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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

 

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The Status on the Writers Guild.

The great writer/director/bon vivant wit Hal Kanter died on Sunday at the ripe old age of 92. And it got me to remembering, and I decided to share the thoughts with you.

Many of you will recognize the name of the creator of Julia, many Bob Hope films, and as a writer of so many Academy Award telecasts.

I have personal memories, though, and thought I'd expound on a few. In particular when I was on the Writers Guild of America West Board of Directors with Hal for two years in the early 90s, and he sat next to me for one of those years. He often pinch hit for me when I wanted a point made and I was on the minority side, as I knew Hal had more gravitas. So, I would whisper something in his ear and he then made the suggestion to the Board as a whole.

Also, when I was lobbying to get Myrna Loy and Deborah Kerr Oscars, Hal gave me a heads up, because he was a member of the Academy Board of Governors. After Sophia Loren was announced the year we were trying so hard to get it for Myrna (who'd never even been nominated, whereas Sophia was much younger and had won an Oscar forTwo Women), I called Hal and told him I had a splitting headache about the news. He said "I'm going to tell you something," and I thought he was going to say something like, "Well, it's not your business." Instead, he reminded me that we had been sitting next to one another at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium regarding a Writers Guild proposal to extend our contract without traditional negotiations. Very controversial.

Turns out that was the night the Governors were deciding the Special Oscar. I said, "But you must have heard something about what went on. Did they even discuss Myrna?" Then he said in a hushed voice (even though it was on the phone), "Yes, but you can't tell anyone." I said I wouldn't, and he said, "She's going to get one, too."

It seems that someone on the Governors (we think it was Alan Bergman, the composer) said "What have we done?" and they reconvened the vote, and after discussion decided to award two Special Oscars that night. Myrna, 85 and quite ill, wasn't able to come, so they did a live feed from her apartment in NYC. But it was great that they'd finally honored this great star, who, in her day, was arguably bigger than Sophia Loren ever was.

Regarding Deborah Kerr, I campaigned for her the next year, but they gave it to an Indian director, which Hal told me about in advance. Then the next year it was given to Federico Fellini.

During all this I was introduced to Roddy McDowall, who had previously written me a lovely letter in support of my Myrna Loy campaign and had written a great one to the Academy. He was amazed that they gave it to her, though, as it had been so long since she was a star. Anyway, writer Larry Gelbart introduced us and I told him about my campaign for Deborah Kerr. However, he was pushing for his friend Vincent Price (Good luck on that one, I thought to myself). Every so often I would run into Roddy and remind him about our dual campaigns, and the next year I saw him and said the same thing. He looked at me a bit odd, and then later that night I saw on the news that Vincent Price had died. Obviously Roddy knew.

Which brings me back to Hal Kanter. I went off on a South American trip in January 1994, and when I got back I read in the LA Times that Deborah Kerr would be getting an Oscar. I immediately called Hal, and he said, "I knew you were going to call! And you can thank Roddy McDowall." Roddy had since become an Academy Governor as well, and I'm sure that, having given up on honoring Vincent Price and with my repeated chatting about it (not to mention the oodles of letters I had caused to be mailed to the Governors from the likes of Robert Anderson and Elia Kazan (Tea and Sympathy), director Jack Clayton (The Innocents), director Delbert Mann (Separate Tables) and director Fred Zinnemann (From Here to Eternity and The Sundowners), just to name a few, that Roddy made the pitch. There was no one else nominated and Deborah, at 72, made it out on stage to the longest standing ovation of the night and finally got her Oscar, after SIX nominations without the prize (a record actually, as she has the most nominations for Best Actress, never having won).

Anyway, some memories of me and Hal Kanter. He was sharp as a tack until the end.

Writers Guild @ III Festival Internacional de Cine de Cali 2011 @ FIX University



Hal Kanter, a Creator of ‘Julia’ Series on TV, Dies at 92

Hal Kanter, an Emmy-winning comedy writer, director and producer known for creating “Julia,” the first television series to center on the life of a black professional woman, died on Sunday in Encino, Calif. He was 92.

His death was announced by the Writers Guild of America, West.

Mr. Kanter was for decades part of a team of writers behind the annual Academy Awards telecast, contributing material for hosts who included Johnny Carson, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. He shared two Emmy Awards, in 1991 and 1992, for his work on those shows.

