate as they (ie the film makers) didn't want the movies seen as 'officially authorised' versions, because this was just to be their own take on the story.

So, I've now seen both versions, so I'm not sure what the actual truth is. I can see that the Estate would maybe not want to get involved if their participation was to be trumpeted by New Line as official endorsement, but as I stated CT offered a great deal of help with the radio series, & also gave permission for the producers of the Musical to use Tolkien's linguistic writings. Of course, in neither case did the Estate officially recognise, or endorse, the productions. However, things can be done 'behind the scenes'. 'Approval of scripts' is a delicate matter - would they have allowed CT a veto over anything he found unnacceptable, or was it a case of them showing him the scripts & simply saying 'This is what we're going to do, let us know if you like it'? Did the movie makers offer such a veto - if not, I can see that they'd decline to participate. All I can say, without knowing more about exactly what kind of approach they made, is that in two adaptations (one of which is very much in a visual form) they offered some degree of assistance, & in the other they had no participation. They seem to have a good relationship with both the producers of the radio & stage versions & a pretty poor one with the makers of the films...
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Old 02-16-2008, 10:15 AM   #57
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This article just appeared in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/16/mo...html?th&emc=th

The article mentions the other suits against New Line as well--the second lawsuit filed by Zaentz last December which still must be tried and the one by 16 New Zeeland actors that will come to trial in December 2008.

One attorney feels that part of the problem in all this litigation is the fact that New Line computes its profits differently than other studios:

Quote:
What they’re accounting for is different than the majors, because the majors are worldwide distributors,” said David Colden, an entertainment lawyer with the Beverly Hills firm Colden, McKuin & Frankel, which is not involved in any of the litigation. New Line’s international division works through foreign distributors that are not part of the company, while major studios are equipped to distribute directly abroad. The way New Line calculated payments based on its revenue from its foreign distributors of “Rings” was a major issue in the first Zaentz suit, filed in 2004.
Also, any litigation will be tremendously complicated because there are so many contractual agreements to consider: (1) the literary-rights agreement made in 1969 with United Artists (2) the agreement made in 1976 which sold the rights to Zaentz (3) the agreement of 1997 that licensed them to Miramax, AND, (4) the final agreement in 1998 that licensed them to New Line
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:12 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Child of the 7th Age View Post


Also, any litigation will be tremendously complicated because there are so many contractual agreements to consider: (1) the literary-rights agreement made in 1969 with United Artists (2) the agreement made in 1976 which sold the rights to Zaentz (3) the agreement of 1997 that licensed them to Miramax, AND, (4) the final agreement in 1998 that licensed them to New Line
Well, New Line made an initial payment to the Estate of $62,500 so they must have been working to one of those agreements - unless they just picked that figure out of thin air. It would seem from the case brought by the Estate/Harper Collins that the agreement it is based on is the original. I don't think its legal to change the rights of one party to an agreement if the other party sells its rights on. Tolkien, & by extension the Estate, has the rights he signed up for, & is due the money. The idea that all that money could be made from the movies & yet, because contracts are sold on/leased out, he doesn't get what the contract said he should get is at best ridiculous & at worst dangerous - wouldn't it mean that any writer who signs a similar film deal could end up in the same position - its a perfect way for a studio to get the rights to any work virtually for free.

Sorry, but if New Line can get away with paying nothing to the Estate because of the way their movies are distributed then its no different to people illegally downloading movies or music in order to avoid paying for it. The idea that NLC could make so much money out of Tolkien's lifetime work & avoid paying anything for it because of this kind of 'creative accounting/distribution' is sickening, & I'm sorry, but if they get away with it then no-one who calls themselves a Tolkien fan should have anything to do with their movies or merchandising, & anyone who goes to see the Hobbit movie or its sequel should be ashamed of themselves. Ripping off Jackson or Zaentz is one thing, ripping off JRR Tolkien, & the CHARITY that operates in his name is another.

Of course, if anyone felt inclined to download them illegally.......

