Writers Guild Awards
Changes in eligibility, submission guidelines and new media categories, plus a new Quiz & Audience Participation award, champion storytelling on diverse platforms.  

By Angela Pacheco, WGAW Diversity Intern

(August 5, 2013) 

The Writers Guild of America, West and Writers Guild of America, East have announced changes in eligibility and submission guidelines for the television and new media categories of the WGA Awards and added a new Quiz & Audience Participation writing award. These changes will go into effect for the upcoming 2014 awards season.

“Whether you’re watching content on a TV screen, online on a laptop, or with a hand-held device, outstanding writing and great storytelling deserve the same recognition,” said WGAW President Christopher Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship. “These changes in eligibility and submission guidelines reflect the evolution of distribution models in the entertainment industry. We are also looking forward to giving out the new Quiz & Audience Participation Award in 2014.”

Under the existing rules, shows produced for new media haven’t been eligible to compete against TV programs. With the new guidelines, online series will be competing with broadcast and cable television in the script and series categories.

Daytime serials that were broadcast for decades on network television and have since moved to new media platforms will compete in the Daytime Drama category along with serials that still air on broadcast television.

Here’s a rundown of the specific changes to the Writers Guild Awards rules:

  • Both the Original and Adapted New Media categories remain intact but will be limited to programs 15 minutes or less in length and will now be referred to as Short Form New Media – Original and Short Form New Media – Adapted. The adapted category is open to new media programs based on any source material, whether a TV series, motion picture or written work.
  • All programs over 15 minutes in length will compete in existing TV categories (i.e., overall series, episodic drama, episodic comedy, etc.), which have been expanded to encompass made-for new media programming.
  • All daytime serials will compete in the Daytime Drama category, which has also been broadened to include made-for-new-media programming.
  • The WGA’s three series awards categories – Drama, Comedy, and New Series – will be open to all programs over 15 minutes and under one hour in duration, regardless of the platform for which they were created.

In more awards news, a new category, “Quiz & Audience Participation,” will be debuting this coming award season. This is programming that typically involves the writing of questions and answers as well as other material (such as quizzes, stunts, host copy etc.). Scripts submitted for award recognition in this category must be written under a WGA collective bargaining agreement.

Overall these new changes allow for a broader range of writers to be recognized for their work, which should bring an interesting new dimension to the 2014 Writers Guild Awards.

Read complete information about the new guidelines and changes.


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