Saturday, May 23, 2009

Writers Guild Office Boy 1971 (xvi)

The work assignment at the Writers Guild-East office that I most remember from January and February 1971 involved receiving in the mail, delivering and picking up script manuscripts that had been entered in the Writers Guild’s annual television scriptwriting awards contest. Awards for the best scripts written during the year were given in different categories: an award for the best fictional teleplay script, an award for the best public affairs documentary script, etc..

A Guild member who wished to enter his script in the Writers Guild-East Awards contest would mail a copy of the script to the Guild union office. I would then assign a number to the script and make a photocopy of the entered script that did not indicate the name of the Writers Guild writer who had written the script.

Once a script’s author was no longer indicated and a number had been assigned to it, I would then put the copy of the script in a manila envelope, along with an anonymous evaluation sheet. Then I would hand-deliver the manila envelope to the Manhattan office or Manhattan apartment of one of the Writers Guild writers who had volunteered to be one of the Guild judges for the particular category for which the script had been entered.

After the script had been read by one Guild member-judge, it would either be sent back to the Guild office by messenger or I would return to the Guild judge-member’s office or apartment and pick-up the evaluated manuscript and evaluation sheet. Then I would deliver the manuscript to another Guild member who was on the judging panel for that entered script’s category.

Coordinating, recording, delivering and picking up the manuscripts for the Writers Guild-East’s script awards contest in early 1971 proved to be more interesting than the work I had been doing at the Writers Guild office between September 1970 and the end of December 1970. Besides giving me a chance to have some interesting conversations with a few of the television writers at either their network television offices or in their Upper West Side, Upper East Side or West Village apartments when I delivered and picked-up the contest scripts, it also gave me a legitimate excuse to stretch out the time I could stay out of the office and hang out on the street even longer than I was able to do during my previous 4 months as the Writers Guild office boy.