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WGA West Board Candidates Address Major Issues Ahead Of 2023 Contract Talks – Deadline

Next year’s contract talks and a doable writers strike are looming giant over the WGA West’s ongoing board election, wherein 17 candidates are vying for eight open seats. The WGA’s present contract doesn’t expire till May 1, however of their marketing campaign statements, lots of the candidates are making it clear that they’re ready to strike if the guild can’t get a good deal on the bargaining desk.

And there’s appreciable pent-up demand for main features, in no small half as a result of in 2020, when the WGA’s earlier contract was set to run out, contractual advances the guild had hoped to make grew to become all however inconceivable to realize as a result of the specter of a strike was all however off the desk because the trade was already shut down by the primary wave of the Covid pandemic.

Several candidates noticed that the guild’s historic victory final year in reshaping the expertise company business – banning packaging charges and limiting company possession of manufacturing entities to twenty% – additionally has strengthened the WGA’s hand going into the 2023 contract talks. Still others pointed to the 100-day strike of 2007-08 and the way the foremost features it achieved in New Media couldn’t have been gained with out a walkout. Two of the candidates – Ashley Gable and Rich Talarico – even served as strike captains through the trade’s final main strike.

“I don’t want to go on strike,” board candidate Van Robichaux wrote in his marketing campaign assertion. “Nobody wants to go on strike. I think we are probably going to have to go on strike.”

He wrote:

“Inflation is at 40-year highs. If we settle for the contract the businesses are doubtless going to suggest as their remaining supply (3% raises at finest – and some ‘rollbacks’), it would imply that whereas media firms make file earnings, skilled writers will find yourself working for the bottom actual wages in 40 years.

“But I can hear the businesses claiming there’s a looming recession they usually merely can’t afford to pay us. It gained’t matter if that recession means persons are going out much less so spending extra money on their streaming platforms or that earnings (even accounting for inflation) can be at 40-year highs. They are nonetheless gonna declare they’ll’t afford to pay us what we deserve, and they’ll attempt to frighten us into believing them.

“I’m ready to stand up to them and also to clearly communicate with the concerned parts of our membership that may want to give in and accept what the companies want to give us. We will need solidarity and that is going to take patience and lots of dialogue with the membership. If I’m elected, it will also probably mean me thanklessly taking a lot of shit from certain angry members. I’m ready and willing to take that shit for you! If you don’t think it’s worth threatening a strike – and quite possibly going on strike – to get what we deserve, please don’t vote for me. But, if like me, you want to keep the jobs of screen and television writer jobs people who aren’t already wealthy can survive in Los Angeles doing, I hope you do vote for me.”

Brimming with concepts for change, the candidates are providing a variety of proposals on every part from increased minimal pay charges, greater streaming residuals, safer pension and well being advantages, higher fairness & inclusion, the elimination of free work, and the curbing of mini-rooms, the place teams of underpaid writers are gathered upfront of the manufacturing of a tv sequence to interrupt tales and write scripts.

To learn all of the candidates’ full statements, click on right here.

Eric Haywood, an incumbent looking for reelection, wrote:

“As writers, we face a bunch of points that require our speedy, collective consideration: a pushback in opposition to the trade’s rising reliance on mini-rooms, a drastic overhaul of streaming pay and residuals, an finish to calls for at no cost work, and the return to a system that permits lower- and mid-level writers the chance to be on set and in submit to provide their scripts.

“In the upcoming MBA negotiations, we can’t afford to hope that the multi-million-dollar corporations that produce and distribute TV shows and movies will suddenly come to their senses, realize they have ‘enough’ money in their bank accounts, and share the wealth with writers out of the goodness of their hearts. To the contrary, we should expect absolutely no gains for which we aren’t prepared to fight tooth and nail. Hopefully, this won’t require a strike, but if the success of the agency campaign has taught us anything, it’s that there’s nothing we can’t accomplish with a unified membership that empowers its leadership to show no fear at the negotiating table.”

Former board member Angelina Burnett wrote: “As we head into what may be a conflict negotiation, the board needs as many skilled and experienced leaders as are willing to serve.” She then listed various features the members want, and for which they’ll be prepared to strike.

