One of the most resonant issues on the table in the ongoing Writers Guild of America contract negotiations has turned out to be one of the hardest to define: mini rooms. Rising to the top of writers' concerns in bargaining with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is the rapid growth in the use of so-called mini rooms in the development and production of TV series. Yet ask anyone around town to define what constitutes a mini room, and answers vary greatly. While traditional writers' rooms consist of seven or eight writers (or more, depending on the show, its budget and the level of experience on staff), a mini room is often “a miniaturized writers' room,” one TV exec says. “We'll hire two to three additional writers to help our showrunner crack the first two to three scripts, after the pilot is written.” Multiple literary agents, execs and scribes who spoke with Variety identified two scenarios that most often lead a production entity to establish a mini room. The first is a development mini room, in which a writer has sold a pitch or a pilot script to a particular platform. In lieu of a pilot, the outlet will want to see two or three more scripts to determine the show's potential before formally ordering it to series. In this case, the writer — typically an established showrunner — will hire a handful of writers to work on the scripts over a few weeks, with […]
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