Los Angeles – The Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has unanimously voted to extend the contract of Executive Director David Young for an additional five years. Young has been in the position since 2006.
“David is a proven leader and an invaluable strategic thinker,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser. “He has helped guide us through challenging times of both technological change and economic turbulence in our industry. He has the full support of the Board of Directors and we feel very fortunate that he will lead us through the next two cycles of contract talks with the AMPTP.”
Los Angeles – Writers Guild and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Tony Kushner has been chosen to receive the WGAW’s 2013 Paul Selvin Award for his adapted screenplay for Lincoln. Named after the late Selvin, who served as counsel to the Guild, the award is given to the WGA member whose script best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties, which are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere. Kushner will be recognized, along with other honorees, at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday, February 17, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.
“Tony Kushner’s eloquent script for Lincoln reminds us that, though we like to think of ourselves as the land of the free, in practice, freedom and equality are never a given, and that they are won only through struggle, often by the narrowest of margins and the greatest of sacrifice. The Guild is honored to recognize it with this award,” said WGAW President Christopher Keyser.
Influential Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and frequent collaborators Shinobu Hashimoto, Ryûzô Kikushima, and Hideo Oguni co-wrote a number of the director’s classic films together, including Throne Of Blood (1957) and The Hidden Fortress (1958), while members of the quartet worked in various combinations, sometimes with additional writers, to pen Seven Samurai (1954), Yojimbo (1961), Sanjuro (1962), High And Low (1963), Red Beard (1965), and Ran (1985). The WGAW will honor the creative team’s legacy with the Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement, given “on an occasional basis to honor screenwriters working outside the U.S. and in other languages”, at Sunday’s ceremony in Los Angeles. Here’s the release:
Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has named a quartet of iconic Japanese filmmakers – Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Ryûzô Kikushima, and Hideo Oguni – as honorees of its 2013 Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement, given to an international writer(s) who has advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of screenwriter.
The four screenwriters, among other honorees, will be feted at the 2013 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Sunday, February 17, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.
The Writers Guild of America West and Comedy Central have reached an agreement two months after the Guild ordered members to stop working on the cable networks shows if there was no WGA contract in place. Members were informed via email …
UPDATE, 6:42 PM: Comedy Central has issued a response to the “stop working” email from the WGA sent out earlier today. “We’re continuing to move forward on our negotiations with the Writers Guild and are hopeful that we’ll come to an agreement soon,” they told Deadline.
PREVIOUSLY, 5:53 PM: The Writers Guild today sent out an email telling its members that they are not to work for “uncovered” Comedy Productions shows. The company is the production arm of Comedy Central. The WGA West says that the company is not a signatory to the Guild agreement despite the claim that Central Productions has been telling people it is. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report do have contracts with the WGA East and are not a part of this action. Deadline is told that only a handful of Comedy Central shows do not have full agreement with the WGA so any work stoppage would be limited. The WGA’s email today comes as the company and the Guild are in the middle of negotiations on a comprehensive contract. Read the WGA email below:
Dear Writers Guild Member,
We are writing to alert you that you must refrain from writing for Central Productions, the production arm of Comedy Central, without first contacting the WGAW contracts department (323-782-4501) to ensure that the writing is Guild-covered. If you are currently writing on a Central Productions project, please contact us immediately. Central Productions is not signatory to the MBA, and if there is no Guild contract in place specifically for the project you are working on, you are now required under Working Rule 8 to stop writing.
WGA Awards: ‘The Descendants’, Woody Allen, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Modern Family’, ‘Homeland’, ‘Colbert Report’, ‘Cinema Verite’, ‘Too Big To Fail’
BREAKING… Refresh for latest…
Los Angeles and New York – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) are announcing the winners for outstanding achievement in writing for the screen during 2011. Winners will be honored at the 2012 Writers Guild Awards tonight during simultaneous ceremonies at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City. Woody Allen won Original Screenplay for his Midnight In Paris. UPDATE: His sister and producer Letty Aronson accepted on his behalf at the WGAE event.
