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MAY 29, 2020

I've Been Suspended Under My TV Contract! Now What?

One pressing enforcement issue that has been arising with some frequency lately relates to your rights when TV series employment is suspended.

With some writers being told that their employment is suspended due to force majeure (because of the impact of COVID-19), it is important to understand that the company’s ability to invoke force majeure depends on the terms of each writer’s individual contract as well as the underlying circumstances affecting each series. This is why we urge writers to contact the WGAW Legal Department directly with specific suspension questions so we can review relevant contract language and know more about the services being performed. Read more >>


Pandemic Past Is Prologue

A lesson from industry history on media consolidation.

Movie theaters have closed their doors. Production is shut down. Gatherings are discouraged. Everyone wears face masks. Workers are worried about their jobs, their industry, and the entire economy.

This was the scenario during the 1918–1919 Spanish flu pandemic, one that spurred the vertical integration of the nascent movie industry and created the powerful studio system of the 1930s and 1940s, where the biggest studios controlled every aspect of the entertainment business, from talent to production to distribution. A century later, media companies are once again positioned to leverage a public health crisis. Read more >>


The Write Spot

WGAW members show Connect where they write during the pandemic.

You might recognize the title "Gimme Shelter" as the opening track to the Rolling Stones' 1969 hit album Let It Bleed. There has been much speculation about the inspiration for the lyrics—from sheltering from the social turbulence of the ’60s, to seeking shelter from sudden natural disasters and sheltering from the suspicion of a partner’s infidelity. Wherever you land, one thing is certain: lately, all of us have become familiar with some form of sheltering as we seek refuge from the world’s first pandemic in over 100 years. To find out where writers are gettin’ shelter, Connect asked Guild members to show us where they are writing during the pandemic. Read more >>


COVID-19 Resource Page Updates

As circumstances evolve, the Guild continues to expand online resources.

In response to your questions about force majeure and hiatuses, compensation, benefits, and assistance, we’ve made a number of updates to the COVID-19 Employment and Benefits page. These include new guidance on issues writers are facing due to the production shutdown and writers' room schedule changes, which programs to apply for, step-by-step instructions on how to apply for unemployment benefits, as well as an index to help you navigate the expansive webpage.

Visit the Guild's COVID-19 Resources page for a broader list of resources, including healthcare and social services.

Writers Guild of America West • 7000 W. Third Street • Los Angeles, CA 90048

Contact us with your comments, questions, and story ideas.

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