For the movies, he was a co-author of the screenplays for “Road to Bali” (1952), starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby; “Artists and Models” (1955), starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis; and “Blue Hawaii” (1961), starring Elvis Presley.

Mr. Kanter directed Presley in “Loving You” (1957), for which he also shared screenplay credit. His other directing credits include the film “I Married a Woman” (1958), starring George Gobel, and, for television, “The Jimmy Stewart Show,” broadcast in 1971 and 1972.

“Julia,” on which Mr. Kanter was the executive producer, principal writer and a director, was broadcast on NBC from 1968 to 1971. It starred Diahann Carroll as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse with a young son.

The series drew wide attention for being the first to star a black woman as something other than a domestic. (“Beulah,” a situation comedy broadcast in the early 1950s, variously starred Ethel Waters, Louise Beavers and Hattie McDaniel as the pragmatic, down-to-earth maid of a white family.)

Gentle, sentimental and unconfrontational “Julia” was sometimes criticized for not addressing race head-on. But that, Mr. Kanter often said, was exactly the point.

“The racial aspect of ‘Julia’ is only incidental,” he told Time magazine in December 1968. “To me, the news is that a Negro family is featured, and they’re not choppin’ cotton and they’re not on relief, but they’re part of what some people consider the mainstream of American life.”

Mr. Kanter was born on Dec. 18, 1918, in Savannah, Ga., and moved with his family to Long Island as a youth. His father, Albert, conceived and published what became Classics Illustrated, the long-running series of literary adaptations in comic-book form.

As a teenager, Hal contributed gags to magazines and comic strips; by the late 1930s the work had taken him to Los Angeles.

One day, he stood in a Hollywood receiving line to meet Eddie Cantor for the express purpose of telling him his radio show could use snappier writing. While waiting, Mr. Kanter divulged his mission to the man standing beside him.

Unhappily, the man was Mr. Cantor’s head writer. Happily, he was a gentleman and secured his young challenger a job writing for Jack Oakie’s radio show.

Mr. Kanter began his television career in 1949 as a writer for “The Ed Wynn Show.” Other early TV-writing credits include “The George Gobel Show,” for which he won the first of his three Emmys, in 1955; and “The Amos ’n’ Andy Show,” which was canceled in 1953 amid protests that it trafficked in minstrel-show stereotypes, and to which “Julia” would one day prove a partial counterweight. In the 1970s, he served briefly as an executive producer of “All in the Family.”

Mr. Kanter, who lived in Los Angeles, is survived by his wife of 70 years, Doris; three daughters, Donna Kanter, Lisa Kanter Shafer and Abigail Kanter Jaye; a sister, Saralea Emerson; and a granddaughter.

Of all the Oscar lines in which Mr. Kanter had a hand over the years, one tickled him in particular. It came just after the host, Walter Matthau, announced that the show was being simulcast in scores of countries worldwide.

As Mr. Kanter told The Associated Press in 2001, “I had him say, ‘If my tailor in Hong Kong is watching — it still doesn’t fit.’ ”



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Hollywood comedy writer Hal Kanter dies at 92

Hal Kanter, an Emmy-winning comedy master who wrote for Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, directed Elvis Presley in "Loving You" and created Diahann Carroll's ground-breaking TV sitcom, has died. He was 92.

Kanter died Sunday, according to the Writers Guild of America, where he had been a member since 1950 and served on the union's board of directors. Daughter Donna Kanter told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/vXH8Ck) he died from pneumonia complications at Encino Hospital.

His three Emmys included back-to-back wins for 1991-92 as a writer for the Academy Awards, a ceremony on which he contributed material on 32 separate shows over the decades.

Kanter also won an Emmy in 1955 for "The George Gobel Show," and he received four other nominations, including one as executive producer of "All in the Family" in 1976 and another for outstanding comedy series for Carroll's "Julia" in 1969.

"If there was a funnier writer than Hal I never knew him," said "All in the Family" creator Norman Lear. "The irony is laughing at him added time to my life."

"Julia" was a television landmark, depicting a black professional woman as a series lead in an era that generally cast black actors as domestic help.

