No Strike! WGA & AMPTP Reach Agreement in Nick of Time

Could be better…but it also could have been much, much worse:

Whew! (Of course, now we’ve still got to vote on it, but….)

New York Mayor’s Office Names Winners of Women’s Scriptwriting Competition

This is important, dammit! Read on:

by Bryn Elise Sandberg

he New York Mayor’s Office has named two winners for its female scriptwriting competition.

Patty Carey-Perazzo’s Half-Life and Robin Rose Singer’s Adult Behavior have won a first-of-its-kind citywide screenwriting contest focused on stories by, for or about women. The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema announced the selections Wednesday.

The first project centers on a mother trying to restart her stalled career, and the other is about a young woman who moves to New York to work at a Bronx nursing home. The winning scripts were chosen from a pool of over 300 scripts by a panel of industry leaders to be developed into pilots that will air on NYC Media, the City’s official broadcast network with a reach of 18 million households. One of the two winning pilots will be selected for four additional episodes, to air on NYC Media in the summer of 2018.

“Congratulations to Patty and Robin, whose work stood out in a competitive field,” said MOME commissioner Julie Menin. “The contest they have won, as well as four other women’s initiatives our office is rolling out, reflect our commitment to addressing the well-documented underrepresentation of women in the film and television industry — both on and off the screen.”

“This opportunity is unparalleled,” said Carey-Perazzo, who took time out from her day job as a location manager to write about a woman’s attempt to lean back into her career after leaning out to raise her children….

Read it all at Hollywood Reporter

WGA Strike Authorization Vote Results

Like they say in The Lion King, “And so it begins.”

Maybe. Remember, we’re not walking the picket lines yet.

Anyway, here’s the email sent by the WGA late yesterday afternoon:

April 24, 2017

Dear Colleague–

The results of our strike authorization vote are now in.

96.3% of you have voted YES.

6,310 ballots were cast. 67.5% of eligible WGA members voted, a historic turnout.

We thank you for your resolve and your faith in us as your representatives. We are determined to achieve a fair contract.

Talks will resume tomorrow.

Your 2017 Negotiating Committee

Chip Johannessen, Co-Chair
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
Billy Ray, Co-Chair

Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
Amy Berg
Adam Brooks
Patti Carr
Zoanne Clack
Marjorie David
Kate Erickson
Jonathan Fernandez
Travon Free
Howard Michael Gould
Susannah Grant
Erich Hoeber
Richard Keith
Warren Leight
Damon Lindelof
Glen Mazzara
Alison McDonald
Jonathan Nolan
Zak Penn
Luvh Rakhe
Shawn Ryan
Stephen Schiff
David Shore
Meredith Stiehm
Patric M. Verrone
Eric Wallace
Beau Willimon
Nicole Yorkin

Howard A. Rodman, WGAW President, ex-officio
Michael Winship, WGAE President, ex-officio
David A. Goodman, WGAW Vice President, ex-officio
Jeremy Pikser, WGAE Vice President, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, WGAW Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, WGAE Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio
Writers Guild of America, West
7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone (323) 951-4000 • Fax (323) 782-4800 •


WGA Negotiations Update: Striking a Pose

by Mark Evanier

LB’s NOTE: This article written by the legendary Mark Evanier is the most enlightening discussion I’ve seen yet of the current state of the contract renewal negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP. Things are getting heated, gang. And Mark is here to tell us why:

very few years, the contract between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires and a new one must be negotiated. Sometimes, the negotiations are simple and sometimes, they are not. When they are not, it is because someone at the A.M.P.T.P. — or at at least one of the member companies that comprise the A.M.P.T.P. — decides he or she can be a hero and advance his or her career by engineering a deal that pays the writers less or at least denies us cost o’ living increases.

I joined the W.G.A. on April Fool’s Day of 1976 so I have been through many of these and sometimes been fairly close to the negotiations. It is my observation that these dust-ups are never about what’s “fair,” at least from the Producers’ standpoint. And when they say things like, “The business is hurting…everyone needs to understand that and accept some cuts,” that is always, 100% of the time, horseshit. For them, these dickerings are only about one thing: Getting as much as possible. The less we get, the more they get.

Whenever Renegotiation Time rolls around, my guild assembles something called the Pattern of Demands — a wish list of things we’d like to discuss. Many times, it is a waste of time because the studios simply refuse to address anything on our list. Their negotiators literally end the meeting if our reps bring out the list. One of the Producers’ lawyers in years past liked to say things like, “We are never going to let these sessions be about what you want. They will only be about what we are willing to give you.”

If anyone does look at our Pattern of Demands, they’ll see items about increased compensation but they will also always see issues that are not directly about money. We want our work to be respected more. We want to be listened-to more on creative matters. We want minorities (including older writers of any color) to be given more consideration. We want our credits to be protected and so forth. Call these the non-monetary issues.

