WGAW Independent Film

The WGAW is committed to increasing independent and low budget screenwriters' status and influence within the film industry. We seek to expand writers' coverage through the use of the WGA's Low Budget Agreement and Documentary Screenplay Contract for films budgeted at $1.2 million and below. These agreements were revised in 2013 to include certain work-for-hire situations, reduced upfront payments, and a flexible deferment definition.

Read a financial summary of the Low Budget Agreement and the Documentary Screenplay Contract.


The Low Budget Agreement allows writers to write and sell a narrative feature-length screenplay under the protection of the Writers Guild if the theatrical film’s budget is at or below $1.2 million. The best time to contact the Guild is before a screenplay is going to be purchased or when a writer will be hired to write a screenplay. Are you interested in filing a Low Budget Agreement for a theatrical film project?


For information on how to join the WGAW through use of the WGA Low Budget Agreement, go here.

Please contact us for additional filing information. If you are filing documents for a WGAW Member or Members, call (323) 782-4502 or e-mail: Contracts. For projects involving Non-WGA writers, please call (323) 782-4731 or e-mail: WGAW Independent Film.

The Low Budget Agreement is only used when requested by the Writer, and the Company must also file required Low Budget Agreement documents and Signatory paperwork. If the Agreement’s terms are included in a personal agreement but no additional Low Budget Agreement documents are filed and approved by the WGAW, the Writer is NOT ensured that the Low Budget Agreement will apply to the project.

The WGA Low Budget Agreement requirements should not be confused with the Guild’s Signatory documents and process. If you would like to become a Guild Signatory Company, find out how here. If you have Signatory questions, call (323) 782-4514 or e-mail: Signatories.


The Documentary Screenplay Contract allows writers to write or sell a theatrical documentary screenplay under the protection of the Writers Guild of America, West, while deferring all or part of their writing fees.

For more information, go to Documentary Film and Nonfiction Programming.


The Independent Writers Caucus is dedicated to raising writers' status and influence within the low budget and independent film community, expanding writers' coverage in low budget/independent films through the use of the WGA's Low Budget Agreement and the MBA, and increasing emerging writer/filmmaker membership in the WGAW.

The WGAW encourages eligible emerging and established screenwriters to join the community of Guild writers through the Independent Writers Caucus (IWC).

Find information about joining the Independent Writers Caucus here.


For a list of film festivals and film and television organizations, go here.