Bloated Writing Credit

Soul-surfer-movie-posterI've done a lot of WGA credit arbitrations and can't imagine what the committee that judged SOUL SURFER was thinking. The screenwriting credits for SOUL SURFER are the longest I have ever seen…

Screen Story by Sean McNamara & Deborah Schwartz & Douglas Schwartz & Michael Berk and Matt R. Allen & Caleb Wilson & Brad Ganin based on the book by Bethany Hamilton, Sheryl Berk, and Rick Bundshuh

Screenplay by Sean McNamara & Deborah Schwartz & Douglas Schwartz & Michael Berk

And it's not what you'd call a very complex story, as opposed to say the ten-hour GAME OF THRONES, which has this screen credit:

Screenplay by David Benioff & D.B Weiss, based on the novel by George R.R. Martin

Or, say, INCEPTION, which had this screen credit:

Screenplay by Christopher Nolan

What was so daunting and complex about the story of  a girl whose arm is bitten off by a shark that it would require a team of seven credited writers to adapt and four to write? It boggles the mind.

6 thoughts on “Bloated Writing Credit”

  1. It reminds me of Christmas cards…the way parents with children will sometimes tack the name of the children (and sometimes the family pets) after the salutation.

  2. If I understand screen credits (it’s been a while since my sojourn in showbiz)…
    Allen/Wilson/Ganin wrote the story, and probably a first draft of the script. Then McNamara/Schwartz/Schwartz/Berk came in for the rewrite. (SSB are the Baywatch people, after all, therefore necessary for anything surf-related.)
    Never done an arbitration; I know just enough to be dangerous.

  3. Genia,
    Yes, I get that. What I don’t get is why it took a THREE member writing TEAM (the ampersands indicated a team, the “and” indicates a separate writing entity) and a FOUR member writing TEAM to come up with the story? From a book, no less! And when did the Guild start allowing four member writing teams?

  4. I’m so glad, Lee, that you and Genia explained the meaning of the “&” and the “and” in the string of credits: I was scratching my head over it! The word “ampersand” seemed curious to me so I looked up its origin.
    It derives from a phrase that appeared in the middle of the 19th century. The phrase, if you can believe this, is: “and per se and.” The literal meaning of this phrase is, if you can believe it: “ ‘(the character) ‘&’ by itself (means) and’.” And all this time I just called it “the and sign”—who knew?
    Lee, I owe you a review of “The Walk”: read it twice, now going through it one more time to make sure I get everything, and then do the review. Sorry for the delay. Also owe Tod a review of his book of short stories. Also, CBS Corp is releasing their first quarter report in early May, so then I’ll have a report on it then. Time is just flying this year.

  5. Well, three of the writers were Doug and Debbie Schwartz and Michael Berk. It would take a lot of other writers to undo all that damage…


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