Written By February/March 2010 : Page 2

fAde in the MAGAzine of the Writers Guild of AMericA, West “As the script was being written, Daniels began to figure out the financing of the movie.” This sentence occurs in the fifth column, fourth page of the October 25, 2009 The New York Times Mag- azine cover story. Titled “The Audac- ity of Precious,” in its 10 ½ pages you won’t find another mention of the screenplay for Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Let me be perfectly clear: The magazine cover story examines everything about the movie except its script. Yet there’s space for dramatic black-and-white full-page portraits of the film’s director Lee Daniels and key cast-members Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, and Paula Patton. All deserving, but… Geoffrey Fletcher? He’s the invisible man. No portrait, no mention of the New Yorker who adapted the no- toriously “unadaptable” novel about an obese, abused, illiterate 16- year-old Harlem girl. None, even though Oprah Winfrey marveled to its director, “Who would have thought this book would be able to be a screenplay?” The answer: screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher. Nevertheless, Fletcher does not exist in this magazine feature story. There is no reference to the craft or to his days and nights absorbing the novel, reimagining the prose as a film, structuring its poetry into cinematic scenes and acts. No mention of Fletcher’s work except for the glib, dismissive “as the script was being written” followed by “Dan- iels began to figure out the financing of the movie.” The real work, in other words, is finding the money. According to the paper of record, evidently financing, not writing, created Precious. Which is why Written By exists: to correct the record. Fletcher was not invited to a post-screening New Yorker Festival panel on Precious, where director Daniels and author Sapphire dis- cussed the screenplay adaptation of her novel. This well-publicized event was sponsored by New Yorker magazine, the progenitor and protector of authors from Dorothy Parker to J.D. Salinger? Which is another reason Written By exists: to explain how and why you do what you do. But ignoring screenwriters isn’t just an East Coast activity. Fletcher is a nominee for best adaptation from the WGA and the Academy, as well as from more than 13 additional organizations, all for his first pro- duced screenplay. So Written By asked Fletcher to visit photographer Tom Keller’s studio while being chauffeured to the Golden Globes gala. We intended to take his cover portrait in formal attire. Such a rare opportunity to photograph the New Yorker, only in L.A. briefly for awards season. When no chauffeur was provided, we arranged for his commute. Once in the studio, Fletcher voluntarily offered to remain for the session, since he’d not been invited to sit at the Precious table. His Globe tickets? Dispensed to some significant others. As Variety re- ported, “Fletcher has been lost among the bigger names in Lionsgate’s awards campaign.” Which is why the Writers Guild of America’s annual awards cer- emonies exist: to celebrate and acknowledge excellence. To give credit 2 • WGAW Written By february/march 2010 W ritten By © WGAW officers President John Wells Vice President Tom Schulman secretary-treasurer David N. Weiss WGAW BoArd of directors John f. bowman, Linda burstyn, Ian Deitchman, carleton eastlake, Katherine fugate, David a. Goodman, howard michael Gould, mark Gunn, Karen harris, chip Johannessen, Kathy Kiernan, aaron mendelsohn, billy ray, howard a. rodman, Steven Schwartz, Patric m. Verrone, Dan Wilcox executive director David young GenerAl counsel Tony Segall WGAW Phone inforMAtion The Guild (all Departments) 323.951.4000 WeBsite: WWW.WGA.orG WGAW dePArtMents Administration Agency Awards & elections claims contracts credits dues diversity executive offices film society finance human resources legal library Member services Membership organizing Public Affairs Publications registration residuals signatories theater operations Written By Pension & health Writerscare info. 323.951.4000 782.4520 782.4502 782.4569 782.4663 782.4501 782.4528 782.4531 782.4589 951.4000 782.4508 782.4637 782.4615 782.4521 782.4544 782.4747 782.4532 782.4511 782.4574 782.4522 782.4500 782.4700 782.4514 782.4525 782.4699 818.846.1015 800.227.7863 800.890-0288 fax 323.782.4800 Written By welcomes your comments. Send letters to: 7000 W. Third St., L.a., ca 90048 Or e-mail us at writtenby@wga.org marK haNauer

