And the Nicholl Fellowship Winners are…

ampasby Team TVWriter™ Press Service

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the winners of this year’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, probably the most important screenplay writing competition in the U.S. because of what it can do for the winners’ careers.

The winners (the Academy calls them “fellows” because, hey, “fellowship”) and their screenplays are:

Sam Baron (Cambridge, UK), The Science Of Love And Laughter

Alisha Brophy (Los Angeles) and Scott Miles (Austin), United States of Fuckin’ Awesome

Melissa Iqbal (London), The Death Engine

Sallie West (Charleston, SC), Moonflower.

Winners – oops, we mean Fellows – receive a $35,000 prize (the writing team splits it), the first installment of which will be handed over November 13th at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The fellows – whew, caught it that time – were selected from a record 7,511 submitted scripts and are responsible for completing their own new feature-length screenplays during their fellowship year,

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded 137 fellowships since 1986.  To which we can only add, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Working TV Writer? Submit Your Script for the 2014 Humanitas Award

humanitas-cup-sepia1by Team TVWriter™ Press Service

HUMANITAS is pleased to announce a Call for Entries for the 40th annual HUMANITAS Prize. The annual HUMANITAS Awards Luncheon will be held on January 16, 2015 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The HUMANITAS Prize submission deadline is AUGUST 31, 2014. There is no entry fee and no limit to the number of submissions.

Please visit our website http://www.humanitasprize.org/ or click here to submit.

Categories include:

*Feature Film Screenplay
*Sundance Feature Film Screenplay
*90 minute Teleplay
*60 minute Teleplay
*30 minute Teleplay
*Feature Documentary
*Children’s Animation
*Children’s Live Action

Since 1974, The HUMANITAS Prize has awarded over $3 million in prize money to film and television writers for their scripts produced on broadcast and cable TV.

A signature HUMANITAS story challenges us to use our freedom to grow and develop, confronts us with our individual responsibility, and examines the consequences of our choices, while also entertaining us with fully realized characters and elegantly crafted stories. HUMANITAS honors stories which strive to unify the human family by exploring the hopes and fears and joys and tragedies of human beings who are very different in culture, race, lifestyle, political loyalties and religious beliefs in order to break down the walls of ignorance and fear that separate us.

Please help us celebrate what is right with television and film. We look forward to receiving your submissions.

To learn more about the HUMANITAS Prize, please visit our website at http://www.humanitasprize.org/ or contact:

Deirdre Dooley, Program Administrator
Deirdre.dooley@humanitasprize.org
310-454-8769

WGA East brings SWAMP PEOPLE writers into the fold

swamp-people-writers-unionizeby TVWriter™ Press Service

Variety has reported that the Writers Guild of America East has unionized the writer-producers at New York-based nonfiction TV production company Original Media, producers of INKMASTER, STORMCHASERS, COMIC BOOK MEN, and SWAMP PEOPLE.

“The men and women who work so hard to create nonfiction (reality) TV shows have demonstrated that they want WGAE representation to help them improve their working conditions and to build sustainable careers,” said WGA East exec director Lowell Peterson. “We look forward to sitting down with the company and negotiating a contract that will provide health benefits, paid time off, minimum compensation levels, and other basic union protections.

The WGAE has been actively organizing writer-producers in nonfiction television since 2009. Nonfiction television has boomed in recent years by creating low-cost, highly profitable programming that relies on low wages, smaller crews and longer work schedules by freelance employees with no health care. Well over one thousand skilled creative professionals work in this field in the New York area alone.  The WGAE has been working with writer-producers and production companies to help define and enforce industry-wide standards that can allow for these professionals to build long-term, stable and secure careers. 

“There has been tremendous growth and consolidation in the nonfiction television industry in the last year – including the recent $360 million plus purchase of Leftfield Entertainment by ITV Studios,” said Peterson. “With such economic concentration and leverage, writer-producers are coming to the conclusion that they need a powerful voice of their own.”

Hear, hear! A tip of the TVWriter™ stetson to the WGAE.

Fox Announces 2014 Writers Intensive Winners

ed-gonzalez-jeremy-haft

by Team TVWriter™

Writing partners Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft have been selected as this year’s Fox Writers Intensive Fellows. 

Chosen from the third annual class of 10 FWI finalists, Gonzalez and Haft have inked a script development deal with Fox Broadcasting Co and 20th Century Fox Television. In addition, the writing duo have been staffed on Fox’s new drama, Empire.

