Today we bring news of another way our British cousins are supporting our favorite art form – TV writing. Wow. Just wow.
The BBC is to throw open the doors of its Writers’ Academy to anyone who wants to have a shot at writing for television, in a move dubbed “X Factor for writers”.
In the past, only professional screenwriters have been allowed to apply to the academy, but in a bid to bring in voices from different backgrounds any budding writer will be able to try to follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as Killing Eve and The Victim writer Rob Williams.
The eight successful applicants will write for BBC Studios’ biggest shows such as EastEnders and Casualty, have lectures from writers such as Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio and Years and Years writer Russell T Davies and get three months of paid training.
The move may be welcomed by those in self-isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak who are looking for something to focus on. Recently, stories have been shared about the creativity that has emerged from historical quarantines. William Shakespeare is thought to have penned King Lear during a plague outbreak and Sir Isaac Newton reportedly discovered gravity while in quarantine.
The head of the BBC Studios Writers’ Academy, John Yorke, said writing could help people cope with anxiety….
Why is nobody/no organization in the U.S. doing this?
by Alison Flood
A £330,000 emergency fund for authors is being launched to support those facing “unmanageable” losses from the cancellation of events, book tours and school visits during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Society of Authors, which launched the emergency fund, said that many authors were set to be affected, with some already losing thousands of pounds a day as work is called off.
“The financial challenges facing authors had become acute even before the current health crisis, with an increasing number approaching us for financial support. But now, they’re seeing unmanageable losses,” said chief executive Nicola Solomon. “It was clear that current levels of funding would fail to meet needs.”
Author Philip Pullman, the society’s president, said that the pandemic was making it “impossible” for authors to do their work, as much of it consisted of lecturing, visiting schools and teaching.
The grants are open to all professional authors resident in the UK or British subjects, are likely to be up to £2,000, and are “designed to meet urgent need”….
This update on current MBA Negotiations made us smile.
March 24, 2020
We hope this email finds you all doing as well as can be expected in this time of uncertainty and instability.
It’s in that spirit that we want to update you on our current situation with the AMPTP. Although we had originally planned to meet with the AMPTP beginning March 23rd, given the current health crisis we cannot effectively negotiate this important three-year agreement in our usual fashion. It may not be possible to conclude a new contract by May 1st, nor will we be asking you for a strike authorization vote in the interim. Even if no new contract is in place by May 1st, writers can continue working under the 2017 agreement. We are discussing several options with the companies, including a potential contract extension, but we think it is most sensible to continue to evaluate the constantly – it seems hourly – changing situation before making a decision about the most strategically optimal way forward.
This is not a time for rash decisions or pressured outcomes. Instead we are conferring with public health authorities, financial analysts, other guilds and unions, legislators, benefit fund experts and others to gather information as the situation continues to evolve.
The Negotiating Committee continues to meet regularly – via teleconference – to discuss options. Although we realize that members would like to know exactly what will happen and when, those determinations may take some time, so we ask for your patience and understanding. The committee is determined to make the best possible decision about the path forward. Rest assured, we will continue to put writers’ health and their current and future well-being above all else. To avoid unnecessary anxiety and confusion, please remember the only reliable source of information about these MBA negotiations is your Guild.
Ashley Nicole Black
Dante W. Harper
Melissa London Hilfers
Lauren Ashley Smith
Patric M. Verrone
David A. Goodman, Ex-Officio
Marjorie David, Ex-Officio
Beau Willimon, Ex-Officio
Kathy McGee, Ex-Officio
Bob Schneider, Ex-Officio
Writers Guild of America West
7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048