Writers against credits changes

A faction within the Writers Guild of America West has announced a campaign to urge members to reject proposed changes to the Guild’s credits manual.

The changes, proposed more than two months ago, include increasing the number of writers who can share credits from two to three or, in cases of arbitration, to four.

The idea is to more accurately reflect a writer’s actual contribution to a project, Guild officials have said.

The changes also would liberalize the rules allowing directors and producers, often termed production exex, to gain writer credits.

Several writers yesterday issued statements denouncing some of the changes.

“We do believe that credits should reflect reality,” said Beth Sullivan (exec producer/creator/writer of “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman”). “We are, however, concerned that this guild, which was formed to protect the rights of writers, has now weakened the writer’s position in favor of those who can hire and fire us. We should be discouraging willful rewriting; instead we’re saying, in effect , come and get it.”

Guild prez Del Reisman, in answer to the charges, applauded the fact that WGAW members are getting involved in the electoral process.

“We are pleased and proud that our members are taking such interest in this area of vital importance,” he said. “We have in our membership many talented writers who are also directors and producers. I don’t like to see them categorized as though they are automatically the enemy. A reading of the text will show members that the proposed changes actually make it harder for non-writer production executives to obtain credit.”

Union members have a full text of the proposed changes, and the guild will hold several meetings for members to debate the changes.

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