Along with Gonzalez and Haft, the 2014 FWI class included finalists Nazrin Choudhury, Tze Chun, Nate Clark, Sonay Hoffman, Johanna Lee, Katherine Nolfi, Gabby Revilla, Bernadette Rivero, Kevin Seccia, Erik Shapiro and Debby Wolfe. Following their completion of the FWI, all of the finalists are being submitted for potential staffing on Fox entertainment productions.

Launched in 2013, the Fox Writers Intensive aims to develop diverse, experienced writers and nurture talent for potential staffing on Fox productions. Last year, Fox Audience Strategy expanded the program to provide opportunities across multiple Fox companies, including HarperCollins and 20th Century Fox Film.

“Three years in, the Fox Writers Intensive continues to excel in finding fresh creative voices for our TV, film, literary and digital productions,” said Fox Broadcasting Company COO Joe Earley.

Gonzalez and Haft are represented by Summit Talent & Literary Agency and Luber Roklin Entertainment, and are co-writers, with John Singleton of the upcoming feature film TUPAC, about the life of rapper Tupac Shakur – so if you’ve been thinking that this so-called “contest” was for newbies and would give you the foot in the door you really need, hey, think again. It’s for peeps who already have at least one foot in. What winners get is the cache to throw their whole bodies into the room.

The WGA West Collected $30,000,000 in delinquent Writer Payments Last Year

deadbea2

by TVWriter™ Press Service

The WGAW wants us to know that during the past year it collected over $30 million in unpaid residuals, royalties, et al owed to TV and film writers. Lionsgate had to cough up the most – almost $400,000 in settlement money, and certain Old Media Monoliths were close behind:

  1. Lionsgate – $385,000
  2. 2oth Century Fox Films – $300,000
  3. Walt Disney – $170,000
  4. NBC Studios – $130,000
  5. ABC TV – $116,000
  6. MGM/UA – $69,000
  7. Paramount – $58,000
  8. Warner Brothers – $48,000
  9. Universal City Studios – $19,000

The rest of the mumsers consisted of over a hundred smaller production companies. And in addition to residual and royalties, much of the $30 mil came from unpaid initial compensation, unpaid pension and health plan contributions, credits violations, and interest on the whole shebang.

It’s a tough world out there, kids.

Thanks to our peeps at the Writers Guild!

5 Writers chosen for Universal’s First-Ever Emerging Writers Fellowship

universal-logoby Team TVWriter™ News Service

Universal Pictures has announced the five writers who have been selected to participate in the studio’s inaugural Universal Pictures Emerging Writers Fellowship, which is aimed at identifying and cultivating emerging voices in storytelling and screenwriting .

Universal’s co-presidents of production Peter Cramer and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, who will oversee the participants, announced that the 2014-2015 fellows are Chandus T. Jackson, Margaret Rose Lester, Steve Martinez, Ivy Pruss and Saila Reyes. 

The application process included multiple writing submissions and interviews with the official selection committee. More than 700 hopefuls applied. After reading the first 500 eligible scripts, the selection committee narrowed the field to 13 finalists who met in Los Angeles for interviews and meetings before the top five were chosen. 

“We had an incredible group of people who applied for this fellowship, and the choice was extremely tough,” Cramer said in a statement.  “The five people our committee selected are tremendously talented, and we are looking forward to working with them as they embark on the next phase of their careers.” 

“The Emerging Writers Fellowship is designed to provide the fellows with the greatest possible exposure to our industry, but it’s also a great opportunity for Universal,” Kirschenbaum added.  “The five fellows have very different backgrounds, giving our team the chance to benefit from their fresh perspectives on some of the projects we currently have in development.”  

The paid fellowship begins this week and will continue for a year. The fellows will be part of the daily production engine, work on specific writing assignments and participate in activities organized by program manager Heather Morris Washington. 

Several notable names in the biz have signed on as mentors and guest speakers, including producerWill Packer (“Ride Along”), writer-producer Chris Morgan of the “Fast and Furious” franchise,  writer-producer Jeremy Garelick (“The Break-Up”), writer-producer Cheo Hodari Coker (“Notorious”) and writer-producer Suzanne de Passe of de Passe Jones Entertainment. 

The fellowship was championed by Universal’s exec VP of production Scott Bernstein and developed in collaboration with senior VP and CFO of film production Arturo Barquet.