WGA Honors Scribes for Special Services, Lifetime Achievement

David Crane and Marta Kauffman
Longtime writing partners Kauffman and Crane created the hit television series “Friends,” which earned 63 Emmy nominations in its decade-long run, the Kirstie Alley starring “Veronica’s Closet”; “The Powers That Be”; and the HBO series “Dream On.” And they didn’t stop there. Outside their partnership, Crane has co-created several series with Jeffrey Klarik, including “Episodes” and “The Class.” Kauffman most recently co-created Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” which was nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe this year.

Elaine May
May is being honored by the WGAW in recognition for her lifetime of work. May first hit the national stage with Mike Nichols in improv comedy “Nichols and May,” and their influence is still felt today. She’s earned recognition for penning “Heaven Can Wait,” “The Birdcage” and “Such Good Friends.” May was most recently recognized by President Obama in 2013 with the National Medal of Arts. “It is time to recognize, plainly and simply, the debt that all of us owe to (May’s) brave, groundbreaking, fiercely intelligent, deeply human, relentlessly honest, scorchingly funny work,” said WGAW prez Howard A. Rodman.

Seth MacFarlane
After contributing to animated series like “Johnny Bravo” and “Ace Ventura,” writer-producer MacFarlane became the industry’s youngest TV showrunner at age 25 when his animated sitcom “Family Guy” debuted on Fox in 1999.  He later co-created animated sitcom “American Dad!” and the “Family Guy” spinoff series “The Cleveland Show.” MacFarlane made his film directorial debut in 2012 with the hit comedy “Ted,” and exec produced the “Cosmos” reboot series.

John McNamara
McNamara’s work on  “Trumbo” embodies the spirit of the honor. “Though we’ve given it since 1989, it might as well have been purpose-built for John McNamara’s ‘Trumbo,’” WGAW president Howard A. Rodman said. McNamara adapted the screenplay from the biography by Bruce Cook, which chronicled the career of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
— Jacob Bryant

Sen. Al Franken
Franken is receiving the Burkey Award because he’s good enough, he’s smart enough and doggone it WGA people like him. Before he represented Minnesota in the U.S.. Senate, Franken was a showbiz multihyphenate, writing and starring in “Saturday Night Live” skits as well as the movie “Stuart Saves His Family.” Franken also wrote a couple of satirical bestsellers, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right,” and “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.” As senator, Franken has tried to highlight the working conditions of unscripted TV writers and producers, pushed for net neutrality and fought media consolidation.

John August
August’s honor recognizes his humanitarian efforts and civic service. August runs his screenwriting blog, johnaugust.com, and the sister site screenwriting.io, which have become great resources for scribes. He hosts the podcast Scriptnotes with Craig Mazin that also explores both the creative and business end of screenwriting. August is also an adviser and mentor at the Sundance Screenwriting Lab.

Melissa Salmons
Salmons is being recognized for her service in the Writers Guild. Salmons has netted two Daytime Emmy Awards for writing in “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns,” and has won four Writers Guild Awards. She has been elected to two terms on the WGAE council and is a trustee of the Writers’ Guild Industry Health Fund and the Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan.

Arthur Sellers
A WGA West member since 1976, comedy-variety screenwriter Sellers earned an animated program Emmy nomination in 1989 for his work on the television mockumentary short “Meet the Raisins!” Sellers’ additional screenwriting credits include “Modern Problems” in 1981 and the adventure-thriller “The Vivero Letter” in 1999. Over the decades, he’s served on various Guild committees as well as on the WGA West board between 1989 and 1991.

Richard LaGravenese
A Guild member for nearly three decades, LaGravenese has crafted screenplays for 17 feature films, including “The Fisher King,” starring Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams, which  earned him an original screenplay Oscar nomination in 1992.

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