"If I could do a television show that depicted blacks as people and not as black people, it might do some good," Kanter recalled in a 2002 interview.

Kanter also wrote the 1952 Hope and Crosby adventure "Road to Bali," and his 1950s big-screen work also included Hope's comedies "My Favorite Spy" and "Casanova's Big Night." In 1976, Hope hired Kanter as his head writer.

Born Dec. 18, 1918, in Savannah, Ga., Kanter broke into show business as a gag writer, contributing material to Crosby's radio show, "The Danny Kaye Show" and other radio programs before moving into television as a writer on "The Ed Wynn Show" in 1949.

Kanter wrote for another big-screen comedy team, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, on 1953's "Money from Home" and 1955's "Artists and Models." He ventured into drama with the 1954 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo."

As he moved into directing in the late 1950s, Kanter initially was reluctant to take on one of the era's biggest stars.

"Somebody had asked me if I wanted to do a picture with Elvis Presley. I said, 'Oh God, no. Why?'" Kanter recalled in 2002. "And my three daughters said, 'Daddy, Elvis Presley!' And I realized I was in big trouble if I didn't do that picture."

Kanter wound up directing and co-writing 1957's "Loving You," which featured the title track and Presley's hit "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear." He later wrote another Presley musical romance, 1961's "Blue Hawaii."

Among Kanter's other credits were Marilyn Monroe's "Let's Make Love" (1960), Bette Davis' "Pocketful of Miracles" (1961) and Doris Day and James Garner's "Move Over, Darling" (1963).

In 1999, Kanter published an autobiography, "So Far, So Funny: My Life in Show Business."

Kanter is survived by his wife of 70 years, writer Doris Kanter; his daughters Donna Kanter, Lisa Kanter Shafer, and Abigail Kanter Jaye; his sister, Saralea Emerson; and a granddaughter.


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October spec script sales highest in five years

After three years of reboots, sequels and prequels, the market for original scripts is finally sizzling again in Hollywood.

No fewer than 18 spec scripts -- screenplays written without a contract -- were sold in October. That's the highest monthly tally since before the Writers Guild strike in 2007-2008.

The projects range from a biopic about code-cracking mathematician Alan Turing to a "found footage" thriller centering on killer hurricanes to a relationship counselor comedy that will likely star Ken Jeong of "The Hangover."

"We already knew that 2011 was going to be the hottest spec market in five years, but October's numbers are beyond all expectations," said Jason Scoggins, author of the Scoggins Report and founder of ItsontheGrid.com, a division of TheWrap. "And when you add in pitch sales, buyers' appetites have never been stronger."

In a robust sign of health for long-neglected screenwriters, studios are competing to bid for the hottest scripts and pitches.

In total, 86 spec scripts have been snatched up through October -- more than the number that sold in all of 2009 or 2010.

"A lot of the safe bets in terms of branded, the Harry Potters or the Hasbro products, have had their run, or have not worked out," Brooklyn Weaver, owner of the literary management company Energy Entertainment, told TheWrap. "When you look at things such as 'Inception,' what's working is the original ideas from original voices."

Of the 302 spec scripts that hit the market this year, 28 percent have sold, up from 17.2 percent in 2010 and 16.7 percent in 2009, according to The Scoggins Report.

Just last week, buyers scooped up seven scripts.

All of the major studios have purchased multiple specs over the past 10 months after spending much of the previous year sitting out the market entirely. Among the big buyers are Warner Bros. and Sony, which have snapped up 14 and seven specs respectively over the past year. Fox, Paramount and Universal have each purchased five scripts.

"Buyers have been so cold for so long, but if you look at 2012 or 2013, there is not a lot of product out there for studios," Mike Goldberg, a literary manager with New Wave Entertainment, told TheWrap.

In some cases, the studios are also looking at much improved balance sheets, having weathered the worst of the downturn, a period that also saw a dramatic reduction in the number of major theatrical releases.

"As the recession tapers off, are feeling a lot more free with their money," Goldberg said. "They're back in the development game, but they're doing it smartly so there's not excessive waste."

Gone are the seven figure sums routinely commanded by writers such as Shane Black or Joe Eszterhas in the mid-nineties. Instead, agents and managers tell TheWrap that screenwriters are typically settling for sales prices in the low to mid-six figures, sometimes with a significant bonus coming after a film goes into production.