One of these potential strike points is best minimal and over-scale compensation. “There seem to be more writers than ever working at or near minimum,” she wrote. “While the vast majority of members proceed to work above minimal (aka scale), that ‘over-scale’ ceiling has lowered for all however our most profitable. This downward strain has been evident within the information for a while, however now we’re additionally coping with inflation. A greenback buys lower than a year in the past.

“Traditionally, the Guild bargains a 3% improve in minimums each contract cycle, however we should not have a direct mechanism to lift the over-scale ceiling. We delegate that duty to businesses. What the Guild can do is create favorable circumstances for brokers to lift it as excessive as doable. The 2014 and 2017 MBA negotiations created a few of these circumstances by means of choice and exclusivity provisions, and span safety in television. We then spent three years correctly aligning company incentives.

“With incentives aligned, the Guild can now make a powerful move to create the conditions for a higher ceiling. We can dramatically lift the floor and double minimums across the board.”

“Will it take a strike?” she asks. “Yes.”

“Should we consider striking for this? Yes.”

Residuals and revenue participation are additionally price placing for, she stated. “Ensuring we’re pretty compensated for the worth we create is a basic requirement of the MBA however the streamers’ black field dealing with of information makes it troublesome, if not inconceivable. Whether in collectively negotiated residuals (which fund well being and pension funds throughout the guilds/ crafts), or individually negotiated again finish factors, each creator and unionized individual employed in movie and tv is cheated by this secrecy…While it’s price noting that the streaming residual features we made within the 2020 MBA haven’t kicked in but as a consequence of a grandfathering clause baked into the negotiating ‘pattern’ (agreements made by different unions that take energy and leverage to depart from), incrementally enhancing the residuals method we presently have can solely get us thus far.

“At some point, the companies must be forced to open the black box and share data with unions and profit participants. Will it take a strike? Almost Certainly. I hold a smidge of hope there are nuances here that would lead them to concede with only the threat of a strike. I wouldn’t bet on it, though. Should we consider striking for this? Yes.”

E. Nicholas Mariani, an incumbent, careworn that the energy and unity the guild achieved within the company marketing campaign and the 2007-08 strike ought to be dropped at bear on the upcoming contract negotiations. “We’ve got some big fights ahead of us as we prepare for next year’s MBA negotiation,” he wrote. “Chief amongst them: streaming residuals, viewership transparency, dwindling backend, an epidemic of free work in each options and tv, a decades-long downward pattern pushing author pay additional and additional in the direction of minimums, the businesses’ fixed strain for rollbacks on pension and well being, the rise of mini-rooms, script parity throughout platforms, unfair compensation for writing groups, script charges for workers writers. The checklist goes on and on.

“As I said when I first ran, I sincerely believe that many of these issues – most notably streaming residuals – represent existential threats to our guild. We have a narrow and increasingly diminishing window of opportunity to tackle them head on, much like we did in 2007 with domain over the Internet, and my greatest hope is that everyone who serves on the next board will approach these issues with the same tenacity and fighting spirit with which we waged the agency campaign.”

Ashley Gable, an incumbent who was a named plaintiff within the guild’s epic authorized battle in opposition to the Big Three expertise businesses, wrote that when she first ran for the board in 2018, “two major concerns were the then-upcoming agency campaign and the 2020 MBA negotiation. I worked my behind off on the agency campaign, and I am proud of our win. But the MBA negotiation, which was going to be so important, ended up being circumscribed by the pandemic and our subsequent inability to mount a credible strike threat. Although what we were able to gain from the companies was substantial given the circumstances (paid parental leave!), it turns out that our most critical issues were left unaddressed until next year’s negotiation. I am asking for your vote so that I can tend to this unfinished business and fight for more gains for writers.”

She added:

“The company marketing campaign confirmed the immense energy of writers’ collective energy. I consider that energy was essential in giving us what leverage we had within the 2020 MBA negotiation. Although it was rage-inducing to not make features particular to screenwriters and different teams more and more disrespected by the businesses, it was not stunning given the position we had been in. As a sensible individual as soon as informed me, in any negotiation you don’t get what’s truthful, or cheap, or proper. You get what your energy deserves.

