WHAT IS IT?

The Documentary Screenplay Contract is a contract designed to meet the demands of the documentary film business as well as ensure the rights and benefits for writers of theatrically released documentaries budgeted at $1.2 million or below.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Many documentaries are financed by filmmakers themselves. Before this contract, working under the WGA agreement was cost-prohibitive to most filmmakers who stretch every dollar to create their works of passion. Now writer-directors and writer-producers can work under the protection of the WGA and use partial or complete deferments instead of having to pay all writing fees upfront. In addition, the agreement makes it easier on theatrical documentary producers who want to hire writers under the WGA agreement by allowing for partial deferments of writing fees in accordance with various budget breaks. And in the event a documentary screenplay is purchased prior to the start of principal photography, fees for the purchase of such literary material may also be at least partially if not completely deferred. Deferred payment terms are “most favored nations” with the person who performs directing services.

Read a financial summary of the Documentary Screenplay Contract. This contract was revised in 2013 to include a new deferment definition.

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

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

By working under this contract you may receive premium health care coverage; earn money towards a pension plan; obtain residual payments when your work is rebroadcast on television and distributed on DVD and other media; qualify for WGA membership and the benefits that most film and television writers have known for decades.

HOW DO I FILE A DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY CONTRACT FOR A THEATRICAL DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT?

Download the Documentary Screenplay Contract filing documents then contact us for additional information.

WHO SHOULD I CONTACT?

If you are filing documents, call (323) 782-4501 or email: Contracts.

BECOME A GUILD SIGNATORY

The WGA Documentary Screenplay Contract 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. If you have Signatory questions, call (323) 782-4514 or email: Signatories.