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So you want to work in videogames?

on Thursday, 02 October 2014 10:59. Posted in Video Games

Videogames.1

The UK represents the fifth largest videogames market in the world, but how do you break into the industry, and what sort of jobs are available? And how do a writer’s usual tools (story, character and dialogue) function in a videogame?

The Writers’ Guild and the Royal Television Society hosted an event in Leeds on 18 November 2014 to explore this growing industry, with a chance to ask the professionals questions. Speakers included Steve Ince, Chair of the Guild’s Videogames Committee.

Steve is a writer, consultant and games designer with 21 years’ experience in the games industry who has enjoyed much success and acclaim, during his time with Revolution Software and as a freelancer since then. His most recent work includes writing dialogue for Godfire: Rise of Prometheus, released earlier this year.

He was joined by games developer, writer and lecturer Richard Boon; and Emma Cooper, Business Development Manager at award-winning creative digital agency Rckt.

Mark Bearly, one of the attendees, wrote a report of the event; while Steve Ince has produced a number of Gamewriter Bites! short videos, including one on how to break into the industry. The full library is available on his YouTube channel.

 

Peaky Blinders, Home Front and Soap City at Birmingham Literature Festival

on Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:04. Posted in Events

The close association between the Birmingham Literature Festival and the Writers’ Guild continues for this annual event, which runs from 2-11 October 2014.

The Festival, organised by Writing West Midlands, has been a staple of the city’s autumn calendar for 15 years.

Highlights this year include Meera Syal giving a talk on her writing, Jackie Kay celebrating National Poetry Day, Roger McGough and Liz Berry bringing their poetry to life, an evening with South African director, actress and writer Janet Suzman, and a day of BBC Radio programme recordings including Poetry Please and With Great Pleasure.

The Writers’ Guild has a members’-only event at the Festival, and there are also discounts for members at other talks.

Steven Knight: Writing Peaky Blinders
2pm, 6 October 2014

Peaky Blinders was a criminal gang based in Birmingham in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the earliest examples of modern street sub-culture, they got their name from sewing razor blades into the peaks of their caps, and have been brought to life by Oscar-nominated writer/director Steven Knight in his BBC historical drama series of the same name. This special media industry event is exclusively for Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, BBC Drama Village and Royal Television Society members. Steven Knight will talk to Writers’ Guild deputy chair Tim Stimpson about how he created compelling drama from a previously little-known period of Birmingham’s social history.

The event is free to Guild members and booking is essential. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There is also another public talk at 6-7.30pm on the same day. Guild Members are entitled to a concessionary rate of £6. Further details and bookings here.

Writing from the Home Front
5.30-6.30pm, 8 October 2014

BBC Radio 4 is marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War with Home Front, a landmark drama series produced in Birmingham. It tells the stories of fictional characters who keep the home fires burning over the course of four years of war. Unprecedented in scale, the series includes 500, 12-minute episodes, broadcast until 2018 in ‘real time’, with each day’s episode set exactly a century earlier.

The series is being celebrated at the Birmingham Literature Festival with a panel event made up of Home Front editor Jessica Dromgoole, writers Shaun McKenna and Fiona Joseph, and actor Bella Hamblin. It will be chaired by historical adviser Professor Maggie Andrews.

Writers’ Guild members are entitled to a concessionary rate of £6. Further details and bookings here.

Soap City
6-7pm, 10 October 2014

Birmingham can rightfully lay claim to the title of ‘Soap City’, with The Archers, Doctors and Crossroads, among others, being produced, set or originally recorded here.

A panel of writers offer their insights on West Midlands’ connection with this genre, and share some of the particular challenges of writing for long-running series. Panellists include Guild members Mary Cutler (The Archers, Crossroads) and Tim Stimpson (The Archers/Ambridge Extra), Gregory Leadbetter (Silver Street) and Claire Bennett (Doctors).

Writers’ Guild members are entitled to a concessionary rate of £6. Further details and bookings here.

See the full Birmingham Literature Festival event calendar here.

Animation writing fees: what should you charge?

on Thursday, 02 October 2014 08:35. Posted in General


In the UK a script fee of at least £300 per minute (£3,000+ for a 10-minute script) should be negotiated. This is the conclusion of Guild officers, writers and agents following a recent project with Guild animation writers to rewrite the Guild guidelines on animation.

Part of the research included surveying UK animation writers about the fees they earned for writing both in the UK and internationally.

Below is a snapshot of the fees paid to animation writers for a 10/11-minute script.