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Old 02-16-2008, 09:36 PM   #59
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The Complaint alleges that New Line failed to report 80% of the DVD income, and I have a feeling, combined with what Child said, that New Line was running a time-honored scam- er- methodology of Hollywood Accounting: New Line Cinema sold the DVDs to its wholly-owned subsidiary New Line Video at 20 cents on the dollar, and then claimed that 'they' (NLC) only realized that much revenue, pretending that NLV's revenues wound up on Pluto.

Incidentally, the Complaint is now online at http://news.findlaw.com/nytimes/docs...e21108cmp.html
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:51 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by davem View Post
That's interesting - I've got a tape of a South Bank Show (UK arts programme) where Jackson stated that they'd avoided getting involved with the Estate as they (ie the film makers) didn't want the movies seen as 'officially authorised' versions, because this was just to be their own take on the story.
davem, I couldn't reply for a few days because my computer was down, but now here is the link to the actual interview.
http://list.pvv.org/pipermail/hexago...er/001863.html
Quote:
We are dealing with the "estate", rather than
Christopher personally. They have made their
position very clear: While they are in no way
opposed to a film(s) being made, they do not
want to be involved.

The reason is basically simple: if they had any
involvement, then the films would become
"official" - in other words, they would be seen
as being endorsed by the estate. This is a
situation that the estate does not want, as
they consider themselves to be protectors of
Tolkien's written word, not film makers. I
don't think the estate will be reading scripts
or commenting on the movies. We keep them
informed on progress, which they appreciate,
but they want their involvement to be very arms
length.
This interview dates back to 1998, before the films proved to be such a success and when all parties involved were a lot more humble. So I'm inclined to think PJ was telling the truth. What year is that South Bank show tape from?

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Originally Posted by davem View Post
So, I've now seen both versions, so I'm not sure what the actual truth is.
Maybe both? The two don't exactly contradict each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem View Post
I can see that the Estate would maybe not want to get involved if their participation was to be trumpeted by New Line as official endorsement, but as I stated CT offered a great deal of help with the radio series, & also gave permission for the producers of the Musical to use Tolkien's linguistic writings. Of course, in neither case did the Estate officially recognise, or endorse, the productions. However, things can be done 'behind the scenes'. 'Approval of scripts' is a delicate matter - would they have allowed CT a veto over anything he found unnacceptable, or was it a case of them showing him the scripts & simply saying 'This is what we're going to do, let us know if you like it'? Did the movie makers offer such a veto - if not, I can see that they'd decline to participate. All I can say, without knowing more about exactly what kind of approach they made, is that in two adaptations (one of which is very much in a visual form) they offered some degree of assistance, & in the other they had no participation. They seem to have a good relationship with both the producers of the radio & stage versions & a pretty poor one with the makers of the films...
Well, I believe the Tolkien Estate had the rights to the stage and radio versions. On the other hand they didn't have the film rights. A few years ago while googling
I came upon an web page on Simon Tolkien(Christopher's disinherited son) where he said that the reason Christopher felt that the Estate should have no involvement in the films is because they didn't own the rights and had no creative control(JRRT chose cash over kudos). Simon countered by saying that the films were going to be made anyway, better to have the Estate involved so thay maybe they can 'steer' them in the right direction. That, among other things, led to the rift between father and son.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:40 AM   #61
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....That, among other things, led to the rift between father and son.
Oh, no. The rift went back years and years, although the press coverage at the time took that angle, and Simon's original interview was craftily phrased to allow unwitting journalists to assume what was not actually said. Even PJ confirms that at the time he first met Simon in 1998 he and his father hadn't been on speaking terms for a long time. This has everything to do with the unhappy relationship between a father and the child of his first marriage, and little or nothing to do with movies.

That to my mind doesn't excuse Simon airing the family's dirty laundry in an effort to peddle his own book. (Incidentally, Simon isn't 'disinherited': he still gets his cut.)


