Post of self-interest

If you and your family are interested in seeing Enchanted over the Thanksgiving weekend, I will not try to discourage you. I’m interested in seeing it myself, since I worked on it for a year, and a lot of my material, as far as I can tell, is still in the movie (I receive no credit on the finished product). So if you see it, you will, in a way, be supporting my work, although probably not in any way that will actually benefit me.

I won’t kid you, it’s a very strange thing to work on a movie for so long, and have the completed movie contain a fair amount of my work, and not have my name on it, but that’s how it goes. Not so long ago, people tried to remove my name from a movie because they felt it didn’t belong there, and the rules of the WGA protected me. This time, they didn’t, but here we are. In any case, the movie is being well-reviewed and I wish the Disney people the best of luck with it.

hit counter html code


22 Responses to “Post of self-interest”
  1. spooky_chan says:

    Well that’s unfortunate. Any particular reason why your name wasn’t included?

    -Oddly enough, i do want to see this movie- yet it’s not the type of movie i typically I ever want to see. It must be the nostalgia part of me, hungering for something close to old Disney flicks with an added slight adult theme. And it doesn’t seem as offensive as most pop-culture films that we are assaulted with every day.

    • Todd says:

      Any particular reason why your name wasn’t included?

      Nothing more sinister than a WGA ruling. I was number 17 of about 19 writers who worked on it, and even though I recognize a lot of my work in the final script, they ruled to give the credit to the original writer (who was also, ironically, the final writer).

      • craigjclark says:

        I may have the figure wrong, but I thought that any screenwriter who was not the original writer on a project had to show that at least 50% of the work in the final product is theirs in order to receive screen credit. This is why, when asked by Tim Burton to do a simple punch-up job on Mars Attacks!, Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski did a major overhaul of the script, changing character names, locations and situations wholesale in an effort to get screen credit. Of course, that ended up backfiring on them because Burton threw out much of their rewrite job because it would have meant a costly delay in production. That’s why Jonathan Gems remains the only credited screenwriter on the film.

        That said, I don’t know how the WGA handles it when a billion screenwriters have all worked on a script over a significant period of time, but from what I can surmise if you’re not first out of the gate and you’re not batting cleanup then you’re pretty much up the creek.

        • Todd says:

          I thought that any screenwriter who was not the original writer on a project had to show that at least 50% of the work in the final product is theirs in order to receive screen credit.

          It’s vastly more complicated than that. One could re-write every line of dialogue in the movie and still not get credit, but change one key conceptual facet and get credit. I read the shooting script for Enchanted and it seemed more or less like the version I worked on, and other writers who worked on the project felt that it was more or less their version as well. The WGA decides these things with an arbitration committee, that is, a handful of other screenwriters, who read all the drafts in a short period of time and then decide which one most resembles the finished script. Since there were probably 20 different drafts of Enchanted to read, it doesn’t surprise me that the arbitration committee, people more or less as skilled as myself, couldn’t tell one version from another by the time they were done reading them all. In any case, the WGA giveth and the WGA taketh away and I am but a simple man trying to make my way in the universe.

          • I know that you have to keep a draft copy of your work somewhere, but it boggles my mind how you, people, you keep all those drafts of all your work organized. How do you do it? Hard copy? Soft copy? Back-up files? Where?

            Or does the WGA keep all of this stored somewhere when you register a copy of your script?

            I was really excited to see ‘Enchanted’ when I saw the trailer… I suppose at this point your work is indiscernable from the others, but, in advance, “Good Work!” … Um, at least you got paid, maybe, right?

      • mcbrennan says:

        I’ve always been curious how these things are decided–if there’s a nice clear-cut formula, if it’s driven by politics, or if it’s sort of arbitrary and nebulous, like Olympic judging.

        When I saw the trailer, I was really interested in the concept and was eager to see this. Mind you, my November entertainment dollars are probably going to be consumed wholesale by The Life Of Reilly, which one presumes you were only peripherally involved with.

        • Todd says:

          I’ve always been curious how these things are decided–if there’s a nice clear-cut formula, if it’s driven by politics, or if it’s sort of arbitrary and nebulous.

          There’s a clear-cut formula, it’s driven by politics, and it’s sort of arbitrary and nebulous.

      • dougo says:

        Why can’t they just credit all of you?

        • Todd says:

          Because it starts to look ridiculous, having 19 writers credited in a movie. Not to mention the money involved — if one writer can barely subsist on the residuals from a hit movie, 19 writers wouldn’t get anything at all. For these reasons, the writers whose work actually ends up in the movie fight hard to get credit. In this case, I fought to get credit and lost.

          • craigjclark says:

            When the first Flintstones movie was coming out I saw a lobby display that credited the screenplay to close to 20 writers. (I took that as a sign that film was a development for at least a couple decades.) By the time the film was actually released, though, WGA arbitration had whittled that number down to eight or nine. That’s still a lot of writers considering the final product, but yes, it’s less ridiculous than 20.

            • Todd says:

              For the Flintstones project, the studio decided to have the movie written like a TV show — writers were brought in by the dozens to “punch up” the dialogue, in the hopes of getting the funniest movie possible. In the case of The Flintstones, the results of that idea are in full evidence.

  2. mikeyed says:

    Disney always needs to stick it to somebody when they release a movie.

  3. I’ll spread the word

    I plan on seeing this with my girlfriend and a few other friends. When I first started to play the trailer to a room full of guys, there were groans and moans all round. By the halfway point everyone had laughed once and one guy couldn’t stop laughing!

    I’ll make sure to spread the word of your involvement! I’m forever talking about the wacky posts you have here and at least two or three of my friends read the site as well, so we’ll have a coke for you (even though you won’t get a penny of that sale either!!).


  4. greyaenigma says:

    Interesting. From the trailer alone, I got the sense this would be a horrible, derivative movie. But hearing you were involve has me intrigued. Of course, I’ve been terrible about getting out to see movies lately anyway.

  5. eronanke says:

    Since you’re involved…
    Can I expect more out of it, then, than what it seems in ads?
    I am hoping for a sophisticated level of humor without being too adult-oriented.

    • Todd says:

      I haven’t seen the movie, but I wrote enough of the gags left in it to say that you can expect a certain level sophisticated humor. The reviews I’ve read, like the New York Times, for instance, seem shocked that Disney — Disney! — has made a genuinely witty family motion picture. For that reason alone, I wish I had my name on it.

  6. unwiredben says:

    The Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin decided to show it, but the owner took some flak from his programmers. It’s documented online in two blog entries and a YouTube video at

    Enchanted will rock… or my ass is grass. and Will you find ENCHANTED to be all enchanting?. I’m planning on seeing it late on Thursday myself.

  7. popebuck1 says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing it – from what I can tell, it looks genuinely delightful! (Of course, it also helps that I love Susan Sarandon in anything, and that Amy Adams is completely adorable.)

    Congratulations, even if you did end up uncredited!

  8. Anonymous says:

    What’s an ‘Alcott’ joke I should look for?

    • Todd says:

      Any time a character makes a remark about the disastrous effects of late corporate capitalism on the planet’s environment, that’s probably me.

      • Anonymous says:

        Uh oh… sounds dry… will there be talking animals?
        Maybe a good natured fart joke about the evils of capitalism?