WGC Writers Talk Future of TV at "Flash Conferences"
November 22, 2013
As the WGC has reported previously, the CRTC is hosting a conversation on the future of TV in Canada (Let's Talk TV: A Conversation With Canadians). The WGC is participating in “flash conferences” across the country in December and into January, to discuss and explore pertinent issues. We will be working with the CMPA, ACTRA, the DGC and others to make sure that creators are involved in the discussion.
Feds Release Details on "Unbundling"
November 22, 2013
In response to the "unbundling" of cable subscriptions proposed by the federal government in a recent throne speech, the WGC will be working to ensure that decision-makers are aware of potentially negative impacts on our industry.
Last month the federal government announced plans for “unbundling” cable subscriptions, a plan designed to make it possible for Canadians to "pick and pay," choosing a personalized combination of television stations.
The government described the agenda as “defending Canadian consumers,” but also stated it will "require channels to be unbundled while protecting Canadian jobs.”
Welcome Our New Communications Director
November 22, 2013
We welcome Li Robbins as our new Director of Communications. Li is an accomplished communications professional with two decades of experience in digital, print and broadcast communications.
Li comes to us from the CBC where she worked as a website producer, writing, editing and creating social media. Previous work includes contributing to national radio programming, creating the network show Roots & Wings, and working with shows such as “Q” and The Arts Tonight. She began her career at CBC at As It Happens.
As well, Li’s work has been published by The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and The Walrus magazine, among other publications.
Li lives in Toronto, and appreciates good writing, good singing, and good cookies.
WTTV In Toronto: Saving Hope
November 13, 2013
The next WTTV in Toronto on November 26th will feature Saving Hope showrunners Morwyn Brebner and Adam Pettle. Cal Coons will lead the discussion.
The popular series started with Charlie Harris, Chief of Surgery of Toronto’s Hope-Zion Hospital in a coma and his fiancée and fellow surgeon, Alex Reid, racing to save Harris' life. In a later episode, the two surgeons are reunited as Harris awakes from his coma. The last 9 episodes of season 2 will air in January to be followed by season 3 which is slated to air in the spring of 2014.
Event Details on Facebook.
RSVP to Elaine Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominations Open for 2014 WGC Awards
October 7, 2013
Nominations are now open for the 18th annual WGC Screenwriting Awards. Members can now nominate online and upload scripts through the members only section of the WGC website. Deadline for entries is Monday, December 2, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. EST. Please find all of the details here and nominate a script today!
WGC Pushes for Creator Protections at Corus Hearing
November 8, 2013
Executive Director Maureen Parker and Director of Policy Neal McDougall appeared before the CRTC on Tuesday to argue for safeguards to protect creators should Corus Entertainment Inc. acquire control of several animation channels. Corus has applied to take control of TELETOON, TELETOON Retro (English and French) and the Cartoon Network from Bell Media/Astral Media. Earlier this summer the CRTC had ordered Bell to divest itself of these services as a condition of acquiring Astral.
The WGC argued that with control of these animation services, Corus would dominate the children’s and animation genre in Canada, and that a variety of safeguards should be in place to ensure a diversity of voices in the system. In particular, the WGC argued for:
• A 10% limitation on programming overlap between YTV, Treehouse, and the animation channels being acquired, to limit program repetition across these services;
• A condition of licence for TELETOON to ensure that a minimum of 75% of all expenditures for original, first-run Canadian programming on the service is directed to independent production companies; and
• The maintenance of TELETOON’s current condition of licence requiring it to devote a minimum of one hour between 8:00pm - midnight to Canadian programs, so as to ensure a spot for edgy, adult-oriented Canadian animation on the channel.
On the next day of the hearing, Corus agreed to the 10% overlap limitation should the transaction be approved. (Corus had earlier agreed to a WGC proposal to limit interstitials, PSAs and infomercials on TELETOON.) Ultimately, however, the CRTC will decide if the transaction should be approved or not, and on what conditions. The CRTC could allow the transaction as-is, allow it with conditions, or deny it outright, in which case the channels would have to look for a new buyer. The WGC will continue to follow these developments.
WGC Proposes Pre-Development Program to CMF
November 8, 2013
The WGC has made several proposals to the Canada Media Fund regarding its Development Program, which currently delivers approximately $8 million annually to English convergent television script and story development. The CMF Development Program is a crucial support for TV writing, but it has been under-utilized in recent years, owing in part to shifts in industry practices. As such, the WGC has proposed the creation of a new “sub-program” for “pre-development”—early-stage development and pitch material creation. In addition, the WGC has proposed expanding the eligibility window for development costs, so that expenses incurred before a development deal with a broadcaster is reached can be included. The CMF will consider this and other industry feedback for possible implementation in its 2014-2015 funding programs.
WTTV in Toronto with Peter Mitchell
October 16, 2013
WGC President Jill Golick talks with Murdoch Mysteries showrunner Peter Mitchell at WTTV in Toronto.
Ms. Golick led the lively and entertaining session with Mr. Mitchell at Bell TIFF on Tuesday. Audience members were treated to insights into Mr. Mitchell's long time career and to the realities of showrunning one of Canada's most popular series - Murdoch Mysteries. Mr. Mitchell talked about "jams" in the writer room and free flowing exchange of ideas to break story and also touched on fan influence on the show and the challenges involved in making period TV.
"They pay me for my taste," he told the crowd about his success in the industry.
Showrunners Highlight of IAWG
October 8, 2013
Some of the Writers Guild of Canada's (WGC) top talent were guests at the recent International Affiliation of Writers Guilds meeting hosted by the WGC in Toronto. These writers shared their experiences in showrunning some of the most popular Canadian TV series including Flashpoint, Rookie Blue and The Listener with representatives of other Guilds from around the world.
From left to right Mark Ellis, Stephanie Morgenstern, Peter Mohan and Tassie Cameron.
Protecting Writers Part of IAWG Meeting
October 4, 2013
The Writers Guild of Canada hosted the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG) meeting this week in Toronto. The issue of free work was discussed during the three day meeting and a new resolution was passed condemning situations in which writers are coerced to provide free work.
On October 3, 2013, the member guilds unanimously passed the following resolution:
"The International Affiliation of Writers Guilds condemns all practices in which screenwriters around the globe are pressured, coerced, or otherwise impelled to provide free work, whether prior to engagement, or in excess of contractual provisions. This exploitation by producers and broadcasters undermines the writers’ right to fair payment for their creative labours."
The IAWG is comprised of full member guilds including the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), Writers Guilds of America, East (WGAe) and West (WGAw), Writers Guild of Great Britain (WGGB), Writers Guild of Ireland (WGI), Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC), Scriptwriters Guild of Isreal (SGI), New Zealand Writers Guild (NZWG) and La Guilde des Scénaristes Francaise (La Guilde).