Scribe files to join 23 candidates in Guild race

Screenwriter Jeff Lowell (“John Tucker Must Die”) has joined the contest for the board of directors of the Writers Guild of America West.

Lowell’s filed to run by petition, joining a field of 23 candidates announced last month that were approved by the WGA West’s nominating committee for its three officer and eight board of director posts. Lowell was the only additional candidate to join the field by the deadline Friday for filing nominating petitions at mid-day Friday.

Lowell, in a posting on the Writer Action site, said stronger contract enforcement would be the key issue in his campaign. He asserted that the studios have been skirting requirements of the WGA master contract to pay writers within seven days of delivery of a script or face a penalty payment of 1.5% monthly.

“We’ve got a great contract,” Lowe. “We do a shit job of enforcing it. It’s not the fault of one group of leader or board… it’s in the culture of the guild. And it’s got to change.”

He asserted that the WGA needs to assume the “bad guy” role in contract enforcement and step up its efforts in that area.

“Will it cost us some money to hire people to do this? Absolutely,” Lowell said. “Is there a better use of our money? I can’t imagine it.”

Lowell, who also directed “Over Her Dead Body,” previously ran for election to the board in 2009 but missed out winning a spot by 73 votes.

The WGA West announced Friday that incumbents Linda Burstyn, Ian Deitchman, Carleton Eastlake, Bill Ray and Dan Wilcox are running for the eight open board seats along with Lowell and 12 other candidates — Anthony Sparks, Michael Oates Palmer, Thania St. John, Ari B. Rubin, Nelson Soler, Mark Alton Brown, David S. Goyer, Barbara E. Nance, Alfredo Barrios Jr., John Brancato, Nell Scovell and Jay Kogen.

Goyer’s among the best known of the crop of candidates for his work with Christopher Nolan on writing the “Batman” pics.

The most-watched contest will be Patric Verrone facing off against Christopher Keyser for the presidency as Verrone seeks to reoccupy the office he held from 2005-09. Verrone presided over the guild during the 100-day writers strike of 2007-08 and his candidacy has already provoked discussion over how aggressive the guild might be during the coming two years, even though the WGA’s contract with the studios doesn’t expire until May 2014.

Verrone was prevented in 2009 by WGA West rules from seeking a third term as president and ran instead for the board, garnering the most votesof any candidate. He offers a stark contrast to the style of current WGA president John Wells, who’s opted not to seek re-election after a term that’s been dominated by a moderate, low-key approach.

Board member Howard A. Rodman and John Aboud — an activist during the strike via the United Hollywood website — are running for VP. David Weiss is running for re-election as secretary-treasurer against Carl Gottlieb, best known for adapting “Jaws,” in a rematch of the 2005 VP contest, which Weiss won as an ally of Verrone.

The WGA West will hold its Candidates Night town-hall forum on Aug. 31 at its headquarters and announce results on Sept. 16.

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