Moreover, concept alone is not always enough to inspire a bidding war. Getting a prominent producer, director or star attached to a script has become de rigueur to attract studio interest.

One rare exception to the rule, the thriller "Grim Night," netted relative newcomers Brandon Bestenheider & Allen Bey a high six figure deal after the two writers submitted a teaser trailer along with their script.

In some cases, successful screenwriters have kept in touch with studios even after they pass on a pitch or initial draft, revising their projects to reflect their input before ultimately inking a deal.

Some industry observers also suspect that, after sitting out the lean years, screenwriters are putting their best scripts out in the market, creating a snowball effect.

"Fall spec season seems like it used to be," Aaron Kaplan, a literary manager at Kaplan/Perrone, told TheWrap. "It feels like 1997 again. The studios seem to be biting."

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Can the Simple Act of Storytelling Help Them Heal?

When you have suffered a major setback, experienced betrayal or loss, what have you found brought you some relief? Did the ear of a friend help? Someone listening, not trying to solve your problem, but showing in their eyes that they care. They hear, and they care.

Telling our stories helps us heal. It releases some of the energy the experience created and begins to externalize the experience. In telling it, in giving the story to another, it is not ours alone. Someone is sharing it with us. In enabling another to understand and have empathy, we move out of the sense of isolation the experience fostered into community, a requirement for healing.

In the last 20 years, medical practice has increasingly recognized the importance of what's come to be called "narrative medicine" to the patient's healing. Many medical schools such as Columbia University now have Narrative Medicine programs. Columbia's "fortifies clinical practice with the narrative competence to recognize, absorb, metabolize, interpret and be moved by the stories of illness."

Recognition of the value of storytelling's ability to heal is evident in the plethora of writing workshops for veterans that have sprung up across the country since troops began returning from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Poet and author Maxine Hong Kingston began the first veterans writing project in 1993 in the Bay Area, where she witnessed the healing power of writing about war experiences and sharing them in a group. "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace" resulted from that project. Warrior Writers began in New York City in early 2007, providing writing and art workshops to veterans to create a culture that articulates veterans' experiences. It now makes their workshops available around the country. There is Veterans Writing Project in Washington, D.C., and others exist in Reno, Nev., Ogden, Utah, San Diego and various veterans administration medical centers. Amherst, Mass. has the Veterans Education Project and the Hudson Valley area of New York has the Veterans Writing Project. The Writers Guild Foundation of Los Angeles runs theMilitary Veterans Writing Workshop, and New York University holds the Veterans Writing Workshop.

A unique program that enables veterans to both write their story and tell it is the Telling Project. It works with veterans in universities, communities and organizations to produce innovative performances. After interviews, trainings and rehearsals, veterans and their family members tell their stories on stage for their communities. The Telling Project has performed in Eugene and Portland, Ore., Seattle, Sacramento, Washington, D.C., Starkville, Miss., Baltimore and Iowa City, enabling veterans to speak their truths and their communities to listen.

For a few years the National Endowment for the Arts supported a writing project called "Operation Homecoming" to help U.S. troops and their families write about their wartime experiences. This program brought distinguished writers to military installations to conduct writing workshops. A related call for writing submissions resulted in more than 1,200 submissions and 12,000 pages of writings. Almost 100 of those were featured in the anthology, "Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families."

Writing is an essential step in telling one's story, because writing enables us to create order out of memory's chaos. In sorting through the chaos and stringing together a narrative, we make clear the experience's meaning -- for ourselves and for others. Our truth might not only allow empathy but enlighten.

I once sat with a veteran of World War II, who like my father had been among the liberators of the Nazi concentration camp the GIs referred to as Nordhausen. Like so many other WWII veterans, especially those who had been among the camp liberators, this gentleman had never spoken about his memories of the war. But as we sat there, me listening and showing familiarity with his subject and keen interest, he began to unwind his memory, a knotted spool of thread. When he came to a knot, I encouraged him to continue talking.


"You know," he said at one point, "I've never been able to make sense of my memories. But now, with your help, I see how the pieces fit." A few minutes later he turned to his wife of 62 years and said, "I have struggled to stay alive every day since." Her face whitened in astonishment as she clasped his hands.

