Wednesday 31 October 2007

Call for TG4 Scripts

TG4 and Dearg Films are looking for scripts in Irish for their forthcoming TV series Seomra a Sé, which will be broadcast live in March 2008.

The series will entail four half-hour dramas in any genre, which will be set in a hotel suite: number six of course. This means that each 25-minute script needs to be written in Irish, suitable for a live performance, and has to remain within the confines of a hotel suite that has a bedroom, living area, bathroom and bar.

The closing date for application is December 14, 2007.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

Writers' Heroes

An amusing video that indicates what some Hollywood writers might be doing come November 1st.

Monday 29 October 2007

Six For Consideration

The run-up to awards season in Hollywood has started with all the "For Your Consideration" adverts in the glossy trade magazines.

This year, Universal Studios is making the screenplays of six of its films available to download. Which is very nice if you like to read other writers' scripts. Enjoy:

Last Chance to Vote

Members of the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild are reminded that they only have five hours left before voting closes on this year's ZeBBie Awards.

Login and cast your vote now for the best Irish writing for film, radio, television and theatre in 2007.

Thursday 25 October 2007

Catalyst Shortlist

The shortlist for the Catalyst programme has been announced. The ten projects now face an interview process to be whittled down to three. The shortlist is:

  • Standby, written by Pierce Ryan
  • The Sound Here, written by Rebecca Daly and Glenn Montgomery
  • Redux, written by PJ Dillon
  • Snap, written by Carmel Winters
  • Still Life, written by Mark Tuthill
  • Swallows, written by John O'Donnell
  • One Hundred Mornings, written by Conor Horgan
  • Earthbound, written by Alan Brennan
  • One Hundred To One Outsiders, written by Ken Wardrop
  • Eamon, written by Margaret Corkery
More details about the projects are on the Film Board web site.

Wednesday 24 October 2007

June 07 Filmbase Shortlist

The shortlist from the June 2007 application round for the Filmbase/RTÉ Short Film Award 2007 has been announced:

Happy Hour by Patrick Chapman, Take Me With You by Aaron O'Reilly, The Elusive Punch Line by Colin Corrigan, O Blessed Water by Morgan Bushe, Mitching by Michelle Fennessy, Tart by Martín de Barra, Man Befriends Corpse and Tree Story by Pete Moles, Matched by Eamon Quinlan, and Nightclubbing by Carol Murphy.
The three winners will be announced in mid-November on the Filmbase web site.

Weekend of Horror

Director John Carpenter discusses horror films over on Entertainment Weekly.

Those of you looking for a horror film fix over the upcoming bank holiday should attend the Horrorthon, in the IFI in Dublin, from October 25th- 29th. If you don't want to indulge in scary movies all weekend you could always drop into the 6th Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, which is taking place in St. Audoen's church, in Cornmarket on High Street.

Once and Murphy Nominated

IFTN reports that John Carney's low budget film Once has been short-listed for the Best Foreign Independent Feature in the 10th Annual British Independent Film Awards. Cillian Murphy is also among the nominees for the Best Actor award for his performance in the sci-fi film Sunshine.

Tuesday 23 October 2007

New Schemes from IFB

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) has pledged €1 million to a new project aimed at encouraging a variety of new short film schemes.

The Signatures scheme will be the flagship scheme showcasing live action filmmaking, encouraging strong, original storytelling, visual flair and production values appropriate to the big screen. The scheme will fund up to 6 live-action, fiction films with a maximum budget of €90,000 each per year. These shorts will act as a proving-ground for Irish creative talents aspiring to write, direct and produce films for the cinema and will offer an opportunity to work in a professional environment and bring their experience up to the next level. Filmmakers on this scheme will also offer invaluable chance to work closely with an experienced mentor from the Irish film industry.

Reality Bites is a new short documentary scheme which will fund up to 3 films with a maximum budget of €20,000 each per year. It aims to encourage experimentation and realisation of fresh approaches to non-fiction filmmaking, whether the documentary is journalistic or creative, observational or aesthetic, objective or personal.

The Virtual Cinema scheme aims to encourage cinema for the You-Tube generation by funding up to 10 high quality shorts per year which are suitable for viewing across multi-platforms. The films which can be live-action or use any kind of animation technique as there are no creative holds barred, will be maximum two minutes in duration. These films will be launched exclusively for an online audience.

