On a Series with 14 or Fewer Episodes?
You May Be Owed Money Later This Season
We Need Your Contract
(We need your contract in any event. See below!)
In the 2017 MBA negotiation, the Guild began to address the problem of writers working too many weeks on short-season series and having their overscale episodic fees driven down to minimum as a result. We negotiated additional compensation for the extra weeks for the most-affected writers. The provision took effect on May 1, 2018, and we need your contract now to ensure that companies are in compliance.
- You are covered by this new provision if you meet all five of these criteria:
- Your series has a full season order (including any pilot) of 14 or fewer episodes (12 or fewer on broadcast).
- You are a producer level writer or higher.
- You are guaranteed less than $350,000 for your staff work (script fees do not count).
- You entered into your contract on or after May 2, 2018. (Options picked up on contracts dated before May 2, 2018 do not qualify. These provisions will apply when you sign a new contract.)
- Your contract is written with episodic fees, not a weekly rate.
If you meet all of these criteria, your episodic fees pay for a maximum of 2.4 weeks per episode. So, for example, a guarantee of 10 episodic fees pays for 24 weeks of work. After the weeks covered by your episodic fees run out, the employer must pay you for each additional week (or part of a week) you work. The rate they must pay is an overscale weekly rate, defined as your episodic fee divided by 2.4.
Even if you don’t meet these new criteria—higher-paid writers will not—you and your lawyer should keep in mind that this is a new standard that many writers earning less than you are now benefiting from, and that you should insist on a similar provision in your deal.
The Guild will enforce this provision, but you must send us your contract. Or have your representative submit it. Staff will evaluate your deal to determine if you are eligible for these MBA protections and, if so, make sure you get paid. Click here to submit your contract. Even if you don’t qualify, we still need your contract. There are other provisions we need to enforce. Please submit it in any case.
Call the Contracts Department at (323) 782-4501 with any questions.
MBA ARTICLE 14K.2: SPAN PROVISION
“With respect to contracts entered into on or after May 2, 2018, the overall employment period covered by the episodic guarantee for each writer employed on a guaranteed episode basis (including an “all episodes produced” guarantee) under this Article 14.K., other than a writer employed as a story editor or other contractually equivalent title, on a dramatic episodic series or serial made for television, or a High Budget SVOD series or serial, for which the full season order (including the pilot) is fourteen (14) or fewer episodes (or twelve (12) or fewer episodes for broadcast television), shall not exceed a number of weeks equal to two and four-tenths (2.4) multiplied by the number of episodes paid or guaranteed to the writer.
The writer shall be paid an additional episodic fee for each additional period worked of two and four-tenths (2.4) weeks, prorated for any period less than two and four-tenths (2.4) weeks, in excess of the overall employment period covered by the episodic guarantee. In no event shall the writer be paid less than the applicable Article 14.K. minimum for each week worked in the entire employment period.
The overall employment period shall not include any weeks during which a writer’s employment is suspended pursuant to Article 26 or any weeks not worked by the writer during a hiatus.
The foregoing shall not apply to: (1) any writer who receives at least $350,000, excluding script fees, for the then-current contract year; (2) any writer employed pursuant to Article 14.E.2.; (3) any writer employed on a “series” described in Article 14.J. (i.e., a one-time program, including but not limited to a movie-of-the-week, or development deals for specific television programs); and (4) any writer employed on a multi-part closed-end series.”