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Top Hollywood Screenwriters Hit Town

Top Hollywood Screenwriters Hit Town

A year ago, they brought Hollywood to a virtual standstill. Next week, some of the key players behind by the American writers strike hit Auckland. Their other credits include blockbusters such as Jaws and Shrek 2.

The annual meeting of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds Annual Meeting draws delegates from around the world including England, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Australia and, of course, the United States. It is hosted this year by the New Zealand Writers Guild.

"Maintaining close ties with our international affiliates is crucial," says New Zealand Writers Guild Executive Director, Steven Gannaway. "During the Writer's Strike there were certainly sneaky studios in Hollywood who looked to these shores for potential strike-breakers but kiwi writers have a strong sense of integrity and loyalty. The long term benefits of staying strong far out-weighed any short term offers. "

While that strike was ultimately resolved, new issues are on the horizon. The Writers Guild of America have drawn attention to the lack of payment and acknowledgement of writers working on so-called 'Reality Shows'.

"While the producers of 'reality tv ' would like their viewers to believe that these shows are unscripted, the truth is that teams of writers construct the narratives and help to incite conflicts to ramp up the drama," says Gannaway. "The Writer's Guild is pushing for a fair deal for 'reality' writers and more transparency from the producers of these shows."

Another issue on the table at the meeting this week, is a recent study on the effect of local content laws on the locally made productions.

"This will be particularly relevant here in New Zealand if National forms our next government, as they are looking at making charter funding contestable by all networks, not just TVNZ," says Gannaway.


Carl Gottlieb

Carl was brought on to script the screenplay for Jaws by Director, Stephen Spielberg, and he also had a supporting role onscreen. This was the first film to be simultaneously released on hundreds of screens across the US - a strategy that paid off when it became the first film to net more than $100 million at the box office.

The opening scene of Jaws has been voted one of the most terrifying of all time and the film had such an impact on its audiences that it was thought to be responsible for keeping away from the beaches the summer it was released.

Carl is the past Vice- President of the Writers Guild of America -West and can offer an insight into the reality of life as a Hollywood Scriptwriter.

David Weiss

David is Vice President of The Writers Guild of America - West. He played an instrumental role in the writers strike which began a year ago in November 07. David's screen credits include Shrek 2, Jimmy Neutron - Boy Genius, Rug Rats in Paris and All Dogs Go to Heaven. David can offer an inside view on how the union brought the Hollywood giants to heel, and informed perspective on the issues of payment for new media broadcast which prompted the strike and current issues which include the role and payment of writers working on reality television shows.


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