As well as the brand new shorts, the established and successful Short Shorts film scheme has been modified. This scheme, which funds up to seven, 3-5 minute films per year aims to encourage the making of films which are innovative, provocative or idiosyncratic in their content or style or both. The shorts, whether live-action or animated films should now ‘tell a story' within a particular genre chosen for that year- e.g. love story, thriller, musical, horror etc. It is hoped that having the shorts packaged together under a specific theme or genre will allow the IFB to market the Short Shorts more effectively.

The Frameworks animation scheme, co-funded by the Arts Council, RTE and the IFB will continue in its current successful format.

Films commissioned under the Signatures and Reality Bites schemes will be launched at the Cork Film Festival next year.

The deadline for applications for Signatures and Reality Bites is December 14th.
More details about these new schemes should be available on the website later today.

Monday 22 October 2007

Lumet Discusses Film

There's an interesting interview in The New York Times with lauded film director Sidney Lumet, who has made 44 feature films during a career that has so far stretched fifty years.

Paddywhackery On Weds

Filmbase alerts us to the fact that the new bilingual six-part comedy drama series, Paddywhackery, will air on TG4 on Wednesday, October 24th at 9.30pm.

Funded by TG4, the Sound & Vision Scheme of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and Section 481 funding, Paddywhackery was co-written by Daniel O'Hara and Paddy C Courtney, with Dough Productions' Grainne O'Carroll producing and Daniel O'Hara directing.

Director and co-writer Daniel O'Hara said, "People think the Irish language is all about Aran jumpers and Peig Sayers, but we wanted to make something that was relevant to and entertaining for an audience that doesn't necessarily speak Irish. I don't think that people have seen anything like this before on Irish television. There's a surreal quality to it and a sense of humour which is original. Because we've been lucky enough to have big stars like Fionnuala Flanagan and Frank Kelly on board I hope that results in people checking it out. I'm quite confident that if people have a look they'll want to see more."

Writers Vote to Strike

The LA Times reports that 90% of the members of the Writers Guilds of America have voted to strike if a new contract can't be negotiated with the major studio before it expires on October 31st. It's a record response from the 12,000-strong membership.

Writers have rallied behind a theme that might best be summed up by the Who's hit song "Won't Get Fooled Again." Writers maintain they were shortchanged years ago when they agreed to a discounted pay formula for home video sales, only to see that business take off. And they're determined not to make the same mistake again as the digital revolution upends the entertainment industry.

"The guild made a bad deal 20 years ago and they've been angry ever since and they don't want to do it again," said Jonathan Handel, an entertainment industry attorney with TroyGould in Los Angeles and a former associate counsel for the Writers Guild. "That's why we're seeing a line drawn in the sand."

For their part, the studios maintain that DVD sales are needed to offset rising marketing and production costs, and they contend that it's too early to lock into pay formulas for shows distributed online because technologies are rapidly changing and they're still grappling with uncertain business models.

Friday 19 October 2007

Arts Grants Issued

The Stage reports that the Arts Council has announced grants of more than €1.25 million to 23 of the country’s theatre, opera and circus companies, organisations and venues as part of a €5 million package to 114 arts bodies awarded under a newly instituted Annual Programming Grant scheme.

Among the major beneficiaries are Cork Opera House, which is to receive €200,000, the Civic Theatre, Tallaght (€160,000) and the Cork-based Opera 2005 company (€110,000).

Dublin theatre companies Loose Cannon and Hatch are to receive €98,000 and €75,000 respectively, and Waterford's Theatre Royal €80,000. Four circus companies will share more than €210,000 with the lion’s share of €75,000 going to Tom Duffy's Circus.

Among the other recipients, Galway's Chrysalis Dance has been awarded €16,780 with two national bodies, the Drama League of Ireland (€57,000) and the Association of Irish Stage Technicians (€16,000), to receive five-figure awards.

Thursday 18 October 2007

4th Lasair Award Launched

Filmbase and TG4 have announced the deadline for the 4th round of Lasair, the award scheme for short films made in the Irish language.

Up to six films will be produced, and the fund has been doubled so that there is €20,000 available per film.

Dramas, animation and other fictional work in Irish or Irish/English are welcome, and should be shot on DVCam and finished for TV broadcast. Submissions should include the application form, which can be downloaded from the Filmbase web site. The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm, Monday 19th of November.

