On the plus side, as Dave McNary reports for Variety:
Hollywood scribes saw a 12% rebound in earnings last year -- recovering much of the 15.4% financial hit that they took in 2008 from the double whammy of the recession and the 100-day strike.However, as Richard Verrier reports in The L.A. Times, tough economic conditions are having an impact.
The Writers Guild of America West, which sent its annual report to its 8,000 members this week, disclosed that total earnings covered by WGA contracts hit $931.4 million in 2009, up $100 million from 2008. That gain, the report noted, was fueled largely by "strong" earnings by TV writers.
This week the Writers Guild of America, West reported that while earnings for screenwriters have bounced back to pre-strike levels, there is a lot less work going around: employment has fallen 11% in the last three years, with 226 fewer screenwriters working in 2009 than 2006, the year before the 100-day walkout and the lowest level in at least six years.
Indeed, the recession has given the movie studios a reason — or an excuse, depending on the perspective — to adjust in their favor how they employ screenwriters.
When screenwriters do get a shot at work, they are increasingly subject to "sweepstakes pitching," in which as many as a dozen are pitted against one another, with producers picking the one they like best.