Tag Archives: Writer’s Guild of Canada

Canadian screenwriters and independent producers reach terms on new Independent Production Agreement

From a media release:

Today, the Canadian Media Producers Association and the Writers Guild of Canada jointly announced the successful conclusion of negotiations, resulting in an agreement in principle on the terms for a new Independent Production Agreement. The CMPA-WGC Independent Production Agreement establishes the terms, conditions and rates for writers, story editors, and story consultants.

“We are proud to have come to terms on an agreement that truly values the important alliance that exists between Canadian screenwriters and independent producers,” said Warren Ross, the CMPA’s Vice-President of National Industrial Relations and Senior Counsel. “I want to thank the individuals on both sides of the bargaining table for their commitment to finding solutions that serve to benefit the future of our sector and Canadian storytelling on screen.”

“As the industry continues to evolve in Canada, we are pleased to have reached this agreement with the CMPA,” said Maureen Parker, WGC Executive Director. “We feel it will continue to both protect the interests of Canadian screenwriters and maintain a good relationship with our producer partners for several years to come.”

The terms for the new three-year Independent Production Agreement will be sent to the CMPA’s Board of Directors, and distributed by the WGC, for ratification. The current agreement expires on June 30, 2019.

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The WGC announces new president, council

From a media release:

The Writers Guild of Canada is pleased to announce that showrunner Dennis Heaton is the WGC’s new president, elected by WGC council to serve the 2,200 members of the Guild from May 1, 2018 to April 30, 2020. Dennis is an award-winning screenwriter based in Vancouver; currently showrunner of the upcoming Netflix show, The Order.

“We’re very excited to work with Dennis,” says WGC Executive Director Maureen Parker. “His showrunning experience will hold us in good stead as we go into Independent Production Agreement bargaining within the next year.”

Dennis has been a member of the WGC since 2001 and has served on the Guild’s council since 2012. He was showrunner of the internationally renowned police procedural Motive (CTV/ABC seasons one and two), and has written for The Listener and Blood Ties, among other shows.

“It’s great to be the new WGC president,” says Heaton. “I’m looking forward to building on the Guild’s past successes, as well as facing the challenges ahead.”

In addition to electing a new president, the Guild also has a new council, responsible for setting policies and overseeing Guild activities. The 2018-20 WGC council is made up of experienced screenwriter members from across the country: Vice President Andrew Wreggitt (Mayerthorpe), Treasurer Mark Ellis (X Company), Marsha Greene (Mary Kills People), Alex Levine (Orphan Black), Anne-Marie Perrotta (Max & Ruby), and Michael Amo (Pure).

The WGC’s new council, along with Executive Director Maureen Parker, is ready to move ahead in a time of industry flux, and to continue the Guild’s ongoing work on behalf of Canadian screenwriters.

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Spiral, Anne, Letterkenny and Cardinal top 22nd Annual WGC Screenwriting Awards

Writers for Spiral, Anne, Letterkenny and Cardinal were among the winners at the 22nd Annual Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards in Toronto on Monday night.

The event, held at the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning’s Koerner Hall, celebrated the country’s screenwriting talent in television, web series and film. Spiral writer Karen McClellan (pictured above) won in the Shorts & Webseries category for her script “The Girl in the Dream.”

“Writers don’t get here on their own,” McClellan said. “I want to say a special shout-out to some writers who have taken a chance on me in the past: Susin Nielsen, Shelley Eriksen, Bruce Smith and a dear friend who is not here tonight but always in my heart, Denis McGrath.”

Letterkenny‘s Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney won the TV Comedy category for their Season 2 script, “Relationships,” while Cardinal‘s Aubrey Nealon took home the TV Drama trophy for the Season 1 episode, “John Cardinal.”

Gavin Crawford, comedian, writer and host of CBC Radio’s Because News hosted, starting the night off with a surprise appearance by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne a.k.a. Crawford. As Wynne, Crawford extolled the virtues of Canadian television and film writers while taking a jab at recent adaptations of Anne of Green Gables and Alias Grace.