The Descendants won Adapted Screenplay for Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash. All three took the stage at the WGAW event. “I wrote some funny lines for the woman in the coma that Nat and Alexander didn’t like,” said Rash.
Faxon recognized The Groundlings improv theater for fostering his talent. Payne directed his acknowledgement to The Descendants author Kaui Hart Hemmings who was sitting in the audience: “Nice thing about doing adaptation is inhabiting a story that we never lived in. Thank you to the novelists for letting us in your life.”
Breaking Bad‘s Vince Gilligan accepted the television Drama Series honor saying, “We wouldn’t have a show without Bryan Cranston.”
The writers of Modern Family won for Comedy Series, and Steven Levitan exclaimed, “We are concerned that people are sick of us [winning]. Perhaps you can focus your backlash elsewhere. As such, we asked our writers to each say why they don”t feel like winners tonight.” At which point a number of Modern Family scribes described their deepest regrets:
“I worry about the future happiness of my children, particularly the fat one.”
“I write a show about relationships, half my money goes to my first wife, the other goes to the second.”
“I have 2 years left in this business, especially after they find out my real age.”
Levitan capped off, “I created the show Stacked and have to live with that.”
Actress and comedienne Rachel Dratch hosted the East Coast WGA show. At the start of the LA event, a who’s who of the film and TV industry arrived. ”Welcome to Nerd Prom,” host Zooey Deschanel greeted the guests. “Male writers, you are so hot with your minds and plaid shirts. Hit on me.” She closed the show by saying, “To all the writers who brought their parents, I hope this is enough to convince them you have real jobs.”
Soon after Deschanel closed the show by saying. “To all the writers who brought
their parents, I hope this is enough to convince them you have real jobs.”
Presenters included Tom Selleck, Lisa Kudrow, Mad Men creator Matt Weiner, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. In front seats are Luck creator David Milch, Oscar-nominated writer John Logan also up for a WGA nom for adapted screenplay of Hugo, Mission: Impossible 4 director Brad Bird, and Young Adult star Patton Oswalt fresh from his hosting duties last night at the ACE Eddie Awards. And Deadline Hollywood got a shout-out.
“Get ready for a bunch of F-bombs: it’s the Children’s Episodic Award” said Deschanel introducing the pair of presenters of the award, “Mad Men” Creator Matt Weiner and the show’s child star Kiernan Shipka. Shipka told Weiner that she wants to “sink her teeth into meatier roles,” and then killed the crowd with Faye Dunaway’s “No wire hangers EVER” monologue from Mommie Dearest. After she ended the speech to laughter and applause, Weiner remarked to her, ”Where were you when I was on Becker?”
Amy Poehler from Parks and Recreation and the show’s creator Michael Schur, presented comedy variety series. The two, who met on SNL, recalled their ‘woeful’ writing experiences there — how they spent hours doing Lorne Michaels imitations and crying how their parents never respected their life decesions.
The Honorary Service – Morgan Cox Award went to Patric M. Verrone. “I don’t need to tell you who he is,” said Michael Reiss of The Simpsons writing staff. “Pat is a 2-time WGA president. Thanks to him, he got me in the union, a health pension, and a copy of Written By which I read from the mailbox to the trash can. He is a gifted artist and goes to church every Sunday. Which is more than you creeps.” Best known as the leader during the WGA strike, Reiss noted how Verrone “looks like Hitler”. Verrone picked up on the joke during his acceptance speech. ”I want to thank the anonymous commentators on Deadline Hollywood who compared me to Hitler,” Verrone said. “To them I want to say – well, I don’t want to say.”
The Help screenwriter-director Tate Taylor accepted the Special Achievement - Paul Selvin Award and politely spoke out against those naysayers who criticized him and The Help book author Kathryn Stocket –
two white people — for writing a story about the African American experience of 1963. “It is a person’s right to tell a story,” said Taylor. “The Help was directed at those women in our lives. My desire to write The Help, came from my love of Carol Lee, the [African American] woman who helped raise me with my broke mother. I wrote The Help for them. When someone writes from love, truth, and honor, they have a right to tell a story. We lose if we give into society’s criticisms.”
