Faithful Reader Shaula E sent me a link to a Ryerson School of Media "Report on Canadian Screenwriters
" by professors Michael Coutanche and Charles Davis.
The report comes from a survey of WGC members, so it doesn't address non-Guild writers. These tend to be younger, less experienced writers. As you work in the biz, you tend to join the Guild and stay in the Guild; you don't hear of a lot of people quitting the Guild. However, it also doesn't include directors who also write, but count on the DGC to protect them. And it doesn't include a few cats I know who write mostly for overseas production companies, whose work the Guild wouldn't cover anyway.
Most of the conclusions seem about right.
- Most WGC members have at least ten years of experience.
- Only a little over half of professional WGC writers make all their living from writing
- Writers make the most money in their forties. Income from screenwriting tends to drop in the 50's, and plunge in the 60's. I can confirm that I know very few working sixty-year-old writers. You would think that people become better writers the longer they write. Quite a number of older writers complain of age discrimination, but I'm not sure. They may become more subtle writers when the world is looking for a fart joke; it's hard to write a movie in which the hero slaughters dozens of "guards" after you've changed your first thousand diapers. Or they may not like the hours a TV writer works, and go into the relatively less lucrative field of feature writing. Or they want control over their work, and turn to novel writing. Or they get fed up with chasing after jobs, and become full time professors and part time writers. Or, hell, they become directors.
- Not a lot of minority writers in Canada, and they are making not a lot of money.
- Not that many woman writers, either, and they're not making as much as the boys.