Indian screenwriters are dissatisfied with the pay and credit they receive for their work, according to a report titled ‘The Right Draft: 2023’ by Ormax Media and Tulsea.
The report is based on a survey conducted among 217 film & series writers in India, to gauge their perceptions about various aspects of the writing profession, and about the entertainment industry in India in general. Writers working across Hindi, English and four South Indian languages were interviewed between January and March 2023.
The report is divided into six sections, titled The Right Pay, The Right Credit, The Right Feedback, The Right Value, The Right Nurturing, and The Right Environment. Each section has survey findings related to how writers feel about various aspects of their work.
Some highlights of the report are:
- Though a sizeable section (65%) believes that pay levels have improved in recent years, 63% still believe they are not being paid fairly. Timeliness of payments is also a significant concern, impacting 47% writers directly.
- A dominant majority of writers (91%) believe that a hybrid pay model, comprising of a mix of fixed pay and incentive/ bonus, will motivate them to do better work, and lead to higher ownership. However, only 31% have ever been offered a contract of this nature so far.
- 53% writers are dissatisfied with the credit they receive for their work. The dissatisfaction with credit in marketing & promotions is even higher, touching 65-80% of different types of marketing activities.
- In writers’ opinion, there is a marked difference in the importance scripts carry over stars in the theatrical and OTT industries. 90% writers believe theatrical business values stars over scripts, while the view is a lot more balanced for the OTT industry, though still titled away from scripts and towards stars.
- A large section of writers believe that they do not have adequate access to mentoring, infrastructure, grievance redressal, and other such industry forms of support.
- 74% writers believe that writers’ rooms are a collaborative method, leading to better quality of output. However, the experience of writers with writers’ rooms thus far has been mixed.
- When asked if they had considered becoming a director or a producer at some point of time, 91% writers answer in the affirmative, including 26% who have already made this transition, while they continue to write. The need for creative freedom is the dominant reason that drives writers towards directing and producing. Financial motivation is a significantly weaker driver.
Speaking about the need for the report, Datta Dave, Co-Founder, Tulsea, said, “It is well understood that writers are pivotal to the creative process, especially in the era of streaming platforms and in the post-pandemic world, where audience are more demanding of good stories than ever before. Yet, the writers have struggled to get their due. This report is aimed to capture the perception of the writers’ community in India, on a wide range of topics. We hope that this report builds more awareness, and creates conversations, on how writers should be treated by the entertainment industry, a topic that’s more relevant globally than ever before, given what we are seeing in Hollywood with the WGA strike”.
Speaking about the report, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder-CEO, Ormax Media, said: “We are happy to partner with Tulsea on what is a very important, yet often-ignored, topic: the satisfaction levels of Indian writers with their role and place in the industry. We have always believed that measuring the quantum of a problem is the first step to finding solutions, and this report too aims to do the same, by creating conversations that are more data-led and objective. We hope that this and the subsequent editions of The Right Draft act as a catalyst for positive change in how writers are perceived in the Indian entertainment industry”.
Feedback: [email protected]