Industry working to ensure minimum pay for screenwriters

The contract will ensure screenwriters are paid a minimum fee once they are signed on for a film.

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza | Published:February 28, 2013 12:41 am

Wednesday,the third and final day of the third edition of Indian Screenwriters Conference held at St Andrews Auditorium,Bandra,representatives of Film Writers Association (FWA) and Film & Television Producers Guild of India said they were drafting a minimum basic contract for Bollywood screenwriters. The contract will ensure screenwriters are paid a minimum fee once they are signed on for a film.

Screenwriter Anjum Rajabali,a member of FWA executive committee and a key organiser of the conference,shared highlights of the contract with filmmaker Vipul Shah,vice-president of the Guild.

“The idea is to safeguard interests of screenwriters,especially newcomers,who are often exploited for the want of work. The minimum fee will be based on film budgets that have been divided in three slabs,” Rajabali said.

For small-budget indie films,however,a special review committee will be set up to decide the amount on case-to-case basis.

The contract will also address two other key concerns. It will ensure screenwriters are credited on film posters and in other publicity material and try to end the practice of their arbitrary termination.

While FWA and the Guild have been working together closely on the contract,Shah warned the three other producer associations — Western India Film Producers Association,Association of Motion Pictures & TV Programme Producers and Indian Motion Picture Producers Association — were not entirely supportive. “We have managed to more or less garner the support of the first two,” he said.

Rajabali and Shah said part of the responsibility lied with the screenwriters. “Once on board,they should not sign away rights under pressure from producers as this aspect we cannot control,” Rajabali said.

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