Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tyler Perry Studios Announces Agreement with Writers Guild

This literally just arrived in my inbox! Source: NAACP Hollywood Bureau News.

Atlanta, GA - Tyler Perry Studios and the Writers Guild of America, West today announced that they have come to an agreement following more than five months of negotiations. Vic Bulluck, executive director of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, was instrumental in bringing the two parties together.

"We are pleased to have come to a resolution with the WGA, and thank the NAACP for their support during negotiations. We look forward to many years working with the talented writers who are members of the Guild." stated Tyler Perry. "With a continued focus on fostering young, diverse talent, we are eager to continue our dialogue with the WGA to dramatically increase the number of minority writers working in Hollywood today."

The contract with the WGA was the last union agreement outstanding for Tyler Perry Studios, which had previously brokered deals with the Teamsters, IATSE, SAG, DGA, and others. Acknowledging that some of the writers on the TBS series House of Payne and Meet the Browns will not be returning, Perry thanked them for their services and wished them well in their future endeavors.

Matt Johnson of Ziffrren, Brittenham negotiated the deal for Tyler Perry Studios.


This is big news for black Hollywood and Hollywood in general. Many writers, and a few I know personally, were really disappointed and down right angry with Perry for his previous decision not to have some agreement with WGA. As a Perry fan, I just hoped something would work itself out and it did.

Writers are the unseen creators of the content we enjoy and are often overworked and underpaid. If people really understood just how hard it was to crunch out a sitcom or dramatic script, revise it repeatedly, only to have a network exec--usually a "suit", not a "creative"--explain it's not funny enough or that sensitive advertisers may find it whatever, then they would understand why receiving proper credit and payment is so important. And with the sales of DVDs going up and the amount of network online content increasing, it's seems only fair writers should get their piece of the new media sales pie.

And black writers have their own unique issues in this industry. Too often they find themselves stuck in a "black box"--writing for nothing but black sitcoms. But the black sitcom boom of the 90's is over so now many of those writers are living off their residuals--not new or current projects on air. That's another reason why Perry's agreement with the WGA is so important. Not only will this agreement increase the quality of what we see and bring new talent to the writer's room, it will also help keep black writers in the financial circle as projects go into syndication, DVD, and potentially internet and mobile phones. HALLELUER!

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