ARBITRATIONComplications Ensue
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Spent some of this morning writing new notes for the ongoing arbitration for the movie I worked on this summer. You try to make clear to the Guild arbitrators what you contributed to the final script, in the hope that they include you in the credits. Normally everything should be clear from the drafts themselves, but if you cut a few characters, the omission may not be obvious, yet it is a valuable contribution to the story. Likewise if you make the scenes flow the way they ought to, but hadn't been, it looks like you did nothing at all. Now we all earnestly await the decision, because in Canada there's always a whacking big production bonus to be divided among those writers receiving credit. You want to get credit, and share it with as few people as possible.

I was relieved on seeing the very final draft that there had not actually been that many changes. It seems to me that if I were an arbitrator, I would give me a credit. How many other people I'd give credit to, I have no idea, because I haven't read all the drafts, which the arbs have to do, poor guys.

The only way you stay sane in this business, though, is not to celebrate victories until they are signed, sealed and delivered. Right now I'm just happy I got to work on the movie. It was a fun job, I got to work with a director I admire, and there was a nice pay packet involved. If I get a credit I'll be delighted. But if I don't, I don't think I'll be too upset about. I haven't spent my production bonus, y'know. Likewise if this series goes, I'll be jazzed beyond belief. But I don't let myself get psychically wrapped up in that outcome. I work towards it full bore, but I don't have my heart set on it. If we don't get a series, at least I got to write a pilot for a network for a show I created. I got to prove myself to some people I respect that I'd love to work for again. That's a great step in the right direction. To me, showbiz is all about building. If you pay attention to how you treat people, and how you work, then every job puts you a notch higher up. If you don't pay attention, you might explode, but you also might just flash in the pan.


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