General

Mike Leigh and other Guild members out in force at BFI London Film Festival

on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 09:56. Posted in General

Writers’ Guild member Mike Leigh’s much-anticipated Mr. Turner receives a gala screening at the 58th BFI London Film Festival, which runs from 8-19 October 2014.

The portrait of the artist JMW Turner is played by Timothy Spall, who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year for the role. The film focuses on the last 25 years of Turner’s life when his painting moved towards the Impressionist style for which he became remembered. It also probes the colourful life of a character who famously strapped himself to the mast of a ship so he could paint a snow storm.

Writer/director Mike Leigh has described Turner as "a great artist: a radical, revolutionary painter… I felt there was scope for a film examining the tension between this very mortal, flawed individual, and the epic work, the spiritual way he had of distilling the world."

The UK release date is set for 31 October 2014.

The BFI London Film Festival will bring 248 films to 17 venues across the capital over 12 days. It will feature screenings on themes including love, family, treasures, cult and thrill; and competitions, including the Best Film Award and First Feature Competition.

Other Writers’ Guild members whose work is being shown at the Festival include Gregory Burke ('71), Joe Fisher (Electricity), Leslie Stewart (Moomins on the Riviera) and Jack Thorne (War Book).

The full programme, including bookings, can be viewed 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.

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.

You could help to run your union

on Thursday, 07 August 2014 10:37. Posted in General

Writers' Guild has vacancies for Deputy Chairs and regional representatives

Dear Guild member

Following last month’s Writers’ Guild Annual General Meeting, four vacancies remain for Officers and Executive Council members. We need to find two deputy Chairs, plus regional representatives for the East Midlands and Greater Manchester and the surrounding area.

To be eligible, you need to have been a Full Member of the Guild for at least two years continuously prior to the date on which nominations close, or else you need to be a Life Member. You also need a proposer and seconder, who must be Full Members of the Guild in good standing.

Officer vacancies will serve for a one-year term. Those elected to the other EC vacancies will serve for a three-year term.

Members of the Executive Council attend about six meetings per year at which they formulate Guild policy and take decisions about collective agreements, membership and financial matters, and other issues of importance to working writers. Members attending EC meetings can claim expenses for their travel, meals, and, if necessary, overnight accommodation.

If you are interested please click here for further details and a downloadable nomination form. Fill in the details and return the form as soon as possible to: General Secretary, Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, First Floor, 134 Tooley Street, London SE1 2TU. You can also apply by email to the address below.
The closing date for receipt of nominations is noon on Thursday 4 September 2014. If you have any questions please telephone 020 7833 0777 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Yours sincerely

Bernie Corbett
General Secretary
7 August 2014

Survey reveals shocking fall in writers’ incomes

on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 15:43. Posted in General

Just 11.5% of professional authors can earn a living from their writing
money

A new survey commissioned by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society has found that increasingly few professional authors are able to earn a living from their writing.

The survey, What Are Words Worth Now?,  of almost 2,500 working writers, was carried out by Queen Mary University of London. It found that in 2013 just 11.5% of professional authors (those who dedicate the majority of their time to writing) earned their incomes solely from writing, compared with 40% in 2005.

The typical (median) income of the professional author has also fallen dramatically, both in real and actual terms. In 2013, the median income of the professional author was just £11,000, a drop of 29% since 2005 when the figure was £12,330 (£15,450 in real terms). According to Joseph Rowntree Foundation figures, single people in the UK need to earn at least £16,850 before tax to achieve a Minimum Income Standard.

In contrast to the sharp decline in earnings of professional authors, the wealth generated by the UK creative industries is on the increase. Statistics produced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2014 show that the creative industries are now worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy (over £8 million per hour) and the UK is reported as having “the largest creative sector of the European Union”, and being “the most successful exporter of cultural good and services in the world”, according to UNESCO.

Owen Atkinson, chief executive of ALCS, commented: “This rapid decline in both author incomes and in the numbers of those writing full time could have serious implications for the economic success of the creative industries in the UK. If writers are to continue making their irreplaceable contribution to the UK economy, they need to be paid fairly for their work. This means ensuring clear, fair contracts with equitable terms and a copyright regime that support creators and their ability to earn a living from their creations.”
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