Okay, so my latest eMail from the Writers Guild of America, West doesn’t come out and say that. But it sure sends the message:
July 24, 2012
Dear WGAW Member,
Earlier this year, the WGAW, in conjunction with WGAE, undertook a survey of screenwriters in order to assess the current state of the theatrical business. The Guild has been increasingly concerned, based on anecdotal evidence from our members, about deteriorating conditions in screen employment and the rise of certain industry practices that harm both screenwriters and the overall quality of films produced. Screenwriters were invited to complete a series of questions that detailed their theatrical pitching and employment experiences during 2011. The respected independent research firm of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates (FM3) conducted the survey.
The major findings of the survey are:
Screenwriters believe their status in the industry has significantly deteriorated over the past several years. The most flagrant studio practices contributing to this decline, ranked in order of frequency, are: free rewrites, sweepstakes pitching, late payment, free prewrites, and idea theft.
Ultimately we want to change those behaviors. How we achieve that goal is the question, and your continued engagement will be needed to help find answers.
To view a summary of the report click here.
Thank you to the screenwriters who took the survey. If you have any questions about it or the results, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Keyser, President
David Young, Executive Director
If this is what screenwriters are saying, I shudder to think what the TV writers’ take is.
Know what we need? What we need is another Golden Age of…Anything and Everything That Has to do With Writing. Where’s my agent? Where’s my shaman? Oh, look, at least I know where to find my tinfoil cap!