The aim of Lasair is to encourage emerging filmmakers to express their creativity through the development of imaginative short films. Since it was launched in 2001, it has led to the production of 17 Irish language short films in a range of genres. Films made through the scheme include James Finlan's black and white film noir spoof Éireville, Declan de Barra's animation An Fiach Dubh and Colm Bairéad's poignant drama Mac an Athar. Audiences will be familiar with the 2003 hit Yu Ming is Ainm Dom which was also made under the scheme. This short, directed by Daniel O'Hara, has screened worldwide and has scooped numerous awards at festivals including the Aspen Shortsfest (2004), Galway Film Fleadh (2003) and the Celtic Film and Television Festival (2004).

Director O'Hara has acknowledged that "the Lasair scheme gave me my first opportunity to direct drama with Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom and it was an important stepping stone to TV drama work like The Clinic and Paddywhackery. Without the Filmbase schemes it would be very difficult for young crews to raise the budget to make a short film. It's an invaluable learning experience, as well as a chance to show what you can do."

Wednesday 17 October 2007

YouTube Will Filter Content

According to The Guardian YouTube has unveiled filtering tools that will allow owners of copyrighted material to block their content from appearing on the video-sharing website.

"We are delighted that Google appears to be stepping up to its responsibility and end the practice of infringement," said a lawyer for Viacom, Mike Fricklas, without specifying whether the new technology would affect the seven-month-old lawsuit, which will be examined by a US court later this month.

YouTube has been working on the new technology with engineers from Google ever since the latter bought it in a record $1.7bn (£835m) deal 11 months ago. Five months later, executives from both companies began promising the new copyright protection technology. "It has taken until now to get it right," said David King, a YouTube product manager, during a conference call with reporters yesterday.

USA Writers' Residuals Secure

Reuters reports the studio executives dropped a proposal to overhaul residual payments during the writers' contract negotiations in Hollywood yesterday.

"In the overriding interest of keeping the industry working and removing what has become an emotional impediment and excuse by the WGA not to bargain, the (studio negotiating team) withdrew its recoupment proposal," said Nick Counter, head of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

But he added that the studios and networks would stand firm against demands by the union to increase residual payments for DVDs, pay television, basic cable or reruns on two fledgling broadcast networks, the CW and My Network TV.

Higher residuals for DVDs has been a major demand of the guild, along with greater compensation for writers whose work is distributed through the Internet and other digital platforms. Residuals for various kinds of digital media were not explicitly mentioned in the studios' statement.

The WGA said it welcomed the studios' move to withdraw the new plan, but maintained its resolve to press forward on the other issues. "The remaining rollbacks would gut our contract and will never be acceptable to writers," the guild said in a statement.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

Growing Film Industry in Bhutan

The New York Times has a fascinating article about the burgeoning film industry in the tiny mountain kingdom of Bhutan. Tshering Penjore is now a full-time screenwriter (he wrote seven scripts in the pat twelve months), and yet a year ago he was aide de camp to Bhutan's crown prince.

Mr. Penjore's story is typical of the growing film industry in Bhutan, which until very recently had closed itself off, by choice, from the rest of the world. Last year a record 24 films were produced in the tiny Himalayan kingdom, population 700,000; in 2003 the total was only six. (India, by comparison, made more than 1,000 movies last year.) The only theater in Bhutan's capital city, Thimpu, is booked for the next nine months.

Budget constraints force filmmakers to use digital technology instead of film stock, and most of the players are self-taught. But directors are churning out movies at the dizzying pace of four a year. Sixty production companies are now registered with the Motion Picture Association of Bhutan.
There are only six theatres in the country that can screen films, therefore only films made in Bhutan are shown due to fierce demand. Films that follow the Bollywood formula are popular, and films that take a mimetic approach are less appreciated in Bhutan. In 1999 the revered Buddhist lama, Khyentse Norbu, created the country's first film, Phörpa (The Cup), and followed it in 2003 with Travellers and Magicians, which jump-started the film industry in Bhutan.

Indian Oscar Controversy

According to The Globe and Mail India may not put forward any films for an Oscar in the foreign film category this year due to alleged bias in the selection process.

