WGA Seeks Gains in Script Fees Amid Contract Negotiations – Variety

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Writers Guild of America leaders are in search of a 123 of enhancements in script charges for writers because the guild launches grasp contract negotiations with studios this week.

Representatives for the Alliance of Movement Image and Tv Producers and the WGA are going through a June 30 expiration of the present movie and TV contract. Talks are being carried out remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic after two begin dates have been vacated.

“Script price and wage minimal will increase have been a part of each WGA MBA in historical past,” the WGA’s negotiating committee stated in a message to members. “However now greater than ever, nothing may be taken without any consideration. Members want to know why these proposals are important. At a minimal.”

The WGA’s negotiating committee stated it is going to search limits on discounted charges, improve minimal characteristic charges, elevate minimums for groups and set charges for streaming companies.

“The MBA establishes minimums for writers’ preliminary compensation, as a way of sustaining our livelihoods and setting equitable requirements for our trade,” the message stated. “Though a few of us earn greater than the minimal, rising minimums impacts all writers. For instance, in tv, pension and well being fund contributions are normally paid as much as 2½ occasions the relevant minimal. If the minimums improve, so do the contributions paid into the funds. As such, elevating minimums is important, each to particular person writers and to the power of our pension plan and well being fund. Minimums are additionally the idea on which a lot of our residuals are calculated.”

“For these causes, we’re in search of across-the-board minimal will increase, together with weekly minimums for mini-rooms. We’re additionally addressing a lot of contract provisions that are old-fashioned and undercut minimal requirements. To that finish, we’re proposing:

LIMITING DISCOUNTS ON MINIMUMS: The MBA at present supplies reductions on minimums in a lot of areas that we predict are unwarranted. We wish to eradicate reductions for brand spanking new writers altogether and improve the variety of weeks of assured work earlier than studios can low cost minimums for comedy-123 writers. The MBA additionally permits our employers to pay a decreased TV weekly minimal in the event that they assure a sure variety of working weeks. But, as increasingly writers are being paid solely the minimal when working in so-called “mini-rooms,” we have to improve the variety of weeks that should be assured earlier than any low cost is allowed.

FAIR SCRIPT FEES FOR FEATURES: We should additionally considerably elevate minimal script charges for screenwriters and ensure that screenwriters working for streaming companies obtain the suitable minimal compensation. Netflix, Amazon, and Apple launched 50 characteristic movies final 12 months, and HBO Max not too long ago introduced that it’ll enter the characteristic movie market. We should ensure that writers working for these companies are paid theatrical minimums, whether or not or not their movies are launched in theaters.

RAISING MINIMUMS FOR TEAMS: Paying writing groups of two the identical minimal wage as a single author first appeared in the MBA at a time when a group might work sufficient to earn a snug dwelling. However the rising prevalence of quick order sequence has made working at minimal as a TV writing group financially unsustainable for a lot of. We have to shield each display and TV writers on groups by establishing the next group minimal. Two or three people, even when they’re a part of a group, contribute greater than a single author.

NEW STREAMING MINIMUMS: A few of us working for streaming companies don’t earn minimal in any respect. For lower-budget streaming comedies and dramas, weekly compensation and script charges are utterly negotiable, so we have to decrease the price range breaks to make sure non-negotiable minimums for writers. Comedy-123 exhibits on streaming companies – not like on tv – at present don’t have any minimums both. This, too, should change.

The AMPTP had no rapid remark.

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