The recession has given the movie studios a reason — or an excuse, depending on the perspective — to adjust in their favor how they employ screenwriters.
When screenwriters do get a shot at work, they are
increasingly subject to "sweepstakes pitching," in which as many as a
dozen are pitted against one another, with producers picking the one
they like best.
Or writers are often paid only for the first draft
of the script in "one-step deals," and no longer offered a fee for
subsequent drafts, as in the past. Writers also are expected to produce
elaborate outlines of the script before they are hired for the project,
losing valuable time if they are not selected.
Los Angeles Times, 7/2/10