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“As the script was being written, Daniels began to figure out the financing of the movie.”<br /> <br /> This sentence occurs in the fifth column, fourth page of the October 25, 2009 The New York Times Magazine cover story. Titled “The Audacity of Precious,” in its 10 ½ pages you won’t find another mention of the screenplay for Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Let me be perfectly clear: The magazine cover story examines everything about the movie except its script.<br /> <br /> Yet there’s space for dramatic black-and-white full-page portraits of the film’s director Lee Daniels and key cast-members Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, and Paula Patton. All deserving, but… Geoffrey Fletcher? He’s the invisible man.<br /> <br /> No portrait, no mention of the New Yorker who adapted the notoriously “unadaptable” novel about an obese, abused, illiterate 16- year-old Harlem girl. None, even though Oprah Winfrey marveled to its director, “Who would have thought this book would be able to be a screenplay?” The answer: screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher.<br /> <br /> Nevertheless, Fletcher does not exist in this magazine feature story.<br /> <br /> There is no reference to the craft or to his days and nights absorbing the novel, reimagining the prose as a film, structuring its poetry into cinematic scenes and acts. No mention of Fletcher’s work except for the glib, dismissive “as the script was being written” followed by “Daniels began to figure out the financing of the movie.” The real work, in other words, is finding the money. According to the paper of record, evidently financing, not writing, created Precious.<br /> <br /> Which is why Written By exists: to correct the record.<br /> <br /> Fletcher was not invited to a post-screening New Yorker Festival panel on Precious, where director Daniels and author Sapphire discussed the screenplay adaptation of her novel. This well-publicized event was sponsored by New Yorker magazine, the progenitor and protector of authors from Dorothy Parker to J.D. Salinger?<br /> <br /> Which is another reason Written By exists: to explain how and why you do what you do.<br /> <br /> But ignoring screenwriters isn’t just an East Coast activity. Fletcher is a nominee for best adaptation from the WGA and the Academy, as well as from more than 13 additional organizations, all for his first produced screenplay. So Written By asked Fletcher to visit photographer Tom Keller’s studio while being chauffeured to the Golden Globes gala. We intended to take his cover portrait in formal attire. Such a rare opportunity to photograph the New Yorker, only in L.A. briefly for awards season. When no chauffeur was provided, we arranged for his commute. Once in the studio, Fletcher voluntarily offered to remain for the session, since he’d not been invited to sit at the Precious table.<br /> <br /> His Globe tickets? Dispensed to some significant others. As Variety reported, “Fletcher has been lost among the bigger names in Lionsgate’s awards campaign.” Which is why the Writers Guild of America’s annual awards ceremonies exist: to celebrate and acknowledge excellence. To give credit Where credit’s due. And to protect writers from the disrespect and ignorance that this young screenwriter has encountered during his first awards season dance.<br /> <br /> Welcome, Mr. Fletcher.<br /> <br /> The WGA is a family whose members don’t always agree on every subject. But like any loyal family: It’s got your back.<br /> <br /> For example, study this year’s WGA nominations list for feature films. Notice anything different about the 10 nominated scripts?<br /> <br /> What’s most provocative is what isn’t on the list. A new rule denies eligibility to producers who refused or neglected to sign WGA contracts.<br /> <br /> For the first time, to be eligible for award consideration, scripts must be written under a WGA contract or under that of a union in the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG).<br /> <br /> Bernie Corbett, general secretary of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, eloquently validates this online: “If you won’t join the Guild, or you won’t operate [under] the Guild contract, why should you expect Guild honors? In my view this new thinking has its roots in the great writers’ strike two years ago—in a fight like that you learn the hard way who your friends are and where your loyalty should lie.” But to be fair, in that Times “Audacious” cover story, there was this line: “Precious is a stand-in for anyone—black, white, male, female—who has ever been devalued or underestimated.” Got that right.<br /> <br />

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