- Script writer Sunil Premaratne stresses on the need for a script writers’ guild to be formed in Sri Lanka’s cinema industry
In November last year, Cabinet approval was granted for registering cinema as a recognised industry in Sri Lanka. With the long-awaited decision finally coming to be, the need has now arisen to make changes accordingly, including the creation of associations and societies for each group who are employed in the cinema industry.
The cinema industry is multifaceted and there is a plethora of roles to be occupied and each requires support, security, and community. Directors, producers, film hall owners, production managers, art directors, makeup artists, lyricists, actors, singers, music directors, and many others must create their own organisations.
Many of these groups already have formed and joined certain societies that are linked to both the silver screen as well as television. However, according to script writer Sunil Premaratne, those in the profession of script writing do not as of yet have a guild where they can all register with. He stated that while the idea has been floating around for some time, with this latest Cabinet decision they fast tracked the process and on 10 December 2021 they had a first meeting with just a few known personalities coming together to decide on an action plan.
“Just a few of us gathered at the National Film Corporation just as a first step, to see how we would proceed and we decided that we should get the word out and reach out to as many writers as possible, and then once we have a considerable potential membership we will have another meeting where we would then conduct officially to appoint a board of directors and have member registrations,” Premaratne said.
He noted that they hope to hold this next meeting at the end of January noting that as of now they have 26 members registered in the guild, and with the numbers growing they hope to initiate activities officially soon.
He added that the primary reason why such a guild is important is because script writers often do not have security or protection for their works. “I recently encountered a young girl, who shared that she had submitted a script to a producer who told her that the script was too complex to execute. However, she later found that he had taken the script, changed the name and is now producing it with a different company,” said Premaratne, adding also that: “Things like this are common, and because of this lack of security, we should have a system where writers can register their scripts somewhere so that they can be credited for their works and reduce the risk of theft.”
Premaratne noted that in addition to providing security yet another thing is that collaboration will strengthen the scripts produced in Sri Lanka.
“It’s a known fact that collaboration can only strengthen one’s work. Much like India where they have teams of writers working on a single script, we too can share ideas and develop really strong ideas,” he explained. He said that the possibilities are endless if they can all work together and create great works.
He also added that beyond this, because their membership already consists of some veteran writers, they also hope to conduct training and workshops for the younger ones and any others who wish to learn and broaden their skills.
In order to qualify to register with the guild, you must have at least one script that has been made into a production which was telecast on a television channel or on the wide screen. If you meet this criteria please contact Sunil Premaratne on 0772758318 or Suneth Malinga Lokuhewa on 07664433. Kindly WhatsApp your name, address and a short description about your creation to be a part of the association.