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WGA News for January 14, 2011

WGA Videogame Writing Award nominations; WGA New Media Writing Award nominations; Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing recipient and the Valentine Davies Award recipients.

The Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East have announced nominations for outstanding achievement in videogame writing during 2010.

Established by the Writers Guilds’ Videogame Writers Caucus to promote storytelling excellence in videogames, improve the status of gaming writers, and encourage uniform standards within the gaming industry, the WGA Videogame Writing Award recognizes the essential creative contributions made by writers to video games and the gaming industry. Both the WGAW and WGAE continue their collective efforts to bring an increasing number of videogame projects under WGA jurisdiction to ensure that writers receive the benefits of a Writers Guild contract.

The WGA Videogame Writing Award honors the best qualifying script from a videogame published in the previous year. To be eligible for WGA consideration, games must have been released between December 1, 2009 and November 30, 2010, works must contain separate writing credit(s), and credited game writers must have been or must have applied to become members of the WGA’s Videogame Writers Caucus at the time scripts were submitted. Work that was not produced under WGA jurisdiction was also eligible for submission.

This year’s nominees are:

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Story by Patrice Desilets, Jeffrey Yohalem, Corey May; Lead Script Writer: Jeffrey Yohalem; Script Writers: Ethan Petty,Nicholas Grimwood, Matt Turner; Ubisoft

Fallout: New Vegas, Creative Design Lead/Lead Writer: John Gonzalez; Writers: Chris Avellone,Eric Fenstermaker, Travis Stout; Additional Writing: Tess Treadwell, George Ziets, Jason Bergman, Nick Breckon, Matt Grandstaff, Will Noble, Andrew Scharf; Bethesda Softworks

God of War III, Written by Marianne Krawcyzk; Additional Writing by Stig Asmussen, Ariel Lawrence, William Weissbaum; Sony Computer Entertainment

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Writer: Benjamin McCaw; Story Dialogue Editor: Marianne Krawczyk; Ubisoft

Singularity, Written by Marc Guggenheim, Lindsey Allen, Emily Silver; Additional Story and Writing: Jason Henderson, Adam Foshko, Michael Cassutt; Story and Script Consultant: Adam Foshko; Activision

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Executive Producer-Writer: Haden Blackman; In-Game Script: David Collins, John Stafford, Cameron Suey; Additional Writing: Tid Cooney, Ian Dominguez, Tony Rowe; LucasArts

The Guilds have also announced their nominees for this year’s newly created New Media Writing Awards. To be eligible for the new media awards, the program or episode must have first been exhibited on a new media platform between 12/1/2009 and 11/30/2010. A new media platform is defined as the Internet (via a major video sharing site or unique URL), mobile devices such as cell phones or PDAs, or any other established new media platform. Derivative new media productions must have been based on an existing television show or motion picture that was produced for “traditional” media. Only work that was written and produced under a WGA collective bargaining agreement and for which the Guilds have determined the writing credits were eligible. Judging for the WGA New Media Writing Awards is based strictly on written material and is conducted by panels comprised of Guild members.

Outstanding Achievement in Writing Original New Media

“The Real Thing,” ”Identity Crisis,” “Girl Talk,” ”Naming Things,” “Curtain Up” (Anyone But Me), Story by Susan Miller,Tina Cesa Ward, Written by Susan Miller,Tina Cesa Ward;

“Episode 1,” “Episode 4,” Episode 5,” Episode 6,” “Episode 7” (All’s Faire), Written by Thom Woodley;

“Episode 1: We’ve Got Flash,” “Episode 2: Complimentary Sandwiches,” “Episode 3: Perfect Resume Builder” (Concierge: The Series), Written by Timothy Cooper,

“The Shadow” (The Five Faces Project), Written by Michael A. Nixon,

“Zac” (Madison Avery), Written by Gregory Storm;

Outstanding Achievement in Writing Derivative New Media

“Webisode One: Moving On,” “Webisode Two: Lights, Camera, Action!,” “Webisode Three: The Final Product” (The 3rd Floor, The Office Webisodes), Written by Kelly Hannon, Jonathan Hughes, Mary Wall;

“Strip Pong,” “Tear Jerks,” Brainstorm, (Frank vs. Lutz), 30 Rock New Media, Written by Jon Haller;

In other award news, the WGAE has announced that Frank Gilroy will receive the Writers Guild of America East’s (WGAE) Ian McLellan Hunter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Writing. The award is given in honor of a lifetime body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television. Gilroy will receive his award from his son, screenwriter and director Tony Gilroy at the 63rd annual Writers Guild Awards ceremony in New York.

Frank Gilroy’s work spans television, film, theater and print. He wrote for almost every show in TV’s so-called Golden Age, including Playhouse 90, Omnibus, and Studio One. His screenplays include The Fastest Gun Alive, The Subject Was Roses, The Only Game in Town, and From Noon Till Three, which was based on his novel. An independent moviemaker, he wrote and directed Desperate Characters (winner at Berlin Film Festival), Once In Paris (nominated for a Writers Guild Award for best original screenplay), and The Gig.His plays include Who’ll Save The Plowboy? (Obie winner for best play), The Subject Was Roses (winner of a Pulitzer Prize and also Tony and Drama Critics awards), and Contact With The Enemy ( Drama Desk nominee for best play). In print and non-fiction, his work includes Wake Up Screening, Writing For Love and/or Money, and Out Takes from A Life on Spec.

