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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Discussion of...     General Chat  ›  WGA Industry Strike Moderators: bert
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  Author    WGA Industry Strike  (currently 10553 views)
Takeshi
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 3:48pm Report to Moderator
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Great post, Tierney.

But don't some writers sell feature length scripts for a small fortune?
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Shelton
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 4:33pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Takeshi
Great post, Tierney.

But don't some writers sell feature length scripts for a small fortune?


I was reading somewhere a few days ago, maybe John August's blog, where the upper echelon of writers only makes up about 15% of the WGA.


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"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper." - Steve Martin

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Tierney
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 4:37pm Report to Moderator
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You're right, Chris, in that there are huge sales for screenplays in Hollywood but thereís also this weird inflated idea of what a screenplay is worth because the big sales are the only ones that make the news.  My guess is that there are only about ten writers working today who get paid more than $750,000 for a feature.  Ten writers with the best managers and agents and lawyers in the world hustling for the seven or so big sales that happen a year.

The one thatís being referenced a lot these days is the Paul Haggisí Bond script at $4,000,000.  I donít know the particulars of that deal but a lot of that $$$ has to be a future earning points deal and not a flat out buy.  

The accounting is crazy and you only ever see a fraction of what youíre promised in features.  Four years ago a friend sold an action script to Sony for $620,000 and at the end of it saw $34,000 out of the agreement.  And heís repped by CAA.
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tomson
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 5:39pm Report to Moderator
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I've also heard that Hollywood accountants have an amazing way of playing with the numbers so that most movies look on paper like they lost money. Therefore, writers seldom seldom see any "points" from promised profits either.
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alffy
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 6:00pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Tierney


The accounting is crazy and you only ever see a fraction of what youíre promised in features.  Four years ago a friend sold an action script to Sony for $620,000 and at the end of it saw $34,000 out of the agreement.  And heís repped by CAA.


Jesus, how pissed off would you be!  I haven't ventured into this discussion as I'm on the other side of the pond and...well no excuses really but thats truely shocking.  Writers rights on my banner!


Check out my scripts...if you want to, no pressure.

You can find my scripts here
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tweak
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 6:25pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Tierney
You're right, Chris, in that there are huge sales for screenplays in Hollywood but thereís also this weird inflated idea of what a screenplay is worth because the big sales are the only ones that make the news.  My guess is that there are only about ten writers working today who get paid more than $750,000 for a feature.  Ten writers with the best managers and agents and lawyers in the world hustling for the seven or so big sales that happen a year.

The one thatís being referenced a lot these days is the Paul Haggisí Bond script at $4,000,000.  I donít know the particulars of that deal but a lot of that $$$ has to be a future earning points deal and not a flat out buy.  

The accounting is crazy and you only ever see a fraction of what youíre promised in features.  Four years ago a friend sold an action script to Sony for $620,000 and at the end of it saw $34,000 out of the agreement.  And heís repped by CAA.


I believe this can happen a lot.  Folks are provided with movies as investments to offset their gains.  Movies are expected to lose cash, so they provide great tax shelters.

If someone is offering up points, I'd assume those points would not materialize into cash, so points should not make or break a negotiation.  Isn't James Cameron having this problem with Titanic?  And he can afford lawyers to fight for him.

I remember hearing an interview on VH-1, where one band had hired lawyers to watch their initially hired lawyers.

tweak
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dogglebe
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 7:14pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from tomson
I've also heard that Hollywood accountants have an amazing way of playing with the numbers so that most movies look on paper like they lost money. Therefore, writers seldom seldom see any "points" from promised profits either.


There's a difference between gross points and net points.  I forgot which is what but one of them is referred to as 'monkey points' because you're as stupid as a monkey to accept them.


