Why I’m voting no on Amendment 1

This morning, the WGA sent out the link for members to vote on three proposed constitutional amendments.

I’m voting yes on Amendments 2 and 3, which reduce the minimum number of candidates and signatures required for board elections. They’re minor changes. I doubt they will have a big impact either way.

Amendment 1 is the bigger concern. It lengthens the term of officers and board members from two years to three. The more I think about it, the less I like that idea. I’m voting no.

Longer terms are great when you have awesome leadership. Yay stability! But here’s the problem: you don’t always have great leaders.

Sometimes, you have fairly useless people. Sometimes, you have nutjobs steering us down dangerous paths.

So it’s important to give guild members the chance to convey their priorities and vote out the nutjobs when necessary. If we’re only voting on them every three years, that’s hard to do.

Here’s what Craig says on the issue:

No matter what kind of writer you are and no matter what kind of union politics you’d like to see in action, Amendment One does absolutely nothing for you other than limiting your voice and your influence over your union.

The other big problem with longer terms is getting writers to run for office in the first place.

Having served twice on the nominating committee, I’ve had to do a fair amount of arm-twisting to get qualified writers to run for the board. I guarantee longer terms will discourage strong candidates from running. As writers, we don’t know where our lives and careers will take us. Will we be running a show? Directing a movie? Committing to three years of service is too much to ask of a busy, working writer — the exact kind of writer we want on the board.

So I’m voting no on Amendment 1.

Here’s my worry: There’s a good chance this amendment will pass, because most amendments sent to the membership get approved.

After all, it already got the thumbs-up from the board. Some very smart friends of mine voted for it, and I understand their reasons and logic. In fact, if I could guarantee that only those thoughtful and dedicated board members would be serving for three years, I would wholeheartedly support the amendment.

But I can’t, so I won’t.

If you’re a WGA member, I’d urge you to vote no on Amendment 1.


Outlines and Treatments

Scriptnotes: Ep. 245
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John and Craig look at the non-screenplay things screenwriters end up writing, most notably outlines and treatments. We discuss some of the ones we’ve written (with examples), and offer advice on writing your own.

Also, how do you deal with sudden success? And what should a writer-director say when talking to a Very Famous Actress about starring in his movie?

Our live conversation with Lawrence Kasdan is this Saturday! Find out more about the all-day Craft Day featuring many previous (and future) Scriptnotes guests in the links below.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 4-14-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Writer Emergency Pack now on Amazon UK

We’ve been selling Writer Emergency Pack on Amazon for over a year — but only the US version of Amazon. There are 10 marketplaces in all, covering different areas of the world.

North America Europe Asia
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Amazon.co.jp
Amazon.ca Amazon.de Amazon.cn
Amazon.fr Amazon.in
Amazon.it
Amazon.es

As of this afternoon, we’ve added our second marketplace: the United Kingom. We’re officially in stock!

We picked the UK because it was the second-biggest market for us after the US. It also serves as a gateway to Europe. When purchasing through Amazon.com, European buyers have to pay customs, making it significantly more expensive. Plus orders need to be shipped overseas, adding time to delivery. When buying through Amazon.co.uk, orders are shipped from London, and customs fees are already paid (by us).

This saves customers time, money and hassle.

At some point, I’ll write up a post explaining the process of setting up Amazon FBA for the UK. It was much more complicated than I expected, mostly because of dealing with importers and logistics. We had our shipment held at Heathrow for lack of an EORI number, which you can only get through a finicky online form. For ten days, we had no idea where the decks actually were, until they suddenly showed up for sale this afternoon.

But we’re happy to finally be available. You can find us on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

They’re also available directly through the Writer Emergency store.


The Invitation, and Requels

Scriptnotes: Ep. 244
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Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi join us to talk about their new movie The Invitation, and what’s it’s like to go from writing tentpole action films (like Clash of the Titans) to comedies (like Ride Along) to chamber-drama thrillers.

While we have them with us, we talk about the new term “requel” — which is not quite a reboot, not quite a sequel. Is it really a new sub-genre or just a helpful way of explaining things to studio execs?

Also, thanks to everyone who helped us out by answering our three-question poll. We have a better sense of who is using the premium feed, and how we can offer alternatives for listeners.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 4-8-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.


Heroes, Villains and Two-Handers

Scriptnotes: Ep. 243
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With John and Craig both on spring break, it’s a clip show this week. We discuss why movie heroes are rarely ambivalent, why villains are so appealing, and why movies with two primary characters require careful attention.

We’re trying to make plans for the future of the show, and could use your help! Please take a minute to answer our three-question poll to let us know how you’d like to hear both new and old episodes.

(Link to the poll below.)

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.


No More Milk Money

Scriptnotes: Ep. 242
Play

Craig and John welcome back Aline Brosh McKenna to discuss what she learned going from writing features to show-running Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — and what’s waiting for her back in movie-land. The three of us came into the business at the height of the spec market, but everything is different now.

We also look at why some movies become classics, while others don’t hold up. Plus, a television show’s responsibility to its fans, and the frustrating death of a gay character on CW’s The 100.

Links:

You can download the episode here: AAC | mp3.

UPDATE 3-26-16: The transcript of this episode can be found here.