The Bombay High Court has asked the federation to respond to a lawsuit challenging the selection of well-known filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya: The Royal Guard.

First-time director Bhavna Talwar filed a petition claiming one panelist on the 11-member jury had edited a promotional short film for Eklavya, and that two other jury members were also close to Chopra.

Talwar's Dharm was passed over for Eklavya, a thriller starring Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires an entry in the foreign film category by Wednesday, and it seems unlikely the controversy will be resolved by then.

Monday 15 October 2007

Foy Wins Short Film Award

The winner of the 2007 Diversions Short Film Award has been announced as "The Faeries of Blackheath Woods", which was written and directed by Ciarán Foy. The Award is organised by Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) as part of the Diversions Festival, Temple Bar's free outdoor festival.

Ciarán has won a €5000 cash prize from TBCT and studio time at Filmbase worth an additional €5000. According to Ciarán, "Needless to say I'm truly delighted to win. Now I can finally afford another print! Diversions is a unique festival and there's a fantastic buzz seeing your film on an outdoor screen with a public audience. People seem to really respond to this little horror film and that's really the biggest compliment,"

The Faeries of Blackheath Woods, is Ciarán's first film since graduating from the National Film School of Ireland. The film, shot on the Powerscourt Estate, follows a young girl's bewitching encounter with faeries and discovery that they are not as sweet and kind as folklore would depict.

Alan Fitzpatrick of Filmbase commented, "In The Faeries of Blackheath Woods director, Ciarán Foy, set out to create an ambitious piece of short cinema. The result is a stunningly well realised and artistically crafted film which delights, enchants and surprises in equal measure. Ciarán displayed real talent and technical accomplishment in Faeries, marking himself as a director to watch in the future." 12 films were short-listed for the award and were screened at the famous Meeting House Square, preceding the Jameson Movies on the Square presentation.

The Archers Online

The Stage notes that the BBC Radio 4 long-running drama, The Archers, is now available as a podcast from the BBC web site.

The new service follows on from the success The Archers has had with listeners accessing it on the internet. Around a million people currently use the Corporation’s online listen again service each month to catch the latest developments.

Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said: "The Archers' audience has already demonstrated that it loves the chance to listen to the goings on in Ambridge in its own time. Now The Archers meets podcasting - a marriage, or civil partnership, between one of Radio 4's longest-lasting hits and new technology."

Friday 12 October 2007

ZeBBies short-list announced

The short-list for the inaugural ZeBBies has been announced (Thank you to all the Guild members who submitted nominations.)

Nominees for Best TV Script:

Louise Ní Fhiannachta for Ros na Rún (Ser. 11, Ep. 51)
Ken Harmon for Legend (Ep. 1)
Lauren McKenzie for The Clinic (Ep. 1)

Nominees for Best Radio Script:

Veronica Coburn for Mayday
Martin Lynch for An Enemy of the People
Jean Pasley for Haymaker

Nominees for Best Film Script:

John Carney for Once
David Gleeson for The Front Line
Niall Heery for Small Engine Repair

Nominees for Best Theatre Script:

Sean McLoughlin for Noah and the Tower Flower
Tom Murphy for Alice Trilogy
Mark O'Rowe for Terminus
Gavin Quinn and Simon Doyle for Oedipus Loves You

Guild members will be able to log in to read the scripts and vote for best television script; best radio script; best film script and best theatre script.

Voting will close on Monday 29th October at 5.00pm.

The ceremony will take place on Tuesday 6th November in the Sugar Club in Dublin. Tickets for this event will be on sale from next Monday.

The Guild would like to thank the various agents, producers, broadcasters, publishers, but above all the nominees, for their assistance.

Festival Rakes It In

According to The Stage the Dublin Theatre Festival has already taken in excess of €1 million at the box office during its 50th anniversary run.

The history-making figure represents an increase of more than 30% on last year’s festival and has been reached with several days to go before this year’s final performances on Sunday.

The significantly expanded 2007 programme launched on September 27 and has featured 221 performances of 33 shows from 13 countries.

Welcoming the news, recently arrived artistic director and chief executive Loughlin Deegan said: "Crashing through the one million target is a momentous achievement for the festival and it is fitting that we reached this milestone in our anniversary year".

