Mythology

file7791271797864 (2)There’s a laudable initiative in Hollywood right now to crack down on late payments to writers

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/writers-guild-of-america-teams-with-agents-to-crack-down-on-late-payments-1201067466/

but one commentator says the real issue is free rewrites.  Contracts are still mostly according to one set of editorial notes and then a copyedit (for books) or two drafts and a polish (for scripts).  It’s never as simple as that.

It’s really tricky to balance the time a writer needs to spend on a project with what they actually get paid.  Sometimes, to be fair, a writer puts in loads of work because that’s the only way of getting that book or script written, and written well.  They know the money will never cover the amount of work, but they’re prepared to do it anyway.

Sometimes the writer’s put to extra work in a well-meaning way.  For instance, one of my scriptwriters has been doing an ‘unofficial draft’, which is vetted before it goes to the overall producer.  The process is streamlined this way, and my writer always gets praised for the quality of each draft.  He’s more likely to get more work this way; the producers have faith in him, and word gets round.

But sometimes it’s a kind of car accident.  Occasionally, when producer needs a quick rewrite from a writer and only has a small amount left in the budget, they think it’s a quick job and the money will cover it. Sometimes, though, it’s an enormous job to put the script right.

I love publishers and producers who know how much (or how little) they’re asking for, and find a fair fee for the writer.  But I think it’s time we woke up from the myth that any good script or book can be written in two drafts and a polish.

2 thoughts on “Mythology

  1. Yes: pay tailored to the work the author (or someone working on his behalf) puts into it
    If it’s a flag, I’ll wave it.

    Got work coming for you. Linn

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s