THE WRITE STUFF
Michael Fleming has a noteworthy story in Variety today reporting that a dozen screenwriters with strong commercial track records have joined together in a collective called Writing Partners which is making a deal at Fox. Offering a stark contrast to the cliche of the abused Hollywood writer, the Fox deal offers the scribes real incentives to bring spec projects to the studio.
From the piece:
The writers, who’ll take small upfront payments and will only get their usual fees on films that go into production, will also be guaranteed input as producers, and protection from being rewritten without their permission.
Fox is backing a venture called Writing Partners, which is comprised of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (“Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Shrek”); Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine”); John August (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”); Stuart Beattie (“Collateral”); Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (“3:10 to Yuma”); Tim Herlihy (“The Wedding Singer”); Simon Kinberg (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “X-Men: The Last Stand”); Craig Mazin (“Scary Movie 3 and 4”); and Marianne & Cormac Wibberley (“National Treasure 1 and 2”).
The venture marks the third time this year that a collective of writers have banded together with the goal of making them real partners in the creative process, but Writing Partners breaks ground as the first to align directly with a major studio, and the first to spell out that the scribes will be paid gross as writers.
Fleming goes on to speculate that the deal is an attempt by Fox to deal with the upcoming strike by ensuring that it has dibs on the quality specs that could emerge from the writers’ enforced downtime.