While the Writers Guild have specified several needs for their upcoming March 13 contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, Manchester by the Sea original screenplay Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan mentioned that “creative control” is one point that should not be overlooked in contract negotiations.
We asked Lonergan in the winners’ press room about his thoughts regarding the upcoming WGA talks.
“We want to get as much as we can for ourselves without screwing anybody else,” he said backstage at the Dolby Theatre. “I would like to see someday in these negotiations for more creative control for screenwriters working in the studio system. I know there’s a lot of complicated ancillary rights issues, especially nowadays, but the creative control issue is still pretty much the bottom rung it could be for a working screenwriter in the studio system, and it would be nice if someday that was able to change,” said Lonergan. Creative control for writers in contracts have been a matter that’s meant a great deal to Lonergan for sometime.
Last week when Deadline was at the WGA Awards West at the Beverly Hilton, some members echoed the guild’s wants in the upcoming round of talks. However, there were still a number of prolific screenwriters and filmmakers — including some Oscar nominees — who confessed to being out of the loop and not in the know of what was at stake in the next TV/film negotiation.
While the WGA has stated that it will strike if necessary, a notable filmmaker/screenwriter we spoke with last week warned, “Don’t strike if we’re not going to go the whole way. I believe that the major corporations in the long run can afford to shut down the business, rather then shell out true residuals. They can outlast us. Personally, I can afford to go on strike for a year, but how many writers in our guild can? They have mortgages. Does the guild even have a war chest?”