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Old 09-20-2017, 01:30 PM   #21
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaellino202 View Post
Ybut the fact remains (and in the case of the writers disagreeing with me, who even refuse to accept it is a pretty large coincidence) that a lot/most of creators with "written by" credits in a lot of the episodes are also "executive producers,"
Yes. This is true. The fact that you don't seem to understand the difference between this and what you were arguing earlier is concerning.

You generally aren't in a position to write all or most episodes of a show unless both of the following are true:

1) You're the creator
2) You're the show-runner.

Being the show-runner means you get to decide (within limits) who writes what episodes, so it means that if you want to write every episode, you (often) can.

You have been arguing that the causality goes the other way. "Write a lot of episodes -> e.p. title."

But the causality is really the opposite: "Be show-runner - > get e.p. title - > write lots of episodes if you want."

Do you understand the difference?


Quote:
Also, to all the writers disagreeing with me, consider this... Have you not heard the term 'vanity credits.' It has been well documented TV shows give them to established TV presenters. The presenters don't do anything to earn these credits, but are given them for just being famous / well known, and nothing more.
No, you don't get a vanity credit just for being famous or well-known.

Sometimes you get a vanity credit for being a big name who is starring in the show. Or for having playing a big role in setting up the show, without day-to-day responsibilities. Or for being the star's or the creator's manager.

Real E.P.'s protect that credit pretty strongly. Vanity credits are more of a thing in features.

I really think you need to accept that you don't understand this business very well and stop acting like you do and arguing with people who do.

Quote:
A new writer sells a TV show. They have been given a contract to sign. That person sends it to a lawyer who negotiates the contract... As most writers here don't believe the writing contribution has any effect, I would like to politely ask, what does a creator of TV series have to do i.e what work would a new writer (who is the creator) have to do to justify the lawyer asking for each of the following credits in the contract. Yes, I know these credits are on the producers guild site, but I also wanted people's own experiences/thoughts.

Executive Producer (not the showrunner)
Co-Executive Producer
Supervising Producer
It's like you haven't been reading a thing that we've written to you.

It's not about "what work" you're promising to do on the show. It has absolutely zero to do with that. What work you'll do on the show is largely dependent on the show-runner.

If you're a first timer and they're not letting you run the show, literally *nothing* you say you're going to do will make any impact in what credit they want to give you.

Because the truth is THEY DON'T CARE what work you do. They will support the showrunner and/or the star. They will shunt you aside the moment they think you're a problem and/or the showrunner or the star wants you shunted aside.

You could say, "I promise to write every episode" and their response will be to point to the showrunner and say, "That's up to her." It does not affect your credit negotiation at all.

Your lawyer will negotiate a fee for you in line with industry norms. They vary tremendously based on the budget and destination of the show, such that quoting numbers isn't terribly meaningful.

Again you're putting the cart before the horse. Don't worry about that. The simple truth is that, in TV today, if you're working regularly you'll make a lot of money. If you create a show that does well you'll make a lot of money.
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:33 PM   #22
KitchonaSteve
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

Firstly, I agree with Wallman. If you're a new TV writer who is trying to calculate his windfall from his first project, then you're focusing on the wrong things. You should be far more concerned with designing the best possible series based on your idea, and then writing the best possible pilot based on that series idea.

Secondly, those of us attempting to answer your questions are basing our answers on American TV. I suspect you might be from the UK, which is quite a bit different from the US. Also we're assuming that the project is covered by the WGA, and even with that there is variance in pay and fees based on the type of network (broadcast, cable, online, etc.), length of episode and per episode budgets.

With that taken care of, we now return to our regularly scheduled disambiguation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaellino202 View Post
Yes, I know producing and writing are separate entities, and you're wondering why would a writer who writes most of the episodes be given executive producer credits when they are different roles...but the fact remains (and in the case of the writers disagreeing with me, who even refuse to accept it is a pretty large coincidence) that a lot/most of creators with "written by" credits in a lot of the episodes are also "executive producers,"
Please reread my previous post. Also those credits are determined before the episodes are written, with the exception of the pilot, and the staff is hired. It's true that higher level writers tend to get more scripts than Staff Writers or Story Editors, but not always.

Quote:
Also, to all the writers disagreeing with me, consider this... Have you not heard the term 'vanity credits.' It has been well documented TV shows give them to established TV presenters. The presenters don't do anything to earn these credits, but are given them for just being famous / well known, and nothing more. So if you can award a vanity credit of "executive producer" to a TV presenter (and this fact was previously brought to the media's attention on a phone scam during one TV game show, concerning presenters who said they were given vanity credits of executive producer) who does nothing to justify it apart from bringing their name to the party, you can certainly award it to a writer who contributes to writing most of the episodes.

