In defense of the screenwriter

After 25 years as a talent agent and literary agent, Nancy Nigrosh is leaving Innovative Artists and Hollywood with a spirited call for a return to the lone screenwriter getting credit for his or her work.

Of all the questions Iíd had over the years, thereís one that most burned and bothered me: Why is it so ingrained in Hollywood that one person alone cannot write a producible screenplay?...

Novelists, playwrights and poets are not rewritten by other writers. Even journalists do the deed pretty much alone. But screenwriters not only routinely and eagerly replace each other, they are tactical in their competitive quest for credit, credit that is not only emotionally gratifying but financially existent. Without credit, future opportunity, immediate and contingent compensation, dissolve. All that hard work to get beyond base camp, undone. Back to square none. Meaning - what do you tell your family, friends, former classmates, neighbors, and people youíve yet to meet - that you did work on something glamorous for possibly years even, but in the end, your name didnít scroll by?

And the other question that will not leave your mind is the calculation of cash you didnít get and residuals you will never see.

This belief and its subsequent practice of multiple screen authorship is a unifying principle that not only does not serve its community of believers, but actually endangers its members from achieving prosperity in a scarce economy.

She's just getting started. More at Anne Thompson's Variety blog.

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