“In the upcoming negotiation, we should apply our energy to place extra money in writers’ pockets. We should negotiate responses to the results of vertically built-in streaming, mega-mergers, the convergence of theatrical and SVOD (subscription video on demand), shorter TV seasons, the more and more widespread scourge of the mini-room and subsequent assault on TV producing charges. Writers’ pay throughout all platforms is being pushed right down to scale. We want a richer streaming residuals method. We want script parity throughout all platforms. We want minimums for comedy/selection content material on SVOD.

“We need a lot of things, and we will have to marshal all our power to get them. The 2020 negotiation in a pandemic was unlike any before it. In 2023, it’s possible things won’t be entirely ‘back to normal’ either. How we communicate with members, how we maintain solidarity, how we demonstrate power, even how we conduct a negotiation – all these things may be different. I have faced new and unknown challenges in the agency campaign, which also was unlike anything before it. I think I can be of use to writers in 2023. I ask for your vote.”

Danny Tolli, co-chair of the Latinx Writers Committee, wrote that streaming residuals and compensation “should be one of our top priorities in the coming negotiation. Corporations make billions – record profits – off our stories, while we get the short end of the stick. With our current reality of nonexistent backend, low-budget provisions, companies fudging their subscriber numbers, and straight-to-VOD releases, we cannot sustain ourselves under the present residual formula.”

He added:

“The proliferation of mini-rooms throughout all platforms is eviscerating the mid-level and stripping our energy as on-set producers. Tied to this, free work in growth (each options & TV) have to be curbed, whether or not by means of the MBA or partaking with producers on a proactive marketing campaign. And with current mergers & acquisitions downsizing the trade and limiting our alternatives for employment, we should obtain pay & credit score parity throughout networks, increase the minimums for writing groups, and at last compensate employees writers for his or her scripts.

“But there’s extra work that must be executed exterior the negotiating desk, notably on the subject of making a extra unified and equitable Guild for all writers. As a homosexual Latino author, I’ve seen features within the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) space, however the needle has not moved sufficient in the direction of equitable justice. BIPOC creators proceed to be held again from working their very own reveals. Roughly 26% of Americans are disabled however solely account for 0.7% of the Guild. Latinx persons are disproportionately underrepresented in a metropolis the place we make up virtually 50% of the inhabitants.

“Ageism runs rampant and older writers are actively marginalized and erased from the conversation. Harassment, discrimination, and abuse continue despite the collective reckoning with these issues in the last few years. I applaud the Guild’s recent efforts to protect our members from toxic work environments and discriminatory hiring practices — and if elected, I will work towards an industry that is an inclusive, equitable, and accountable space for all writers.”

Deric A. Hughes, an incumbent, wrote that in his 4 years on the board, “We took on and won an agency campaign, we’ve negotiated an MBA (in the middle of a pandemic) that created meaningful gains for writers (sigh, in the middle of a pandemic). But even though the 2020 MBA negotiation was considered a success during very trying times (I did mention the word ‘pandemic,’ right?), there were multiple important issues that were taken off the table/ left unaddressed… until the 2023 negotiations (yes, next year). And it’s this reason and this reason alone, that I am asking for your vote so I can help continue to tackle the many problems so many of us find ourselves experiencing at this upcoming crucial juncture in our union’s history. Because one of the most important things I’ve learned since serving on the Board, there’s always more work to be done.”

He added:

“And now, with the upcoming 2023 MBA negotiations, there are many more important issues that still need to be addressed. And as a BIPOC writer (Black and Japanese, for those wondering and or like myself, have brain fog), my goal is to continue to find ways to help better address/solve multiple issues: such as the ever-growing income disparity and complete disregard for the welfare and healthcare burdens for writing teams (of which I continue to be half of one). The out-of-control abuse of mini-rooms – which have now become writers’ rooms at a super-premium discount – that is decimating most writers’ abilities to have any chance at developing/maintaining a successful and thriving career. Script parity – a script is a script, no matter the platform. The endless amount of excessive free work found in both television and film. Finding even more ways to support/push for inclusion and equity for all marginalized writers of any age. And finally, to help ensure our important health and pension continues to remain solvent, in the years to come.”

