Posts Tagged ‘contracts’

Writers Credits Guiding Principles

3rd October 2017 by Maura McHugh

The Writers Credits Guiding Principles were agreed between Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) and the Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI) in September 2017.

The following list of credits for writers is for guidance purposes only. The writing credit definitions mirror those of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds.

It is important to note that the contract between the producer and the writer will take precedent over these guidelines.

We recommend that the producer and writer avail of legal advice before signing a contract.  You can also consult with the WGI/SPI.

  1. Story by
    The term “story” means an original idea written for the screen which is distinct from a screenplay and consisting of the basic narrative, idea, theme or outline indicating character development and action. A “Story by” credit is appropriate when the screenplay is based on a story, as defined above, and not based on any pre-existing material.
  2. Screen Story by
    Credit for story authorship in the form “Screen Story by” is appropriate when a story, as defined above, is based on source material though substantially new or different from the source material.
  3. Screenplay by
    A screenplay consists of individual scenes and full dialogue, together with such prior treatment, basic adaptation, continuity, scenario and dialogue as shall be used in, and substantially contributes to, the final script.

    A “Screenplay by” credit is appropriate when the screenplay is based upon a story or a screen story as defined above.

  4. Written by
    The term “Written by” is used when the writer(s) is entitled to both the “Story by” credit and the “Screenplay by” credit.

    This credit shall not be granted where there is source material of a story nature. However, biographical, newspaper and other factual sources may not necessarily deprive the writer of such credit.

  5. Narration Written by
    A “Narration Written by” credit is appropriate where the major writing contribution to a motion picture is in the form of narration. The term “narration” means material (typically off-camera) to explain or relate sequence or action (excluding promos or trailers).
  6. Based on Characters Created by
    “Based on Characters Created by” is a writing credit given to the writer(s) entitled to separated rights in a theatrical or television motion picture. This credit is accorded when a sequel to a theatrical or television motion picture is produced for television (excluding a television series).
  7. Shared credit
    When credit is accorded to a team of writers, an ampersand (&) shall be used between the writers’ names in the credit to denote a writing team. Use of the word “and” between writers’ names in a credit indicates that the writers did their work separately, one usually rewriting the other. This distinction is well established in the industry through custom and practice.
  8. The Possessory Credit
    The possessory credit “a film by” or its variations, is accorded to a director who has written and directed the film; and or who has a significant body of work and whose reputation as a film-maker is such that it can make a significant contribution to the marketing of the film. Writers’ guilds do not believe that the possessory credit should be used in any other circumstances.

Amazon Studios: The Responses

22nd November 2010 by Maura McHugh

Amazon StudiosLast week a new film development process called Amazon Studios was announced.

Amazon is promoting this as the cool, modern way to make movies:

Movies have been developed pretty much the same way since talkies were considered cutting-edge. But here at Amazon Studios, we believe 21st-century technology creates opportunities to make and share movies and scripts more easily than ever. We invite you to:

  • Win money. Amazon Studios will award a combined $2.7 million in our first year’s worth of monthly and annual contests for the best scripts and movies. There is no charge to participate. Learn more.
  • Get noticed. Your work will be shared with a global community of filmmakers and fans, who can offer revisions and advice. Screenwriters can see their words come to life as full-length test movies made by directors vying for our $100,000 monthly awards.
  • Get your movie made. The goal of Amazon Studios is to work with Hollywood to turn the best projects into major feature films.

The problem is that as soon as the writer enters the contest s/he has agreed to a contract, and as UK screenwriter Michelle Lipton points out the contract is less than exemplary.

One warning sign, among many, is this clause:

14. No Guild Jurisdiction. Amazon is not a signatory to any agreement with a collective bargaining organization, including, without limitation, the Writers Guild of America Minimum Basic Agreement or the Directors Guild of America Basic Agreement, and none of the activity conducted in connection with Amazon Studios is subject to the jurisdiction of any collective bargaining organization. If you are a member of any collective bargaining organization, you are solely responsible for your participation in Amazon Studios, and for determining whether your participation complies with your obligations under those agreements.

Many established screenwriters have weighed in with their opinions on the contract. Most of them have been through the process of developing scripts for film and/or television and understand the pressures that can come upon a script from the likes of producers and directors even under the best of circumstances where there is a fair contract in effect.

Their opinions are well worth reading in regard to Amazon Studios:

Other articles on the web about this ‘deal’:

As always screenwriters should pay attention to the terms and conditions of contracts before they enter into any agreements. Remember, as soon as you enter the Amazon Studios deal you are agreeing to its conditions.