Trauma produces an intensification of senses and then shuts them down to protect the mind from becoming overwhelmed. And while this is life-saving in the short term, it is soul-numbing in the long term. Those frozen, intense sense memories get encapsulated in the brain and refuse to fade, taking us whirling back in a second, unpredictably. Finding a way to a narrative, to connecting the pieces, gives us a way to defuse those terrifying memories, to release the pressure that has built up around them. And then to see someone listen to the story, to hold our hands in compassion and love -- that opens the door to the possibility of safety. To coming home.

Let us celebrate and support the invaluable writing programs for veterans within our communities. And then let us listen to the stories our veterans speak. On Sunday night, "60 Minutes" had a feature about Operation Project Exit that takes veterans suffering PTSD back to Iraq as a means of healing. As one young veteran said at the end of the show, "I always hear people complain about stuff, and it just makes me mad because a lotta people don't understand. They don't see the stuff that -- they just go about their daily lives, while there's still people dyin' every day. For them. And it -- it upsets me a lot."

Let us listen and heed.


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AWG backs Screen Aus shift away from auteurs

The Australian Writers' Guild has backed Screen Australia's decision to help shift the local feature film industry from an “auteur expression” model towards more audience-driven content.

Screen Australia chairman Glen Boreham, writing in Screen Australia’s 2010-11 annual report, said audience outcomes were a top priority when the government agency was set up three years ago - a stance which led it to increase support for writers and attach clear statements of expected outcomes to feature film funding.

AWG president Jan Sardi said he supported the shift. "It's reassuring to see that the obsession with auteurs of recent years is on the decline and that there is a long overdue acknowledgement of the importance of the screenwriter's craft," he said in a statement. "Hopefully this signifies a real shift in the industry."

Nonetheless, nine of the 17 feature films funded by Screen Australia in 2010-11 were driven by writer-directors: Hail, The King is Dead!, Lore, Mental, Satellite Boy, Summer Coda, Venice, The Last of the Great Apes and Wish You Were Here.

That 53 per cent ratio is similar to the final year of the Film Finance Corporation (2007-08) when 13 of the 22 features funded were by writer-directors.

The AWG has spent several years campaigning against the number of writer-director funded features, and for its members to be afforded equal recognition with directors and producers.


Veterans Advantage® Salutes Military Veterans & Families with Special Membership Offer


In appreciation of U.S. military personnel's service to our county, Veterans Advantage announced today a special membership sale during the month of November. When purchasing an additional 36 months to their membership at the sale price of 50% OFF, Veterans Advantage members will receive free the first season of the HBO series Entourage.

Entourage has been nominated for 25 Primetime Emmy® Awards (winning 6), 14 Golden Globe® Awards (winning 1), six Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Producers Guild of America Awards–winning in 2006 — and four Writers Guild of America Awards.

“As a former Army and Vietnam Veteran, I am grateful to have the opportunity to salute the brave men and women with whom I served, and who serve today with this special HBO entertainment offer,” said Scott Higgins, President & CEO of Veterans Advantage. “We thank HBO for providing this support to our members, making their continued participation even more valuable by adding to our robust benefits package.”

Veterans Advantage honors military veterans everyday of the year with the VetRewards Card, delivering an exclusive savings package from top patriotic companies, includingVerizon Wireless, Continental, Amtrak, Greyhound, Dell, Apple, Overstock.com, Wendy’s,Foot Locker, and HBO among others. Those eligible for enrollment have served the country in all branches of service, and in all periods of service, including National Guard, Reservists and family members.

"We're proud of the Veterans Advantage program as the first and leading universal card program to thank all who serve and their families," according to Paul A. Bucha, Medal of Honor recipient and a Veterans Advantage Advisory Board member. “As we enter the holiday season, our card members have the opportunity to realize significant savings on their holiday travel and shopping with easy access to real benefits they have earned with their service."

