Magazine article Variety

Ray Nails Down Scribe Demands

Magazine article Variety

Ray Nails Down Scribe Demands

Article excerpt

He hasn't written for television since the 1990s, but "Captain Phillips" screenwriter Billy Ray spent much of the first quarter of 2014 negotiating the intricacies of the Writers Guild of America's contract provisions covering TV work by writers earning less than $200,000 annually.

"It took eight weeks to resolve, because the business has changed so enormously due to the shorter seasons," notes Ray, who co-chaired the negotiating committee for the agreement that was struck April 30. "Companies don't want to change how they operate, but everyone eventually agreed that we needed to address the issue that writers could not blithely accept being held endlessly without being compensated."

The key provisions: Writers can't be exclusive except when being paid; and writers can't be held for more than 90 days under an option without a holding fee of at least one-third of the minimum. …

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