EXCLUSIVE: With the new The Tonight Show launch coming in February, NBC is looking to ramp up Jimmy Fallon‘s writing staff. It is also looking for a lot of free work from potential scribes in guidelines that went out about a month ago. Though not an uncommon practice, such requests are prohibited under WGA rules. In this case, the extensive call for submission packets has triggered a complaint to WGA West filed last week, I’ve learned. The writers are concerned that the more evergreen material could end up on the show even if the writer who submitted it ends up not being hired. The guild is contacting NBCUniversal about the matter. Here’s Fallon‘s submission request:
Below are guidelines for Late Night with Fallon sketch submissions:
STEP 1: DESK PIECES
Applicants should come up with 3 ideas for low-production desk pieces. We’re not looking for scripts for each of them, just a good title, a few sentences that describe the bit and a few examples of what the jokes would be.
STEP 2: ADDITIONAL SKETCH IDEAS
We’re looking for 3 ideas for in-studio character pieces, audience plants, games, or ideas for pre-taped shorts or television parodies. Again, this entails a few sentences that describe the bit and a few examples of what the jokes would be.
STEP 3: ONE FULL SCRIPT
Choose your favorite sketch idea from the steps above and write one full script for it.
STEP 4: MONOLOGUE JOKES
We’d like to see 10 monologue jokes to get a sense of joke writing style. READ MORE »
The final results are in for the WGA West’s officers and Board of Director elections, and nothing has changed at the top. Why would it? The election had almost no challengers. With the voting period concluding yesterday … Read More »
Related: 2014 WGA Awards Set For February 1
Los Angeles and New York – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) today announced that submissions are now open for the 2014 WGA Documentary Screenplay Award, honoring outstanding achievement in documentary feature writing. This year marks the addition of a new eligibility requirement for the award: theatrical documentaries must be produced under the jurisdiction of the WGA or an affiliate Guild to be eligible for consideration. Submissions for the WGA’s doc writing award may be received from August 19 through November 15, 2013.
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The Writers Guild of America West saw total earnings rise by 4.0% in 2012 to $1.02 billion, the organization said today in its annual report. Even though the total number of writers’ reporting earnings dipped from 2011’s … Read More »
The new partnership between the Writers Guild Of America West and script service The Black List will give WGAW members discounted rates on paid Black List services, including script hosting and reader evaluations. The website in turn will promote WGAW resources and educational info. Here’s the announcement made today:
Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and script-hosting website The Black List have formed a strategic alliance with a mutual goal to advocate on behalf of writers, as well as benefit Guild members by providing them with a credible platform to help spotlight their work within the entertainment industry.
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There’s a big surprise today in the Writers Guild West‘s 2013 initial list of election candidates: the scribe selected to run against incumbent president Christopher Keyser declined the nomination. That means, unless someone else can be convinced to run, Keyser right now is running unopposed. He was a newcomer to WGAW leadership first elected two years ago when he defeated the polarizing Patric Verrone. Even back then, in 2011, few people stepped forward to run for the presidency: insiders told me that was because of great apathy. It seems nothing has changed even though the WGA constitution doesn’t allow for uncontested races:
Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West’s Nominating Committees have announced the initial list of candidates for the 2013 WGAW Officers and Board of Directors election.
The Officer candidates are as follows: President* – Christopher Keyser (inc.); Vice President – Timothy J. Lea, Howard A. Rodman (inc.); Secretary-Treasurer – Dan Wilcox, Carl Gottlieb (inc.). (*The second nominee designated by the committee declined the nomination.)
There are 16 candidates nominated to run for eight open seats on the WGAW’s Board of Directors as follows: Thania St. John (inc.), Andrew Goldberg, Cynthia Riddle, Ari B. Rubin, Carleton Eastlake (inc.), Nancy Miller, Jonathan Fernandez, Henry Alonso Myers, Patric M. Verrone, Billy Ray (inc.), Alfredo Barrios, Jr. (inc.), Flint Dille, Lee Aronsohn, David Maples, Karen Harris, David S. Goyer (inc.).
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There are more labor problems for Fashion Police. Today host Joan Rivers’ Rugby Productions had complaints filed against it by four more writers on the E! series. The scribes’ latest claims … Read More »
UPDATE, 1:09 PM: E! has responded to the claims that Fashion Police writers have made to the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office that the network owes them more than $1 million in back wages. “E! values our Fashion Police writers and we pay them fairly and in full legal compliance,” the network said today. The WGA West helped the reality TV scribes with the filing to the DLSE against the non-unionized show.
PREVIOUSLY, 11:38 AM: E!’s Joan Rivers-hosted fashion-dish panel show Fashion Police ran afoul of California law by not compensating its writers for all of the regular and overtime hours they’ve worked, according to a filing with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement office. Though the show is not unionized, the WGA West helped the writers with the legal paperwork and sent out this release today:
Los Angeles – Writers on E!’s Fashion Police filed claims today with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) that could result in the cable TV network having to pay more than one million dollars in back wages. The writers allege that E! has broken state labor law by not compensating them for all of the regular and overtime hours they’ve worked.
