WGA Talks the Doc. Talk, But Lets Others Walk the Picket Line

The WGA is soliticing submissions for their 2007 Documentary Screenplay Award. Among the criteria are:

Documentaries submitted for entry must contain an on-screen writing credit and have been exhibited theatrically in either New York or Los Angeles for one week in 2006.
The credited writers of these documentaries are required to join the WGAw’s Nonfiction Writers Caucus or WGAE Nonfiction Writers Committee in order to be considered.
Scripts need not be written under WGA jurisdiction.

So, while the writer needs to join a committee to be considered, the script could have been written under hell-hole working conditions, sub-par wages, and no benefits, no partipation and no residuals. Like at ANTM. Or Rocket Science.

Past winners include Morgan Spurlock and Alex Gibney. Gibney’s a <a href=" member, but Spurlock isn’t. Nor is his production company, Warrior Poets, a signatory. Neither is Actual Reality, which produces his FX show 30 Days.


What to make of this? Either the WGA is so expansive and all-encompassing that they reward meritorious work, no matter how little creator of said work has in common with the WGA’s goals, or (warning: rampant speculation)
lots of producers and writers don’t think the Guild is particularly significant.

Variety reported that:

The guild said it attracted more than 500 people to an organizing meeting last month and has received nearly 1,000 signed authorization cards from writers, producers and editors who work in reality and want to be repped by the WGA/WGA West. It also has sent a demand letter for recognition to all the major reality production companies; none has yet signed.

Talk about toothless–the Guild gave an award to Spurlock, but they can’t get him to sign up? FBLA has a great idea for a 30 Days episode:

An ANTM striker trades places with a WGA writer. After the month is up, merriment ensues as the reality writer is dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the writers’ room and back onto the sidewalk. The WGA writer drives off in a new Porsche, basking in the glow of working-stiff solidarity. There’s a swell of applause as the WGA rep. hands out pledge cards. Group hug!

WGA Warns Wannabe Writers– ANTM Will Eat You Alive!