“I’m particularly excited about Kale & Prune, a six-hour CBC miniseries adapted from a Margaret Atwood’s Whole Foods receipt,” he joked.

Alison Lea Bingeman, Marsha Greene, Rachel Langer, Joseph Kay, Cynthia Knight, Adriana Maggs, Elize Morgan, Jiro Okada and Sugith Varughese presented the night’s categories.

Mark Ellis was the recipient of The Denis McGrath Award for his service to the Writers Guild of Canada, Michael MacLennan was given The WGC Showrunner Award, Sarah Dodd the Sondra Kelly Award and Sherry White the Alex Barris Mentorship Award. WGC president Jill Golick, whose term has ended after eight years, had the final say of the night with an impassioned plea to the group’s members.

“Stories are the best way to change hearts and minds,” Golick said. “Keep writing my friends. Keep finding ways to bring truth to light. ”

The category winners are:

Shorts & Webseries
Spiral, Episode 101 “The Girl in the Dream,” written by Karen McClellan

Children’s
Mysticons, Season 1 “Sisters in Arms,” written by Sean Jara

Movie of the Week & Miniseries
Alias Grace, written by Sarah Polley

Best Script from Season 1
Anne, Season 1 “I Am No Bird, And No Net Ensnares Me,” written by Moira Walley-Beckett

TV Comedy
Letterkenny, Season 2 “Relationships,” written by Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney

TV Drama
Cardinal, Season 1 “John Cardinal,” written by Aubrey Nealon

Tweens & Teens
The Stanley Dynamic, Season 2 “The Stanley Cheer,” written by Matt Kippen

Feature Film
Entanglement, written by Jason Filiatrault

Documentary
The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, written by Mark Leiren-Young

 

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Announcing the WGC Screenwriting Awards finalists celebrating Canada’s screenwriters

From a media release:

Every powerful show, movie or webseries comes from an equally powerful script — the work of talented screenwriters. The WGC Screenwriting Awards celebrate Canadian screenwriters and the scripts they write in a gala evening hosted this year by Gavin Crawford, writer, comedian, and host of CBC Radio’s Because News. Gavin’s long-time accomplice, screenwriter Kyle Tingley, is this year’s awards show writer.

In contention: scripts from shows, films, and webseries including Alias Grace (Sarah Polley), Cardinal (Aubrey Nealon), Mary Kills People (Tara Armstrong), Kim’s Convenience (Matt Kippen, Anita Kapila), Letterkenny (Jared Keeso & Jacob Tierney), Allure (Carlos & Jason Sanchez), The Hundred-Year-Old-Whale (Mark Leiren-Young), Spiral (Karen McClellan), The Bagel and Becky Show (Evan Thaler Hickey) and many others. Please see below for the complete list of categories and finalists.

CHILDREN’S
The Bagel and Becky Show, Season 1 “The 12 Quadrillion Days of Christmas”
Written by Evan Thaler Hickey

Mysticons, Season 1 “Heart of Gold”
Written by Elize Morgan

Mysticons, Season 1 “Sisters in Arms”
Written by Sean Jara

DOCUMENTARY
The Hundred-Year-Old Whale
Written by Mark Leiren-Young

The Road Forward
Written by Marie Clements

The Taming of the Queue
Written by Josh Freed

FEATURE FILM
Allure
Written by Carlos & Jason Sanchez

Entanglement
Written by Jason Filiatrault

Indian Horse
Written by Dennis Foon

The Man Who Invented Christmas
Written by Susan Coyne

MOW AND MINISERIES
Alias Grace “Part 5”
Written by Sarah Polley

Anne of Green Gables: Fire and Dew
Written by Susan Coyne

Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening at Macdonald Hall!
Written by Adam Barken & Mike McPhaden

Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War
Written by Mike McPhaden

BEST SCRIPT FROM SEASON ONE
Anne, Season 1 “I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me”
Written by Moira Walley-Beckett

