Archive for October, 2014

November Lucky Dozen

17th October 2014 by Maura McHugh

We’re pleased to announce another in our Lucky Dozen series of talks created exclusively for our members.

This time the topic is:

Writing for Comic Books by Maura McHugh

Date 7pm on Thursday, 6 November
Venue: WGI Office, Arthouse, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

At the moment there is a trend to write comics with the aim to create a visual product to sell as a movie adaptation. While screenwriting and comic book writing share a number of commonalities, they also have specific differences both in format and technique. Maura will discuss the basics of the form, the ins and outs of working in this industry, as well as offering some pointers for those who are considering writing in this medium.

To book a place at this talk, please email our main address listed below by 30 October with ‘Lucky Dozen’ in the subject line – this talk is open only to current members of the WGI.

As always, it’s first-come, first-served, so respond quickly to get one of the twelve slots going!

Maura McHugh lives in Galway and has just finished co-writing a comic book series called Witchfinder: The Secrets of Unland with Kim Newman for Dark Horse Comics in the USA. She has also written comics for Atomic Diner in Ireland – one of the titles, Jennifer Wilde, has been nominated for both an Eagle Award and a British Fantasy Award. Maura also writes prose (with two short story collections published in the USA), and wrote a section of a horror anthology play which had a sold-out run in the West End in London.

Budget 2014

15th October 2014 by Maura McHugh

On Tuesday, 14 October the details of 2014 Budget were announced. Here are the highlights in relation to the Arts:

  • €4 million package to roll out an integrated plan to commemorate 1916
  • Funding for current expenditure has increased for the first time in six years
  • Financial support for our National Cultural Institutions has been protected, following several difficult years of cutbacks
  • Minister for Finance commits to explore measures to boost the film and TV sector
  • The artist tax exemption is increasing by €10,000 from €40,000 to €50,000

During her statement about this year’s budget the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD said:

“I am particularly pleased that the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, has today signalled his intention to look at ways to further boost the film and TV sector. More than 5,000 people are employed in the Irish audio visual sector, which has gained a very strong reputation internationally in recent years. Increasing the €50 million cap for film tax relief would help to attract more international projects to Ireland and create hundreds of new jobs, and I look forward to pursuing this in more detail with Minister Noonan over the coming year.”

“The increase in the threshold for the artists’ tax exemption from €40,000 to €50,000 is a clear recognition of the need to support artists. Artists are the bedrock of our culture and they continue to represent us at home and abroad with great distinction.”

The Irish Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD said on this matter:

“The new Irish film tax credit scheme is due to commence in 2015 and I am very pleased that it has been broadly welcomed by the film industry. The film industry is very important to modern Irish culture and to the economy, not just in terms of jobs but also indirectly through tourism promotion. As the new scheme beds down next year, I will be monitoring how it works and how it can be improved. One of the issues that I will consider in the context of Budget 2016 is a possible increase to the €50 million cap on eligible expenditure, subject of course to resource constraints.”

Earlier in 2013, the Irish government extended the Section 481 scheme to 2020 and increased its value to 32% as of 2016. This improvement and the change announced in the 2014 budget has now been brought forward to 2015.

World Screenwriters’ Resolutions

14th October 2014 by Maura McHugh

At the recent World Conference of Screenwriters held in Warsaw, Poland, member guilds of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG) as well as members of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, passed two resolutions.

The first one, titled the Warsaw Women’s Resolution, calls on the television and film industry to address the issue of gender inequality in the industry. The resolution asks industry members to set a goal of having 50% of scripts across genres and at every budget level written by women. Jill Golick, president of the Writers Guild of Canada, and outgoing chair of the IAWG’s policy and research group, presented the resolution to the assembly, where it was adopted unanimously.

Statistics from writers’ organizations around the world clearly report that women write fewer scripts, receive fewer commissions, have shorter careers, and earn less money for their work than their male colleagues. As a report titled Focus on Women (2013) by Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen notes, in Canadian television alone 21 live-action programs receiving significant levels of funding from the Canada Media Fund (2010-11) were written by 65% male screenwriters, 35% female.

The full resolution follows:

Statistics from writers’ organizations around the world show clearly that women writers are under employed. We write fewer scripts, receive fewer commissions, have shorter careers and earn less than our male colleagues.

Women have the talent, experience and ambition to participate as equals in every aspect of the industry. What stands in our way is institutional gender bias.

We the 30 guilds and writers organizations present at the Warsaw Conference of Screenwriters 2014 representing 56,000 male and female screenwriters, call upon our commissioners, funders, studios, networks and broadcasters to set the goal of having 50% of scripts across genres and at every budget level written by women.

Let us reflect back to our audiences, and especially our children, worlds in which men and women are truly equal.

The second resolution, known as the Warsaw Final Resolution, stresses the need for broadcasters, digital service providers, financial institutions, producers, and film studios to respect the creative independence of screenwriters and other artists involved in production.

It reads as follows:

This golden age of television is created by writers. The season(s) long narrative arc allows unprecedented room for the development of multi-dimensional characters and intricate plots.

Investment in writers to allow them the creative and financial space to do what they do best is key to the strengthening and continuation of quality television which appeals to audiences both local and global.

Be it resolved that the 30 screenwriter guilds present in Warsaw at WCOS03, representing 56,000 writers, assert the essential role of the creator and his/her singular vision in the production of quality television. We propose the Danish model of “one vision”, which has respect for creators at its core, as the industry standard to be adopted by broadcasters, digital subscription services, funding agencies, producers and studios.

Writers must be provided with the time and resources to develop their plots and characters without either being rushed to camera or interfered with by executives who so often muddy the creative waters. We also resolve to focus on professionalizing the “Created By” credit in all our negotiations to ensure fair remuneration and respect are attached, and to create a global standard for this credit.