Phil

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Kamran Nikhad
Posted: November 10th, 2007, 8:05pm Report to Moderator
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They showed us your first video in FTV60C.  Honestly, now that I see this, I think this strike is a good idea for screenwriters.  It's not that big a raise, and it really can help support screenwriters who need the money.  On a side note, The Directors Guild and Actors Union's contracts end by I think January of 2008, so IF producers do not comply by the end of December, is there a chance Actors and Directors could go on strike as well?


Nolan The Security Guard - Short/Comedy 1st Draft, 12 pages.pdf
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Elmer
Posted: November 11th, 2007, 1:41am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Kamran Nikhad
They showed us your first video in FTV60C.  Honestly, now that I see this, I think this strike is a good idea for screenwriters.  It's not that big a raise, and it really can help support screenwriters who need the money.  On a side note, The Directors Guild and Actors Union's contracts end by I think January of 2008, so IF producers do not comply by the end of December, is there a chance Actors and Directors could go on strike as well?


There's a great chance the the DGA and the SAG will go on strike. Studios are expecting. Kind of embarrassing.

-Chris


"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -Thomas Mann

http://www.wordswithlandon.com
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Seth
Posted: November 11th, 2007, 3:24am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Soap Hands


While you may be right I would hope that the level of discourse here might be above calling people who disagree with us stupid.


The boards would, without question, be better off if I kept my opinions to myself. That said, I'll not comment on union workers who would have absolutely nothing in terms of benefits or wages if they didn't, every twenty years or so, strike.

Seth

PS ... Do you think my B/f is cute?


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Diplopia

And Sweetie XD



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Kamran Nikhad
Posted: November 11th, 2007, 12:01pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Elmer


There's a great chance the the DGA and the SAG will go on strike. Studios are expecting. Kind of embarrassing.

-Chris


The only people this is embarrassing for are the producers.  It shouldn't be for all of us because essentially, this strike will benefit us in the long run.


Nolan The Security Guard - Short/Comedy 1st Draft, 12 pages.pdf
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dogglebe
Posted: November 11th, 2007, 12:31pm Report to Moderator
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Now would be a good time to buy stock in Blockbuster.



Phil
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Soap Hands
Posted: November 11th, 2007, 1:05pm Report to Moderator
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Hey,


Quoted from Seth


The boards would, without question, be better off if I kept my opinions to myself. That said, I'll not comment on union workers who would have absolutely nothing in terms of benefits or wages if they didn't, every twenty years or so, strike.

Seth

PS ... Do you think my B/f is cute?


Stop being stupid. Your opinions greatly contribute to the boards here.   That said, I think they would contribute even more if they were a tad less ad hominem.

I'd also like to add that, (and I'm sure everybody can agree on this) I hope we can get to a point where union workers don't feel that they have to strike every 20 years or so.

sheepwalker

PS

I'm glad you asked. I think he's gorgeous!


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Seth
Posted: November 12th, 2007, 3:11am Report to Moderator
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Sheepwalker,

You're absolutely correct. I just have a habit, from time to time, of allowing my frustration to show.

Seth


Scripts

Stranger Than Yesterday
Diplopia

And Sweetie XD


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anigbrowl
Posted: November 15th, 2007, 7:33pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Tierney
As a WGA member living in Los Angeles here is a summary of life:
The poverty line is $25,000
[...]
The speculation around town is that the media companies want to systematically  squeeze out all the unions and to make all internet production non-union (like reality tv) so we can go back to the glory days of Hollywood -- of people working 20 hour days without overtime or health insurance.  


That's about it...I work in both hollywood and the Bay Area and at the low end of the scale you barely make enough to keep yourself alive, never mind feed a family. A lot of people who work on straight to video stuff (to try and get that career foot in the door) only make a couple thousand per project.

And reality is that even with a good script what sells is the film is a famous actor, an increibly pretty girl, or some easy-to-market premise that can be simply represented on the front of the DVD box or a poster. So anything with a budget under a million is the filmic equivalent of junk food when it comes to revenue potential, unless you get famous later.
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