Charlie Smithee vs the Writers Guild



good morning I'm Charlie it's a lovely day in Los Angeles we had some rain we need it and hopefully the drought is over anyway I I've been with for literary agencies since I left England and I had a beef with the the Writers Guild of America it didn't get me anywhere but the more I thought about it the more II thought about the injustice there is in showbiz you know it's this it's not a level playing field when you think about the top half a dozen agencies in this town who are making four or five billion dollars a year and yet you try and reach them because you are an unknown writer and they will not accept your screenplays they're closed doors what is the right to do the writer looks for an agency that is open to new submissions and when they search through the directory issued by the writers guild they will find our agency consequently these poor writers have slaved six months to five years on a screenplay and they're seeing visions of the Oscar they don't have anywhere to send it except to the few aged open agencies now you take the top six agencies William Morris CAA ICM the Gersh agency the paradigm agency these people are making millions I mean take for example Robert Downey jr. he's just made a hundred and ten million plus on the Avengers plus the one he made last year was seventy five million dollar salary so say close to 200 million dollars so the agency got 10% 20 million just for doing nothing basically and yet they can't afford to employ a reader I mean we see the same old stories rehashed over and over again on television and new voices in this town or in this world have a hard time finding anybody to read their material now take for example take for example what you see before me now as signatories to the Writers Guild you do of course have to obey their bylaws mr. Dave Goodman I believe I spoke to you or somebody by the name of Rodman in your firm maybe six or seven months ago and I said is there anybody there that you know will work for two hours without getting paid I don't think anybody is expected to work for nothing so what what are we gonna do we're gonna try and read this morass of material here is about three months of inquiries letters scripts synopsis people new voices that really deserve to be heard I mean good day it's just an example my name is Ryan I am writing you to ask that you consider me as a prospective client I'm a young and hungry rider looking to get a break that is the basis of all of this mail that I received now this has nothing I'm not talking about emails emails I get an average of 20 a day so that's about a hundred a week they are they asked me to read their scripts and the only time I get paid is what I when and if I make a sale now second to winning the lottery selling a screenplay by a newbie is about one of the hardest things you could possibly think of and yet according to the bylaws of the Writers Guild of America West and East that have probably 40 30 or 40 thousand guild members they will not allow a reader or an agent to charge for the submission of a screenplay now that to me is not a level playing field there has to be a better way mr. Goodman if these big agencies the top ten agencies will not accept a screenplay by an unknown why then should I have to do all of their work unpaid if I make one sale in five years ten years I still haven't been recompense through my time so there has to be a better argument today especially today when is so easy to write a script and send it to all corners of the world as an attachment by pushing one button so isn't it time that you in the guild sat down around your big table and discussed a fairer more equitable way for a smaller agency to make a few bucks doing the thing they love most

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