In any event, 'steering' was never a realistic option- PJ and/or New Line were *only* interested in being able to trumpet the Estate's 'seal of approval' for marketing purposes.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:13 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
In any event, 'steering' was never a realistic option- PJ and/or New Line were *only* interested in being able to trumpet the Estate's 'seal of approval' for marketing purposes.
Yeesh. Why do the purists ALWAYS have to assume that the filmmakers have the worst possible attitude towards the source material and are only in it for the money?! If that's the case, then did PJ and New Line approach Alan Lee, John Howe and David Salo for the same reason: to get their endorsement of the films, being well respected in the Tolkien community? NOPE!! Maybe New Line had that kind of attitude, but there's no doubt PJ and the folks at Wingnut Films and WETA only wanted the Estate's assistance to help create a more accurate, painstaking vision of Middle-earth. Notes on Tolkien linguistics, advice on costumes, architecture etc.
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:34 PM   #63
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Well, on the languages, Jackson chose much fabricated Neo-elvish over much of Tolkien's actual Elvish in the books.


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But this provides yet another example of how little appreciation Jackson had for the tone and "feel" of Tolkien's work. Yes, Jackson went to considerable length to include Elvish in the movie: but he did so mostly by _discarding_ Tolkien's _own_ Elvish exemplars -- which, please note, are almost entirely in the form of songs, poems, spells, and exclamations made in crisis or _de profundis_ that are used sparingly so as to punctuate the story and to not cheapen the effect of the Elvish -- and instead substituting for them long passages of made-up "Elvish" (however skillfully) constituting (mostly banal) _dialogue_ of the sort entirely _missing_ from Tolkien's own application of Elvish in his story (or anywhere else). As such, it is really part-and-parcel with Jackson's treatment of all of the source material: it touches on it, it _appears_ (at first glance, and on the surface) to be almost reverential towards that material, and yet on further consideration in fact mostly and quite badly fails to capture, present, or even to understand the most important themes, aspects, and tone of the work, substituting instead Jackson's own really quite shallow, banal, and clichéd sensibilities.' Carl Hostetter
Disagree with this if you like, but to my mind Jackson didn't have to go to the Estate or anyone to represent Tolkien's Elvish, just the books basically (maybe to someone on pronunciation, though the books are quite handy there too).

In any case, what proof is there (I'm not saying there isn't any) of Jackson wanting to go to Christopher Tolkien, or anyone who is actually part of the Estate, for advice on languages, costumes, architecture, for a more accurate vision of Middle-earth? And how far was this going to go, even if true? And did it include advice on story too? proper emphasis on battles or monsters? important themes? advice on characters?

The section quoted in the linked interview is quite brief: who exactly was 'dealing' with the Estate and about what?

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Old 02-19-2008, 04:13 PM   #64
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Yes, Galin: it was much more important to sell "the fans" on the appearance of authenticity than to deliver the genuine article.
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Old 02-20-2008, 10:33 AM   #65
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WCH in The Frodo Franchise

http://www.kristinthompson.net/blog/?p=193#more-193

Both this site and WCH were mentioned in The Frodo Franchise....
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:05 AM   #66
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Well, on the languages, Jackson chose much fabricated Neo-elvish over much of Tolkien's actual Elvish in the books.
Blame David Salo for that. Only a tiny minority of Tokien fans study Middle-earth linguistsics, and I doubt there is anyone on this forum who has enough knowledge
to distinguish between 'authentic' Sindarin and Salo's neo-Sindarin. I'm pretty sure Jackson also knows zip about Elvish, so he approached one of the most well-known Tolkien linguists out there, David Salo. Who, by the way, is respected and considered a credible source on Tolkien linguistics by MOST of the Tolkien fan community. It's only in hardcore linguistic circles, consisting of those who've studied Tolkien languages for years, that he's disliked for his inaccuracies.

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Disagree with this if you like, but to my mind Jackson didn't have to go to the Estate or anyone to represent Tolkien's Elvish, just the books basically (maybe to someone on pronunciation, though the books are quite handy there too).
The LOTR books only contain about two to three dozen Elvish words, all in all. To properly study Elvish you need someone who's spent years reading Tolkien's unpublished texts.

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Originally Posted by Galin View Post
In any case, what proof is there (I'm not saying there isn't any) of Jackson wanting to go to Christopher Tolkien, or anyone who is actually part of the Estate, for advice on languages, costumes, architecture, for a more accurate vision of Middle-earth? And how far was this going to go, even if true? And did it include advice on story too? proper emphasis on battles or monsters? important themes? advice on characters?
It would be logical. What else would they want? What proof is there that the filmmakers only wanted the Estate's official endorsement?