But hey, judging by what most of you have said, you will probably say "executive producer" vanity credits do not exist.
Producer credits in TV for hosts, actors, directors, etc. often have more to do with economics than vanity. By taking a chunk of money as a producer it avoids money paid for services rendered under a union contract that would be subject to dues.

Vanity credits in film are more common for people who aren't substantively involved with the film but have a connection and/or offered some expertise or legitimacy.

Vanity Cards are very common in TV. They are usually the logo of the showrunner's prodco and appear for 1-5 seconds at the end of the end-credit roll. These are negotiated as part of the showrunner's contract. I don't believe they are covered in the MBA, but I could be wrong.

Quote:
A new writer sells a TV show. They have been given a contract to sign. That person sends it to a lawyer who negotiates the contract... As most writers here don't believe the writing contribution has any effect, I would like to politely ask, what does a creator of TV series have to do i.e what work would a new writer (who is the creator) have to do to justify the lawyer asking for each of the following credits in the contract. Yes, I know these credits are on the producers guild site, but I also wanted people's own experiences/thoughts.

Executive Producer (not the showrunner)
Co-Executive Producer
Supervising Producer

Second question, what:

a) percentage fee of the buget (or percentage fee/ or set fee)
b) percentage of profits

- would a new writer be entitled to, in being credited with each of the credits mentioned above per episode. As this is a pessimistic board for writers, please no pessimistic numbers, some positive figures please to give the new writers out there some hope.
There is some good information about pay and fees in the WGA Schedule of Minimums. These are only minimums, but that seems to be what most of us are getting these days.

Fees based on percentage of budget and getting a percentage of the profits are not how the TV business in US works. Writers get paid either weekly or per episode, script fees, and earn residuals on reuse of episodes.

HTH,
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-Steve Trautmann
3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

Last edited by KitchonaSteve : 09-20-2017 at 02:37 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:47 PM   #23
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

I forgot to mention that tomorrow's, 9/21/2017, episode (#73) of 3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast contains a discussion of credits and contributions in the sitcom world. It also contains a lot of foul language and a few jokes of questionable taste.

HTH,
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:47 PM   #24
michaellino202
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

Wallman says:
"Otherwise, you also seem to be under the mistaken impression that you are debating matters open to interpretation."

I understand what you are saying sir, it is your way or the high way.

"You may be referring to IMDB, while many of us are speaking from our direct experience in these precise type of negotiations."

In which case, don't take this the wrong way, but a 'much better' entertainment attorney could work wonders. Afterall, no two attorneys are the same.

"Lastly, if your posts are any indication of your reading and comprehension level, not to mention your ability to bandy back and forth with others, the note process will decimate you and likely preclude any potential contract."

I understand some like to undervalue themselves and don't want to get the best deal, and some would rather stay at the heel of their master. It is
unfortunate the industry likes to walk all over writers.


Ronaldinho says
"Yes. This is true. The fact that you don't seem to understand the difference between this and what you were arguing earlier is concerning."

Unfortunately sir, you still don't get what I am trying to say. I understand the difference very clearly. But every time I say something, you misinterpret my words and state that I am saying something else... If ever Wallman's comments about reading and comprehension made any sense, perhaps this just might be the one case...

"You have been arguing that the causality goes the other way. "Write a lot of episodes -> e.p. title."

I'm not saying it is an automatic right. Did I not say they are separate entities??? Having one does not automatically give right to other... I accept that. I am saying a lot of writers who have written by credits are executive producers, and it is a very big coincidence i.e it is just pure chance it all happens to be that way. No matter how many times it happens. Again, I thoroughly accept it is coincidence, and I am not trying to be humorous when I say it. I am being genuine.


You said
"No, you don't get a vanity credit just for being famous or well-known."
and continued
"Sometimes you get a vanity credit for being a big name who is starring in the show."

These two points are exactly the same, and if you didn't see that, my apologies, as this is what I meant. A sense another episode of misinterpretation. Wallman, where are you, when I need you.


"I really think you need to accept that you don't understand this business very well and stop acting like you do and arguing with people who do."

I got to admit, Wallman and yourself... It's either your way or the high way.


"If you're a first timer and they're not letting you run the show, literally *nothing* you say you're going to do will make any impact in what credit they want to give you,"

Don't take this the wrong way, but you sound like a producer who would offer a dollar option to a newbie writer if you had the chance. There's that pessimism I was talking about.

