News From The Web - On The Industry

Season 4 Archive
IT’S TIME FOR THE WRITER’S GUILD TO SHUT DOWN THE WGA REGISTRY

Zerner Law

 

Since 1927, the Writers Guild of America, West Registry has existed as a place where professional and aspiring screenwriters can deposit their scripts.  It exists solely to document a provable date of creation in the event there is a claim of copyright infringement. And yet for all the good intentions of the WGA in establishing the Registry, because writers treat it as a substitute for registration with the Copyright Office, its existence only serves to damage the interests and waste the money of WGA members.

Hollywood writers consider firing their agents en masse

David Ng

Los Angeles Times

 

As an experienced TV writer, Evan Wright pitched and sold the three-part “Harley and the Davidsons,” which premiered on the Discovery Channel in 2016. But it was only much later that the L.A.-based writer learned that the show had been packaged — his agency had assembled talent for “Harley” from its own client roster, and received fees from the studio for the package in lieu of traditional commissions. “I was kept in the dark,” recalled Wright, who was also an executive producer. “I thought my agent was helping me. I didn't know there was this secret business.”

But I’m not a lawyer. I’m an agent.

David Simon

DavidSimon.com
 

Just over a quarter century ago, when I was a young scribbler traipsing around the metro desk of the Baltimore Sun, I had an early opportunity to learn a lesson about money, about ethics, about capitalism and, in particular, about the American entertainment industry. And Dorothy Simon, she raised no fools. I only needed to learn it once. I learned about something called “packaging.”

Why Are So Many Wannabe Screenwriters Getting Scammed?

Stephen Galloway

The Hollywood Reporter

 

From "pitch fests" to online script coaches, an entire cottage industry has sprung up to help aspiring scribes crack the movie business, and while some offerings are legit, many are schemes designed to prey on the Hollywood dreams of gullible strivers.

Will This Be the Year That Originality in Entertainment Goes on Trial?

Eriq Gardner

The Hollywood Reporter
 

The entertainment industry has long been accustomed to allegations of thievery. Few days go by when some studio or big-name artist isn't being hauled into court on claims of taking someone else's expression. Courts often play gatekeeper, though, and only rarely do copyright claims reach trial.

Top 10 Conferences and Events for Screenwriters

Shanee Edwards

The Script Lab

As writers, we can get so focused on outlining our spec scripts or rewriting our TV pilots that we can easily forget how much of the industry is fueled by relationships. Even if you have a great script, sometimes it all comes down to who you know. While many of us find it challenging to get out there and network face to face, don’t lose sight on how many opportunities exist for those of us willing to put down our laptops and attend the top film festivals and writing conferences. 

Sundance Winners: ‘Clemency,’ ‘One Child Nation’ Take Top Honors

Peter Debruge

Variety

 

The Sundance Film Festival concluded with five female directors — and one man — sharing the grand jury prizes in the four main competition categories. In U.S. dramatic competition, African-American writer-director Chinonye Chukwu won for “Clemency.”  Meanwhile, in the world dramatic category, Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir” specifically looks at the challenges and setbacks facing a young female filmmaker, who puts her directing ambitions on hold in order to deal with the drug-addicted man who monopolizes her attention.

How young writers are busting into Hollywood with machine learning-fueled Wattpad

Makeda Easter

The Los Angeles Times​

 

At 14, Katarina Tonks thought she was going crazy. A teenager with an overactive imagination in a small New Jersey town, Tonks wondered if it was normal to have so many stories in her head. So she talked to her psychologist mother, who recommended she take up writing. A quick internet search led her to Wattpad, an online social platform where anyone can write and share stories.

The Criminally Underseen Indie Masterpieces of 2018

Emily Buder

No Film School

 

Low budgets and no-name actors do not a box-office success make. Indie releases are extremely tricky; a successful one involves the perfect confluence of unpredictable elements, from buzz out of a festival to money for marketing to good weather on opening weekend. As a result, the finest cinema can get lost in the din of Hollywood spectacles. These 2018 movies were diamonds in the rough. It's time to give them a deserved audience.

AFM: The Horror Genre Emerges as Indie Industry’s Unlikely Savior

Scott Roxborough​​

The Hollywood Reporter
 

Business models that endured for a generation have been hacked and slashed, leaving the floors of the American Film Market bloody with the remains of once-great movie companies. The butchering of the home-video market has been particularly brutal, leaving many in the industry wondering if AFM could survive the attack or if the world’s largest film market would inevitably be reduced to a half-dead, shuffling zombie version of its former self. Ironic, then, that horror films would emerge as the market’s, and the indie industry’s, unlikely savior.

The Director of Haunting of Hill House Breaks Down Those Impressive Extended Takes

Julie Muncy

Gizmodo

 

The sixth episode of Haunting of Hill House is a remarkable cinematic feat, designed to look like one long shot that weaves and winds its way through the episode. Now, Mike Flanagan, the show’s writer and director, has broken down how it came together.

The Grim Box Office Fate Of 'Annihilation' Was An Inevitable Tragedy

Scott Mendelson

Forbes
 
In a different time, Annihilation would have been an A-level theatrical event. It’s a decently-budgeted sci-fi horror movie with a buzzy cast from an acclaimed director. The film, based on a well-received recent sci-fi novel, arrived onto the scene with mostly rave reviews. Yet, the mere $11m debut weekend isn’t just a relative failure, but an all-too-predictable disappointment.
For Old-School Film Projectionists, the Pictures Never Got Small
Simon Abrams
Vanity Fair
 

“It’s very convenient to blame the projectionists for everything,” says Mike Katz. He would know: Katz has been working as the main projectionist at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, or BAM, since 1997. When customers tweet or e-mail about problems at screenings—the volume wasn’t loud enough; the screen was too dark—that’s on Mike.

How I Learned to Stop Counting on Miracles and Love Self-Distribution
Screencraft

“Did you get distribution?” It’s a question any indie film producer that’s spent valuable years of their lives raising money, executing, and then debuting a film at a film festival has heard. Even indie film neophytes seem to somehow know: you’re not somebody who’s somebody until you’ve sold your movie to a distributor. 

If you’re a first-time director, you may be wondering how you’ll even finish your movie. Here’s How to Avoid First-Time Director Pitfalls.

A24 Picks Up Horror Script From Author of Viral Short Story "Cat Person"
Borys Kit
The Hollywood Reporter

A24 has made its first-ever spec script acquisition, picking up a horror screenplay from Kristen Roupenian, the author of the viralNew Yorker fiction story "Cat Person."

Bodies, Bodies, Bodies is the name of the screenplay, but the logline is being kept six feet under for now.

How I Got My Feature Film On Amazon Prime and How Much I have Made
Tom Kerevan
Chris Jones Blog

This is a tough blog to write. How did we break into the top 80 movies on Amazon Prime in the UK? Well, I’m afraid I can’t give you the magic formula to the Amazon Video algorithm because I don’t know it!

However, after a lot of trial & error there are a few things I’ve noticed that seem to work, and a few that don’t. So what I’ll do is share the highlights of 2 years worth of research into releasing a film online.

Studio-by-Studio Profit Report: Disney Reigns, Viacom Stems Losses
Paul Bond , Georg Szalai
Hollywood Reporter
 

Paramount in the black? Not yet, according to THR’s annual film and TV analysis, which reveals a steep slide at Fox, plenty of hits (and misses) at Warners and growth for only half of Hollywood’s six (soon to be five) majors.

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© 2015 by William Gilmore.