Bellevue, Season 1 “You Don’t Understand Me At All”
Written by Jane Maggs

Ghost Wars, Season 1 “Whatever Happened to Maggie Rennie”
Written by Rachel Langer

SHORTS AND WEBSERIES
The Drop In
Written by Naledi Jackson

Hotel Transylvania: “Who’s the Boss?”
Written by Mike D’Ascenzo

Spiral, Episode 101 “The Girl in the Dream”
Written by Karen McClellan

TV COMEDY
Kim’s Convenience, Season 2 “Business Award”
Written by Matt Kippen

Kim’s Convenience, Season 2 “Resting Place”
Written by Anita Kapila

Letterkenny, Season 2 “Relationships”
Written by Jared Keeso & Jacob Tierney

Still Standing, Season 3 “Fort McMurray”
Written by Jonny Harris, Fraser Young, Graham Chittenden and Steve Dylan

TV DRAMA
Cardinal, Season 1 “John Cardinal”
Written by Aubrey Nealon

Mary Kills People, Season 1 “Bloody Mary”
Written by Tara Armstrong

Pure, Season 1 “Ordination”
Written by Michael Amo

X Company, Season 3 “Promises”
Written by Nicolas Billon

TWEENS & TEENS
Degrassi: Next Class, Season 4 “#FactsOnly”
Written by Courtney Jane Walker

Degrassi: Next Class, Season 4 “#RollUpToTheClubLike”
Written by Matt Huether

Raising Expectations, Season 1 “Food Fight at the Algonquin”
Written by Barbara Haynes

The Stanley Dynamic, Season 2 “The Stanley Cheer”
Written by Matt Kippen

 

[themoneytizer id=”12602-28″]

 

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Writers Guild of Canada: CRTC decision spells potential disaster

From a media release:

Yesterday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) dealt a major blow to Canadian screenwriters — and Canadian audiences. In its decision on licence renewals for Bell, Corus, and Rogers, the Commission rolled back the broadcasters’ minimum financial contributions to Canadian drama and other programing.

This despite the fact that the WGC’s modest proposal to the CRTC, reflecting well-researched data, asked only for the maintenance of the status quo in terms of broadcasters’ financial contributions towards “programs of national interest” (PNI). PNI includes drama, documentary, and some children’s programming, programing that is at the heart of Canadian on-screen entertainment. But the CRTC set PNI spending minimums for broadcasters at 5%, basically cutting them by up to 44% for certain groups.

“This could mean the devastation of Canadian domestic production,” says Maureen Parker, Executive Director of the WGC. “These cuts potentially amount to over a $200 million loss for PNI over a five-year licence term. Canadian screenwriters only work on domestic productions, not on American shows filming in Canada, and if there is not enough work for them they will simply leave. Once our talent pool is gone you can’t get it back.”

CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais, a Harper appointee who has allowed the CRTC to become greatly diminished, has also set us on a course that will make it more and more difficult for Canadians to view stories about ourselves. This, despite the fact that it is only our Canadianness that distinguishes us: Our compassion, our humour, our concern about issues such as cultural diversity, healthcare, and the environment. A Canadian culture that cannot speak to Canadianness through its own storytelling is not Canada. We should not accept it. Nor should the Liberal government.

The headline of the CRTC’s own press release announcing the decision is, “The CRTC supports the production of original content.” This can only be viewed as fake news. There is nothing meaningful about specifically original production in these decisions. The release goes on to claim that the CRTC “ensures on stable funding for Canadian production in all program categories, by focusing especially on dramas, documentaries, and musical and variety shows.” This is patently untrue, given the reduction of PNI requirements. And, since broadcaster spending on PNI also typically attracts investment from other sources like the Canada Media Fund, the potential total impact could be double or triple the $200 million drop in PNI investments themselves.

“If Canadian programming is expendable,” says Maureen Parker, “Why protect the big private broadcasters? What is the CRTC’s purpose if not to ensure that spending on the creation of Canadian drama, documentary, and children’s programming is at the very least maintained? It’s almost as though the very body intended to promote Canadian programming — the CRTC — is actively working to erode it.”

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