Ryan Walls wrote in his marketing campaign assertion:

“We’re going into a serious negotiation, and I’d prefer to be there to struggle in your behalf. I consider we deserve a a lot better deal than what we’ve acquired up to now from studios making billions of {dollars} off our creativity. To see a fall in author employment and earnings in recent times is totally unacceptable. Whether you’re an higher degree author effected by the bounds of span safety or a employees author who isn’t being paid for writing a script (Really? Still?), we have to see enhancements for all guild members.

“As the studios seek out new revenue streams, like bringing advertising onto their platforms, it’s clear the cost-plus model, which was already hurting writer profits, is not sustainable for our side of the business. It needs to change now. It’s going to be a fight to overhaul a business model that’s been in place for far too long, but it’s one I believe is worth taking on. The ‘new technology’ caps on our earnings and residuals are outdated and we need an agreement that allows for greater ownership and profit participation for all writers. Our value needs to be recognized.”

He went on to say that “while there’s focus on the negotiation ahead, it’s important we don’t lose sight of another serious issue that continues to plague our union: lack of representation. We need a push for greater inclusivity. I’ve had the great opportunity to work as a mentor with the Support Black Creatives Initiative and the Latinx Writers Initiative. These programs are so important to help build writer relationships and strengthen our community. So many of our fellow unions put a premium on apprenticeship. Let’s make mentorship standard for the WGA. I would like to implement a program that would connect writers enrolled in our showrunner’s training with new members just starting out in their careers. Let’s encourage bringing together new voices with those staffing rooms and help expand the pathways to work and benefits. The bigger the Guild the better.”

Travis Donnelly, an incumbent, wrote: “In my time on the board, we’ve aligned the financial interests of agents with writers, gained unprecedented contract transparency and created a groundbreaking paid parental leave benefit for members. Our diversity efforts have led to a shift toward a world where the people writing movies and television are beginning to resemble the people watching them…But despite these efforts, the financial lives of most writers have been getting worse. So what happened? How in the age of so-called peak TV, and with the explosion of streamers, have so many writers found themselves making substantially less than they were a few years ago?”

The answer, he stated, is that “The studios pulled off ‘The Great Hollywood Wage Heist,’ and our profession has never been the same. When the streamers entered the game, everything changed. The studios began telling writers things that simply weren’t true. ‘A mini-room is not a writers’ room.’ That’s patently false. ‘You aren’t producing in a mini-room and should only be paid minimums.’ Not true. ‘A small upfront residual for streaming your work in perpetuity is fair.’ It’s absolutely not.”

With respect to wages and residuals, Donnelly wrote that “writers in TV and features have seen both slashed by ‘The Great Hollywood Wage Heist’ and, looking towards the 2023 MBA, restoring both has to be our top priority.”

“The Great Hollywood Wage Heist,” he says, “changed the careers of all writers. I’m running for another term on the board because I believe the upcoming MBA will be the most consequential of our generation. The priority is clear – wages and residuals must be dramatically improved. This new system built on mini-room minimums and small upfront residuals is not sustainable. Our profession is at a cross-roads and our livelihoods are at stake.”

Rich Talarico, a strike captain through the 2007-08 walkout, has been on a 10-year mission to finish what he says are the businesses’ continued violations of the guild’s five-minute promotional clip exemption by means of their extreme exhibition of clips with none extra compensation for writers.

“I learned a lot during the strike,” he wrote. “In 2007-2008 we knew that 48% of WGA members are in development at any given time. Royalty payments are not a luxury, they keep writers and their families alive during periods of development and pitching. Residuals are lifeblood to writers and go to heirs and heirs of heirs – so it’s crucial that royalties are fairly calculated and distributed…Sadly, I would soon become more personally aware of incredibly unfair Company practices that are devastating writers’ livelihoods to this day and are hidden in plain sight.”