Prior to Eric Roth receiving the Laurel Award For Screen, presented to him by Milch, a personal video clip from David Fincher played. ”I think it is important to keep Eric Roth focused on the conversation at hand. He’s a procrastinator like no other. Eric, if it is wrong for a man to love another man than I have nothing right to say to you in winning this award.” In accepting the award, Eric Roth recalled the last time he came to the Palladium: ”It was for a strike meeting. My car was stolen, and there was the screenplay that I had just written left in it… When the car was recovered, the cops said it was used in a bank robbery. All the stuff was stolen out of my car except for that screenplay. There was a note left onot from the robbers that said, ’Characters can be stronger’.”
Following a thirtysomething clip, Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick accepted the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award For Television and warmly recalled the joys of writing together, having first worked on the ABC show Family. Herskovitz reflected, ”When you are a 27, you can’t imagine a career. And at 57 you can’t remember it.” Zwick said, “There’s a lot to be said about writing with someone else. It has allowed us to do together what we are afraid to do alone.”
MOTION PICTURE WINNERS
Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen (Sony Pictures Classics)
The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings (Fox Searchlight)
Better This World, Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega (Loteria Films)
Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett (AMC)
Modern Family, Written by Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Carol Leifer, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Brad Walsh, Ilana Wernick, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker (ABC)
(TIE) “Box Cutter” (Breaking Bad), Written by Vince Gilligan (AMC)
(TIE) “The Good Soldier” (Homeland), Written by Henry Bromell (Showtime)
“Caught in the Act” (Modern Family), Written by Steven Levitan & Jeffrey Richman (ABC)
Homeland – Written by Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Gideon Raff, Meredith Stiehm (Showtime)
UPDATE: Today’s statement by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers:
“Ratification of the new agreement between the AMPTP and the Writers Guild of America is a significant achievement for both parties and an important milestone for the industry. Taking into account the agreement reached with the WGA, the industry has now successfully concluded an agreement with each of the major Guilds over the past six months. Taken together, these agreements will give the industry an opportunity for a sustained period of labor peace.”
To Our Fellow Members:
We are pleased to announce that our joint memberships have ratified our new contract with the AMPTP by an overwhelming majority. With a total of 1,952 valid ballots cast, 90.7 percent voted in favor of ratification. The term of the new deal is from May 2, 2011 through May 1, 2014. We move forward knowing that the significant gains we made in employer contributions to our pension plan better enable it to meet its obligations for the foreseeable future and that we’ve secured increases for reuse payments in Pay TV and increases in minimums.
TENTATIVE WGA-AMPTP CONTRACT: Writers Guild Negotiators Cave To Studios & Networks After Only 2 Weeks; Critics Say “They Accepted Producers’ First Draft”
Email and phone messages already are pouring in about what they’re criticizing as this disaster of a tentative agreement (see WGA West notice to members below). It was reached at 3:30 PM today by the Writers Guild of America negotiators with the Alliance of Motion Picture And Television Producers. It took little more than 2 weeks of bargaining – and no wonder. What a joke. And it comes at a time when nearly all writers are wringing their hands and hanging by their fingernails to maintain their livelihoods under the studio and network cutbacks.
WGA West President John Wells, who is first and foremost a TV producer and patsy for Warner Bros boss and anti-guild hardliner Barry Meyer, looked after his own interests first. He kept his Southland budget down at TNT while also getting a hefty 20% bump for his Shameless writers at Showtime. ”He took care of pay cable while allowing basic cable to make no gains, despite it being the most important area as far as growth. It’s like they accepted the producers first draft,” a source just told me.
Several veteran writers are calling this the worst deal they’ve ever been handed. Clearly, the Writers Guild leadership decided it had no leverage after the Actors and Directors Guilds threw them under the bus by accepting bad contracts and even the WGA membership gave them no hand by overwhelmingly (and understandably) opposing any mention of a strike. Nor did it help that the stock market has been tanking these past two weeks despite all the Big Media companies finding their financial footing again after the depths of the economic crisis.
