Purpose and Background on The Caucus Bill of Rights

Caucus_LogoSince its inception, The Caucus for Producers, Writers, & Directors has been dedicated to the defense of the right of producers, writers and directors to exercise their talents free from unwarranted network, cable, or studio intervention. Over the last 25 years, we have observed steady erosion of those rights, despite our efforts.

The death of FinSyn, the expansion of network economic powers, and the concentration in ownership of television has only speeded and exacerbated the process. With the erosion of our creative rights has come a decline in the creativity of much of television programming as well as an absence of joy in the creative process. Without a reversal of this trend, the historic role of each member of the credited creative team in Television is about to become extinct.

We have come to determine that the first step in the defense of our creative rights is to define those rights specifically. Without a clear statement of our creative rights, it is nearly impossible to get agreement as to when these rights have been violated. Furthermore, it is absolutely impossible to confront a network executive about abuses of our rights when there is no agreement as to what those rights are.

Strangely enough, this step has never been undertaken. The Bill of Rights describes in broad terms the rights of Producers, Writers and Directors as if they were one entity without delineating the lines of authority between the three. In practice, the exercise of each of these rights may be the specific prerogative of one or more members of the team. The Bill Of Rights is intended to be a vehicle to unite the members of the three guilds by defining the relationship between Producers, Writers and Directors as a group and the financing entity rather than attempting to define the boundaries of rights and prerogatives between each guild member.

The creation of the Bill of Rights is but the first step. The second step is to gather consensus in the industry and in the media that the Bill describes the appropriate working relationship between financiers and the credited creative team for the creation of excellence in Television programming. Finally, as this Bill gathers agreement and consensus, we can pursue network policies and personnel who violate these rights. Without the specificity and the agreement, all efforts are doomed to failure or, at best, very limited and temporary alleviation of a condition.