Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program-Year 4 Launched!
The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) and Bell Media have launched Year 4 of their Program to connect writers of diverse backgrounds to Canadian television series, and industry professionals with rising talent. The Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program offers 16 emerging and mid-career writers the opportunity to sharpen their skills, and gain key insider contacts and knowledge in the Canadian television industry. It also awards two participants with a paid internship in the writers room of a Bell Media television series. Find out more here
WTTV with The Listener
Following its most-watched season yet, CTV’s hit original series The Listener returned for Season 4 on May 29. Join WTTV on June 24th at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 7:30pm for a screening and discussion with The Listener showrunner Peter Mohan. With screenwriter and director Cal Coons, Peter will consider the challenges and opportunities of taking a series into multiple seasons, and the ways he has brought The Listener’s Writers Room together around a creative vision that has audiences coming back for more. Seating is limited - please RSVP to Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Intern for the Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program Selected!
The WGC and Bell Media are pleased to announce that Shevon Singh has been selected as the Western Canada intern for Year 3 of the Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program. Shevon will be joining the Bitten writers room this summer which includes Showrunner Daegan Fryklind, Grant E. Rosenberg, William Zmak, Will Pascoe, Denis McGrath, Karen Hill and Julia Cohen for a paid internship. Daegan has previously been involved in the Program as a Mentor, and incidentally, Will was Shevon’s Mentor this year, so we’re very pleased that Daegan’s team will be showing Shevon the ropes.
Shevon hails from Kitimat, BC. She grew up listening to her dad’s ghost stories and as a result, loves a tale with an otherworldly twist. As a Langara College Film Arts alumni, Shevon won a juried award in writing for her short film, The Goods, which screened at the 2012 Whistler Film Festival.
Report IDs Gender Inequity in Cdn Industry
The WGC participated with many other industry guilds and unions to help look at data on employment in the industry. The Report to come out of that analysis, Focus on Women 2013, was released today, and concludes that women are underrepresented at nearly all levels of production in Canada’s film and television industry. The participating groups, collectively known as Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen (CUES), worked in collaboration with Rina Fraticelli of Women in View and Canadian academic and Dr. Amanda Coles of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT). The Report reviews extensive industry statistics and data from production coordinators, grips, camera technicians and hairstylists to writers, directors and actors in order to better understand the opportunities and challenges facing women in the screen-based production industry, and to develop recommendations and tools to help increase the number of women at all levels of production. Find the Report here.
WGC to Senate Committee on Bill C-377
The WGC’s Maureen Parker appeared before the Senate Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee on May 29, and appealed to senators to reject Bill C-377 and its requirements for public disclosure by unions of all financial transactions over $5,000. Read the entire presentation here.
The WGC noted that if passed, this legislation will be damaging for screenwriters. We noted that much of what the WGC does is resolve disputes between producers and writers expeditiously, in confidential settlements. That this is the reason members and non-members pay dues. Under this Bill, producers will know which writers have been paid in a dispute and may blacklist those writers.
The WGC argued that the requirement to make public all financial transactions over $5,000 will put the guild and its members at competitive disadvantage. That many of our collective bargaining strategies will become visible as we often hire outside legal counsel to assist us with negotiation preparation. And outside consultants and lawyers may not work with us if their fees become public, or engagers with deeper pockets may seek to restrict our access to them by offering higher fees. We will lose all strategic positioning in collective bargaining.
In addition to these challenges, the proposed legislation will also undermine our efforts to ensure that Canadians have high-quality Canadian content on their screens. In particular, our work with the CRTC is at risk as it requires the expertise of regulatory lawyers and experienced accounting firms. To be effective, we need to retain equally competent expertise. Quite often these specialists will only work with us on a confidential basis, fearing repercussions. Without a doubt, broadcasters will search the new database to find out who we have engaged and how much we are paying them in order to thwart our efforts. This will result in a disservice to all Canadians.
The WGC also noted that the guild’s Constitution and Bylaws already provide members with transparency, accountability and the ability to shape the direction of their organization through elected representatives. The Bill’s proposed reporting overlays unnecessary, costly, arduous and potentially damaging processes, and it should be withdrawn or defeated.
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