Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Hollywood or Bust?

STATUS: Busy. On the phone all day. Almost literally.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by The Rolling Stones

Or Bust for sure right now. Can you say reruns? It’s not just your TV screens going dark. The current strike in Hollywood will be impacting the book industry. Right now, it’s not clear as to how much—yet.

Book-to-film options are still happening but there may be a slowdown. Too soon to tell. If an option has already been bought and the screenplay delivered, then that project is probably sitting pretty.

If the screenplay needs revisions, then the strike hurts because screenwriters are on strike. I just hope both sides go back to the negotiating table soon. Right now that’s not looking likely.


10 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    I can support the writer’s strike in theory. On the other hand, this is a good chance for those writers to stay home and write some decent programming for a change – with less gratuitous sexual innuendo, fewer bratty, smart-mouthed kids, fewer dopey husbands, fewer wisecracking wives, and less predictable stories lines. I mean really! The only shows I watched this summer were Rescue Me, Damages, and Burn Notice.

  2. Anonymous said:

    I would like to point out to anonymous that the writers aren’t responsible for the quality of the content. It’s the 50 people who work at the studio whose sole job is justifying their employment. Imagine what would happen if 50 people read every draft of your manuscript and then gave you “notes.” Many of those notes are given just so the commenters say something, but nevertheless, the writer is forced to reduce the quality in order to make everyone happy (except the viewers.)

  3. Anonymous said:

    Take a gander at Tess Gerritsen’s blog for her experience working with Hollywood a while back. Sounds like there are many people trying to get writing credits out there who will change a script just so they get a piece of the pie as a ‘writer.’

    Ms. Gerritsen was so turned off by the experience, she never wanted to write a script again.

  4. Anonymous said:

    So let’s say a novelist’s agent negotiates one of those book-to-film deals and the novelist manages to convince everyone that he or she should write the script. Does that novelist have to join the WGA because he/she is now a screenwriter?

  5. Anonymous said:

    Writers of all kinds should be supporting the screenwriters. Having worked with Hollywood for a while, I’m a little too familiar with that system. The caterer, the truck drivers, and the guy who handles the dogs all get credit on a film, as you can see if you sit through them. There are often MANY writers on a film project — often including the person who dreamed up the idea and characters in the first place, as well as writers brought in to tweak characters or beef up dialogue or add humor — who don’t get credit at all. The strike is not over this particular issue, but the treatment of writers by Hollywood is generally abusive.

    And anon 8:16 — most novelists run like the wind. If you don’t have screenwriting experience, you’re VERY unlikely to get that role on the film — and most of us who have been there don’t want it. The development (read: story corruption) process is too painful. Take the money and run.

  6. Anonymous said:

    Anon 10:15 — Thanks. Even if the opportunity were offered to me (not holding my breath), I would have no interest in adapting my work for the screen. I have a passing acquaintance with a screenwriter, and I’ve heard enough to know better.

    But let’s say I was stupid — would I have to join the union?

    Also, I agree completely about supporting the screenwriters. If the studios etc. are making money posting shows on the Internet, the writers should get their fair share.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Anon 8:16 — if I remember correctly (and hopefully someone will correct me if this is wrong or outdated), membership is never required — although a director in the DGA might be reluctant to hire a non-union writer for cross-union-support reasons. (But not likely).

    But you have to have earned a certain number of credits (depending on the type of writing & $$ earned) to even be able to join. So new writers are never members, whether they like it or not, until after they’ve done a certain amount of work in the biz. It used to be like outright sale of a film script of at least six figures, or multiple options, or so many 1/2 hour TV scripts, etc.

    The reason people do join, other than strike-related negotiating power, is for health care and other sorts of bennies like that.

    Anon 10:15 (I can’t get my sign-in to work. Must have my username wrong or something)

  8. wordsmith said:

    If you write for a struck company during a strike, you’re a scab.

    If you scab, you will be denied WGA membership for life and every writer you come across will treat you with contempt. Because you’re a scab.

    If you’re in the WGA and you want to scab, you can go fi-core. And as you scab, you can gain the contempt of your fellow WGAers who are putting everything on the line to keep writers – current and future – from being screwed over by the AMPTP.

    If you’re in the WGA and you scab, you will most likely be turned in (by people you least expect) and face disciplinary actions.

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