Latest on WGAW Connect

What has our Writers Guild done for us lately?

Glad you asked because the Guild has a wonderful answer in Writers Connect, a short newsletter members get every week. (See? Another good reason to bust your butt to qualify and join.)


Pitch Perfect

Five things to do in your next virtual pitch meeting.

As if the prospect of pitching wasn’t daunting already, writers now have to do it through the impersonal, virtual workplace that is the Zoom room. The subtle and stressful art of pitching is not made easier when you can’t read the room, make eye contact, or tell if the people in the tiny squares on your computer screen are laughing—or even paying attention.

Luckily, the Guild organized a panel on virtual pitching last week, “Pitch Perfect: Best Practices For Virtual Pitching.” Read more >>

Ask a Mentor: To Staff or Not to Staff

WGAW member Terri Kopp on staffing first vs. selling first.

Should an early career TV writer skip staffing to try to sell their own show? WGAW member Terri Kopp (The Chi, In Contempt) has an answer.

Do you have questions about the craft, job hunting, your career, or Guild service? Email them (under 100 words, please) to Connect, and we’ll send them to an established screen or TV writer to answer. Questions might be edited for space or clarity and will be published anonymously.

Question: “As an aspiring TV writer, should I skip over staffing and go straight to selling my own show?” Read more >>

Written By Spring/Summer 2020 Issue

Pens up, rooms down—a global pandemic means three things: traditional production is shut down, writers are shut in, and coping mechanisms get a shout-out. Only in the new Spring/Summer issue of Written By. In addition, hear from Gentefied co-creators Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez; Little Fires Everywhere writers and showrunner Liz Tigelaar; Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner on the 20th anniversary of American Psycho; the late F.X. Feeney as he analyzes Lolita; the Writers with Disabilities Committee on the work we must all do to increase representation for people with disabilities in the writers’ room and on screen; WGAW members on Humanitas; and film historian Ed Rampell on what we still need to learn from the Hollywood blacklist, 70 years later. Read more>>

Last Week’s Most Important Cord Cutting Developments 6/30/20

Cord Cutters News gives us the latest on the cord cutting front!


 


Cord Cutters Video Channel: https://twitter.com/CordCuttersNews
Cord Cutters Web Site: http://cordcuttersnews.com

Oh, and you can even buy a nifty coffee mug so you can settle back and sip while you watch

2020 Daytime Emmy Writing Awards

The 2020 Daytime Emmys were given out last Friday night, and our quick look indicates that the most complete listing of the winners was at Deadline.Com, so we urge you to get your completist selves over there ASAP.

Here at TVWriter™, of course, our primary concerns are the “Best Writing” category, and since we aren’t huge daytime TV experts we were surprised to see that this year (maybe every year?) there were only two categories for daytime writing, namely–

Outstanding Writing Team for a Drama Series
WINNER: “The Bold and the Beautiful”
“The Young and the Restless”
“General Hospital”
“Days of Our Lives”

Outstanding Writing for a Special Class Special
“Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration”

Most websites that announced the Emmy winners ignored the writing categories in their listings. And most of those that did ignored the nominees and, for that matter, the actual names of the writers involved.

Inasmuch as TVWriter™ (well, LB anyway) had a horse in this race (buddy Michele Val Jean), we’re fairly familiar with the The Bold and the Beautiful writing staff, and of course everyone has a thing for Sesame Street, so here are our personal congrats to:

The Bold and the Beautiful Writers

Head Writer: Bradley P. Bell
Co-Head Writer: Michael Minnis

Writers:
Patrick Mulcahy
Adam Dusevoir
Shannon Bradley
Michele Val Jean
Rex M. Best
Tracey Ann Kelly
Mark Pinciotti

Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Writer

Christine Ferraro

Quick question about the announcements themselves. Why was the Drama Series announcement made on the Emmy TV broadcast but the Special Class Special one made after the show?

For that matter, why was the Special Class Special class called the “Special Class Special Class?”

The devil is, indeed, in the deets.

LYMI

LB

 

 

 

WGAW Letter on Returning to Work

June 17, 2020
Dear Members,

There are ongoing and increasingly urgent discussions in the industry about how and when to resume production. We know some members are feeling anxious about what new protocols might mean for writers, so we wanted to give you a brief update.

The WGAW has convened meetings over the past two months with showrunners across all genres to formulate responses to challenges of COVID-era writing and production. Individually, showrunners have been meeting with studio executives about how to produce shows when the time comes to reopen. Collectively, Guild showrunners signed a statement which you can read below, and will organize discussions with each studio to make sure they protect the role of writers as they determine the best protocols to safeguard their productions, casts and crews.

