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  • Ageism

    Has anyone read the newspaper articles about the 28 screenwriters (WGA members) who filed a class-action lawsuit against TV companies, studios and talent agencies alleging age discrimination? Seems like 40 is the magic number after which writing for a younger audience becomes impossible. The first article appeared around october 24th. I saw another today.

    The suit is mainly by TV sitcom and drama writers. But alleges that age discrimination is widespread in the movie industry, not just TV.

    Should we even argue whether age discirmination goes on or should we assume that it does and go on to the next question: Do you really have to be under 40 to write for an audience under 40?

    Why would 40 be the cut off? Why not 30? I mean, if the biggest audience is males between 18-24 (please someone correct me this stat is wrong), why would anyone over 30 (does anyone remember when "anyone over 30" was suspect?) really know the mind of an 18-24 year old?

    40 seems awfully young to be drowned in the writer dead pool by industry "bigs". One article I read described a female writer who lied about her age, said she was ten years younger than she was in order to get a writing job. She excelled, even got awards fer her writing, until her age was found out, then she was fired. Yes, she was over 40.

    Why can't a script live or die on its own merits? What happens at 40 that causes instant inability to understand and write for youth markets?


  • #2
    Real bad Logan's Run flashback going on here on my side...

    Checking my hand/palm for a crystal gone black, kosk


    • #3
      Ouch! (as I leap away) I liked Logan's Run!


      • #4
        So did I, Cornell... That's why it hurt so bad...!

        Didja get creeped out by Box the robot trying to freeze our hero in that flick? I know I did...

        "Ho-ho-ho... Green Giant..."


        • #5
          It's not so much about the exact age, it's about whether you're perceived as being of the same generation as the people doing the hiring. 20's-30's feels ok, 40's feels like mom and dad. Of course, none of these idiots seem to be thinking about what will happen to them when they are in their 40's.

          Ageism exists but some of the statistics are misleading. WGA stats are quoted re: the percentage of each age group in the guild that are employed. Most of the 20 somethings are working, less of the people in their 30's and so on. However, the reason most of the Guild members in their 20's are working is because they just joined. And they just joined because they are working. So it's a tad misleading but it's still a reality that writers in their 50's are having a very hard time.

          This is the only career where as you gain skills and abilities you move downward.


          • #6
            Too Old to Rock n' Roll

            As a writer over 40 years old, it does sometimes cause me pain to realize that the perception in Hollywood is that I'm out of touch with audiences. I've been writing professionally for more than 20 years, and it's only been in recent years that I've found that I actually have something of interest to say. Writing a film is a craft, and it takes some practice to learn to create a good one on paper. But, based on my knowledge of Hollywood, it's far more important to look good in a hot-tub and listen to the latest music. Still, with my current project, no one has asked my age and I haven't been subjected to ageism as far as I know. The script is good and that's the bottom line. Perhaps it's only when you actually have to meet important people that one's age becomes a factor.