If you are a writer who created an original theatrical screenplay that was never produced and you would like to set it up at another Company, there is hope to be found in the WGA Minimum Basic Agreement. There is a provision in the MBA that allows writers to buy back their unproduced, original literary material, referred to as “reacquisition.” However, there are certain requirements that must be met, and there is a limited window of time in which the literary material may be reacquired. You may be eligible to reacquire literary material if your answer is “yes” to the following questions:
- Is the project theatrical?
- Were you employed by a signatory Company to write the literary material? (Or, if it was a sale, did you meet the MBA definition of “professional writer” at the time you sold the literary material to a signatory Company?)*
- Is the project original—in other words, not based on any pre-existing material?
- Has it been at least five (5) years (and not more than ten (10) years) since you last delivered a draft of the literary material to the Company?
- Is the project unproduced?
If you answered “yes” to each of these questions, and you are prepared to initiate the reacquisition process, download the Reacquisition Form below. Forward the completed form, along with copies of all relevant contracts, to Contracts.
Or mail it to:
Writers Guild of America West
7000 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Special Provisions for Reacquisition of Rewrites Done While a Screenplay is Under Option
If you optioned an original screenplay and performed revisions during the option period, you may be able to reacquire those revisions and set up your project somewhere else with a clean chain of title once the option has expired. The MBA window to reacquire revisions begins at one (1) year and closes six (6) years after the option expires. Since reacquisition is a time sensitive matter, contact the Guild’s Contracts Department at (323) 782-4501 with specific questions.
*For the definition of “Professional Writer” please see MBA Article 1.B.1.b. Qualification may include any one of the following, among other criteria: (1) employment for a total of 13 weeks or more as a motion picture or television writer; (2) credit on the screen as a writer for a theatrical, television, or new media motion picture; (3) credit for a professionally produced play on the legitimate stage; (4) one published novel.