It seems to me that some people are going out of their way to 'prove' how Jackson intentionally 'bastardized' the books for profit.
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:43 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by zxcvbn
'Blame David Salo for that. Only a tiny minority of Tokien fans study Middle-earth linguistsics, and I doubt there is anyone on this forum who has enough knowledge to distinguish between 'authentic' Sindarin and Salo's neo-Sindarin. I'm pretty sure Jackson also knows zip about Elvish, so he approached one of the most well-known Tolkien linguists out there, David Salo. Who, by the way, is respected and considered a credible source on Tolkien linguistics by MOST of the Tolkien fan community. It's only in hardcore linguistic circles, consisting of those who've studied Tolkien languages for years, that he's disliked for his inaccuracies.'
Whether the Neo-elvish is accurate enough is beside the point however. Nobody was needed to invent any; rather someone associated with the films decided more was 'needed' I guess. A claim that Jackson desired accuracy concerning the languages, which he probably did with respect to invented stuff, is one thing -- but then, since Jackson largely chooses fabricated Elvish over Tolkien's actual examples -- well this seems to be rather an odd choice with respect to accuracy to my mind.


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Originally Posted by zxcvbn
The LOTR books only contain about two to three dozen Elvish words, all in all. To properly study Elvish you need someone who's spent years reading Tolkien's unpublished texts.
The books contain more than just a scattering of words of course -- basically incorporate the Elvish that appears in the tale, and have a pronunciation coach maybe. See Carl Hostetter's previous quote (in my post) for why.

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(...) It would be logical. What else would they want? What proof is there that the filmmakers only wanted the Estate's official endorsement?
Back up the train here -- you wrote: 'Maybe New Line had that kind of attitude, but there's no doubt PJ and the folks at Wingnut Films and WETA only wanted the Estate's assistance to help create a more accurate, painstaking vision of Middle-earth. Notes on Tolkien linguistics, advice on costumes, architecture etc.'

I don't need positive proof that Jackson only wanted an official endorsement. I asked for proof because you appeared to claim there was no doubt concerning your statement. So far it appears (now) to be your opinion, but I thought the wording implied there was more in the way of some evidence I was unaware of.

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Old 02-20-2008, 02:17 PM   #68
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It's not unlike Gen. Omar Bradley's status as "advisor" on the biopic Patton. Coppola got a very big-name endorsement; Bradley got a pot o' cash and a glowing, almost saintly portrayal onscreen.

What was never in play was anything resembling historical accuracy.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:46 PM   #69
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Well, having just returned from a week of fun in the sunny climes of the Florida Keys, I must say that not one thing has been cleared up in my absence. I do find it interesting that the complaint filed is now available online and has been extensively quoted here and elsewhere, but the key elements have not been disclosed. And what are those?

The most important things as I see them is the definition of income, expenses and what is allowable and what is not. If NL is going to claim that their expenses times the 2.6 multiplier factor yield a number that denies the Estate any revenues at this time, then the important thing is to determine how that series of numbers is put together.

A week ago I wrote that we need to know how the contract defines the permissable expenses that the filmmaker is allowed to use before determining if the 2.6 multiplier goes into effect. AS OF TODAY, WE DO NOT KNOW THAT.

A week ago I wrote that we need to know how the contract defines the monies that amount to gross receipts or income. AS OF TODAY, WE DO NOT KNOW THAT.

Until we know those things, we are just running all our collective mouths as we attempt to discuss this suit without proper evidence. Of course, that has never stopped anyone here before.

I hesitate to get into a discussion about the motives of the filmmakers and if they should have, or if they did, consult Christopher Tolkien. Some here have floated the idea that if they - Jackson and company- would have given CT a veto over the scripts they maybe he would have helped. That is simply something that no filmmaker would want to do unless they had absolutely no other way of obtaining the rights. You are giving a veto to somebody who may not know beans about the filmmaking process, script writing, directing or anything else asociated with films.

