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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Just Have to Say...

Look at these two items.

First, the Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay:

Juno -- Diablo Cody
Lars and the Real Girl -- Nancy Oliver
Michael Clayton -- Tony Gilroy
Ratatouille -- Screenplay by Brad Bird. Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
The Savages -- Tamara Jenkins

Then look at this note from the WGA leadership, about their changes in opening informal talks with the AMPTP:

In order to make absolutely clear our commitment to bringing a speedy conclusion to negotiations, we have decided to withdraw our proposals on reality and animation.

Notice anything odd there?

Brad Bird can write a screenplay like anyone else, and be nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar like anyone else. But he won't be covered by the WGA contract like any other writer. Just because it is an animated feature. The Academy sees no difference between screenwriting for animated and non-animated movies. But somehow the AMPTP does.

A bit ironic, in my view, and very frustrating.

So, how long do you think it will be before Brad Bird stops writing brilliant animated films like The Iron Giant and instead starts writing non-animated films that aren't his forte (or presumably his greatest love and strength), just because it makes financial sense? Is there some logic here that I don't get?

And out of curiosity, does anyone know if animation directors are covered by the DGA?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's definately silly and makes little to no sense.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Tavis said...


Why not create a whole list of animation nominations-- or just have "The Animated Oscars."

(insert obvious joke here)

2:36 AM  
Blogger Leif said...

I believe his next movie is 1906, based on the earthquake, so to answer your question, Now is when he's going to work on non animated films 8)

How much it has to do with financial sense I don't know. My guess is that working for pixar results in being paid better then your average animated writer, they tend to respect talent a bit more there.

4:23 AM  
Anonymous Nadia said...

Well its nice sharing!

6:27 AM  
Blogger LHOOQtius ov Borg said...

I am not sure what is the story with reality programming, that seems like a big deal to drop and I'm not sure why it was done. But, regarding animation, I always wondered how WGA was planning to deal with IATSE who has animation writing juristiction, as they have been emphatic to remind everyone about. This issue of having both WGA and IATSE contracts governing animation writers, and sometimes both options on one show, seems problematic at best and it's a shame WGA didn't work more closely with IATSE to present a united front.

I suspect, in answer to the DGA question, that animation Directors who are union are probably also split into IATSE and DGA camps like writers with IATSE and WGA.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

As someone who works for writer-directors of an animated feature, to the best of my knowledge borg is correct.

Generally speaking, animation is covered by IATSE--be it writing, directing or (obviously) animating. The WGA and DGA only cover specific projects and there's no rhyme or reason to it other than that was how that particular project was set up...or, like FOX primetime animated shows, it became WGA-DGA protected because the writers and directors involved fought for it.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Emily Blake said...

I asked a writer who works with animation on occasion that question yesterday and he said that yes, animation directors are covered by the DGA.

7:56 PM  
Blogger James said...

It'll change soon.

The line between "animated" and "live-action" is getting very blurry.

Avatar and Battle Chasers will help push it over, as well as anything Zemeckis ends up doing in the future.

That said, Brad Bird is so $$$.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Brad Bird does rock. The Iron Giant rules.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous PlĂ­nio Moreira said...

Man, The Academy is years ahead AMPTP.

8:21 PM  

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