Whether traveling on business or pleasure, members receive $55,000 in emergency medical travel coverage and accident insurance, along with exclusive savings on merchandise and outstanding member services. Veterans Advantage offers one-three and five year plans for as low as 11 cents a day, which include over $800 in bonus benefits. New members can purchase a 30-day no obligation trial for only a $4.95processing fee. For a list of benefits and more on the value of a Veterans Advantage membership for all who have served, go to VeteransAdvantage.com

• Free DVD Offer cannot be combined with any other membership offers. Offer valid for current cardholders only. 50% discount when compared to Veterans Advantage’s standard one-year renewal. Prospective members may enroll in a one- year plan and purchase the 3-year plan sale offer until November 22nd, 2011.


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Please join the Lawrenceville Tourism & Trade Association on Wednesday, November 16, in celebrating the Grand Opening of The Little Shop Of Arts And Antiques. Ribbon cutting begins promptly at 11 a.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The Little Shop Of Arts And Antiques is a vintage gift shop with a twist. In addition to selling gift items and small antiques, the shop hosts regular writing classes, book signings, art openings, a monthly book club meeting, open mic nights for writers, and is the home of The Gwinnett County Writers Guild. Here you will find an eclectic assortment of treasures that include vintage western wear, cowboy boots, vintage white lacey dresses, sparkling evening wear, silver-plate, one-of-a-kind jewelry creations, and vintage and modern art. Weekend events are scheduled throughout each month.

The shop moved from Old Town Lilburn to historic downtown Lawrenceville on October lst.

The Gwinnett County Writers Guild was started by the shop earlier this year, and meets twice a month. The group can be found on Meet-up and is hosted by Lilburn author, Emilie P. Bush, a former host of Georgia Public Radio's "Georgia Gazette". Both the Writers Guild and the book club welcome new members to join.

Screenplay writing classes by writer/producer Elisa Bowman are being scheduled now. Bowman is bringing Hollywood to Lawrenceville with the many film credits to her name. Playwright Evan Guilford-Blake will be hosting a writer's open mic Friday nights each month and will begin his writing classes at the shop in the new year.

Owner Barbara Barth is a writer, in addition to shopkeeper, and her work can be found on many blogs for women, including Skirt.com, Silver & Grace in Canada, The Lawrenceville Patch, and Lifetime Television's online site for their morning show The Balancing Act. Barth's book, The Unfaithful Widow, a series of essays on finding joy again after the loss of a mate, is available in online bookshops and at The Little Shop Of Arts And Antiques.

Barth believes in giving back to the community and many events are charity related. On December 3rd, the shop will host a fundraiser for The Ahimsa House, a women's shelter that is the only state shelter to also take in pets. Author JoAnn Dunn will co-host this event.

Located at 162 Crogan Street across from the public parking deck. Look for the tin cutout of a girl pulling her cow towards the center door that opens to the shop. The Little Shop Of Arts And Antiques is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. During the holiday season the shop will be open until 9:00 p.m. on Friday nights and Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m.

The shop is always looking for new authors who would like to share their work with the community.


WGA's Keyser: There Isn't Enough Interesting Work for Writers
Veteran Hollywood writer ("Party of Five") Christopher Keyser’selection last month to the presidency of the Writers Guild of America West might be seen as a case of "be careful what you wish for."

He takes over in an era where employment for writers -- despite some upticks on the TV side -- continues its decline.

Also read: Hollywood & the Job Crisis: Just How Bad Is It?

Overall earnings for writers decreased 2.9 percent to $928 million -- and for the 1,615 writers reporting feature writing income, the earnings were down nearly 10 percent.

As Keyser said in his campaign statement: “Erosion in our industry is real, and it’s getting worse. Fewer writers are working. Too few are working consistently. And the gap between the majority of our members and our most successful few is growing.”

Keyser spoke to TheWrap about the fate of Hollywood writers going forward.

You don’t seem to take much joy in the small uptick in TV writing payments, even as the number of TV writers employed slips slightly -- and basic cable rates for writers are a particular peeve.
We have an ongoing, complex employment situation that’s affected by changes in the economy and changes in the industry -- and one of those changes is the rise of cable and implications of that.

But, true, while we are encouraged by the strength of our employment in television, we are simultaneously more concerned about the movement in the other direction in features.

There is clearly less production and there’s less independent production, and there are fewer jobs for writers.
Yes, but it’s not just a question of the number of jobs but also the kind of jobs. I think if you talk to our membership, they’d say in addition to the difficulty of finding employment compared to a few years back, it’s also what is being done.