Ernest Hemmingway said the best thing a author and producer could do was to meet on a deserted beach at midnight and toss the book and a briefcase filled with money to each other and never see or talk to each other again. Hemingway knew what he was talking about. And it looks like JRR Tolkien took Hemingways advice because his agreement with UA gave him not even the merest suggestion of a whisper of influence. And he was happy with enough with that to sign the contract.

If the Estate wants fans to be informed about this lawsuit and wants fan support for their position, they would do well to release the important language defining the items I have mentioned here. Without that, we are only getting very spotty information which in the end is like trying to read so many tea leaves.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:16 AM   #70
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As I see it, our purpose in discussions here at the Downs is to talk about content, not about finances. So unless there is something really important that needs to be said about this issue, let's chill it. There's no sense in getting hot and bothered over an issue that concerns none of us directly and that cannot be influenced by any of us.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:14 AM   #71
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If the Estate wants fans to be informed about this lawsuit and wants fan support for their position, they would do well to release the important language defining the items I have mentioned here.
As if the Estate cared about either, or 'fan support' mattered a hill of beans in court.

The Estate's *lawyers* have not yet filed the original contracts. Eventually they will. That's the way litigation works.
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Old 02-22-2008, 09:32 AM   #72
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from Estelyn

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There's no sense in getting hot and bothered over an issue that concerns none of us directly and that cannot be influenced by any of us.
I agree with that statement that nobody should get hot and bothered about this because none of us have a dime to make either way. That is true. And you certainly have taught me that no discussion should be heated. Nice and proper with all courtesy and respect extended to all.

However, I do think that this entire situation could have impact upon all of us who have an interest in future films about Middle-earth particularly the announced HOBBIT film and a bridge film. Since the Estate has announced that part of their suit is to explore the idea that NL can be stripped of rights to make these films, and many of us want these films, there is a very direct effect upon us. That is what makes this an interesting topic for discussion here and a very much on topic subject for discussion.

from WCH

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As if the Estate cared about either, or 'fan support' mattered a hill of beans in court.
There are several kinds of courts. There are courts of law and there is the court of public opinion.

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The Estate's *lawyers* have not yet filed the original contracts. Eventually they will. That's the way litigation works.
If and when that happens, I would be greatly interested in seeing the actual language to see if it is indeed specific in offereing crystal clear definitions of the various terms in the contract identifying what these acceptable expenses are and how they are calcualted and what constitutes income and how that is calculated. Until we have that nobody here can make any judgment as to if or how much the Estate has been cheated by NL or how much money is due to them.

I totally agree that the Estate should get every dollar owed to them under the contract. NL has a terrible record of paying off profit sharing partners so it would not surprise me at all if the Estate is just the latest in that line. However, the deal the Estate has if far different than simple profit sharing becauses of this expenses times 2.6 multiplier. That makes their profit sharing far different than Saul Zaentz, Peter Jackson or anyone else.

JRR Tolkien may have made the best deal in the history of selling film rights. Or he may have made a terrible deal. We will not know that until these facts come out.

I suspect that even when they do, they will be less than crystal clear and offer much wiggle room for accountants and attorneys to earn their princely salaries in court for the next couple of years.

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Old 02-22-2008, 09:37 AM   #73
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Re 'Fan support": Ace Books anyone?
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:07 PM   #74
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There's no sense in getting hot and bothered over an issue that concerns none of us directly and that cannot be influenced by any of us.~Estelyn
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I agree with that statement that nobody should get hot and bothered about this because none of us have a dime to make either way.~Sauron the White
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with both of you on this. This suit does effect us. Maybe we don't have money to gain, and we may not be as personally effected by it as the Tolkien Estate, but when did the idea of as "common people" (or "fans") we have no choice but to sit idle and observe at a distance?

If New Line did cheat the Estate out of the money owed to them (which seeing the complaint by the Estate it sounds identical to what NL has done to the actors, Peter Jackson, and Saul Zaentz - this "creative hollywood accounting" crap). What New Line has attempted to do is cheat, and profit, off an author's hard earned work, that he spent years to write for our enjoyment:
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Of course the L.R. does not belong to me. It has been brought forth and must now go its appointed way in the world, though naturally I take a deep interest in its fortunes , as a person would of a child.~Letter # 328
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'I hope that you have enjoyed The Lord of the Rings? Enjoyed is the key-word. For it was written to amuse (in the highest sense): to be readable.'~Letter 181
An author who had to work late hours as a professor to scrape in more money, an author who's books I have enjoyed reading several times for many many years.

