Latest news — from the FSE Newsletter
April 2002


News from the Netherlands
by Willemiek Seligmann


Contractbureau

In April 2002, three months later than planned, a special bureau for screenwriters will start a pilotproject to handle the judicial/business affairs for a group of approximately 20 screenwriters. This bureau will negotiate and prepare contracts on behalf of the screenwriters assigned to the bureau and deliver some other related services as cashing repeatfees.

The costs for these legal services are charged to the one who wants to contract with the screenwriter (producers, broadcasting companies a.o.) and will be related to the negotiating result. The percentage charged will be to begin with 5% of the bruto result of the negotiations with a maximum of 2270 Euro per contract. The screenwriter will be charged 2% of the fees for him collected for the all income derived from the contracts negotiated by the contractbureau which did not implicate separate negotiating. These rates are considerably lower than those that are charged by agents (10-15%), but the contractbureau will not do any acquisition.

The initiative is a cooperation of the Dutch guild for screenwriters and the LIRA which is the collective society for writers in Holland. The LIRA will be mainly financing the bureau, but the idea is that in the future the bureau will cover its own costs. Moreover, the aspirations for the future involve that the bureau will represent not only screenwriters but all writers living who like to join the bureau.

For more information, contact the Dutch Screenwriters Guild or the Contractenbureau, Postbus 3060, 2130 Hoofddorp (tel.00-31-23-7997816), the Netherlands.

Television DRAMA!

Since the end of last year it has become clear that the Dutch public broadcasting companies are not putting any (extra) money in the development of new Dutch television drama. As a lot of our members are dependent on their income on the writing for these broadcasting companies, this is a very serious problem. Of course this problem is not only a problem for screenwriters but, at least in the end, also for directors, producers etc. The Dutch Guild therefore has yet taken action in different fields: we have written a letter to the president of the NOS to express our worries and to ask what will be done about this. Next to that we intend to have an investigation done by an independent third party about the finances involved with the public broadcasting companies and especially with Dutch television drama. Our goal is to show that too much money is going from the state to the public broadcast companies, but too little is spent on the development of Dutch television drama. In the end we would like to accomplish a by law fixed percentage of the programming and financing for Dutch television drama. Furthermore we intend to approach the media in a rather 'demanding' way (!) and are we working together with other guilds to change the situation. We will keep you posted!


November 2001

Projects of the Dutch guild: Contract bureau
From 1st January 2002 a special bureau for screenwriters will start to handle their judicial/business affairs. This bureau will negotiate, make and close contracts on behalf of screenwriter who sign up for it. The costs for legal services are charged to the people who want to contract with the screenwriter (producers, broadcasting companies, etc) and will be related to the value of the contract. The percentage charged at first will be 5% -- considerably cheaper than the rates charged by agents (10-15%) - but the contract bureau will not do any acquisition. The initiative is a cooperation between the Dutch screenwriters, guild and LIRA, the collecting society for writers in Holland. LIRA will be mainly financing the bureau, but the idea is that in future the bureau will cover its own costs. The hope for the future is that the bureau will represent not only screenwriters but all writers who want to join.

Collective contract on scripts for television drama
After many years of struggle and battle on all fronts, last spring a collective contract was closed with the public broadcast companies in Holland. This means, among other things, that there are fixed minimum fees for television drama screenwriters. Disputes between parties will be handled by a special committee consisting of members agreed by both sides. In general the Dutch guild and writers agree a major improvement has been achieved. The Dutch guild, in cooperation with the broadcast company NOS, designed a non-obligatory model contract for the individual screenwriter based on the collective one, which can be downloaded from their website. The collective contract and model contract will be a basis for the work of the bureau mentioned above.

Cooperation with the Dutch Directors' Guild
Lately two meetings have been organised between the directors' guild and the screenwriters' guild. The idea was that directors and screenwriters would meet each other to improve the understanding of their positions in the process of making a film. Lots of people attended these meetings, which were held in the Maurits Binger Film Institute in Amsterdam. Each time there was a viewing of a film followed by an interview with the screenwriter and director. The public actively took part in discussions that followed the interviews. The first film was FAMILIE, by screenwriter Maria Goos and director Willem van de Sande Bakhuijzen, and the second was THE DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN, by screenwriter Edwin de Vries and director Jeroen Krabbé.


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