Here’s more reaction: “Katherine Fugate is congratulating herself on Facebook and calling the committee heroes, but they’re zeroes.”
Also, screenwriters messaging me don’t expect the WGA to protect their interests now any more than the guild has before given the flimsy new meetings on such hated topics as sweepstakes pitching and one-step deals. And who in their right mind believes ”contract provisions [which] have been added that require each studio to send to its creative executives a bulletin stating clearly that spec writing is not to be condoned” can stop this institutionalized practice. It’s all such a WGA betrayal of screenwriters after the guild leadership went around to Hollywood agencies and pledged to work together to stop the studios’ blatant exploitation of movie scribes.
As for New Media increases, they’ve gone the way of the VCR and the DVD: what was negotiated first is what you’re stuck with now and seemingly forever if the AMPTP continues to have its way.
I had predicted Hollywood could most likely expect quick and easy negotiations. So let’s see… SAG/AFTRA spent just 6 weeks of jointly negotiating with the studios and networks on a new 3-year TV/Theatrical contract. The DGA took just three weeks and change. And the WGA could have bargained right up until its May 1st when its current contract ends. Well, why not speed talks along when your Hollywood Guilds are just rubber-stamping what crumbs the AMPTP are offering despite this rapidly improving economy. The DGA was first to make it plain early on that they weren’t going for big wages (just a 2% increase) or even a better New Media deal. Instead the DGA negotiators were focusing on increased Health Plan and Pension contributions. Same with SAG/AFTRA. Now the WGA focused on the pension plan. But all the writers I know in the guold who aren’t yet or once were big names are most concerned about losing their health insurance. There’s no mention of that today.
Hey, wait a minute: didn’t all three guilds promising that they’d do things different and join together and fight, fight, fight for substantially more this contract go-round and their rightful share of the money pie if only members elected more “moderate” leadership than the militants of yore?
Talk about empty promises.
The moguls behind the AMPTP always intended to negotiate with the writers last (even though their pact was expiring sooner) to ensure there would be the most Hollywood pressure (synonymous with antagonism) towards them if they negotiated too hard. Although SAG/AFTRA and the DGA traded information during their talks, they left the WGA out in the cold. True, no one wanted another strike. But was the only alternative for the WGA to wimp out like the other Guilds?
Here’s the WGA West email that went out:
Dear WGAW Member,
We are pleased to inform you that our negotiators have concluded a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Talks began on March 3 and ended today at 3:30 p.m. The three-year deal features significant gains in contributions to our pension fund, improves payments in Pay TV residuals, increases our minimums, and takes steps to address important workplace issues for screen and television writers. Your Negotiating Committee will meet tomorrow to officially vote on sending the tentative agreement to the WGAW Board of Directors and WGAE Council for approval prior to member ratification.
Highlights of the tentative agreement include:
WGAW Board Members Chip Johannessen and Patric Verrone have issued a strongly worded message of support the Comcast writers wanting WGA representation:
To Our Fellow Members,
Members of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East have given their overwhelming approval to the Pattern of Demands for the 2011 Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and major television networks.
A total of
The Writers Guild of America West and East have sent out a “Wish List” summation of their goals for the upcoming negotiations with the major studios. Here is the missive sent to membership:
To Our Fellow Members,
Approval of a Pattern of Demands is a constitutionally-required step as we prepare to
Not so fast! Shortly after the L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti announced that the writers on shows for the Comcast Entertainment Networks have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a WGA representation, Comcast struck back, dismissing the vote as a “non-binding poll” and asking again for a NLRB-sanctioned election, which is a lengthy procedure.
Yesterday the WGAW conducted a non-binding poll with some of our employees purporting that it was an “election,” and this morning L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti announced the results. We want to make it very clear to our employees, the press and the interested public that union elections are governed by federal law, and overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, the government agency officially charged with such oversight for the past 75 years. This was not an NLRB-sanctioned election and has no binding effect. This non-binding poll was in direct conflict with the NLRB-sanctioned process for union organizing which ensures that all eligible employees are permitted to vote on such an important matter as union representation.