Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Creating the Writers' Guild

On the Guild website, Nick Yapp explains how the Guild came into being.
Creationists may be delighted to hear that a fixed date can be given for the birth of the Guild – 13th May 1959. But joy may turn to consternation when they learn that the Guild also has a lengthy pre-history of evolution.

It all began in 1936, when a group of screenwriters met at London's Café Royal. The initiative came largely from A.P. Herbert and Frank Launder, and the pioneer group included Jim Williams, Sidney Gilliatt, Bill Lipscombe, Leslie Arliss, Roger Burford and J.B. Priestley.

They had come together to form the Screen Writers’ Association (SWA), and to fight the proposed Cinematograph Films Bill of 1937. The Bill was the work of Neville Chamberlain's National Government, an attempt to appease (in true Chamberlain style) those British film distributors and cinema proprietors who wished to lower the quota of home-produced films.
Nick is writing a book about the history of the Guild as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations next year. If you have any stories to contribute you can contact him c/o the Guild office.

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