Protect the Story Coordinators position under The Writers Guild of Canada agreement.
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The position of the story coordinator has changed from an entry-level position to a highly nuanced job managing writer's rooms with all the demanding hours, special training, and a specific skill set that many can possess, but few can master.
We would like to highlight this is an essential position for a writer's room that comes with no benefits and no protections. A coordinator can be only be upgraded to guild status with a specific credit (Story Editor credit or higher) and only then, gain all the benefits that come with being a part of the Writers Guild of Canada. HOWEVER, many coordinators join the guild only to continue coordinating WITHOUT being able to negotiate the story editor credit, they thus lose their benefits with AFBS.
-- make no mistake, the credit title matters, and defining what that credit means is essential to appropriate boundaries in an industry that asks story coordinators to go above and beyond in every moment --
We are asking that the Writers Guild of Canada protect this position, with standard liveable minimum rate and clearly defined job expectations and hours as well as the health and retirement benefits that go along with being a part of the Guild. Everyone has the right to work in a healthy and safe place, and if this position was a part of the guild every coordinator would be.
BECAUSE: in order to get the position, the script coordinators have their scripts read by the showrunner. This means they are already professional level screenwriters.
They are often hired because of what they can contribute to the room and as storytellers, they are expected to hold the storylines in their head and are the last line of defence for logic holes and missing elements in order to keep the scripts together. That is not entry-level, this is far more responsibility than an entry-level job would have.
Often coordinators stay in this position for the many years, with little opportunity to upgrade with in the position. Many are only upgraded to a half script if the showrunner is able to offer it. And if they are one of the lucky few who get the writing work, they are expected to also tend to the daily tasks of a coordinator as well as write.
This job is hard to come by and agents put their junior clients up for this role, production companies go through agencies to find their coordinators. Many coordinators have agents - more proof that they are professional level writers -
At the end of the day, what was maybe a livable wage for a 9-5 job can be less than the minimum wage after agent fees are deducted. It is NOT OK to pay unliveable wages in the name of “paying their dues”. This is an unfair practice.
There is an expectation for the coordinators to be available 24/7. Because the hours are unpredictable and the expectation is that your biggest priority should be the show, it is hard for coordinators to plan their lives - particularly if they have to hold down another job to make ends meet.
This job is often held by BIPOC folks and women.
During this time where we are all working around the clock to build safer rules for media production and a safer world for everybody. We at BIPOC TV & Film (https://www.bipoctvandfilm.com/) want to make sure we come out of this as a healthier and more inclusive industry.
WRITERS GUILD OF CANADA, we implore you to provide for Story Coordinators. We ask you to let them join the guild when they work on WGC-approved productions; and therefore, that the role of Story Coordinator would be a protected position, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with it, under your collective agreements.
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