Thursday, February 27, 2014

Craft Meeting #2 - Writers

TAG Vice-President Jack Thomas shared this report about the Writers Craft Meeting held in the evening of the 25th:

The Writers Craft meeting was an interesting cross section of newer and more experienced writers.

These are some of the highlights of the discussion:

I was surprised how much talk there was about benefits. The more experienced writers were in favor of trying to find a way to cross apply hours with the WGA and/or self pay for pension and health on non- union jobs and the younger writers were wondering why it took so long for the union to find out about their hiring (and get their benefits.)

There seemed to be a general consensus that rates were too low and should be brought in line with what WGA writers receive, including the receipt of script fees along with weekly pay. There were also suggestions that we need to set minimums for bibles, treatments and other development materials.

People also seemed to agree that we needed to force timely payment of fees, especially to freelancers by establishing some sort of penalty system.

There was also a suggestion that board artists who work from outlines and write their own dialogue should be compensated at a higher rate. And the need for a rate for web content under four minutes was also identified. Also, the need for a specific “Story Editor” rate was disccussed

There was discussion of whether we should have a rule against accepting non-union work. No consensus was reached but it did seem that the majority abhorred the idea of split productions – productions that are part union and non-union.

Finally, there was a significant discussion of whether the union should become a national to better protect members outside LA County. Again this was not everything we discussed. If you have any questions or other topics you want to discuss feel free to email me at

Find a summary of all other craft meetings here.

Jack Thomas
Vice President


hoopcooper said...

Hey! This all sounds great. And thanks for putting this on. I really wanted to come, but family obligations made it impossible. It's good to see how exhaustively covered our concerns were. I don't know how one would reconcile the pension issues between the WGAw and 839, but I think all writers wish there was a way. It's good to hear your talking about Story Editor fees and minimums.

I might also suggest something that approaches arbitration, if such a thing doesn't already exist. Just a way, within our own union, to figure out how much work a writer has or hasn't done on a project. And the same thing should apply to board artists who are writing dialog.

On foreign productions I often find myself hired to story edit...only to discover that the real expectation is that I'll write new scripts in English after writers in the country of origin have finished a first draft in their own language. We don't have anything close to that abusive here (at least in my experience), but let's all work together to find ways to compensate writers for their contribution to Bibles and Pilots...and do the same for the artists who are increasingly expected to supply the writing that we are no longer paid to do!

I always thought it was kind of lousy to call something a "board show" doesn't mean there's no script. It just means that the board artist is going to have to write it....along with drawing the board. Doesn't seem fair to him or her.

thanks for opening up the discussion...lets see where it goes from here!

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