Talarico, a former author on Key & Peele, stated: “I’ve been working on this issue for 10+ years and I’m not just doing this for Key & Peele writers, I’m doing this for all comedy writers now and in the future, on any network that practices these contract abuses (NBC and SNL clip use for example). Our shows getting staggering numbers of views in the promotional space, but earning no compensation for this use, is ridiculous. Writers and their families rely on residuals and as Matthew Weiner said, if someone is using our work, we should be paid for it. Even if I am not elected to the board, I promise to fight this issue until we get a fair deal on this use. What happens next is up to us, the membership. Will there be a ‘happily ever after’ for comedy writers? I hope we can all work together to demand better from our union and our employers. As writer Andy Gellis told me during the 2007-2008 strike: ‘People need to remember, writers write this stuff. It doesn’t come out of the air.’”

Justin Halpern wrote that members being short-changed on streaming residuals is an issue that “keeps coming up and it’s always going to keep coming up. There was a time when residuals were what carried writers through tough times and now, when times are as tough as they’ve ever been, we need that compensation for our work more than ever. I believe we must look at this as an ongoing fight that must never be settled and worthy of striking if we feel that we are not being treated fairly.”

As a member of the guild’s Animation Writers Organizing Committee, he’s additionally dedicated to bringing extra animated reveals underneath the guild’s contract, versus firms forcing writers to work underneath the phrases of the rival Animation Guild’s contract. Earlier this week, he and several other of the opposite candidates had been among the many greater than 1,500 showrunners and writers who signed a pledge to struggle for WGA protection of their reveals.

1500 WGA Members Sign Pledge To Fight For Guild Coverage Of Animation Work

“Animated shows are where more and more younger writers are finding themselves working,” Halpern wrote in his marketing campaign assertion. “My partner and I have co-created and run two adult animated shows for Warner Brothers Animation, a studio which has never in its history made a WGA animated show. This may seem like the part where I tell you we were able to flip the studio to WGA, but instead, this is where I tell you we tried and failed because we were naive. But in attempting to turn the shows WGA, I learned exactly what we’re up against and what it will take to get it done. If we don’t fight this fight now, very soon we will never be able to get animated shows to be WGA. This is why I have joined the WGA Animation Writers Organizing 2022 Committee. It will take a massive movement by WGA members to win this fight.”

Raphael Bob-Waksberg, a veteran animation author, stated in his marketing campaign assertion:

“Creatively, there’s by no means been a greater time to be writing cartoons! There are so many superb animated reveals and films from a greater diversity of voices than ever earlier than. But increasingly, the large studios and networks are blocking the WGA from overlaying these initiatives, which suggests the writers aren’t assured WGA minimums and the initiatives don’t pay into our well being and pension funds.

“With episode orders shrinking, extra writers are leaping forwards and backwards between stay motion and animated staffs. Those writers will let you know: it’s the identical job. Writers shouldn’t take a pay lower simply because they get employed for a cartoon. And writers shouldn’t have to decide on between taking a job on an animated present or holding onto their medical insurance. Like most issues, this pattern has gotten worse in recent times as a consequence of company consolidation.

“Studios that were once WGA-friendly have been gobbled up by larger studios with ‘No WGA in animation’ mandates, and networks that once relied on outside studios to make and budget their shows are now making the shows themselves and looking to squeeze costs wherever they can. I think it’s particularly ugly that this squeeze is happening right at the moment when animated shows are finally starting to tell more diverse stories from more diverse writers. Incidentally, this ‘Welcome to the club; we’re going to pay you less’ routine is not unique to the world of animation. We still have a long way to go towards equity in this industry for women, POC, and LGBTQ+ writers; to get there we need to push back against patterns like this.”

“This is an issue the guild needs to rally around, and it’s the main reason I’m running for the board,” Bob-Waksberg wrote. “With the board’s one animation author leaving on the finish of this time period, we might quickly have a board with zero animation writers on it, which I believe can be a mistake, particularly as we head right into a negotiation year.