This month the AMPTP put out a white paper with guidelines for reopening motion picture, television and streaming productions in the era of COVID-19, and entertainment unions belonging to the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee put out a separate non-binding document called “A Safe Way Forward.” Although the WGA is not part of that committee, which predates the pandemic and historically has dealt with on-set safety issues, we are aligned with their desire to resume production safely and as soon as possible. The Guild and showrunners will make sure that writers and their interests are protected in the process. For instance, several studios have already acknowledged to showrunners that the central role of writers on set must be accounted for in whatever protocols are finally adopted.

If you have concerns about your workplace health and safety please contact our Legal Department. Here is an FAQ with employment-related questions for this time period.

In solidarity,
WGAW Board of Directors

WGAW Showrunner Statement

In television, the Showrunner is responsible for overseeing the writing, directing, producing and post-production of their television series. We are also the liaison between the production and the network/studio, and the hub through which issues of health and safety run.

So we take a deep interest in the health and safety not just of our sets but of the entire production, including post-production. To that end, we applaud DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Teamsters’ efforts in their document “The Safe Way Forward” and appreciate the work of the individual unions and Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force.

As these white papers suggest, the key to these protocols achieving the desired effect – creating the healthiest workable production scenarios possible – is that the protocols are adopted widely and completely. All the departments must work together, and not at cross-purposes, in their pursuit of production health.

The Showrunner’s role here is essential.

Since the Showrunner hires and supervises the director, actors, writers, casting director, production designers, and editors, our casts and crews will be looking to us for reassurance and creative direction, as they did before the crisis. We will work with our partners at our sister unions to communicate, enact, and ensure that every possible effort is made to keep workers safe as they execute the creative mission of the show.

We agree that testing is paramount and the cornerstone of any return to work. We also find their suggestion of a zone system smart and essential – with one caveat: to reduce a director’s guesswork in trying to execute the Showrunner’s vision, and, therefore, reduce the number of reshoots, the involvement of the Showrunners and their writer proxies on the set is a must – either in person or if those with disability or underlying health issues are unable to be on set physically, with proper accommodations so they can still do their jobs effectively.

The Showrunners believe the next step is not to add another white paper to the discussion. Instead, we will focus on additions to “The Safe Way Forward” that underline the practical importance of collaboration.

We do believe we can all return to work safely and many of us have been in touch with our casts about changes that individual productions will make to ensure health and safety. Now comes the hard work.

The Showrunners are ready to get to it and we welcome discussions with individual studios as soon as possible.

In solidarity

Is this the future of TV writing?

Of course television writers’ relationship with Zoom is love-hate. So’s our relationship with television! And writing! And…

But we digress. Here’s the video:

And a well done related article too:

TV writers, like all of us, are developing a love-hate relationship with Zoom
by Nathan Mattise

Every week now seems to bring news of another Hollywood project being delayed. Sometimes this is because you can’t make money in an empty theater, but it’s just as often due to production halts in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of that industry hits pause for now, one crucial segment has not—the writers. Like many of us, they’ve instead become intimately familiar with the inner workings of on-the-job Zoom calls.

“I kind of feel for every aspiring TV writer at home right now due to the pandemic,” said Sera Gamble, showrunner of Netflix’s You (formerly of Supernatural and The Magicians), during this year’s online-only edition of the ATX TV Festival. “They’re trying to write while doing a bunch of other stuff; well, congrats, you’re now in showrunner training. I’ve frequently had to sit down in the past and rewrite a script in a moment that felt like a severe crisis, and sometimes it was a severe crisis. But it feels like that times 10. I have to reset expectations every morning: I wake up, wait a minute before checking my phone, check in with loved ones, and then take the problems of the day as they come… [I tell my writers] ‘You can’t solve what you can’t solve, so what can we get done in the next hour?'”

For this late-addition panel to this year’s ATX TV Festival, Gamble (virtually) joined Dan Goor (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Rec), Melinda Hsu Taylor (Nancy Drew, Lost), and Beth Schwartz (Sweet Tooth, Arrow) to take streamers “Inside the Writers’ (Zoom) Room.” For some, the change came abruptly. Hsu Taylor and her staff had nearly completed both writing and production on the latest season of Nancy Drew when suddenly they had to convert everything to be remote-friendly (she credits doing a Zoom birthday for her son around that time for helping her grasp the basic logistics and experience). Other writers started wholesale in a digital world, like the staff of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. They were five weeks into story-breaking at the time of this panel and hadn’t been together in person at all while working on the upcoming season eight….

Read it all at arstechnica.com