New Line is facing a public relations disaster, and I may not get a dime out of it, but I can try to make sure New Line doesn't make another dime off someone else's years of work and get away without paying for it.

This doesn't effect the fans? It certainly does. As fans we must sit and merely watch like little children as the "adults" duke it out, powerless to effect anything? No. I can make sure New Line doesn't get another cent from me, and I can try to persuade other effected fans to do the same; hoping New Line pays so dearly for a problem they brought upon themselves that they are never able to recover. Now, that is power.
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:29 PM   #75
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Whether the Neo-elvish is accurate enough is beside the point however. Nobody was needed to invent any; rather someone associated with the films decided more was 'needed' I guess.
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Originally Posted by Galin View Post
The books contain more than just a scattering of words of course -- basically incorporate the Elvish that appears in the tale, and have a pronunciation coach maybe. See Carl Hostetter's previous quote (in my post) for why.
The films had several scenes where characters exchange Elvish dialogue which does not match the books word-by-word, and many of the songs in the soundtrack had Elvish lyrics. This demanded a lot more words and grammar than was printed in the LOTR books.

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Originally Posted by Galin View Post
A claim that Jackson desired accuracy concerning the languages, which he probably did with respect to invented stuff, is one thing -- but then, since Jackson largely chooses fabricated Elvish over Tolkien's actual examples -- well this seems to be rather an odd choice with respect to accuracy to my mind.
Re-read my previous post before repeating the same argument again. Jackson himself didn't know anything about Elvish, so he hired Salo. From his point of view, Salo's Elvish was as accurate as can be, since he probably hasn't read any critiques of Salo's work from the scholarly community.

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Back up the train here -- you wrote: 'Maybe New Line had that kind of attitude, but there's no doubt PJ and the folks at Wingnut Films and WETA only wanted the Estate's assistance to help create a more accurate, painstaking vision of Middle-earth. Notes on Tolkien linguistics, advice on costumes, architecture etc.'
my apologies. I should have phrased that a little differently. I'm not SURE that 'PJ and the folks at Wingnut Films and WETA only wanted the Estate's assistance to help create a more accurate, painstaking vision of Middle-earth. Notes on Tolkien linguistics, advice on costumes, architecture etc.' but that is certainly my opinion, seeing as that's what the creators of the stage play asked for(and recieved) from the Estate.

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I don't need positive proof that Jackson only wanted an official endorsement.
Then you have some doubt about that statement? It seems WCH doesn't. So I, in turn, take the liberty to ask him for proof.
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
It's not unlike Gen. Omar Bradley's status as "advisor" on the biopic Patton. Coppola got a very big-name endorsement; Bradley got a pot o' cash and a glowing, almost saintly portrayal onscreen.

What was never in play was anything resembling historical accuracy.
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I asked for proof because you appeared to claim there was no doubt concerning your statement.
I'm afraid I don't have solid proof because most of the facts are unknown. You'll find that most of the posts here are made up of inferences made from known facts
instead of pure fact.
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:36 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by zxcvbn
The films had several scenes where characters exchange Elvish dialogue which does not match the books word-by-word, and many of the songs in the soundtrack had Elvish lyrics. This demanded a lot more words and grammar than was printed in the LOTR books.
Yes, and this includes a decision on someone's part to add more fabricated Elvish. Since none was necessarily 'needed' for a film, I'm not sure what the point is here.

Quote:
Re-read my previous post before repeating the same argument again. Jackson himself didn't know anything about Elvish, so he hired Salo. From his point of view, Salo's Elvish was as accurate as can be, since he probably hasn't read any critiques of Salo's work from the scholarly community.
I'll try a question here: was it Salo's decision to discard much of Tolkien's Elvish in favor of invented stuff?

