(Effective for Notices of Tentative Writing Credits Submitted after November 12, 2018)
Welcome to the credit determination process. If you are reading this Screen Credits Manual, chances are you are about to be involved in a credit arbitration.
Credit arbitrations can be stressful for participating writers. Take the time to read this manual and learn about our rules and procedures. The more informed you are, the more prepared you will be to make the best possible case for the credit you are seeking.
Once you have carefully read the Screen Credits Manual, the Credits Department will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Remember: ignorance of the rules is not a basis for overturning an Arbitration Committee’s decision once a decision has been rendered.
A writer's credits play an enormous role in determining our position in the motion picture and television industry. Our professional status depends on the quality and number of screenplays, teleplays, or stories that bear our name. Writing credit is given for authorship of the work the audience sees on screen, including plot, characters, dialogue, scenes and all other elements that comprise our work.
The administration of an accurate and equitable system of determining credits is therefore one of the most important services the Guild performs for writers. This manual will help you understand the guidelines and procedures we use to make that decision.
The credits process seeks to ensure that writers who make the most significant contributions to a screenplay are acknowledged on screen. When more than a single writer is involved, however, it may be the case that other contributing writers will not receive screen credit. When there is a dispute between writers over credits, fellow writers have the difficult but critical responsibility of making the final determination.
We are guided in this task by one bedrock principle: our writing credits should be a true and accurate statement of authorship as determined by the rules and procedures. This Manual reflects those rules and procedures, which are based on:
- the Guild's contractual obligations under the Theatrical and Television Basic Agreements (also known as the “Minimum Basic Agreement” and referred to herein as “MBA”), as ratified by the membership;
- the Guild's own rules and regulations, which have been voted on and put into practice by the membership;
- the Guild’s own internal processes and procedures for applying the MBA rules developed over the years; and
- legal precedent interpreting the MBA.
For practical tips to help you protect your interests in an arbitration, please refer to the Credits Survival Guide, which you can access at the Guild’s websites, www.wgaw.org or www.wgaeast.org.