The European Screenwriters Manifesto
Created late last year at the European Conference on Screenwriting.
We assert that:
• The screenwriter is an author of the film, a primary creator of the audiovisual work.
• The indiscriminate use of the possessory credit is unacceptable.
• The moral rights of the screenwriter, especially the right to maintain the integrity of a work and to protect it from any distortion or misuse should be inalienable and should be fully honored in practice.
• The screenwriter should receive fair payment for every form of exploitation of his work.
• As author the screenwriter should be entitled to an involvement in the production process as well as in the promotion of the film and to be compensated for such work. As author he should be named in any publication accordingly, including festival catalogues, TV listing magazines and reviews.
Strong words. Very European. Very necessary and brave.
By contract, the American Screenwriters Manifesto would read more like this:
• We demand DVD royalties at a fair rate adjusted to reflect the new strength of DVD revenue and contracted theatrical release window! But now that we hear you, studios, saying that that would bankrupt you... sure, just give us whatever you feel like.
• We require that producers and studios listen to the original voice and keep one writer through the entire process. Ooh, Nora Ephron is going to rewrite me and if she does the movie will have a better chance of actually getting made? Okay. Oh, but my name won't be on the final credits, only hers? Can I come to the premiere? No? Okay, cast and crew screening is fine then. Thanks.
• We advocate that writers be included on panels and press junkets promoting the film, and in post-screening Q & A's. Well, no, we haven't thought what to do when people start falling asleep or leaving while we talk. We'll get back to you on that.
• We strongly assert... um, that the WGA Christmas party should have an open bar.
• Look, we don't mean to be a pain, but could we may come to set one day just to-- No. Okay. Nevermind.
• Golly. I haven't been paid in two years. I'm sorta living in a box. Do you think you could call business affairs just one more time to see if they have any idea when I might... Yeah, I'll hold.