The Circle & The Square


This morning before Abdul ambushed me, the UK crew spoke about how this show would probably never happen. The problem is that both sides are guilty. The argument goes like this;

ATG: There’s not enough money. We can’t make the show.
Investors: You promised to make all 20 episodes for this amount of money. Make it happen.
ATG: There’s not enough money. We can’t make the show.
Investors: You promised to make all 20 episodes for this amount of money. Make it happen.
ATG: There’s not enough money. We can’t make the show.
Investors: You promised to make all 20 episodes for this amount of money. Make it happen.

And so on…

And so the point is that the show will never get made.

We did discuss three options however;

  1. The show is made as an ATG+ show – meaning slightly better than their usual rubbish.
  2. It never gets made.
  3. ATG spend $5-10 million on the pilot then hand the rest of the money back.

I agreed that the only logical option was option 3. At least then the investors might be so impressed they bankroll the rest of the show. The ATG get the rest of the money.

But Ahmed allegedly sees a fourth option. He apparently insists they can do it by hiring cheap labour from places like South Africa. Clearly he does not get that cheap labour is unskilled labour and filmmaking is a skilled job. Personally, I’m concerned about a Qatari talking about hiring cheap labour. Their track record for doing this is not great.

So the UK crew is right. Both sides are to blame.

But none of the above had anything to do with the alleged disappearance of the bulk of the money. That is another issue. And the fact that if this show had been placed into the hands of a real production company and shot in Jordan, it *would* have been possible for the money the show had.

For example, (and I figured this out months ago) the fortress set. Cost in UK = £35,000. Cost in Jordan = £7,000. One 1/5th the cost. If you follow that logic through to it’s natural conclusion, that means $40 million in Jordan is equivalent to $200,000 in the UK. Ten episodes of GAME OF THRONES costs £100 million. That’s £10 million each. Cost of one episode of MEDINAH as shot in Jordan equals $2 million which is equivalent to $10 million in the UK. In other words, if shot in Jordan, the cost per episode of MEDINAH was exactly the same as GAME OF THRONES. But we are not shooting in Jordan. We are shooting in Qatar. Why? Because the Qatari investors no longer trust ATG because Talal told Ahmed the fortress set was going to cost $250-500K!

So you can say that it is both sides fault, but we got here because of the kind of company ATG is and the kind of crook Talal is. If they had been a real production company, everything would be fine.

Ergo, Arab Telemedia Group has killed MEDINAH.

10JOD Per Diems


Acting on behalf of Talal, Fozan just this minute ushered Abdul into the quiet of the boardroom and tried to persuade Abdul to accept JOD$10 per day per diems when he goes to Doha.

I had already calculated that the minimum required is $65 per day, and Abdul’s salary is much lower than the international crew’s. At that rate, I’ve calculated that Abdul would actually be losing money if he went there. In fact, by the end of the first month, he would be in debt.

Talal has been to Doha enough times to know this. Fozan must know this as he’s worked abroad himself. It’s at times like this that I am very disappointed in Fozan and he reminds me that he cannot be trusted either.

As for Talal…?

Late Wages. Again…


Ray and Dominic Smithers both got paid yesterday. This is the very first time this has happened on this job on time and without us having to make complaints.

However, everyone in the Art Department wasn’t happy yesterday because 95% of the orders we have placed over the last three months for props, dressing, materials and equipment have not been ordered or, on that rare occasion they have been ordered, delivered.

It really does look like ATP has no intention of delivering the show they promised to the Qatari investors and Ahmed. The only reason it seems Ray and Dominic Smithers were paid on time is because Talal had gone to Qatar the previous week to demand more money off the Qatari investors for the show ATP doesn’t appear to be spending the investors’ money on.

Which begs the question – given they are not spending the money on the show, why can’t they pay our wages on time?

Taybet Zaman

Taybet Zaman & Misappropriation Of Crew


Fozan and I recced Taybet Zaman today for the Fortress set build and we both agreed – it is far from ideal.

The fortress should be impressive. The Taybet Zaman courtyard is small. Ideally it should be built on a backlot, but ATG has already failed to get a backlot twice and while they claim to be looking at a third one they have not even invited us to see it this time!

It became abundantly clear that Fozan is working on “Malik” today. When I asked Sari about it he sheepishly said, “He is helping out.” But Fozan journeyed to Taybet Zaman in the new “Malik” director’s car today, spent very nearly all of the day with them, and journeyed back with him. I barely saw or spoke to him. This despite Ibrahim promising me that Fozan was now 100% committed to “Medinah”. Clearly, Ibrahim lied.

Meantime, Anwar and Majid journeyed to London today for a week to do some filming on another show – again despite the fact they know – and we know – that their contract with “Medinah’s” investors requires that they commit 100% to “Medinah”.

And while they’re in London not working on “Medinah”, and Fozan is working on at least one other ATG production, Talal has gone to Doha to tell the investors to cough up further payments so ATG can spend more money ‘on’ a show some of its alleged crew aren’t even working on.