“Frank Gilroy's stunning body of work, with its sure and poignant grasp of the human condition, would alone make him a worthy recipient of the Ian McLellan Hunter Award. But in addition he has been a visionary and pioneer, forging a path for all the independent filmmakers and storytellers who have followed him," said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

Established in 1992 in memory of the late Ian McLellan Hunter, a WGAE member of long standing, the Hunter Award is presented to a Guild member in honor of his or her lifetime body of work as a writer in motion Pictures or television. Hunter’s more than 20 screen credits include Eye Witness and A Woman of Distinction. Harassed by the blacklist in the 1950s, Hunter went on to write several successful television series under a pseudonym and then reemerged as a writer on many television projects. Appropriately, the first recipient of the Hunter Award was his longtime friend and writing partner, Ring Lardner, Jr., whose movie credits include Woman Of The Year, M*A*S*H, and The Cincinnati Kid. Other Hunter Award recipients include: 2010 recipient Alan Zweibel, John Patrick Shanley, Andrew Bergman, Marshall Brickman, Horton Foote, Bill Persky, Walter Bernstein, Jules Feiffer, and Nora Ephron.

Meanwhile, the WGAW has announced that Emmy Award-winning television writer Seth Freeman and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Susannah Grant have each been named recipients of the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2011 Valentine Davies Award, recognizing their contributions to the entertainment industry and community at large. The Davies award honors Guild members whose humanitarian efforts and service have brought dignity and honor to writers everywhere. Past Valentine Davies recipients include Phil Alden Robinson, Norman Lear, Neal Baer, Larry Gelbart, Tom Schulman, Carl Reiner, and Victoria Riskin.

“Beyond the social and cultural impact their often topical bodies of work have made, Seth and Susannah’s ongoing personal service has made a real difference to many in the entertainment industry, our community, and the world. Embodying the best qualities of Writers Guild members, both of these deserving honorees continue to accomplish extraordinary efforts that positively impact not only people’s lives, but entire communities,” said WGAW President John Wells.

Over the past four decades, Freeman – a multiple Emmy-winning television writer-producer -- has written, produced, directed, and/or created over 300 hours of television movies and series, writing episodes for such shows as The Waltons, The Blue Knight, Rhoda, Phyllis, and Doc before becoming a writer-producer on the long-running newspaper drama Lou Grant and other acclaimed TV series, including Brooklyn Bridge and the recent Lincoln Heights. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He has also written for the stage.

Freeman has served on the Board of Advisors of the Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica for 25 years and on the Board of Advisors of the UCLA Medical Center for twelve years. He recently joined the Board of Advisors of the newly established Institute for Patient Safety at UCLA. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Educational Advancement and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Writers Guild Foundation. As a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Freeman traveled to Guatemala in March of 2010 as part of a task force examining violence against women and women’s and children’s health issues in that country. Freeman is also an active supporter of the Humane Society and Amnesty International. In addition to the WGAW, he is also a member of the Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of Canada, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, PEN-USA, and the Dramatists Guild. Freeman has a degree in Mathematics from UC Berkeley.

He continues to contribute to a wide variety of charities, ranging from human rights to the environment to the arts to medical research; among his notable community contributions:

  • Endowed (supported with mentoring, script reading, etc.) a screenwriting award launched in 2007 via the Department of Film at Brooklyn College, his father’s alma mater.
  • ·Volunteered to mentor war/military veterans during the inaugural weekend-long Veterans Writing Workshop sponsored by the Writers Guild Foundation this past summer.
  • ·Developing a nutrition cookbook, in conjunction with dietitians at UCLA Medical Center, tailored for patients and families leaving the hospital after a major illness.
  • ·Co-created (with Allan Burns) three short films for the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica for use in the Center’s college and high school programs.
  • ·Wrote and helped produce and edit a short film, In Our Own Backyard, for the Santa Monica YWCA to help raise the profile of their community programs.

A WGAW member since 1994, Grant’s own social concerns have often been reflected in her thought-provoking, issue-driven screenplays – from Erin Brockovich to The Soloist to 28 Days. In 2001, Grant received Academy Award, WGA, and BAFTA nominations for Original Screenplay for Erin Brockovich, and earned a PEN USA Award for the Oscar-nominated film’s screenplay. She has written or co-written screenplays for Pocahontas, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, 28 Days, In Her Shoes, Charlotte's Web, and The Soloist. In 2007, Grant wrote and made her directorial debut with the feature film Catch and Release, which premiered at the 2006 Austin Film Festival. From 1995 to 1998, Grant was a writer-producer-director on the popular Fox television series Party of Five, which received a Golden Globe Award for Best TV Drama.

Grant launched her screenwriting career in 1992 as a recipient of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting for her script Island Girl. Since then, she has served as Chair of AMPAS’ Nicholls Fellowships Committee for nearly ten years and, as a result, has played an instrumental role in helping develop and spotlight the work of young screenwriters. She has also served as an advisor for the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab for several years, mentoring the industry’s next generation of emerging screenwriters.

Grant also serves as a Board member of Street Poets, Inc., a remarkable L.A.-based program whose mission is to inspire at-risk youth in the juvenile detention facilities, schools, and streets of Los Angeles County to discover and develop their voices as writers, artists, and human beings. Their programs help these kids develop writing skills as a means towards self-awareness and transcending self-destructive lifestyles. Over the years, Grant has also been intimately involved with Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, a hospital that was founded by her grandparents in Haiti that has been saving and improving lives for over 50 years, for which she continues fundraising efforts and personally visits each year.

The 2011 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011, simultaneously at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel-Grand Ballroom in Los Angeles and the AXA Equitable Center in New York City.