There were far more important things than trophies to be concerned about last night at the WGA Awards as scribes on both coasts were consumed with the guild’s upcoming talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and of course, the possibility of a strike.
In speaking with a number of writers at both the Beverly Hills and NYC ceremony last night, Deadline heard the same demand from scribes: Give us our cut of streaming profits.
“The last big negotiation [in 2007] was just as streaming was on the table,” Jojo Rabbit filmmaker and WGA adapted screenplay winner Taika Waititi told Deadline last night in New York, “It is the platform and it’s where we all make our bread and butter now. So we have to re-negotiate.”
Says Randolph about going into talks sans agents, “I do think it’s going to be hard. That’s their expertise and we’ve benefited from it in the past, partly it’s just getting a third party perspective on where the best deal available to you is. It’s just a little bit harder when all those negotiation partners are on your team. And always has been.”
“They’re rarely involved with our contract,” commented Unbelievable co-creator Susannah Grant who was up for a Long Form Adapted WGA Award nomination, “I don’t think they have anything to do with our contract negotiations. The guild is pretty self contained in that.”
For Watchmen actor and Leaves of Grass filmmaker Tim Blake Nelson at the WGAE awards ceremony, the current situation that the WGA is mired in is just one big mess.
“You have the agencies learning how to produce and package, and you have the writers struggling against that, and you have the writers wanting new contracts that reflects the new ways that stuff is being monetized on new platforms. It’s like anything, a negotiation back and forth. I feel like the writers have good points, the producers have good points, the agents have good points. And also everybody is acting kind of horribly.” said Nelson.
Michael Clayton filmmaker and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story scribe Tony Gilroy couldn’t agree more about the swampy situation that the guild is in prior to talks.
“The most terrifying and maybe even hopeful part of it is that everybody is doing everything now for the first time. I’m really hopeful — I am hopeful — that we can sort of stumble together into the unknown, as opposed to descending into chaos, at each other’s throats. The old ways were, it was easy to know what side you were on, what you wanted to battle for. I don’t think anyone knows what they’re doing right now, on either side,” said the filmmaker.