One doesn't need to know much about Tolkien's Elvish to see what appears in the book, and incorporate that into the films. One might need help in incorporating it 'correctly'... but that doesn't mean adding all kinds of invented stuff while discarding Tolkien's material.
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Old 02-22-2008, 05:18 PM   #77
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It seems a fair gesture on the part of a filmmaker to go out and hire an expert on something of which he has little knowledge. That is what happened with the hiring of Salo. Instead of criticizing Jackson for this effort, it would seem some praise is in order for him attempting to go the extra mile to get things right. This kind of constant carping simply reinforces the idea that nothing short of a literal word for word translation- in this case Elvish words = from the page to the screen would have pleased some. I know of no cases where audiences emptied from the theaters in anger screaming "the Elvish was wrong"
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:19 PM   #78
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I know of no cases where audiences emptied from the theaters in anger screaming "the Elvish was wrong"
Possibly not. Most scholars of Middle-earth and Tolkien's languages would probably be too polite and socially gracious to do that.

I did, however, hear of mutterings to the effect of, "The Elvish has left the building."

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Old 02-22-2008, 10:20 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Sauron the White
It seems a fair gesture on the part of a filmmaker to go out and hire an expert on something of which he has little knowledge. That is what happened with the hiring of Salo. Instead of criticizing Jackson for this effort, it would seem some praise is in order for him attempting to go the extra mile to get things right.
I have not criticized Jackson for seeking out an expert on Elvish, I expected him to do so.

And my earlier issue with his desire for 'accuracy' was in a larger context than whether or not he desired to get any grammar correct -- it's about the decision to toss out what one knows is accurate for what simply cannot be Elvish of the same order. It's easy enough: if one wants unassailable accuracy (and authenticity) use what you find in the books. All other Neo-elvish is already on a different level; and it's a different thing from the art of JRRT, no matter how well researched and fabricated.

That said, generally speaking I would no more mind invented Elvish in a film than invented scenes with Boromir, for example. But that's different from largely tossing out the scenes and dialog that Tolkien wrote concerning Boromir -- and replacing them with a greater bulk of others (written by Boyens or someone) which do not capture the spirit of the books, or which change Boromir into a character that resembles Tolkien's in name only (hypothetically -- actually Sean Bean was a bright spot in the films for me).

Quote:
This kind of constant carping simply reinforces the idea that nothing short of a literal word for word translation- in this case Elvish words = from the page to the screen would have pleased some. I know of no cases where audiences emptied from the theaters in anger screaming "the Elvish was wrong"
Using some constructed Elvish in the same way Tolkien largely used his work would have been fine with me (despite that it is not 'true Elvish' to my mind).

The issue is Jackson choosing to largely discard the actual Elvish in the tale in favor of the Neo-constructions, including the issue raised by Mr. Hostetter, whose comments include '... constituting (mostly banal) _dialogue_ of the sort entirely _missing_ from Tolkien's own application of Elvish in his story (or anywhere else)').

And no one said audiences were emptying theaters in anger screaming. There's no need to inject hyperbole here -- my part of the discussion with zxcvbn has now (since the issue of 'evidence versus opinion' is off the table for the moment) narrowed down to me wondering why I should blame the person hired to construct the fabricated Elvish...

... when I am criticizing rather those who decided to largely leave JRR Tolkien's work at the door, and use lots of Neo-elvish instead.

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Old 02-22-2008, 10:50 PM   #80
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Possibly not. Most scholars of Middle-earth and Tolkien's languages would probably be too polite and socially gracious to do that. I did, however, hear of mutterings to the effect of, "The Elvish has left the building."
Indeed 'it left'.

And, just for clarity here, for the thread, to my mind Carl Hostetter (since he is a scholar) is not criticizing how 'wrong' he thinks the fabricated Elvish is, or might be (regarding grammar or pronunciation), but rather that it does not capture the spirit of the books due to its nature. Moreover, it has taken over the linguistic stage not simply due to its own bulk, but due also to a disappearance of Tolkien's actual examples.

Not that I can speak for Mr. Hostetter, but I see nothing in the quoted section above about grammar or whatever... indeed he adds 'however skillfully' because that's not the point.
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