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WGA Strike: Advice

I’ve had several emails from Bang2writers and blog readers in the past couple of days, worried that the impending strike by the WGA might mean they have to “shut up shop” for the time being and not show their work around. Even though the strike is affecting America and seemingly not the UK, Brit writers I’ve been talking to have been wondering what the WGGB’s “official” stance is… A quick look on their website and blog this morning did not provide any specifics as far as I could see (though I left a comment on the blog, hopefully someone will get back to us). UPDATE #1: There has been a response and an official statement will be coming soon, though the WGGB will be supporting the WGA. Check out the blog and comments section under their article on the strike for more details.

However, Inktip offers the following advice in their weekly newsletter that popped into my inbox this morning:

Many of you are concerned about the pending WGA strike and what to do with your scripts during this time. Our suggestion: never stop marketing your work or yourself, ever. Remember, the writers who get hired and the scripts that get sold AFTER the strike are going to be the writers who were discovered and the scripts that were read DURING the strike.

So don’t stop promoting yourself during the strike, because there are going to be a lot of Development Execs in Hollywood who’ll have nothing to do with their time but read potential material. And let’s not forget about all the independent, non-signatory producers and production companies who will not be affected by the strike.

So, keep marketing your screenplays, not only via InkTip, but through other resources as well. You can read more about getting exposure here.

*Seems* sound advice… Presumably as long as you don’t actually sign anything/sell/option your screenplay or are actually commissioned & paid to write during the strike period in the US, you should still be okay to show your work to people over there.

But anyway: here’s an interesting list of movies that are being put through the Hollywood machine right now in the hope they’ll be all written and ready to shoot during the strike period so prodcos are not left twiddling their thumbs. Some introguing names attached to some projects and companies, see how many you recognise.

UPDATE #2: If you have been struggling with what’s going on and don’t want to rely on Wikipedia to find out what a “residual” is, Piers has this fabulous article about what the strike is all about and what it means for us Brits.

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12 thoughts on “WGA Strike: Advice”

  1. Drew Barrymore’s directing a film? Now I’m scared.

    Big up to the WGA as far as I’m concerned. Writers get paid crap money and get no respect. Now we can put the squeeze on them. (I say “we” but really I’m an accountant and have only written a couple of scripts and only shown them to you Lucy, but it’s my attempt at solidarity, hope you like it).

  2. That’s a long ol’ list of films. And at least one of them (I suspect many) had been stuck in development hell for years. Are we going to get a ‘silly seasion’ of movies whilst the strike’s on?

  3. I would imagine a good chunk of them will run into further development hell Oli – the more you want to do something, the more likely it is to break down. Movie logic after all: a vampire, werewolf, murderer etc is trying to kill you? THEN YOUR CAR WON’T START OF COURSE! ; )

  4. Now, here’s something intriguing about that list of films being hurried into production. Several of those named directors are writer-directors (and some are inveterate tinkerers): Hirschbiegel, Neil Jordan, Spike Lee, Herzog, the Coen Brothers, Oliver Stone, Aronofsky, David O. Russell, etc. Are they ‘only’ allowed to direct what’s on the page during the strike? What will they do if they decide that there’s a better way of doing a scene because it’s not working?

    This may seem like a frivolous issue but it does touch on questions of the integrity or impulse of the artist against the political realities of their situation.

    Just a thought.

  5. Presumably if it’s already sold then it’s outside the remit of the strike Jon – I would have thought “strike breaking” counted more as actual selling rather than writing (else it could all get a little out of hand) but an interesting point.

  6. Thinking about it, a page 1 rewrite is probably going too far for me. When does revision become actual writing, which in turn goes against the strike if it’s already sold before the strike begins? Actors and directors might change lines here and there, does that make them honorary writers and thus potential scabs too? Mind boggles. Where does the line get drawn here?

  7. It’s that old issue of demarcation that used to get Unionists all riled up. So much easier to work out when a picket-line actually constitutes a line blocking an entrance!

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