Countries Range (£s)

Australia: 1,500-2,500
Benelux: 1,500-3,501+
France: 1,250-3,000
Germany: 2,000-2,250
Ireland: 2,000-2,500
Scandinavia: 1,500-2,500
SE Asia: 800-2,250
UK: 800-3,501+
US: 2,000-3,501+

The survey results above indicate that there is a huge variation in the fees paid to writers nationally and internationally. This can be attributed in part to the lack of collective agreements that set out minimum terms. In the absence of minima, aim for the maxima!

In the UK if a writer is contracted to write an episode, this will generally be on a buyout contract. This means the writer sells all their rights to their work with no rights to royalty or residuals payments, so the script fee is the only money the writer will earn and should be negotiated at £300+ per minute.

Unlike other sectors in the UK, there are no collective agreements in place to protect and improve terms under which animation writers are contracted. To open dialogue with animation producers, the Guild, in conjunction with the Personal Managers' Association (agents), will be sending out a joint best practice briefing to animation producers/broadcasters in the UK. The guidelines and the joint briefing are available for download in the Rates and Agreements section of our website. Or if you would like a hard copy of our Animation Guidelines booklet, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Colin Shaw CBE 1928-2014

on Thursday, 02 October 2014 08:24. Posted in General

Colin Shaw wrote many radio plays and features, and a stage play for children. But his impact on writers’ lives was bigger than that, because from 1953-1977 he worked at the BBC, starting as a radio drama producer and going on to be Assistant Head of Programmes, North Region, and Head of Programme Planning Group, BBC Television. He ended his time at the BBC as Chief Secretary to the Board of Governors.

From 1977-83 he was Director of Television for the Independent Broadcasting Authority. From 1983-87 he was Director, Programme Planning for ITV Companies' Association. He was Founding Director of the Broadcasting Standards Council from 1988-96.

And even when he retired from such elevated positions, he carried on his work on behalf of writers as one of the chief negotiators with the BBC for the Society of Authors, co-operating closely with the Writers’ Guild, of which he was also a member.

Colin Shaw was also a Governor of the English-Speaking Union, 1977-83; a Member of the Arts Council of Great Britain, 1977-80; and in 1987 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Television Society.

Writers’ Guild joins gathering of screenwriters in Poland

on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 08:06. Posted in Events

Over 50,000 writers for film and TV were represented at the World Conference of Screenwriters (WCOS), which took place on 1-2 October 2014 in Warsaw.

A delegation from the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain joined 29 other guilds and writers' organisations from 19 European countries, plus North America, New Zealand, Israel, Mexico, South Africa and India.

The conference, the third of its kind, took as its theme the ‘golden age of TV’ and explored issues affecting creators in the audio-visual sector. These included writing for an international market, independent cinema, episodic television and children and young audiences.

It also brought together authors of globally renowned film and TV productions, Oscar winners and holders of other prestigious awards, including Writers’ Guild member Andrew Davies (House of Cards) and Israeli film and TV writer Hagai Levi (In Treatment).

BAFTA-nominee and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain President Olivia Hetreed was among the delegates, and took part in panel discussions on the lack of representation of women writers and the pros and cons of co-production.

Writers’ Guild General Secretary Bernie Corbett took part in panel discussions focusing on negotiation and copyright.

The international gathering of screenwriters' guilds, unions and associations brought together the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) and the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG), of which the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain is a member.

Previous World Conferences of Screenwriters have been held in Barcelona (2012) and Athens (2009). They built on successful joint initiatives including the European Screenwriters' Manifesto (2006) and an International Day of Solidarity in support of the Writers Guild of America high-profile strike in 2007/8.

Written Into the Picture, a report investigating screenwriters’ lack of visibility at film festivals, was published at the second conference in Barcelona in 2012 where it was resolved that the vital contribution of screenwriters needed to be more fully acknowledged.

“It is fantastic that writers and their guilds from many countries can gather to discuss the issues they face – and even better that WCOS is now genuinely global, with representatives from every continent,” said Writers’ Guild of Great Britain General Secretary Bernie Corbett. “TV, film and the other media are all now global – and we are also going global in our battle to preserve and improve writers’ pay, terms and rights. Power to us!”

You can read the two resolutions that were passed at the conference, plus closing remarks, here.

 

Writers' Guild Awards 2014 open for entries

on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:59. Posted in Events

Nominations are now being accepted for the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards 2014.

The Awards will be presented by writer, presenter, comedian, actress and producer Sandi Toksvig at a ceremony in central London on 19 January 2015.

Writers will be honoured in the following categories: TV, Theatre, Film, Books, Radio, Games, Children’s (TV and theatre).

The eligibility period is from 1 June 2013 to 26 September 2014 and all entries must be received by 17 October 2014.

To make your nomination, fill in this form and e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.