Making it as a professional writer is not an easy thing to do. And now that you've gotten your foot in the door, we want to make sure you have the right information to develop your career. If you're a new Current member, at the New Members Reception, you will:
- Meet your contemporaries and be placed onto a mentor-led team
- Learn about your portable Pension and Health benefits
- Hear about some of the pitfalls you're sure to encounter in your career and how to deal with them
All this – and we'll throw in a meal and booze to boot. For information about the next reception, email Sheila Boyd or call us at (323) 782-4567.
You can also familiarize yourself with the Guild and its functions by reading FYI: Guide to the Guild and visiting the website's FAQs. For contact information about a specific department within the Guild and descriptions of departmental functions, go to our Contact Us page.
The Minimum Basic Agreement is the collective bargaining agreement which covers most of the work done by WGA writers. The terms are negotiated every three years by the Guild and its "bargaining partners," the companies that are signatory to the agreement. Read "What Every Writer Needs to Know" for a quick checklist of some of the rights to which you're entitled under the MBA. One of the Guild's main functions is to enforce the MBA as well as writing services and literary material purchase agreements with signatory companies. If you encounter a problem in one of the areas below, contact the Guild for help.
Other Contracts lists many of the other Guild agreements and documents vital to working writers including the Low Budget Agreement, Standard TV and Theatrical Contracts, Interactive Program Contract for videogames, public TV and newswriter agreements, and digital/new media-related documents.
Did you know that it's possible for a writer to buy back the rights to a script that's been optioned but never produced? It's true. Writers can reacquire scripts if they meet certain criteria. Go here for information about how the Guild can help.
If you write original material under Guild jurisdiction, the Guild's MBA provides you with certain additional rights. These "Separated Rights" differ for theatrical and television projects so if you believe you qualify for these rights and a signatory company might have violated them, contact the Contracts Department.
The Guild monitors compliance with the MBA's Creative Rights provisions to ensure that writers receive the rights we bargain for. These rights include being offered the opportunity to view a cut of a film prior to its being locked, participating in press junkets, and being invited to the premiere or film festival at which a picture is first exhibited. Contact the Credits Department if you believe a company has violated your creative rights.
If you discover a problem with the writing credits accorded on a Guild project, contact the Credits Department. The Credits Department will investigate and demand correction of any violation of the MBA credit provisions. Find booklets and answers to questions regarding the credits process under Credits Manuals and Credits Forms.
As a member, you're entitled to receive at least the Guild minimum compensation from a Guild signatory company for your writing services. Refer to the Schedule of Minimums for rates under the current contract. If a signatory company fails to pay you for writing services or for the purchase of your literary material, or if you see that your literary material has been used in a publication, piece of merchandise, videogame, or some other derivative use contact the Contracts Department.
Residuals, script publications fees, etc.
Just what are "residuals" and how do they work? To find out, visit Residuals and read the "Residuals Survival Guide" and sign up for a myWGA account to track your Residuals Online. If a signatory company fails to make any of the payments which you believe you are due, contact the Residuals Department.
Pregnancy and Parenting Leave
The Guild contract doesn't address maternity or parenting leave but here are a few tips and resources help members navigate the myriad of state and federal laws governing leave rights and benefits.
- Portable Healthcare
The Writers' Guild-Industry Health Fund provides medical, hospital, dental, prescription, vision, wellness, and life insurance benefits to eligible members and their dependents. You can check here to determine if you are eligible. As freelancers who work for many different companies over the span of a career, having a single well funded and generous health benefit program where all companies contribute is a hugely important in providing stability for both Guild members and their families.
- Portable Pension
The Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan provides retirement benefits to its Participants or their Beneficiaries. Aggressive collective bargaining by Guild leadership and careful decision-making by the plan's trustees have enabled the pension to remain among the top programs offered to union members. The WGA pension offers an outstanding 48.3% multiplier to retirees meeting minimum eligibility at age 62, the highest rate of return in Hollywood.
- Credit Union
Members of the Writers Guild of America West and their dependents are eligible to join the Musicians Interguild Credit Union (MICU). Because credit unions are nonprofit organizations owned by their members, they tend to offer more competitive rates on loans than you may find at a bank. MICU also offers traditional banking services online and at locations in both Hollywood and Studio City.
- The Guild Screenings
Members receive free admission to The Guild Screenings, which consists primarily of new release movies along with special curated films reviewing the repertoire of a Guild-honored writer, a writer who is under-appreciated, current low-budget indies, documentaries, and other unique events. The writer, when available, will be present at these special screenings, for Q&A. Members are welcome to bring a guest.
- Script Registration
WGAW members in good standing can also register scripts and other material for $10, half off the price for non-members. Visit www.wgawregistry.org to register online.
- Discounts and Special Offers
In addition to these benefits, check out these Special Offers for products, services and events exclusively for WGAW members.