"Because the truth is THEY DON'T CARE what work you do"

If they don't care what work you do, they would not have taken up the creator's concept or pilot in the first place. Not unless you think show runners do not care about the creator's work, and only take up projects they really hate. I am sorry to disagree, but nearly every person
I have spoken to, has said nobody will take up your work unless they fall in love with it. 'Fall in love' and 'care' pretty much the same don't you think?

However, I get what you are trying to say, writers are at the bottom of the pile, and they get are getting constantly knocked about, and nothing will be done to change that because it is 'the norm'.

Keep up the good work chaps.

Last edited by michaellino202 : 09-20-2017 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:07 PM   #25
NoNeckJoe
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

Am I the only one impressed with the well-informed and tactful replies from Ronaldinho, Wallman and Steve in this thread? Especially in the face of such obstinacy and insistent denials.

Well done, "chaps!"
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:12 PM   #26
michaellino202
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

NoNeck Joe - stop stealing my lines
And one brownie point too.
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:47 PM   #27
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaellino202 View Post
However, I get what you are trying to say, writers are at the bottom of the pile, and they get are getting constantly knocked about, and nothing will be done to change that because it is 'the norm'.
No one's saying this. Writers rule TV, but newbie writers don't. In answer to your original question...
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaellino202 View Post
...If you are an unproduced writer, and after an outline, you write the original pilot (which could lead to a subsequent series)... As well as the 'created by' credit, is it the norm for a TV program creator/writer to be given the 'executive producer' credit (when you first sign a contract)?
It is highly unlikely. I haven't heard of an unproduced writer being made an EP, and certainly not showrunner. I have heard of experienced writers creating shows and being EP but not showrunner. There are also cases like Matt Nix who was an experienced indie writer/director, but with no TV experience, being made EP/showrunner for Burn Notice on USA Network not [[[Person of Interest]]] . But that was on a cable channel; I doubt a broadcast network would have done the same. You can listen to Episode #3 of 3rd & Fairfax with Matt Nix where he discusses the situation.

A complete newbie writer would get paired with an experienced showrunner, which the newbie often has some say in who gets hired. Usually the newb gets Co-EP credit or sometimes less and often the chance to write a couple of episodes, which means script fees, and per-episode pay.

HTH,
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3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

Last edited by KitchonaSteve : 09-20-2017 at 06:34 PM. Reason: Wrong Series
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:43 PM   #28
michaellino202
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

KitchonaSteve -

Thank you. You are a gentleman sir. This was the kind of answer I was searching for.


NoNeckJoe says:
"Especially in the face of such obstinacy and insistent denials."

Lighten up Joe. It's banter. Stop being so politically correct and have a drink for me will you.
Cheers.

Thank you also for your contributions Wall & Dinho, the dynamic duo

I feel like giving an Oscar speech lol....
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:39 PM   #29
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

KitchonaSteve, I think you meant "Burn Notice", not Person of Interest, right?

Michaelino, the "I won't serve at the heels of the masters" attitude is very popular among writers angrily typing away at Starbucks at noon, but it's never gotten anyone a job or an EP credit, and it's certainly cost a few writers those things.

I'm no TV mogul, but I've sold a show (to Syfy) and even though I have some tv and feature credits to my name, EP was never an option right out of the gate, because I hadn't proven I could handle that particular job. You can get it maybe if there's a competitive bidding situation for it, and they have to dangle that to land your project. But a stance of "You can't have my project unless you give me, someone completely unproven, the highest title in television and all the power that comes with it" will most likely make the whole thing go away, because they hear ten pitches a day, and their network will survive just fine.

What is realistic to ask for is Co-EP with the caveat that if there's a season 2, you'll get bumped up. Call me crazy, but that actually seems fair. Because then you will have proven yourself to them as a producer, not just some guy with a good idea and no experience doing the job. It just means for that first season as a Co-Ep you'll have to suffer through making a sh*tload of money and getting your show made; aka, serving at the heel of the master all the way to the bank. There are worse fates. And you'll probably get EP on the next one you sell. Not giving the keys to the kingdom to some rando on their first job isn't some anti-writer conspiracy, it's logical business practice.
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:40 PM   #30
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Default Re: TV program creator. What credits are fair?

I amended my previous post due to citing the wrong series. Matt Nix created and ran Burn Notice not Person of Interest. I also remember that USA let Matt produce the pilot since he had experience writing and directing indie films, and when the pilot went well the let him run the show.
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