“This problem requires unity. It won’t just be solved by showrunners making emotional appeals to creative executives. I’ve taken a hard line and refused to work on non-WGA shows. I ended up walking away from a project I helped develop because the studio decided my contributions were less important than the contributions of ‘not paying writers a living wage.’ It was a heartbreaking decision for me – I loved the show – still I couldn’t allow myself to perpetuate this toxic practice. But one writer at a time saying no isn’t going to move this mountain. We need to act collectively.”

John Rogers, a longtime movie and TV author, wrote:

“As a Guild we’re dealing with an ideal storm of outdated choices and new trade fashions making it more durable than ever to interrupt into the business, acquire manufacturing expertise, and make a dwelling as a working screenwriter. Unfortunately, too usually we’re taking part in catch-up, making an attempt to protect some model of acquainted advantages we established through the outdated, comfy mannequin, when staffs had been giant, seasons had been lengthy, and again finish was significant. That world is gone. It’s not coming again. We have to embrace the upcoming AMPTP negotiations as our greatest hope to set floor guidelines for the brand new trade that’s already evolving round us.

“Our current television staff pay structure, treating staff writers as ‘writers’ and all levels above that as ‘writers employed in additional capacities’ is an elegant fiction to cover the evolution of the industry from the freelancer-driven model of the 70’s, through the large staffs writing and shooting 22 episodes concurrently during the 80’s and 90’s, then into the shorter cable seasons of the 00’s. This system is now breaking down due to mini-rooms, production being severed from the writing contract timelines, chaos in streaming development, and the corporate environment.”

Writers, Rogers stated, “should be paid for their work; writers and their work should be treated equally across technologies and distribution systems; the best path through the current chaos is standardized, up-front payments. I know that a lot of the allure of our industry is the jackpot dangled before us: the back end of a giant movie hit or successful television syndication deal. The truth is, the industry is changing in ways that make these already elusive jackpots nonexistent. The WGAW has proven itself, in recent years, both innovative and relentless in addressing our new challenges. With your support, I believe I can work with fellow Board members to move some of these solutions forward.”

David Schulner, a veteran TV author, stated that when the WGA sits down to barter a brand new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers subsequent year, “the AMPTP needs to look across the table and see the very writers who are making the studios and networks all the money they say they aren’t making. So, I’m running now. Because I love the Writer’s Guild and want to help when it matters most.”

Schulner stated he’s “passionately against mini-rooms in TV. It’s a cheap way to get our best ideas. Those first weeks in a writer’s room completely shape a series. And that’s worth far more than a weekly minimum. Musicals in development (equivalent to mini-rooms) have started to contractually guarantee participants a cut of the show (Hamilton, Mean Girls) should they become profitable. You want to hire us for a mini-room? Either pay us our episodic fee or give us a piece of the show.”

This, he stated, “leads me to another thing I’m passionate about, because the above example is not just about studios trying to get something for nothing, it’s about showrunners letting it happen. Showrunners, especially those of us under deals, can say, ‘no.’ We can say ‘no’ to unfair practices like mini-rooms… We can say ‘no’ to overwhelmingly white and male sets. We can say ‘no’ to abusive behavior perpetrated by other showrunners. We have that power and responsibility. And let me tell you, when it comes to DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), the studios are on our side. All it takes is for us to step up. So, I would encourage those of us who have power in this industry to use it.”

Timothy Dowling, a veteran characteristic movie author, wrote: “I feel the board has been doing a great job and have so much respect for everyone who has served and what they have accomplished but feel that the past few contract negotiations have been mostly about issues affecting TV writers. All those issues are obviously important but I also think we need more representation on the board from feature writers.”

In addition to his name for pay for pitches and greater residuals for streaming, Dowling is urging the guild to “push to stop filming in states that promote intolerance.”

He added:

“As a guild we have to push for the change we consider in. And have to push the studios to cease filming and funding states which might be anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, and have unrestrictive gun legal guidelines. We have to result in create change. And the one approach we would have an effect on these more and more backwards legal guidelines in some states is to not spend money there. Let’s as a substitute assist states that assist tolerance and the rights of everybody.

