Monday, April 17, 2017

WGA Contract Negotiations

WGA metaphor: Ten years ago I wrote a spec screenplay for an indie producer. I completed several drafts, flew out to LA (out of pocket), had some great meetings, but nothing became of the efforts. No big deal, it happens. A year later the producer paid a very fancy script doctor to give a detailed eval of my screenplay. I was then handed the notes and told to 'fix the script.'  I asked the producer if I could at least get paid for the rewrites. The producer said 'sorry, there's no money' but that I should continue working. I politely declined to do more free work when others involved were paid. No hard feelings, no yelling or screaming. The producer then sent my agent a sharply-worded email that was to be forwarded to me (which is a strangely passive aggressive thing to do since said producer had my email). I asked my agent 'is there anything new or interesting in this email that hasn't been discussed? Is there anything constructive or helpful?' She said 'no.' It was just a negative email. I told her she could delete the message and that I wished the producer the best. Today I am thinking about that indie producer's mind games when it comes to the WGA negotiations. Producers often ask writers to build stuff for free or at a reduced price on 'a hope.'  Most writers are dreamers and are willing to do it if they have the passion and the free time. But that dreamer's kindness often gets mistaken for weakness. I think we have reached our limit of pro bono hope. We should be kind AND compensated. Let's delete their mind games and the messages they're sending through their media agents. Vote yes on Strike Authorization Vote.

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