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View Full Version : Any Australian screenwriters? Questions about AWG draft rates and other things.


Scullibundo
03-21-2014, 01:11 AM
Hey guys, I'm new to the forum. :)

I'm an unrepresented screenwriter working in Australia at the moment and have some questions pertaining to fees.

I'm writing an original script at the moment with a producer who I've previously worked on a feature with before and another producer from overseas who was attracted to the treatment that I wrote for said spec.

Now, whilst my writer's agreement will contain the standard 3% of production budget once principal photography starts, we're in the midst of applying for government development funding (Screen NSW). Due to this, we need to do the paperwork now that stipulates now and forever (unless unlikely renegotiations occur) for all the agreed-to amounts for all drafts that might receive some sort of funding (including the first).

I have no idea what the AWG rates are on drafts for an original feature film.

The reason this is pretty important to me is that the first film I worked on for this producer (which is likely to shoot later this year), had me working completely on spec over two full drafts with no salary until it starts shooting, so I've yet to see a cent.

This producer has informed me that there is a $15,000 cap on the development funding grant supposed to fund the first draft, and that after factoring in lawyer costs for paperwork, writer's insurance and his prod company taking (what I'm told) is a small fee, I'd be lucky to see half of that. When we'd previously discussed it earlier, he informed me that asking for $10k of that wouldn't be asking too much.

So for reference sake, I'd love to get the official AWG rates per draft.

Any help would be appreciated. :)

Scullibundo
03-21-2014, 05:01 AM
Don't wanna jump the gun - coz I don't know the the ins and outs of the situation - but some things set off alarm bells.

Is the producer applying specifically for script development funding?

No producer I've worked with has ever tried to pocket up to 66.6% of any sort of script development money, whether it's been from a funding body or private investment.

If the application is for script development, Screen NSW will most likely attach a script editor. They'll take a fair chunk out of any funding.

Will that be expected to come out of whatever leftovers you get?

After the lawyer fees (WTF?) and writer's insurance (WTF? Actually, I don't even know what the hells that is!)

Sounds a bit dodgy to me...



AWG rates are here (http://www.awg.com.au/industrial-62/contracts.html) on the website.

But you have to be a member to access this info. Sorry, my membership has lapsed so I can't pass on the current rates. But I'm sure someone on here can.

Reminds me, I've gotta renew that...

:o

To clarify. I was the one who originally asked for $10k of what I was told would be a $15k development grant for the first draft. That is something I was told was very reasonable originally and am now being told I'm likely to only get something in the way of 7 - 8k whilst the rest is apparently eaten up by the costs I mentioned (and am not entirely familiar with).

The insurance was explained in the case that I break my hand or something during the period in which I'm supposed to complete the first draft. I think that since it's government money, his production company needs to be insured in the event that something like that stops us from delivering.

All of this is of course further complicated by the fact that the producer and I have a good relationship as friends, so insinuating that I feel like he's taking me for a ride is quite awkward.

hscope
03-21-2014, 07:50 PM
Join the AWG and get their advice. It's cheaper than hiring a lawyer, quicker than finding an agent and they've seen these deals a million times before. Plus they're a really nice bunch of people.

tinycartAU
03-21-2014, 11:16 PM
I second the advice to join AWG - good advice is just a phone call away, plus they'll go out of their way to help in any way they can.

All of this is of course further complicated by the fact that the producer and I have a good relationship as friends, so insinuating that I feel like he's taking me for a ride is quite awkward.

I'd say to be up front with the producer.Tell him that you want to get this squared away now so you can concentrate on getting the job done without either of you worrying about the deal later on.

nic.h
03-22-2014, 01:26 AM
I've been funded twice through Film Vic and this sounds odd.

Definitely join the AWG - the legal support alone is worth the annual fee. (They have an associate level membership that is both affordable, and doesn't require sales or income from previous projects.)

Mac H.
03-22-2014, 05:13 AM
The insurance was explained in the case that I break my hand or something during the period in which I'm supposed to complete the first draft. I think that since it's government money, his production company needs to be insured in the event that something like that stops us from delivering.

All of this is of course further complicated by the fact that the producer and I have a good relationship as friends, so insinuating that I feel like he's taking me for a ride is quite awkward.He may not be taking you for a ride .. but it sounds rather clueless.

For a start - the insurance argument sounds like gibberish. Screen NSW protect themselves against this scenario by providing 80% of the grant up front - and the remainder of the 20% on delivery of the script/deliverables.

Insurance in this kind of scenario is called a 'completion guarantee' .. and applies much later. (It's essential then - but I've never heard of this kind of thing at this stage!)

As others have said - join the AWG as an associate member now. One minor warning - they can get a bit fussy about giving advice on projects that start before you join (so don't emphasise it when you talk with them) - but they've seen these things a thousand times before. They are very cluey people in this exact area.

Good luck !

Mac

Scullibundo
03-23-2014, 12:00 AM
Thanks for the replies fellas. I'll sign up to the AWG asap.