(April 29, 2020)
Mini-rooms—writers' rooms that are disconnected from production—are increasingly common. Guild leaders and staff have put together these guidelines for negotiating mini-room contracts for all TV writers—from staff writer to showrunner.
- Negotiate an overscale weekly rate for each week in the room.
Writing fees should accurately reflect the writer’s title and experience—writers should not, as a default, be working at WGA scale in mini-rooms.
- Negotiate, if possible, that the mini-room compensation will not be charged against the episodic fee.
If this isn’t achievable, remember that the mini-room weeks are counted in the “span” of weeks—2.4 weeks per episode—that your episodic guarantee will cover.
Information about span eligibility is available here. Please contact the Guild’s Contracts Department if you have further questions about the applicability of the MBA “span” provision or negotiating overscale span protection.
- Clearly define the mini-room period.
We’ve heard reports that some mini-rooms have been extended beyond the time period originally contemplated, sometimes for protracted periods of time. Individual contracts can include limitations on the number of weeks for a mini-room and condition extensions of services beyond the defined mini-room period on the writer’s agreement
- Beware of exclusivity pitfalls.
Exclusivity language should be carefully negotiated to afford writers the greatest possible flexibility to take other employment during the period between the mini-room and production.
Please feel free to contact the Guild’s Contracts Department if you wish to discuss mini-room issues.