UPDATE: This just in… Here’s the rebuttal from opposing WGAW slate Elias Davis, Tom Schulman, and David N. Weiss, to Scott Frank’s support statement of John Wells, Howard Michael Gould, and Chris Keyser:
If Scott Frank had attended more than six board meetings (of the 22 held during his two year term) he would know how much he got wrong in his statement.
He would know that the “millions of dollars” he thinks were spent on organizing reality were actually only a few hundreds of thousands of dollars that resulted in WGA coverage for hundreds of writers working on Comedy Central shows, broadcast game shows, independent films, new media webisodes, and even a few reality shows like Dancing With the Stars, Intervention, and Extreme Makeover (all of whom make direct contributions to the pension and health plans about which he would worry even more if those projects weren’t under contract).
He would know that, despite a downturn in the Hollywood economy, the Guild’s residual department is now collecting more money than ever, with an uptick of $18 million in enforced collections over the past year, due largely to enhanced member-staff interaction. He would know that the PAC he derides (which has yet to endorse any candidates in any race in Kentucky) has made our union a player in political circles in Washington and Sacramento where our employers have enjoyed a free reign for too long when it comes to influencing communications law and media-ownership policy that gives them the anti-competitive advantages to force one-step deals and reduced quotes on us.
He would also know that the leadership that’s guided the WGAW for the last four years doesn’t issue rose-colored propaganda, but delivers actual results from hard working volunteer members who’ve sacrificed their time, energy, and even careers to better the lives of our fellow writers. We once thought Scott was one of them, but it appears that he had a change of heart.
Scott Frank was a member of the WGAW Board of Directors from 2005-2007
A MESSAGE FROM SCOTT FRANK
In 2005, I ran for the board with the original Writers United slate, including Elias Davis, Patric Verrone, Tom Schulman and David Weiss. At the time, I obviously agreed with much of what they had to say about the way the guild was run, and the way the guild should interact with the town and with the other guilds.
Since then, I have had a serious change of heart.
That is why, as a former member of Writers United, I am asking you to support John Wells, Howard Michael Gould and Chris Keyser.
“Organize organize organize” was the original Writers United campaign slogan. It meant we should organize those programs—reality in particular—that weren’t under Guild jurisdiction. That we should organize within our own guild in terms of member/member and member/staff communication and, finally, it meant that we should better “organize” our relationship with the other guilds.
We did one of those things incredibly well. We organized within our guild. The way information was disseminated before, during and after the strike was breathtaking to say the least. Staff communication with members also improved.
The other two have been abject failures. We have, to date, not organized any significant reality program, though we have spent several million dollars on the effort. Our relationship with IATSE is completely broken, and our relationship with the DGA, the union that will be going first when the next round of negotiations begins, has been seriously damaged.
The three Writers United members running for Guild office are all great people, but I do not believe their views and relationships are enough to help see us through another negotiation. It’s time to admit that a well-organized guild is only part of the equation; we need to show strength and smarts when negotiating, not just philosophical purity. A balance of opinion on the board is crucial.
I am more worried about our Pension and Health Fund than I am about leafletting American Idol auditions. I am more worried about the proliferation of one-step deals, slashed writing budgets and reduced screenwriter quotes than I am about a PAC supporting congressional candidates in Kentucky. I am more interested in the true strength required to successfully bargain than in the false strength of outrage and sloganeering. And I am more interested in how our shrinking income will affect services for our members than I am in the steady parade of rose-colored propaganda telling us that everything is better than ever at the WGA.
Writers United accomplished much, but we were far from perfect. Adjustments are necessary in order for our Guild to succeed. We need diversity in leadership now, and we need a change of tactics.
John Wells, Howard Michael Gould and Chris Keyser are the right candidates to lead us. I’m also supporting Ian Deitchman, Jeff Lowell, Steven Schwartz, Mick Betancourt, Billy Ray, Howard Rodman and Dan Wilcox for the Board. I hope you join me.
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