Rumor Patrol: Secret Society of Super Screenwriters!

RUMOR: A group of "A-list" writers is holding a meeting this weekend to formulate strategy on how to "force" the WGA to accept whatever deal the DGA signs with the AMPTP.
STATUS: Confusion reigns!

United Hollywood has been in touch with both WGA insiders and Nikki Finke today regarding the truth here. Some UH contributors are now convinced that the group is very real, numbers approximately thirty and is indeed comprised of "writers you have heard of." But independently, Craig Mazin is reporting that the whole thing is a hoax.

The rumor fog will probably lift on this soon, but until then, here is my take: There is nothing wrong with members questioning the state of negotiations. The WGA is a rowdy, fractious democratic organization. As Michael Seitzman wrote in his post about fi-core, "dissent is not disunity." What is disappointing is that any group of dissenters, lowly or powerful, would choose to work in secret. Likely, they would choose to do so to avoid getting attacked as disloyal. But having convictions isn't worth much if you can't make yourself stand up and defend them.

So, to the Secret Society of Super Screenwriters, I say, fear no evil nor angry colleagues. If you exist, contact us and we'll work with you to post something on UH about your feelings on the state of negotiations.

Yes, some people will call you crazy. But if you're a screenwriter, no matter how A-list, it won't be the first time.


Jake Hollywood said...

I'd be curious how Craig "King of the Dissenters" Mazin knows that the A-list writer rumor is a hoax?

Did they (and who the hell are "they" anyway?) contact him and confess to this prank?

Did Nikke Finke call Craig and confess that she is in fact just spreading vicious rumors because she likes gossip?

And if there is such a Secret Society of Super Screenwriters group, how the hell do I join? I mean, I wanted to be a Skull & Bones power broker, but 1. I never went to Harvard, 2. I lack the necessary political skills and the inability to lie (well big lies anyway), and 3. I want to be the go to guy in Nkki Finkes make believe world.

And to the SSofSS, I say, where's your clubhouse? I want to stop by and buy you all a drink. and we can talk about me joining your ranks. Okay?

B said...

Let the WGA be the leader in transparency by having official transcripts of every meeting it has with any entity and posting them online for all members to see.

Ray Lemon said...

"We'll work with you to post something on UH about your feelings on the state of negotiations."

State of negotiations? No negotiations happening, no negotiations scheduled. Cancelling the Globes, picketing the Oscars, getting mad at Leno -- all are perfectly reasonable, but nothing the WGA can do is going to bring the AMPTP to the table until the DGA has had their go. Hard to feel anything other than hopeful anticipation. And I think maybe that's what this meeting, if happening, is really all about. They HOPE the DGA gets a deal acceptable on core issues. And they're ANTICIPATING pressuring leaders to drop jurisdictional matters and accept the template in order to get everyone back to work as quickly as possible.

If such a group is meeting, I think they have very good reason to be secretive. Not for fear of being seen as disloyal, but because even the existence of such a faction could play into AMPTP hands (and, cuz, you know, Craig Mazin will be mad he wasn't invited to the party).

In the Finke posting addendum (and elsewhere) this perhaps-fictional cadre have been accused of being foolish for agreeing in advance to a deal they've not even seen yet. But if they're writer-director hyphenates, thus DGA members, *they may already know* what the DGA is shooting for, and where they're willing to settle. In other words, they have basically seen the likeliest deal.

Which leads to another reason to be secretive -- if it goes badly and the DGA settles for less than expected, these Super Secret Screenwriters can about face in a hurry and get back on the picket lines without looking like morons.

Obviously, this is piling hypotheticals onto hypotheticals. Who knows what's happening? Frankly, I'm not even sure the AMPTP exists anymore.

Laser said...

I'm no expert on the situation.

I've only been receiving my news from mainstream media outlets.

But they certainly appear to argue that the WGA will have to accept a deal similar to the DGA (if they complete a deal).

Is that a bad thing? I'm sure directors would like to receive a percentage of internet revenue just as much as writers.

Fun Joel said...

Jake -- I think you mean Yale there, brother, not Harvard! ;-)

Don said...

You writers are so inconsistant. A few days ago, you were saying how this "secret gathering" would be like a betrayal. But now you're saying that it "would not be horrible." Make up your mind.

Dave said...


We must speak in code.
The rooster crows at midnight.
The blue plate special is clam chowder.


Crestmere said...

A secret evil cabal of screenwriters?

Did the gossip mags pick up The Invisibles by accident?

Jake Hollywood said...

Son of a gun, Joel. You're right: Yale. Which I also didn't go to--which is why I didn't remember where Skull and Bones belonged.

Are you a Yalie, Joel?

H said...

Don wrote,
"You writers are so inconsistant. A few days ago, you were saying how this "secret gathering" would be like a betrayal. But now you're saying that it "would not be horrible." Make up your mind."

This element of the script is kind of cliche... I think it just needs a twist ending. Might I suggest:

In a shocking reveal a couple scenes later, Don @1:47pm learns that "you writers" refers to a group of individuals who don't share a hive mind. Off his stunned face - SMASH CUT TO BLACK.

Fun Joel said...

Nope, Jake. Just a member of many secret cabals, none of which I'm at liberty to discuss here.

Harold said...

"Don said...You writers are so inconsistant. A few days ago, you were saying how this 'secret gathering' would be like a betrayal. But now you're saying that it 'would not be horrible.' Make up your mind."

Don, you're so simple.

Conflicting opinion with the guild leadership is NOT a bad thing.

While most of the guild clearly appear to be content with what the leadership is doing, that opinion is not unanimous - even among those who voted for the strike.

Every time anyone posts an opinion that dares to question the party line, they are labeled an AMPTP troll or whatever.

Reality check: The AMPTP doesn't care enough about the WGA at the moment to bother with such shit. They are interested in obtaining a sweetheart deal with the DGA and attempting to impose it on the WGA. There will be no movement in resolving this strike until the DGA is complete. Maybe something will change that. Probably not.

Dissent is not bad - WHEN IT IS PERMITTED. When it is not, it goes underground. When people feel they are not being heard, they take action ON THEIR OWN - usually with unfavorable results for others.

So just for Don...

GOOD - Open and honest debate among WGA members that allows people to be heard and prevents a build-up of frustration.

BAD - Doing your own thing in secret, due to frustration, that ultimately weakens the WGA position in the strike.

sonofliberty said...

It's not mentioned in the article (just the link from unitedhollywood) but I just had to comment on the use of the phrase "Dirty 30" - it made me laugh, as when I was a student at UC Riverside in the late 90's, this was the nickname for Biology 30: Intro to Human Sexuality.

They had to hold the class at 7AM to keep demand manageable.