Sunday, April 13, 2008

A museum for writers...

The First Amendment graces the front of the new 250,000 square-foot "Newseum" that opened April 11th, 2008 in Washington D.C. Check out the interactive floor-by-floor map created by USA Today--click here to take a peek.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Tolkien Trust sues New Line

Fans of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series will have to wait for Peter Jackson to direct "The Hobbit." Tolkien's estate was supposed to be paid 7.5 percent of gross receipts as specified in the movie contract with New Line. However, the plaintiffs claim they have only received an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began--but nothing more since, although New Line and Time Warner, Inc. has raked in nearly $6 billion combined worldwide in profits. Selfish studios.

Why do writers get paid so little for their original work?

Winston Groom, author of "Forrest Gump," didn't receive a dime after he signed a contract for a share of the profits for the movie but his share was based on "net profits," rather than "gross points." Due to Hollywood accounting, he received nothing while his story turned into the third-highest-grossing film of all time.

Other films which became blockbusters yet paid writers next to nothing include Rain Man, Batman, JFK, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

This is just one reason writers went on strike earlier this past year led by the Writers Guild of America. Other issues included DVD sales and online viewings, new technologies or modes of delivery that writers had not anticipated for revenue streaming. The strike started November 5, 2007, and concluded on February 12, 2008.

Read your contracts carefully. "Net" means "nothing."