There are people in management at the studios who care about such things but we tend to not negotiate with those folks. The people we deal with only care about the money and with keeping as much of it as possible for their employers. If they address the non-monetary issues at all, it’s because they think they can trade one of the unimportant non-monetary issues for an important monetary one. In the ’85 negotiations for instance, the Producers demanded a change in credit procedures that would have gutted the WGA’s ability to control who received screen credit. They didn’t really care about that. They just wanted to be able to say, “Okay, we’ll drop our demands about credits if you drop your demands about money.”

Because we care (somewhat) about the non-monetary issues and they don’t, sometimes that works. Indeed, in ’85, they dropped those demands but in the same bargaining sessions, we accepted for other reasons a lowering of the fees we were paid when films or TV shows we wrote were put out on home video. The former cost them nothing. The latter cost us billions. From the Producers’ standpoint, that was a wildly-successful negotiation. That year, I don’t think they ever even listened to anything we had in our Pattern of Demands.

Even factoring in that our brief strike that year cost them some cash, the guys who engineered that deal for them were superstar heroes. It was like they’d made a dozen movies as lucrative as Star Wars or Titanic. Each time we embark on a new negotiation, there’s someone there who dreams of doing that again….

Read it all at News From ME (Mark Evanier’s truly enlightening blog)

The WGA 2017 Contract Negotiations Need YOU

Especially if you’re a member. (And even if  you aren’t, because we here at TVWriter™ are absolutely certain you will want to be…especially if your intention is to earn your living by writing TV and films.

Anyway, here’s the latest:

Click HERE for the clickable view

What TV Writers Need to Know About the WGA Strike Talks

The L.A. Times, which actually knows about these things because, you know, company town, gives us the info we all need:

Golden Age of TV is not so golden for writers: Why the Writers Guild of America is moving closer to a strike
by David Ng

A decade ago, Hollywood writers brought the entertainment industry to a standstill when they walked off the job for three months in a dispute over pay for movies and TV shows distributed online. The strike halted dozens of TV and movie productions and sent shock waves through the Los Angeles economy.

Now, the Hollywood community is feeling a sense of déjà vu as the possibility of another strike looms large. After the collapse of talks with the major studios, the Writers Guild of America is seeking a strike authorization vote from members. While the union has until May 1 to reach an agreement, tensions are as high as they’ve been in years, say people close to the negotiations not authorized to comment.

The charged atmosphere is the result of a perfect storm of economic and digital changes bearing down on the business. Since the last writers strike, the industry has seen far-reaching shifts. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have transformed Hollywood and contributed to an unprecedented number of quality series being produced — a phenomenon often described as the new Golden Age of TV.

But times haven’t been golden for many writers for whom more is now less. Shorter seasons are the new norm, with many series consisting of 10 or fewer episodes on cable and streaming — less than half the length of traditional seasons on network shows. That has put writers in a financial crunch since many have exclusivity clauses that prevent them from working on multiple shows per season.

With reruns becoming a thing of the past, scribes are seeing smaller paychecks. As a result, they are contributing less to the guild’s health and pension plans at a time when more baby boomers are retiring and drawing on the plans.

“It’s getting more and more difficult to make a living as a writer,” said John Bowman, a TV writer-producer, and former head of the WGA negotiating committee.

Studios are equally dug in as more customers cut the cable cord in favor of streaming options. They’re also grappling with a dramatic fall-off in once-lucrative DVD sales and a flattening of attendance at the multiplex. They are releasing fewer titles a year, meaning fewer opportunities for screenwriters.

All of this has set the stage for conflict. A strike authorization vote is set to take place mid-April. The move is a typical negotiating tactic by unions, but the WGA said it’s a response to the hard-line position taken by the studios, which have so far refused most of their demands….

Read it all in the L.A. Times

Netflix Original Series Coming in April

Yeah, we’re tired of the Netflix logo so here’s the icon instead

We here at TVWriter™ make no bones about it: We’re fans of Netflix’s original productions because so many of them feature such excellent writing. (Yeah, there are exceptions. Iron Fist comes to mind for one. So does Grace & Frankie…but that’s a whole ‘nuther post we hope to publish soon.)

Without further ado, here’s a list of series that will be gracing our browsers starting next month:

  1. Chewing Gum, season 2 (April 4th)
  2. Louis C.K. 2017 (April 4th)
  3. Dawn of the Croods, season 3 (April 7th)
  4. The Get Down: Part 2 (April 7th)
  5. Win It All (April 7th)
  6. Chelsea, season 2 (April 14th)
  7. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (April 14th)
  8. Lucas Brothers: On Drugs (April 18th)
  9. Bill Nye Saves the World, season 1 (April 21st)
  10. Girlboss, season 1 (April 21st)
  11. Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, season 1 (April 21st)
  12. The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, season 4 (April 21st)
  13. Tales by Light, season 2 (April 21st)
  14. Vir Das: Abroad Understanding (April 25th)
  15. Las Chicas del Cable, season 1 (April 27th)
  16. Casting JonBenet (April 28th)
  17. Dear White People, season 1 (April 28th)

Hmm, looking over this list, don’tcha kind of wonder what Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On is all about? And how the hell it could ever be even remotely, um, “good?”