You have too few independent producers, too little interesting dramatic works being done, based on too many tentpoles. So writers are not thinking just about whether they work but what that work consists of.

Even the elite writers are being asked for more free rewrites?
That’s clearly true. It’s become the norm -- the “one step” deals [under which revisions are loosely negotiated] that lead to additional rewrites without additional compensation. All of that puts pressure on writers.

Let's go back to basic cable. You’ve stated that a key plank in the 2014 contract negotiation with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers will be setting basic cable fees to writers, with the companies already trying to cut them down.
Although the revenues generated by the cable companies are on a par with or exceed the revenues generated by network programming -- and budgets are also often commensurate with the [overall] salaries paid -- compensation to writers lags behind in cable.

So, again, we look to employment in television as not just a question of the total number of writers working, but the conditions under which they work.

What about new media? Do you feel the rate of platforms changing -- and what that means for jobs -- is hard to keep track of?
It’s very difficult to see what that the world is going to be like two or three years from now and where, say, streaming fits into that.

One of the big jobs is to get people together to think two steps ahead -- but no one is liable to feel they have their arms around the future given how quickly it seems to be changing in front of us. It holds not just challenges but potentially -- in the medium and long term -- new opportunities for more employment.

Not to be too downbeat, those prospects seem even more iffy for the traditionally disadvantaged minorities among your 8,000 members.
We do have challenges on diversity, to make sure those communities of writers who have found it increasingly difficult to be employed -- older writers, women writers, writers of color. That’s work we all need to do.

Look, I worry about all of those things, we all do, all the time; there’s no question whenever those numbers tick down we are concerned about it.



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Telestream Sponsors Larry Jordan's Digital Production BuZZ

Online radio show and podcast, the Digital Production BuZZ, announces that Telestream®, the leading provider of digital media tools and workflow solutions, has joined the BuZZ as a show sponsor.

Oak Park, CA (PRWEB) November 07, 2011

Larry Jordan, co-host and executive producer of the Digital Production BuZZ, an internet radio show and podcast covering digital production, post-production and distribution, announced that Telestream®, the leading provider of digital media tools and workflow solutions, is now a show sponsor.

"We are very pleased to have Telestream, makers of software such as Vantage, Wirecast, Screenflow- Episode, and Flip4Mac as a sponsor on the BuZZ," said Jordan. "The in-depth analysis and industry leading interviews offered by the BuZZ each week reaches filmmakers in 156 countries around the world. Telestream provides these filmmakers, and all digital creators, with encoding, transcoding and live webcasting products that are absolutely necessary to get projects done on time and looking great."

"The Digital Production BuZZ has always been an important part of the Telestream community," said Barbara DeHart, VP of marketing at Telestream. "We're delighted to be sponsoring these always-informative shows which include Episode and Wirecast product giveaways."

About the Digital Production BuZZ

Digital Production BuZZ is one of the longest-running podcasts about technology bringing listeners all the news they need now and in their digital future. It remains a leader in programming related to digital video production, post-production and distribution, keeping its listeners in touch with the trends and technologies, people and practices essential to keep them up-to-date and entertained.

New episodes of the weekly Digital Production BuZZ air live every Thursday from 6:00 to 7:00 pm PST. Listen live at the show's website or download the program later on iTunes. The BuZZ also offers a Newsletter that gives listeners a behind the scenes view of each week's show, available at www.digitalproductionbuzz.com.

Executive producer and host of the Digital Production BuZZ is Larry Jordan (internationally-renowned digital media expert, Apple-certified trainer, author, and member of the Directors Guild of America and Producers Guild of America). Michael Horton co-hosts (actor, film editor, and founder of the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group and organizer of the world-renowned SuperMeets). Cirina Catania produces (writer/director/journalist and member of the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America.)

About Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc.
Larry Jordan & Associates, Inc. provides high-quality, engaging training and information covering video production and post-production for practicing professionals and students through a variety of media worldwide. The company was founded by Larry Jordan, an internationally-renowned digital media analyst, producer, director, consultant and Apple-Certified trainer. His FREE Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter read by tens of thousands of Final Cut users around the world available at www.larryjordan.biz/nxlttrs.html.


Fernando IX University



Fernando IX University


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