According to the writers, Fashion Police ignores the California laws that require an employer to pay hourly employees their regular wage rate for all time worked in an eight-hour period. In addition, the law requires paying overtime for employment beyond eight hours in any workday or more than 40 hours in any workweek.
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Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Ten scribes have been named winners of the WGA West‘s 2013 Writer Access Project program, which recognizes “diverse television writers” in comedy and drama script categories. The honorees: Michael DiGaetano, Joey Manderino Joseph Neustein and Lena Waithe for comedy; and Sherry Carnes, Dawn Comer Jefferson, Margaux Froley, Geetika Lizardi, Leslie Valdes and Thomas Wong for drama. (See their background info here.)
The program, run by the WGA West Diversity Department, identifies writers with TV staffing experience and makes samples of their work available to showrunners, producers, network and studio executives, and agents and managers, to provide increased access. Qualified guild members were invited to submit their work in one of five diversity categories: minority writers; writers with disabilities; women writers; writers age 55 and over; and gay and lesbian writers. The scripts were read and scored on a blind submission basis by WGAW members serving as judges, including showrunners and producers.
Related: 2013 WGA TV Staff Diversity Report Finds Little Progress Read More »
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
While incremental job gains for minority and women TV writers have been made in the last decade-plus, staffing levels remain “widely disproportionate” to the demographics of the U.S. population, says WGA West. The not-too-surprising results of the guild’s most recent TV staffing report were revealed during a press conference this morning at WGAW headquarters. The 2013 TV Staffing Brief (read the full report here) highlights three traditionally underemployed groups in the TV industry: women, minority and older writers.
Related: WGA West Unveils Writer Access Project Winners
Sociology professor Darnell Hunt, author of the report and director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, said that while women have seen a 5% increase in writing staff jobs between 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, at the current rate of growth it would take women “42 years to catch up with men” in terms of TV writing staff jobs.
Other stats from the report: Minority writers nearly doubled their share of staff writing positions during that same period, from 7.5% to 15.6%, but still remain severely underrepresented compared to the population at large. Among the ranks of TV executive producer in the 2011-2012 season, women were underrepresented by factor of more than 2 to 1 “among writers who run TV shows” and minorities were underrepresented by a factor of nearly 5 to 1.
In the 2010-2011 season, just 9% of pilots had “at least one minority writer attached” and 24% of pilots had at least one woman writer attached.
For the first time in 2011-12, writers over 40 claimed a majority share of TV staff positions. Read More »
UPDATE, 3:56 PM: The issue at WGA West headquarters has been resolved, I have learned. Whatever it was it was obviously not that big a deal — there was no evacuation of staff from the … Read More »
The Writers Guild of America West has demanded a $3 million bond from Nickelodeon because of “chronically late residuals payment and inadequate reporting practices.” In a March 8 dated letter I have obtained, the WGA West … Read More »
Deadline Editor in Chief Nikki Finke is writing from on-scene coverage by Deadline’s Awards Columnist, Awardsline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, and contributor Ray Richmond. The 2013 WGA award winners are named here. There will be an update to this post on Monday morning:
… Read More »
Tom Stoppard, the screenwriter and playwright whose latest feature film work is this year’s Anna Karenina, has been named the winner of the WGA West‘s 2013 Laurel Award for Screen, the guild’s lifetime achievement award for movies. He will receive the honor February 17 during the WGA Awards‘ West Coast ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. Previous recipients include David Mamet, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert Benton, Barry Levinson, Steven Zaillian, and Eric Roth last year.
Stoppard has adapted everyone from Nabokov and le Carre to Doctorow and Tolstoy. He wrote and won an Oscar for 1998′s Best Picture winner Shakespeare In Love and was nominated for co-writing 1986′s Brazil. He also won four Best Play Tony Awards in his career, which began in 1960 as a London playwright before jumping into television in 1965. Here’s the WGA West’s full release: Read More »
Joshua Brand and John Falsey, who co-created hit TV series including Northern Exposure, St. Elsewhere and I’ll Fly Away, have been awarded the WGA West‘s 2013 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television. The honor, the guild’s lifetime achievement award for outstanding television writing, will be bestowed February 17 during the WGA Awards‘ West Coast ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. “Writers Joshua Brand and John Falsey’s have left an indelible imprint on the television landscape, co-creating some of TV’s most enduring, memorable series that have both entertained and moved a generation of viewers”, said WGAW president Christopher Keyser. “Defined by an expert blend of sharp observation, dry wit, and honest emotion, their work is, like a singer with a five-octave range, breathtaking in its scope and its power. Together, Brand and Falsey have created an enviable legacy that both veteran and up-and-coming writers can aspire to match”. Read More »
The Simpsons creator will receive the WGA West Animation Writers Caucus’ annual Animation Writing Award at the group’s annual meeting tomorrow in Los Angeles. His Futurama co-developer David X. Cohen will present the award to Groening, with … Read More »