Thursday 11 October 2007

Free Professional Feedback

MEDIA Northern Ireland has announced the arrival of SOURCES 2 to Northern Ireland, which is one of the premier professional hothouses for developing feature screenplays in Europe, having led to the production of 65 feature films with 20 more presently in pre-production.

MEDIA Service NI will be bringing SOURCES 2 principal advisor and script editor Gaby Prekop to provide intensive one-to-one consultancy sessions with at least four local feature film or single TV drama projects, providing both an insight to the work of SOURCES 2 and the potential of the projects participating in this mini-SOURCES 2 event in Belfast.

The sessions are open to screenwriters or teams of screenwriters, co-writers, producers and directors. They will be offered full and frank feedback on the potential strengths and weaknesses of each project and professional advice on how to proceed from a neutral, third party and highly respected script consultant.

Gaby Prekop is a screenwriter, script editor and development consultant particularly known for her work with award-winning filmmaker Istvan Szabo. She has worked on European Film Academy Best Screenplay award-winners Sunshine and Dear Bobe, also a winner of the Silver Bear at the Berlinale. She has also consulted on the films Being Julia, Taking Sides and Meeting Venus having begun her career as a Commissioning Editor for drama at Hungarian television where she worked on over 30 film and television plays.
Application forms to book a session are available to download from the web site, and the closing date for submissions is October 31st 2007. The consultancy sessions will take place in two-hour slots over the 29th and 30th November. This opportunity is provided free-of-charge by MEDIA NI.

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Broadway Might Go Dark

Broadway is on the verge of being shut down due to a strike, according to The New York Times.

After two and a half months of sometimes contentious contract negotiations, the organization representing most of Broadway's producers and theater owners and the union representing stagehands are at an impasse, bringing most of Broadway to the

At 7 p.m. yesterday, the League of American Theaters and Producers put what it called its final offer on the table; three hours later, Local One, the stagehands' union, gave the league a final offer in response.

In a statement, Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of the league, said the response "made no progress on any of the issues we have identified as crucial to these negotiations. In fact, the union's offer has made the situation worse for all productions."

The announcement of a final offer is one of the last steps before a bargaining group can call a work stoppage, which, in this case, would mean the theater owners' locking out the stagehands and leaving most Broadway theaters dark. As of now, there are no more negotiating sessions scheduled, and a lockout is highly likely.

Tuesday 9 October 2007

Once Wins Awards

IFTN reports that Once, the Irish musical written and directed by John Carney won the Best International Film award at the 14th Raindance Film Festival, in London (25 September – 7 October).

The awards were presented by festival founder Elliot Grove and festival producer Jesse Vile on the closing night of the festival, which this year received more than 15,000 admissions.

The film also received a special jury mention at the 18th British Film Festival which took place in Dinard, France from the 4th-7th October.

Monday 8 October 2007

Two Interviews

Looking for a diversion on a Monday morning? The New York Times has an interview with Harold Pinter, while The Guardian interviews David Cronenberg.

Irish Actor Dies

RTÉ reports that Irish actor Tom Murphy has died.

In 1998 he won a Tony Award for his role in the Druid Theatre Company production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane. He also appeared in Adam and Paul, Man About Dog, Intermission, Small Engine Repair and the RTÉ Television series Pure Mule.

Paying tribute, Druid's Artistic Director Garry Hynes said: "All of us in Druid are terribly saddened by the premature death of Tom Murphy. Tom won a Tony Award on Broadway for his wonderful portrayal of 'Ray Dooley' in Martin McDonagh's 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane'. A wonderful colleague and friend, he will be much missed by his many friends in the film and theatre business."

Friday 5 October 2007

Festival Portal

Those following the Dublin Theatre Festival might be interested to know that RTÉ has created a portal web site for the event, which includes reviews, video clips, and schedule information.

Spotlight on Cork

The Cork Film Festival (14th -21st October) has announced its opening and closing films and offered a glimpse at the rest of the line-up. The festival opens with the Coen brother's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men and closes with the new Ang Lee film Lust, Caution, which was written by James Schamus and Hui-Ling Wang, based on a story by Eileen Chang.

Also on the programme are drive-in movies, short films, documentaries, family screenings, and a selection of Algerian films.

American director John Dahl (Rounders, The Last Seduction) will be interviewed in public at the festival, and will attend the screening of his new film You Kill Me (written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely).