“I would love to create a team across the guilds to meet with the Governor to push for even more expanded tax credits in California. Let’s bring more work home and away from states that love to bash Hollywood and California but will gladly take our money and our jobs. Most big movies shoot in Atlanta, Canada or London. Let’s fight for a bigger tax credit that brings those big movies back to Hollywood.”

Leah Folta, a author of youngsters’ comedy, style comedy and have movies, is campaigning for higher pay and advantages for writers who work as groups. “I just celebrated 10 years of writing partnership with a longtime friend and beautiful genius, and in the room, we each contribute more than half a person. We also each need more than half a person’s worth of healthcare and pension. All of the ways our profession has gotten more financially strained the last couple years is felt literally double by teams, some of whom have made the difficult choice to restart careers as an individual instead of continuing to split an income. It’s necessary that we keep the momentum alive for MBA gains for teams.”

She additionally believes that “feature writers are overdue for MBA gains and heavily exploited by things like low minimums, unpaid pitches on IP (intellectual property), stacked bake-offs, and giant streamers with huge projects who pay like they’re indies. My partner and I have been writing and pitching specs for the last year and have been told it’s unusually difficult right now to break in and to gain traction with anything but studio IP. I’d like to add my voice to our existing excellent feature leadership and help the momentum for feature gains continue to grow.”

As for inclusion and fairness, she stated “We’ve already benefited so much from our Inclusion and Equity Department and reporting from TTIE (Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity), and I know the WGA is just at the beginning of its efforts to increase inclusion. Writers have massive power over how the whole world perceives underrepresented groups, and this responsibility deserves our continued energy and resources.”

Veteran writer-producer Robert H. Wolfe stated that within the upcoming negotiations, “The Guild as a whole will have to determine what gains, if any, we’re willing to strike to get.” Streaming providers, he wrote, “currently pay much lower residuals than networks or traditional syndication, both for features and television episodes. This practice undermines the financial stability of writers and reduces payments to our pension and health funds. When I started in this business, writing several episodes of a successful show, or writing a successful movie, guaranteed years of future income, helping plug the gaps between jobs. Streaming has greatly reduced this income. We have won some gains in this area, but streaming services still enjoy a roughly 65% discount on residual rates. To address this issue, the Guild needs to fight for significantly higher streaming residuals, bringing them closer to parity with traditional network reruns.”

He additionally feels that writers ought to be paid for pitching initiatives. Saying that “pitching is work” and that “work should be paid,” he stated in his assertion that the “proliferation of free work has long been an issue for screenwriters, and it’s increasingly becoming a concern for television writers, especially in streaming.”

Wolfe added: “

More and extra, producers safe established mental property as supply materials, then interact in protracted auditions throughout which dozens of writers are requested to pitch their takes on I.P. they don’t management, usually over the course of a number of conferences for months on finish. As a consequence, writers spend monumental quantities of time growing pitches, usually paying for visible supplies out of their very own pockets, all simply to safe if/come offers, a lot of which by no means bear fruit.

“Even for the winner of a pitch sweepstakes, precise cost might be months and even years away, contingent on a community sale or securing financing and distribution. Closing these offers requires extra pitching and extra unpaid work. This has to alter.

“Some Guild members have suggested requiring payment for every pitch. Others worry this might shut out newer writers, many of them members of underrepresented groups. They’re concerned requiring pitch payments will deny them a chance to land jobs writing movies and creating shows. As a compromise, I propose the Guild negotiate payment for callbacks on pitches for any I.P. controlled by a producer or studio. In other words, the first pitch would continue to be free, but calling back a writer for any additional meetings should trigger a payment, even if it’s a nominal one.”

Wolfe went on to suggest that the guild “negotiate meaningful minimums for payment on attachment to I.P. driven projects. So once a writer is formally attached to I.P. they do not control, they should be paid for the period of time during which they pitch the property to actual buyers. This payment should be commensurate with the time, money, and effort writers already put into preparing these pitches, giving us compensation earlier in the process and forcing producers to commit financially to their chosen writers.”

The guild will host a digital candidates’ night time discussion board, the place members can pose inquiries to the candidates, on August 31. Ballots can be counted on September 20.

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