Thursday 4 October 2007

Pilot Competition

Channel 4 has announced a new competition called Pilot, which is looking for treatments for a six-part drama series, an outline for a pilot episode for that series, and a script for a sample scene from that episode.

12 writers will be selected to take part in a packed weekend of industry workshops and masterclasses. They will then be hot-housed in one of three Scottish independent production companies, where mentoring producers and Channel 4 script editors will help them develop their series idea and complete a first draft script. After eight weeks of paid training, each writer will pitch to a selection panel. Only one idea from each production team will be selected. These three writers, along with their producers, will hotfoot it down to Channel 4's HQ in London to pitch to 4Talent and the Channel's Commissioning Editor for Drama, Sophie Gardiner.

One creative team will head home with a £90,000 commission to produce a pilot episode of their drama series, including a fee for the winning writer to complete a final draft script.

Wednesday 3 October 2007

Crowmwell Q&A

This weekend the IFI in Dublin starts their "From Stage to Screen" mini-festival, which kicks off on Saturday with a showing of L.A. Confidential and an interview afterwards with actor James Cromwell, who is currently appearing in the Druid's production of Long Day's Journey into Night.

USA Guilds Get Serious

The New York Times reports that Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild of America East have indeed petitioned their members via email to authorise to strike at "the most advantageous moment" after their current contract ends October 31st.

Tuesday 2 October 2007

IFB Fund Supported

According to Screen Daily the Irish Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism, Seamus Brennan, has agreed to an additional funding of €2 million for the Irish Film Board's International Production Fund, which has attracted more than €60 million worth of production into Ireland over the past two years.

Making the announcement the minister said, "There is now more than ever greater global competition in securing film and television production. Ireland holds its own thanks to our talent pool and incentives. In the short term, this additional 2 million will allow the Film Board to go aggressively into the market and seek to secure further prestigious projects over the coming months. Our target must be to match, or even surpass, the achievements last year when a similar 2 million investment towards the end of 2006 delivered film and TV production activity in Ireland that amounted to 32 million."

Alluding to the current review of Ireland's international competitiveness the minister further pledged that he will work with the Irish Film Board and others to shape policies and incentives that will allow Ireland tap further into international investment in film and television production.

Lynch is Honoured

The BBC reports that American film-maker David Lynch has been awarded France's top civilian honour, the Legion d'Honneur.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed his eclectic "genius". Lynch replied in halting French: "My French is poor, but my heart is rich today thanks to you."

Monday 1 October 2007

DruidSynge on DVD

According to IFTN a new DVD financed by RTÉ, The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, Culture Ireland, The Irish Film Board and The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaíon will be launched in Dublin today.

The DVD, entitled 'DruidSynge: The Plays of John Millington Synge', features all six of Synge's plays as performed by Druid: 'The Playboy of the Western World', 'The Tinker's Wedding', 'Well of the Saints', 'Riders to the Sea', 'Deirdre of the Sorrows' and 'The Shadow of the Glen'.

In addition to the six plays, the DVD contains two documentaries: 'Mighty Talk: A Journey with DruidSynge' - an access-all-areas documentary following the rehearsal and production process of putting the project on stage, and 'Playboy and Rebels' which commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the first ever performance of 'The Playboy of the Western World' in January 1907.

The DVD also features director Garry Hynes and world-leading Synge expert, Ann Saddlemyer, in conversation about DruidSynge and the impact of Synge generally which was recorded at the Synge Summer School in Wicklow in July 2007.

Contract Deadline Looms

The New York Times reports that with just a month to go before screenwriting contracts in the USA expire the Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild of America East have been examining the option of striking in November, when some scripts will still be in development.

As many as three-quarters of those pictures -- including projects as prominent as "The Justice League of America" at Warner Brothers and "Another Night," the proposed sequel to "Night at the Museum," at 20th Century Fox -- appear not to have final scripts.

The question at hand is whether writers, in the event no deal is reached, can inflict maximum damage on their bargaining opponents by striking immediately rather than continuing to work and letting the studios add those films to their strike stockpile.

Negotiators for the guilds and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios and networks, are scheduled to meet again on Thursday. Guild negotiators could ask their 12,000 members for strike authorization in advance of the contract’s expiration. And they appear to be gathering information that would support a call for a walkout in November, rather than later, when the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America will also be in talks.